Yamaha's R1 had a few tweaks made to it for 2006. This is the year (or bits of it) that we enjoyed on it
2006 R1 update...March 5
Christ, what can I say? I'll say that our 'new' website doesn't handle the weblog concept very well. We could only have one picture on the bike blog and it had to be uploaded by our overworked web worker. It was a massive lash up if you ask me, but nobody did, so... All of which is a long winded way of saying that I'm sorry – along with the rest of the troops here – that our long term bike test pages weren't more frequently updated. We've been promised a new software package in June. Until then...
R1 update 25 August
Well, before we go any further, I have to say that, if nothing else, the new TiForce exhaust (not a full system) looks awesome, er, dude. I haven't even ridden it yet but it looks terrific now that those plastic shroud covers are off. Lord knows what it will have done to the excellent fuel map that Alan at Crescent Suzuki loaded on to the Power Commander, but I'll get back to you on that one. For the moment I can tell you that, apart from the looks, it's also much lighter. The old bits tipped our electronic scales at 5428grammes, the new bits added up to 3145g. You do the math, as they say. I'd do it, but I'm off to ride it now....
...and I'm back! OK, I only rode it home, so it didn't get anything like the full treatment, but two things stood out. Firstly, it isn't cop-baitingly loud but it does sound a bit fruitier which is a good thing. Secondly and just as importantly, it doesn't appear to have wrecked the fuelling. Low speed corners and from a closed-to-just-open throttle response felt pretty much unchanged.
Was there some more power in the mid range? Well, I'd have to say that I thought there was. Would I put my house on it? No, I'll wait till I dyno the yellow beast but what I can say is that it really does look much MUCH better than the stock system. And that counts too! UK importer of this finely-made Japanese kit is www.p3unlimited.com and for more info check out http://www.tiforce.com
R1 update 19 April
I don't know, sometimes stuff just arrives in a big rush and you I get swamped. The bike has only just had its first service and I've still to get it dyno'd when all these goodies tunrn up at once, all of which will alter the performance of the bike in small but significant ways. Frank Wrathall, head honcho of Dynojety UK has loaded a map on the Power Commander for the standard cans which should see an end to the lurches in power delivery between 4-6,000revs (depending on which gear you're in) and I'm keen to get that bolted in – but I need to get it on a dyno first, so as I can report back on the differences. And then...watch this space for the rest of the hoped-for midrange boost and a little extra noise and a lot less weight on the TiForce front.
R1 update 11 April
Gawd. Has it been so long since my last web-based missive? Needless to say I've been writing about the mighty R1 in the mag, but I should have written something up earlier on here, eh? Anyway, the 'hot' news on this chilly day is that the first service has come and gone and the oil and filter have been replaced. Motul Factory line (3.8 litres of it) was poured into the engine and is now lubricating the engine. It's funny doing a oil change, every time I do one I get paranoid about tightening sump plugs and oil filters enough (or too much) and worry that I'm going to spew oil all over the rear tyre. I'm not alone, am I? Anyway, now the oil change has taken place, I can rev the bike all the way to the redline. Christ it goes a bit! When you are accustomed to short shifting to 7-8,000rpm, as per running in instructions, the leap to hyper-space that occurs heading for ten to 11,000rpm and beyond is a rush of head-lightning, mild-head shaking pleasure. Just awesome. The accelaration surge and rise of power is such a blast. Yeah, I hear you, simple things amuse simple people, so cover me in Reece's pieces and call me Cletus...
R1 update 9 February
It's one of the highlights of my year. And when I stop feeling like the luckiest kid in the best toy shop ever, I suppose that'll be the time I should quit this job. When Mr H. Stephens tossed me the keys to the stunning bike you see here, what else is there to be but thrilled. The sun was shining, it had 10 miles on the clock and the Michelin Pilot Power tyres were far from scrubbed in. So, let's get started shall we!
R1 update 16 December
The R1 has gone. It is no longer in my care and it is with a heavy heart that I bade it farewell. To be honest it went three days ago, but I've been in mourning. And I've been on trains and public transport and am now in a big BIG hurry to get my winter hack all road legal. I've written about how good I thought the R1 was so many times and there's a feature in the next issue of the magazine about it. In the meantime, having seen every new bike out there, I've still not seen anything I want to ride more than a 2006 R1. In yellow and black. Maybe with some Termignoni or Akrapovic end cans on...Plans are being laid, so stay tuned!
