First out of the blocks for 2007 and hoping to stay there, Yamaha's new R1 looks the goods. But is it? Who better to say than Niall Mackenzie, ex-GP god turned mortal.
YAMAHA'S TARGET FOR the fifth generation R1 was simple - to put it back on top as the best superbike on the road. But equally as important was for it to be the best on the track.
To achieve these targets a performance increase was necessary, together with better power delivery, all while keeping it the right side of the Euro 3 regs.
So who did Yamaha turn to for help with the development? With a MotoGP title and a few WSB race wins it's hardly surprising that much of the latest R1's development has come from Yamaha Racing. Surprisingly this wasn't the case with the first R1 back in 1998, which wasn't aimed at the track - although many found their way there.
Personally I've always thought the R1 the most stylish of the 1000s, looking sleek from the cat-like headlights to the tidy twin tailpipes. With more engine exposed, the 2007 model looks even better but the graphics don't quite come up to scratch both on style and quality. They look like stickers and don't give the totally superior finish we've come to expect from R1s.
To go with its new paint (I'd choose red and white every time) the R1's bodywork also has some sharp new lines - and not just to make it look good. A 10mm higher screen that blends in neatly with the upper fairing is easier to get tucked behind while 'layered' side panels suck hot air from the back of the engine. The intake ducts at the front are also 40 per cent bigger, helping both cooling and induction. One other feature that stands out are the beautifully contoured footrest hangers - a very nice touch.
Much work has been done to the engine, mainly to the top end. In a quest to build the most efficient and powerful engine, Yamaha has decided - as on Rossi's bike - to ditch their five-valve head in favour of a four-valve design. To go with this, the valve lift has been increased with narrower valve angles plus a smoother piston crown shape.
Click here to read the Yamaha YZF-R1 review verdict.
Become a fan of Visordown
Follow us on twitter
Other Immediate Media Sites
Our eCommerce Platform
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk