Zonko’s attack on the Yamaha YZF-R1

Zonko’s attack on the Yamaha YZF-R1

Too fat for this world

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When I visited Rod with the expiring Yamaha YZF-R1 in Switzerland, I laughed out loud. Because he and the R1 had something in common: Both got fat. That must change in 2015.

F.For me, there is no better machine for traveling than a super sports car. With 1000 cubic. Four-cylinder. With these devices, the trip to the sea is varied, encouraging, safe and of an unbeatable short time. And if you are a supporter of the philosophical direction “The journey is the goal”, you can actually only travel with a super sports car. Tour riders may now raise their eyebrows and doubt my sanity, but I have to consider: If the path is the goal, then you have to walk it with the best equipment available.

Zonko’s attack on the Yamaha YZF-R1

Too fat for this world

Yamaha YZF-R1 you simply put in second gear, combine a casual clutch snap with an appropriate dose of gas and wheelt south, towards the sea, towards Dulcinea, towards Pizza Hawaii or Rod in Switzerland. Wherever. It is crucial that you wheelt a few hundred meters, that you get an adrenaline rush, that your senses are sharpened, that you are completely at one with yourself and that irrepressible joy gurgles inside. Mentally crystal clear, frenzied travel. Lovely! Rod nodded: “Zonko, somehow not all screws should be tight with you, but I understand every word. This makes me thoughtful. "

"Why aren’t these rockets selling so well anymore??"

Even people who tear their backs at the sight of a super athlete, get fat wrists and stiff necks know that these race-oriented machines are much better than all the other stuff that goes under the broad term "motorcycle" on this planet. Super athletes are absolutely high-tech, they have the smallest tolerances in production and deliver an incredibly strong performance not only in terms of performance, but also precision. I don’t want to do without that when traveling. For me it is important that beyond the 200 km / h I am a cage citizen who is dawning, lost in thought, because he is under the doormat after a “Dr. Keppler “fingers (editor’s note: traditional, Austrian cough candy), can dodge with lightning speed and centimeter accuracy. In such a way that nothing lurches, swings or even rocks. The true quality of a motorcycle is shown in the more or less pronounced ability to change direction under difficult conditions. No question about it, you won’t spread out straight away if the undercarriage can’t easily put up with the maneuver and riot, but it costs nerves. On the one hand, because with a lurching machine you can never be absolutely sure that it will catch itself again, and on the other hand, because you have to at least lift the gas. In the worst case, you have to really turn away. A disaster.

Rod nodded again. And he also agreed with me that super sports cars are the safest vehicles from this point of view: “Absolutely! On the racetrack, a Yamaha YZF-R1 has to be completely stable and predictable beyond 280 km / h, not only has to deliver an impossibly brisk deceleration in the braking zone, but also allow line corrections to be precise to the centimeter, otherwise the battles for positions and the Lap time nothing. And of course all of this helps a lot out on the street. "

Then why the hell aren’t these rockets selling so well anymore? Rod made a defensive, resigned gesture: “I’m not a market strategist. But somehow I’m really fed up with the fact that the country with the rising sun in its flag is falling asleep after decades of domination on the hobby racetracks of the world, while the veal sausages relax and put twenty horsepower more in the kettle. Hinz and Kunz are riding a BMW S 1000 RR today. Who else sits on a Yamaha YZF-R1, a Honda Fireblade or a Suzuki GSX-R 1000? Even the Kawasaki ZX-10R can’t touch the Bavarian wild boar. As standard, mind you. And with an equivalent driver. I very much hope that the new R1 will get serious and then let the other Japanese really wake up. "

The Yamaha YZF-R1 was an icon. A milestone.

When the first Yamaha YZF-R1 appeared in 1998, the faint of heart thought of the end of the world. 150 PS, 202 kilos with a full tank – and the look of an uncompromising racing machine. Even the 916 Ducati, which was unrivaled until then, had to give up. The R1 was an icon right from the start, the pride of Japan and a weeping model example from the “Aesthetics of Speed” department. However, it quickly became apparent that the machine was not that easy to drive. I remember that the Austrian racer with the resounding name “G-Punkt” pulled out all the stops to get the first Yamaha YZF-R1, then had it delivered directly to Jerez for winter training – and there in the fourth Round turned into a total write. The reason was not the nervous fork (the first R1 tended to hit the handlebars), but the damp curbs that refused to give the 190 bock, which had to struggle with the power of the 150 hp in-line four, the necessary grip. Rod beamed: “Good man! Very good man. A visionary. I suppose in Austria one would say: He rolled him like a bitten Radlkas. "Exactly. A large wheel of cheese, from which a piece has been bitten off, is square like a cube. Like the G-spot and its R1. Madness: The first Austrian R1 didn’t get old.