R1 update 22 November
Riding home late last week I was anticipating a traffic-free wazz back to base camp when I noticed that about half a tonne of grit had been spilled at every juntion and bend – sort of like diesel you can see. Crap. Salty, slimy roads have arrived and all of a sudden, life on two wheels got a bit more complicated. It's not so much the state of the roads (the lack of grip and the bike-ruining salt) but the fact that if you have to haul on the anchors for a dumb bastard four-wheeler in these conditions, your chances of dropping the bike are much greater. Riding in traffic has never been so little fun. Anyway, a bike is still the best way of getting about, so it was out with the trusty tyre pressure gauge to make sure pressures were still right and out with the Scottoiler FS356 magic spray to keep the crap at bay.
R1 update 12 October
It's great, no sooner do you start to get used to winding on the throttle and enjoying the sensation of that slightly loose, head-shaking feeling on bumpy rides into work when the temperature drops by about 15 degrees and you find yourself wondering about whether or not your tyres have warmed up. Or I do. Yes, I'm a cautious kind of chap. But then the sun has come out in the past couple of days and I took it to be my last chance to ride like a twat on the way into work. It's not far, but if I time the ride right and get lucky with the traffic, I can really, really enjoy my R1. And that's it really, except to say that the geometry adjustments I made at Brands Hatch – dropping the yoke down the fork by 4mm – help turning on the road too. Like everyone else with a regular commute, there are five or six corners and bends where you can enjoy yourself and push your luck a bit and I've noticed the bike turns and holds a line better with the new set up. I tell you, bikes are great. But you knew that already, didn't you?
R1 update, 4 October
OK, OK, the truth is that I'm getting old and fed up hearing about people crashing and am constantly checking things on the bike. But when was the last time you checked your tyre pressures? If, like me, it was after a track day back when the weather was still warm (three weeks ago), then you might get a bit of a shock.
I was riding home the other evening when I thought the front felt a bit more 'squishy' than normal, certainly not enough to make me feel confident when braking hard. They felt a bit slow and vague on corners too. So I checked them the next morning to find 31psi in the front. Not enough – and there was only 33psi at the rear too. I put that straight with a Specialized Air Tool comp pump (every home should have one, so check www.specialized.com) and rode off into the chilly morning to enjoy a firmer and more confidence-inspiring ride. If your tyres are the most important component on your bike (and you know they are) then you'd best take care of them, don't you think?
R1 update, 23 September
Fiddling with suspension is one of the joys of riding a sports bike but the truth is that not many of us are confident enough to tackle it. And yes that does include me. However, following experiences on the 2006 R1 launch, info from Yamaha Europe and re-reading our August suspension feature, I reckoned it was time to have a go.
I wanted the bike to turn in quicker, so I thought I'd raise the rear ride height by the cunning expedient of buying some 15mm inside diamater washers, adding four of them (4mm in total) and moving more weight over the front as a result.
Well, I'll spare you the gory details. We tried to do it between sessions at a Brands Hatch track day and ran out of tools and time. So we didn't do anything. Not that I've given up, no way.
R1 Long term test bike, 11 August
So I finally (finally!) got round to fitting the Michelin Pilot Power tyres and am happy to report that there’s a big difference between worn tyres and new tyres. Yes, you read that amazing fact here first folks... In comparison to the Bridgestone BT 012SS hoops I had on, I reckon the Michelins are a slightly more forgiving road tyre, which is to say that the sidewall construction feels as though it’s got a bit more give, coping better with the bumps you experience during everyday road riding. I managed to sneak a couple of sessions at Rockingham (national circuit) with the California Superbike school the other day too, which enabled me to push them a bit harder. Hard on the gas and under heavy braking the front was as stable as you like and liberties were duly taken in turn-in. On the apex of the fast right-hander before the short back straight, the tyres coped well with the bumps and wallows in the track, soaking up the undulations and not unsettling the bike too much. On the long, slightly camber-less left-hander (the last corner before the hairpin), I was happy with the sidegrip and stability on offer - basically, the tyres never budged, even cranked over the rolling on the gas. Frankly, my confidence grew as the sessions wore on. My tyre pressures for the track? 33psi front and 30psi rear on a day when the air temperature was around 22 degrees.
Also, it’s always good to have your feelings about a product you’ve tested and rated confirmed and I was able to do just that at Rockingham. I spoke to three other R1 owners who had all tried the Pilot Power and had been impressed by the improved performance over the stock rubber, so it really does look like Michelin has a winner and it’s not just me whose been bamboozled or deluded. Check out www.michelin.co.uk and www.californiasuperbikeschool.co.uk for mind-bending marketing and propaganda.
