Yamaha FZR 1000 Genesis versus Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha’s thousands: the trendsetters
With 135 hp in the unthrottled version, five-valve technology, cylinder bank inclined 45 degrees forward and 234 kilograms with a full tank, Yamaha’s first 1000 cc super sports car caused a sensation in 1987. FZR 1000 Genesis ?? a superlative machine. Equipped with a chassis that clearly showed where it came from: from racing.
For the first time in large-scale motorcycle production, the engine was tightly enclosed by a bridge frame made of aluminum alloy. It was given the name Deltabox because of its profile, which became narrower towards the swing arm mounting. The bridge frame had proven itself in Yamaha Grand Prix machines since 1983. With the FZR, this design made it easier to attach a large airbox over the cylinder head and vertical carburetors. In addition, the center of gravity could be lowered and the weight distribution could be balanced. Today, the super sports frames from all manufacturers look so similar.
Eleven years later, in 1998, Yamaha presented another ultimate 1000: the YZF-R1. 150 hp, 202 kilograms with a full tank, key data that until then had been considered impossible. Yamaha’s current super sports car also has a Deltabox frame, but the engine is integrated as a fully load-bearing element, while the FZR still carries the engine with steel beams. And otherwise? Is 15 hp more and a good 30 kilograms less really all that has happened in eleven years? Not at all. Even the seating positions make extreme differences clear. From today’s perspective, anyone who takes a seat on the Genesis does not think they are on a super sports car. The FZR stretches the pilot long over the tank, the handlebar stubs look strangely high mounted like a touring bike and far ahead. On the R1, the driver literally crouches over the front wheel like a Grand Prix driver. Two sports motorcycles with a fundamentally different design.
Whereby the front-wheel-oriented sitting position has to be on the R1, because what thump this 1000 engine brings from below, the front likes to snap upwards. From 4000 rpm there is over 100 Newton meters of torque, while the FZR reaches a maximum of 96 Newton meters. Their five-valve engine looks rather sap and reluctantly takes on gas. The four-cylinder only feels comfortable at high engine speeds, even if the promised 135 hp are never achieved. Since the FZR 1000 Genesis was officially only delivered with 100 HP at that time in Germany, there were only performance measurements of machines with expert opinions. The MOTORRAD test bench rarely showed more than 122 hp. No trace of the sensational willingness to perform, the constantly available violence that fascinates R1 owners so much. Rather a comparatively laborious matter.
The Genesis reacted like a mimosa to the choice of tires. With the Pirelli MP 7, the FZR showed an extreme life of its own, the slightest side effects occurred with the Michelin pairing A59 at the front and M59 X at the rear, as well as the Metzler pairing ME33 and ME1. The problems are less due to the chassis of the FZR and more to the tire technology of the time. Fitted as an experiment with modern Bridgestone BT 010 at the front and BT 020 at the rear, the old 1000 is almost a curve diva. But only almost. What remains is the front wheel, which is far removed from the driver. And the stretched sitting position makes it difficult to use the body. When turning in, it feels as if your upper body is swinging after the bike.
With the R1 it is exactly the opposite. You hang into the curve that Yamaha follows. She likes the sporty knee that is stretched towards the inside of the curve, the FZR despises it. However, the R1 loses the handling advantage due to its 32 kilograms lower weight with a strangely stiff turning behavior. The wide 190 mm rear tire together with unusually long suspension travel and softly coordinated suspension elements ensure unexpected toughness. Advantage for the FZR: the 160 rear tire and the crisp fork damping. She steers in absolutely neutrally and precisely.
A clear advantage for the Genesis when it comes to wind protection. Here you lurk behind a domed disc that is reminiscent of the good old days of the RD 350. The R1 demands strong neck muscles if you only come close to the top speed range. The FZR driver, on the other hand, could relax and watch for hours on the highway as the R1 rider struggled. That in turn is happy about light years better brakes. The R1 counteracts the incredibly snappy FZR double disc with a gently adjustable braking system, which represents a real gain in safety. And this despite the basically identical four-piston fixed caliper construction. The FZR even has 320 millimeter panes larger than the R1.
E.Amazing: The R1 can accelerate and brake worlds better than the FZR 1000. It’s just different when cornering. And in the long run you even make a friend in Genesis.
Conclusion – Yamaha’s super athlete
Yamaha FZS 1000 Genesis and YZF-R1 ?? Both super athletes reflected the ultimate in motorcycle construction in their year of publication. But the first 1000 series simply has to admit defeat to a YZF-R1 in terms of performance and has also lost a lot of its former emotional potential. The R1 with this fascinating engine pulls you under its spell too much.
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