Hi everyone, my name is James and I’m the lucky chap that will be looking after the R1 for the next few months.
You can probably imagine how excited I was when Benjamin rang to tell me I’d won the competition. I tried not to get too excited about the possibility of winning but failed abysmally. I’d put thought into my two minute video but the deadline was tight and time short. My only tip for future entrants is that humour seemed to help me win, er, I think! Either that or my begging and pleading!
The train journey to Yamaha’s Surrey base seemed to take forever. However, Karl and Stuart from Yamaha couldn’t have been friendlier and the bike looked superb in the sunshine. Big thanks to BikeSure for sorting the insurance, too, I’ll go catch up with those chaps at some point in the near future. The R1 was as it left Fast Bikes including engine case protectors, which may be a subtle hint! Someone had also made use of the free stickers in the August issue and adorned the screen with “Big Cock”. This either represents Rootsy’s admirable prowess or Benjamin’s irreverence. Regardless it seems a fitting nickname for such a focused and powerful bike.
The ride home was ultimately a chore as the Friday afternoon motorways were almost stationary. I barely exceeded 40 mph slipping through traffic. There is more on my first impressions in next month’s issue.
Having regained the sensation in my wrists, I’ve today taken the R1 on my regular 35 mile TT ‘esque (in my mind!) circuit of Norfolk. It consists of quiet, twisty A and B roads which I know like the back of my hand and gave me a direct comparison with my own GSX-R1000 K6. I came back with a big smile.
The R1 is larger than my GSX-R. It’s slower steering but that may simply be due to suspension set up. On the road both factors worked to its benefit. The road surfaces are a mixture of good and bad but the R1 smoothed both out. It felt ultra-stable both over bumps and sweeping through tight corners. You could describe the ride as plush but that detracts from how much confidence it inspires.
I’ve rarely spent so much time in first gear. I don’t mean that negatively, but contrary to its exhaust note the R1 likes revs. The bottom end lacks the smoothness of an ordinary four but also lacks the grunt of a V-twin. I found myself pootling through villages in first allowing the engine to stay crisp. It’s almost impossible to rev out my GSX-R in first as the front end heads skyward. Whether by virtue of the chassis or engine, the R1 allowed me to use more of its power.
Overall, I was almost always in a lower gear than on my GSX-R and used more of the top end. Arguably the R1 doesn’t feel as strong but this may be a false impression given by the differing power deliver and quiet road cans.
On the subject of sound, the bike is very quiet at lower revs. At standstill there is popping on the overrun which is sadly inaudible blipping the throttle on the road. However, when giving it the beans, the engine makes a unique howl. The MotoGP soundtrack is crying out for race cans and few R1’s retain standard exhausts for long. Maybe someone at Yamaha UK will hear Big Cock’s cry…
Over the coming months I will be blogging and posting videos about the R1 and all things motorcycling. I’m a massive racing fan so I may use this opportunity to share my (erm) wisdom. I’d really welcome your feedback and involvement.
Right, the sun is shining and this R1 isn’t going to ride itself. ‘Til next time…