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2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike Review

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

With the price of a brand-new street bike creeping higher every year, many folks don’t have the luxury of owning multiple motorcycles. So, for those who ride sportbikes, quite often you’re going to have to rack up considerable “touring” mileage getting to coveted stretches of twisty pavement. To ease the pain we fitted some accessories on our 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 that made it more comfortable and fun to ride on the street. To see how the modifications performed we made the pilgrimage to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the 2010 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. Check out our Laguna Seca USGP page to see all the action from this summer’s California MotoGP race.
We began our project by hitting our R1 with some genuine accessories from the Yamaha GYTR accessory catalog. While these bolt-on parts carry a premium in terms of price, their high level of engineering, not to mention exceptional fit and finish make these parts worth the cost. It’s also important to note that Yamaha genuine accessories carry a full warranty.

We love the shape  finish  and of course the exhaust note emitted from FMFs Apex mufflers. Even better is that the price has dropped by  100 for 10.
(Above) The $84.95 Raised Bubble Windscreen deflects wind up and over the rider’s torso. It’s easy to mount and works much better than the stock windshield. (Below) We love the shape, finish, and of course the exhaust note emitted from FMF’s Apex mufflers. Even better is that the price has dropped by $100 for ’10.

The first order of business was to swap the stock windshield for a Raised Bubble Windscreen ($84.95). This windshield reduces wind buffeting at speed by directing air up and over the rider. This makes straight-line highway stints far more bearable. We chose the clear screen as opposed to the tinted version because it is easier to see through when you’re riding full tuck. Installation is a snap and can be accomplished in a few minutes by removing both mirrors then swapping out the screen.
Next we replaced the stock seat with a thicker, more comfortable saddle. The new Comfort Seat ($239.95) provides a higher level of support so you’re body isn’t as fatigued after a full day at the controls. It uses a dual-density foam core as opposed to the gel design used on the previous generation seat which we tested on our 2008 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike. Installation is a snap, requiring the removal of two bolts tucked away under the rear part of the seat.
Having wished to carry along some gear on cross-country street rides we fitted an Axio Tank Bag ($189.95) and Cortech Sport Saddlebags ($125.99). The Axio bag is affixed to the fuel tank via magnetic flaps on both sides. Despite my initial apprehension the system works perfectly keeping the bag in place even when riding at triple-digit speeds or doing wheelies or stoppies. The Cortech bag uses conventional double Velcro straps that are neatly tucked in underneath the rider and passenger seat. It’s important to note that the bags need to be fitted carefully to prevent the exhaust from burning through the bags.
Lastly, to increase the overall thrill factor we mounted a pair of FMF Apex Slip-on Exhaust mufflers ($899.99). The FMF pipes uncork the R1 and give it a nearly identical sound to the M1 MotoGP bike piloted by Valentino Rossi, plus each muffler is a work of art. We love the shape and mixed carbon fiber and titanium construction of each can with it complementing the design of the R1 perfectly. Even better is that the price of the pipes has dropped $100 from last year. Since you’re only swapping out the mufflers, installation is straightforward and can be accomplished with a basic set of tools. 

With the addition of Yamahas accessory seat  windshield  AXIO tank bag  and Cortech Saddlebags the R1 becomes an capable sportbike to tour on.

Our September girl of the month  Amanda poses with our 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 project bike.
(Above) With the addition of Yamaha’s accessory seat, windshield, AXIO tank bag, and Cortech Saddlebags the R1 becomes an capable sportbike to tour on. (Below)  Our September girl of the month, Amanda poses with our 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 project bike.

Fire up the engine and you’ll be amazed at how much louder the R1 sounds with FMF cans. If you’re not looking to attract extra attention then these pipes aren’t for you. However if you looking to be the center of attention everywhere you travel then a brand-new, piped-out R1 is the answer.
In our sound test, at idle, the R1 registered a whopping 11 decibel increase over stock. At speed it was six decibels higher which can attract unwanted interest from the police when riding through urban areas. The tone of the exhaust note is also much deeper and sounds more akin to that of a Chevy V8 than a four-cylinder sportbike. It’s so loud that even guys in exotic sports cars take notice when you pull up at a stop sign, no joke.
We also noticed that the pipes reduce the amount of exhaust heat that radiates on the riders legs which makes it more comfortable to ride in warmer climates. It still might be uncomfortable for some, but overall it’s a big improvement over stock.
Twist the throttle and the R1 feels like it drives forward with a bit more stomp. On the dyno the Apex mufflers freed up some power through its 13,500 rev range. Most notably is the increase above 10,000 rpm with five extra horsepower compared to stock at 11,900 rpm. 
Engine fueling and overall carburetion was never an issue before and continued to be well-sorted even with the additional flow of the pipes. In terms of fuel mileage, we didn’t notice any significant variation over stock. Fast-paced sport riding continued to net us right around 30 mpg. However if you restrict top speed to under 90 mph and try and short-shift the engine as much as possible it is possible to attain up to almost 40 mpg.
Nearly five pounds were dropped off the weight of the bike, however our luggage and 20-plus pounds of cargo negated the weight savings. The extra weight also forced us to add spring preload and damping on both the fork and the shock. Our final settings were near the maximum range of adjustment so for the next phase we’re going to have RG3 Suspension work its magic on the components. We’re also going to have Jett Tuning re-flash the ECU and fit a new set of Michelin Pilot Power street tires. Stay Tuned.
2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Street Gallery
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2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Photos
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Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike Parts List
Loaded with gear on the way to Laguna Seca for the MotoGP race aboard the 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1.
Yamaha GYTR Accessories 
Raised Bubble Windscreen: $84.95
Comfort Seat: $239.95
Axio Tank Bag: $189.95
Cortech Sport Saddlebags: $125.99
Apex Slip-on Exhaust: $899.99
Yamaha Sportbike Dealer Locator
2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike Dyno
2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike dyno chart.
2010 Yamaha R1 Exhaust Sound Test

