£7k Buys You an Early Big Bang Yamaha R1

With news emerging about the Yamaha R1 discontinuation, we thought we’d mark the occasion with a classifieds hunt

2012 Yamaha R1 - side

We were saddened but not particularly surprised to learn this week that the Yamaha R1 will be discontinued once Euro5+ comes in. Yamaha confirmed that it has “taken the decision not to develop a EU5+ version of the R1 or R1M,” which means by 2025, that’ll be it for the R1 story. Boo, and indeed hiss. 

If you want a brand new R1, then, you might want to hurry up and get down to your nearest dealer. Not everyone has £18,810 to blow on a motorcycle, however, nor are they willing to tie themselves up with chunky monthly repayments on a finance deal lasting several years. 

Happily, it was well over a decade ago that Yamaha introduced its MotoGP-inspired ‘CP4’ crossplane inline-four to the R1, meaning a ‘big bang’ R1 of a very similar character to the current bike can be bought reasonably cheaply on the used market. 

By offsetting the firing order of the 2009-on R1’s engine, it ended up with an inline-four very far removed from a traditional superbike screamer, more similar in nature to a V4. The idea was it combined the low-end torque normally associated with twin-cylinder engines with plenty of top-end fruitiness, with peak power of 179bhp arriving at 12,500rpm.

To go with the engine borrowed from Valentino Rossi’s race bike, the new R1 also received different riding modes that alter the throttle map - a first for the model - an electronic steering damper and a subframe plus rear shock linkage made from magnesium. 

A further update in 2012 brought traction control and a lightly tweaked fairing, but our used pick from the same year just missed out on the changes. That wouldn’t bother us too much, however, as the blue and white example is nicely affordable at £7,586. Yes, we have seen big bang R1s for less, but going much lower means a high chance of encountering an excess of Monster Energy stickers - and nobody needs that.

It comes with a part service history and has covered 17,334 in its 12 years on the road. Tempted?