1. OLD VS NEW
The 2009/2010 R1’s essentially an all-new machine. The odd part may be the same as before but the frame’s all-new, as is the crossplane crank engine and much more. All things considered this new bike’s a superior bit of kit. But the old one’s lighter and prettier too – a quick bit of fettling and you’ll have a bargain superbike on your hands.
2. HOTTING IT UP
Getting a 2007 or 2008 R1 up to a spec where it’d be a match for the 2009 bike won’t be cheap. A full exhaust, performance air filter, Power Commander and custom map should get it close but that’ll be near £2,000 when labour is included. Lower gearing would help (£28 for a sprocket) but beyond that you’re looking at expensive tuning work like hotter cams and porting the head. Just don't bother chasing more power, they're fast enough. Handling can be improved by rebuilding the forks and shock or better still replacing them with higher spec items. Rebuilding suspension will cost you £600 while replacement items will add up to in excess of £1500. We’d stick with lower gearing and tweaked suspension as anything else isn’t going to be cost effective.
3. WHAT GOES WRONG WITH THEM?
Very little. The 2007/’08 R1 is a seriously well developed machine and like pretty much every modern Japanese road bike it’s incredibly reliable. Problems are extremely rare and there’s little pattern to them. We’d recommend checking the EXUP valve is operating smoothly and correctly as these can still give the occasional problem. Also bodywork is pretty pared down so make sure all the lugs are there and haven’t been broken off by clumsy hands. Corrosion’s something pretty much every bike suffers from and on an R1 it’ll typically show up first on the disc brake inners.
The new model was very much one of the hot new bikes for 2009 so you'd think it would knock values of the outgoing machine. That said, the Yen/Sterling rate is so bad meaning that a new big-bang R1 costs around £13,000, so the older models have held their values. Some people prefer the older bikes looks and while the new bike’s dynamically superior, the old one’s still pretty damn fine so prices haven’t dropped by a huge amount. Even a tatty 2007 R1 will make about £5,000 while a clean one from a dealer will be more like £6000. A mint, low mileage 2008 bike will fetch close to £7,000.
Servicing is every 6,000 miles and the spark plugs should be checked each time so it’s never a super quick job but the minor service shouldn’t run to more than £200. Major services are every 12,000 miles with the big valve clearance service only due every 24,000 miles – that will cost around £450 at a main dealer.