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adam - motousa -part 2  October 25, 2010 06:53 PM
what up greg--part 2 is coming man sometime november or december real busy right now with all kinds of other tests and stuff,etc,etc. but it's coming for your viewing pleasure worry not.
Greg -Part 2 please  October 25, 2010 02:40 PM
Arright cmon, wheres part 2? I wanna see if what I felt the Jett reflash did for my bike is what you guys experienced as well.
Francisco -My R1 is awesome...  October 6, 2010 02:42 PM
This is my second R1 and I liked a lot while riding on the streets and backroads, after three track days I love this beast, perfect to ride on the track and sounds great.
Kurt -S/W  October 6, 2010 09:51 AM
With all the used sport bikes around, I think it would be nice if someone would make touring conversion kits! Make these bikes comfortable for long distance touring.Up right seating, bigger fairings, comfortable foot peg and control positions, and of course a good sound system.
Johnny -fmf-impressive  October 3, 2010 07:35 AM
I just install my fmf slip-on exhaust for my R1 today and what I can say is that it is really amazing sound, I wish all of you can hear it in person. The police even want to call me in but fortunately they don't. Thanks motorcycle-usa for this exhaust introduction. :D
GhostRider -Adam/MotoUSA-Tires  October 1, 2010 05:19 AM
Michelin Power One Tires??? Is it possible to do a tire test with the Michelin Power One vs the Power 2CTs vs the Power Pure verisons, street and track??? Since many of us don't race (on the Track) like others, it would benefit us canyon/highway ramp/twisties riders more to read your opinions on these tires with you riding the same R1 for the street and for track days! If equally possible, you could include what, if any, suspension changes you made to the R1 as a reference to other R1 owners (not me, CBRs for life) for street/track. Since the cost of tires isn't something to sneeze at... you would help us Moto-USA readers spend our money better in these harsh economic times.
adam - motousa -racetrack shredding -shaun  September 30, 2010 10:51 PM
what up shaun--yeah we'll be shredding the racetrack top speed in phase 2--check it.
adam - motousa -fireblade pipes  September 30, 2010 10:50 PM
fmf says pipes for your fireblade-- checck em out @ fmfracing.com
adam - motousa -michelin tires  September 30, 2010 10:48 PM
what up ya'll we're going to be fitting michelin pilot power one street/trackday rubber--fyi
Shaun -What about track mods  September 30, 2010 01:28 PM
I loved my R1 on the street but when I set it up for track use only, I found it needed a lot of work vs my GSXR. Could you provide more track/performance mods then these basic street mods we've all done before?

It would be great if you could cover the following:

After market suspension
Suspension set up - spring weight and ride hieght
Engine upgrades - ECU, Air ducts, ?
Gear ratio

Mike -Arnolds law  September 30, 2010 12:08 PM
Does the new loud pipe law change things for the FMF upgrade? If so should I stock up on mufflers now or just beat the next guy I see on a Harley over the head with my stock one!
Fred -Stock Plate bracket  September 30, 2010 11:06 AM
WHY is the stock license plate bracket still on there. It's really throwing off the look of the bike. Rip that stupid stock thing off and put a fender eliminator kit on there. Thank You
Adeysworld -Not an R1 until you...  September 30, 2010 08:53 AM
REFLASH THE ECU!! Adam, hit up Beau @Garage Endeavors for the reflash. I can bring my 09' R1 up to your office so you can feel the difference. It is seriously a different animal after the reflash...lemme know if you want to do a write up with my bike. cheers adey http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld
GhostRider -R1 vs Blade  September 30, 2010 05:02 AM
Not sure of what updates Yamaha is doing for the 2011-2012 R1 but with Rossi going to Ducati... who will help make it a better machine now!? Has anyone seen/read anything on the future 2012 Fireblade yet??? That's what I plan to buy... no doubt! I have 3 blades now (two 2005s and one 2009-white 1000rr) and I want another one (08-11)CBR1000rr to trick out with the TaylorMade exhaust kit!
Stud -?????????  September 30, 2010 04:07 AM
I do not like the R1,BUt LOve the pipes. Can i get them ON A FIREBLADE.
orider -R1  September 30, 2010 03:04 AM
Yes Amanda o yes
Gx2 -R1  September 29, 2010 04:52 PM
R1 is such an great versatile bike. i personally dont own one and have not since 2003 so this is not a biased comment. however i just think out of all the new sportbikes, it has the most character and is more than just another fast sportbike.it just has the unique character trait about it that makes it stand out from the others. even though it may not post the highest numbers on dynos or always win reviews. just my .2 cents
Alan -comfort  September 29, 2010 01:56 PM
Add some heli-bars!
superbikewill -R1  September 29, 2010 09:25 AM
...hope he goes for the Power Pures, they are supposed to be awesome street tires..
GhostRider -Best Accessory  September 29, 2010 05:06 AM
Well I'm no R1 owner (cbr forever) but the slip-ons seem to be a good buy especially if they make the bike sound faster/meaner even when standing still! But the best accessory is Amanda judging by the picture above! Good job Adam... i will look forward to the next article regarding the Michelin tires. Which type of Michelins? Power 2CT or Power PUREs?