R1 Long term update June 27
Time to do something
Inspired, in part by American correspondent Hank Hoeveler, who has spent more on aftermarket parts than he did on his R1, I decided it was indeed time to do something to the R1. And, as luck would have it, a beautifully engineered set of Sato rearsets arrived all the way from Japan wrapped in the television guide of a Japanese newspaper. In truth they arrived at SuperBike via the good import offices of Duncan at PerTech (Performance Technology Imports ltd.) but we are talking top dollar engineering and finish.
And, of course, we are then talking about the scary business of bolting them on using the requisite amount of Loctite. I am still haunted by the memory of a gear shift rod dropping off my GSX-R1000 a couple of years ago and the resulting trip to into the grass at turn one at Rockingham. Still, I can vouch for the quality of the medical centre at the track.
Al's fitted more rearsets than I've had bottles of Islay single malt whiskey, so he was on hand and, thankfully took over the job as soon as soon as had I ripped open the bag of screws and bolts, spilling them on the floor. It took 'us' an hour. It would have taken me about 17 hours - per side - at a conservative estimate. A word of caution or advice. One, you need Loctite and if you ain't got it, don't start the job. And you need some grease too. And if you ain't got that...
And the rear brake switch doesn't fit on these race-oriented beauties either, so you'll need a pressure switch if you want a rear brake light and, of course, you will if you want an MOT.
Pertech 01524 733994
Long term R1 update May 26
Nurse, the screens...
Finally. Finally I got around to fitting the German-made MRA screen to the R1. Giles at HPS had been gracious enough to fire this to me early on but it was 'lost' in the photo studio for months. Anyway, now that it's on, I was able to enjoy the benefits on a ride up the A12 through Essex and Suffolk up to Snetterton circuit. As you can see by the pic, it's pretty square and a lot bigger than the standard screen. To be honest, it doesn't look pretty from the seat, but looks trick and less boxy from the outside and, by god, it does the trick, deflecting most of the windblast over your head. All it took was six screws, easy-peasy, no alignment worries either. It's well-made, fits like a glove and works like a dream. If you do motorway miles, go and get one now and your back and shoulders will love you for it. Check out www.bikehps.com or call them on 0870 774 0475.
Long term R1 update 16 May
Rhencullen for me (with a bit of help from YEC)
The R1 is still the top banana as far as I'm concerned and, although Simon and his new GSX-R1000 think otherwise, even he isn't arguing when it comes to the look of the bike. And, in order to keep my R1 pristine, I've bolted on some Rhencullen crash bobbins as well as lower swingarm protectors in carbon.
Don't laugh. When Steve at Rhencullen suggested I should glue on some carbon fibre to my bike I was not that keen. A trip to the superstock paddock to see the number of race bikes fitted with them quickly changed my mind. The lower part of the swinging arm is exposed when (if!?) your R1 takes a trip down the road and, being made of thin aluminium, it's not designed to withstand much abuse. So I fitted the carbon protectors with bathroom sealant and zip-tied them on overnight to make sure they were going nowhere.
And then a call to Chris at Motul was in order to sort out some bike-safe wheel and engine cleaner, some chain cleaner and chain lube. I tell you, this R1 is going to stay mint.
And finally, in order to make cleaning and lubing the chain easy-peasy, I've got pukka Yamaha swinging arm bobbins to jack the beast up at the back. You can't beat a box and packaging that says 'Genuine Yamaha parts' on it. You just know you're getting a quality bit that will fit without a whimper and nary a chance of cross-threading action...
Contact Rhencullen on 01455 890345 or via www.Rhencullen.co.uk for you foreign types.
Motul in the UK is distributed by Moto Direct on 01623 757262 And Yamaha bits? At your local dealer
If you look closely, you can see the Rhencullen crash mushrooms and carbon swinging arm protectors and you can just about imagine an apex being clipped by knee slider. And you are going to have your imagination...
Yamaha R1 longtermer, April 8
What, only 140 brake?
Off to Carbontek racing in Redhill I went, to get the bike strapped in to their Fuchs dyno. Yes, it was time to measure the horsepower the beastie was putting out. Dan Dan the Dyno man did the honours while I discussed big boss Nigel's burgeoning SV650 mini twins racing career. And, when the dyno was done and the numbers crunched, Dan told me that there was 146.8bhp at the rear wheel. Whaaaaat? "We've got a new software package which uses EC measurements rather than DIN, which we were using last year." Basically the DIN measurement was a German standard and the EC is - yes - a European-wide measurement. Most dynos with modern software will give you numbers in EC measures these days and they are generally about five or six horse power 'down' on the old Germanic measure. The point is that as long as you are using the same dyno, whatever changes you make to the bike will show and be consistent whatever measure you use.
In any case 146 horsepower feels like quite a lot anyway...do I need more? I'd say no, but what the dyno did reveal was a dip in an otherwise smooth curve at 7,000revs and another mini-glitch at just over 4,000 which I had noticed on the road. So, to fit a Power Command or not? Hmm...
Cheers to Nigel and Dan at Carbontek racing for the dyno run and, if you are looking for some tuning, set-up or spares for your SV, give them a call because they've got it all down there. http://www.carbontek.com is the address and the phone number is 01737 789878.
Oh yes and I ran out of fucking fuel again, didn't I? Yea, verily I am King of the Idiots. This time I did 21 miles on reserve, eight less than the 29 that saw me pushing the bike the last time.
Longterm R1 update, 8 March
Pillion? There's a pillion seat you say?
OK, OK, so we all know that sportsbikes aren't designed for two, but things are getting silly. It's been a while since I sat on the back of a bike. It's been a long while since I spent more than two minutes on a pillion seat on a sports bike and, after a 35-mile trip through traffic and on motorways, I'm in no hurry to repeat the experience. JP and I went on the short hop down to Crawley to pick up the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 and I sat on the back while JP did his trials-riding skills thing through the traffic jams. Frankly, anyone who straps a pillion on the back of one of these beauties has to be a sadist. Or maybe the pillion is a dwarf. With years of yoga training. People, it's not good.
Suspension. Is there any topic which generates more debate? OK, OK, apart from the iniquities of corporate capitalism? You can rant all you like about a bike’s power and speed but you can measure those ‘scientifically’ and put an end to the bullshit. Suspension though? Ooooh, where does the bullshit end? For those of you who read the ‘Suspension explained’ feature last month (August issue), I hope you gave it a go and found some improvements or, at the very least, are now better able to understand what you were doing.
Before doing anything to suspension I was told by someone who knows that I should make sure that the sag settings on the bike were in the ballpark.
For 73kg me on I went for 29mm on the fork and 11mm at the rear. This might seem a bit too much on the front (it’s the stock setting), but this is (mostly) a road bike and I don’t want race bike settings. To achieve that sag measurement I set the fork preload to four and a half rings showing. At the rear, 11mm of sag is achieved using the sixth preload setting from fully wound in. The rear static sag is two clicks more than the stock setting. Actually, when it boils down to it, I’ve kept things pretty much standard on the preload front, there’s nothing too extreme going on, but it’s important to know where I am before I start slowly turning my bike into an unrideable monster.
I went for a couple of clicks more compression damping on the fork and left the rear suspension damping settings standard but am tempted to add a bit more rebound – we’ll see. If I’ve got this right it means the fork doesn’t run through its travel so quickly under heavy braking. It feels a wee bit more stable under heavy braking and turning in, so I’m pleased. I didn’t change any damping or rebound at the back because I didn’t feel there was a problem and – just as important – I didn’t reckon the changes I made were enough to really change the weight balance of the bike. More on this endless experiment next month.
SATO REAR ELEGANCE:
Some folks like to hear things scraping as they ride – hero blobs, toe sliders, knee sliders, fairing lowers – me, I’m not so keen, apart from a knee slider of course. The toes and hero blobs I like to keep more or less intact. On track on the R1 this isn’t always possible so when a lovely pair of Japanese-made Sato Racing rearsets appeared at the magazine, there was only one thing to do – get Al to fit them.
They took an hour to fit and I now have no back brake light (unless I want a pressure switch) but I now feel like I’m ‘on’ the bike rather than ‘in’ it. In addition, I feel that my body weight is a little bit further forward, which is, in my opinion ‘a good thing.’ It feels like you are more in control of the front of the bike and not quite hunched up like a jump jockey. The shifting is positive too, the footpegs have savage non-slip knurling on them and are a little stubbier than standard too. If you fancy some rearsets that look great, function to perfection and will enable you to tweak your riding position and weight distribution on the bike, these are well worth seeking out.
n Sato Racing Pertech Imports 01524 733994 www.pertech-imports.com
n Michelin 01782 401853 www.Michelin.com
n K-Tech suspension 01530 810625 www.k-tech.uk.com