From today’s perspective, it can be said that the original R1 was like a brightly shining star in the sky that made everything else fade. She was revered, coveted and admired infinitely. Tea 2014 R1 cannot create this fascination. Although it is technically miles superior to the Yamaha YZF-R1 of the time, it clearly lacks charisma. Rod: "She just got too fat over the years."

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Endurance test interim balance for the Yamaha YZF-R1

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"The pressure in the engine makes you cry with happiness"

Rod is absolutely right. The sweeping rear of the 2014 R1 with the sleeveless exhaust cans makes the 190 rubber underneath look narrow like an asphalt cutter. And when viewed from the front, the Yamaha YZF-R1 doesn’t exactly make a compact and sharp impression. Not an object of desire. No part that costs you sleep because it would uncheck the senses and occupy the soul. From a technical point of view, the 2014 series would be able to drive people crazy. The brutally tearing in-line four, which has the characteristics of a V4 thanks to a crankshaft with crank pins offset by 90 degrees and a special firing sequence (270-180-90-180 degrees), pushes you a massive 182 hp at 12,500 rpm among the very best and adds a killer-potent 115 Nm.

To illustrate the sheer power: If you fire out of the gas station in the normal way and don’t swap the one for the two too early, the Yamaha YZF-R1 simply lifts the front wheel towards the sky at around 80 km / h . Without clutch. There is so much pressure in the engine that you could cry with happiness. The wheelie game with second gear works up to 135 km / h. So when a temporary 130 limit falls in the German speed paradise (we Austrians can only dream of it) and free travel is the order of the day for free citizens, you hack into the twos, combined a lot of throttle with the aforementioned clutch snap and greet the unrestricted world sublime in the gallery position. Then I call out: “Thank you R1, thank you very much! It’s a drama that they didn’t put you in a smart dress. "

"Suddenly they dropped anchor in development"

It’s now unimaginable, but until a few years ago the Japanese had a rapid development cycle among super athletes. Every two years a new Yamaha YZF-R1, a new Honda Fireblade, a new large Kawasaki Ninja and a new Kilogixxer arrived. It was not easy for the racing drivers because they had to find the right set-up every time. But it was great for the customers and the market. More power, better chassis, more technical features, new look. Every two years. The next R1 came in 2000, which I personally treasured infinitely. It was just as strong as the original R1, just as smart, but easier to drive. 204 kilos with a full tank and a better balanced chassis – the fork reacted less nervously in critical situations, but it was still a long way to the stability of the 2014 R1.

Speaking of the long way. At that time I would have easily completed the 1,400 kilometers from Vienna to Cannes in the planned eight hours had the gods not opposed it. They opened the locks at Padua and let water fall from the sky in great quantities. But it was only a foretaste of the terrible things that were to come: Just before I left a Genoese tunnel, the internal alarm bells rang because the foresighted eyes reported "White on the road!" Possibly the 200 km / h in the tunnel were not politically correct, but firstly I had to make up time, secondly the Italians had not yet recognized the great potential of speed traps and thirdly, the Yamaha YZF-R1 had a murderous anchor anyway. The two four-piston calipers bit into the two 298 discs with commitment, so that I left the tunnel with a good 80 and struggled with a surfing machine that skimmed on a five centimeter thick layer of hazelnut-sized hailstones until I finally came to a standstill at the hard shoulder. I was a bit surprised because I hadn’t seen anything as absurd as this before. It led to a clear thought: "Well boom, nobody needs that!"

"If danger, put it away. Quick! Don’t crash."

The worst part of this journey, which ultimately took six hours longer than planned, happened a hundred kilometers before Ventimiglia. It was now pitch dark and I was lying ten kilometers from the next rest stop with an empty tank. Incredibly disgusting! Pushing it would have taken at least two hours, leaving the Yamaha YZF-R1 behind was unthinkable (I would never have seen it again). To make matters worse, my mobile phone had stopped working due to the merciless precipitation. So I had no choice but to hope for a miracle that happened fifteen minutes later. An Italian in a diesel Alfa slowed down and we communicated with bits of Italian words on my part and broken English on his part. The result: He attached a tow rope to the back of the Alfa and gave me the other end. I will never forget the accompanying text that came with it: “If danger, put it away. Quick! Don’t crash. Do the same if Carabinieri come. It’s not legal. Put the rope away. Good luck! ”And then we started moving. Starting off with one hand wasn’t easy and the temporary loss of traction when Giuseppe had to change gears was tricky, but soon I was rolling a hundred and ten feet behind the smoking Alfa and felt that the tide had turned for the better. Thanks Giuseppe! 

"Strange. With 182 hp you are a loser today."

Apart from the shape, I was particularly impressed by the row fours of the 2000 R1, which despite the 150 hp had a silky smooth run and could be operated perfectly over the entire range. In that sense, the R1 was a racing machine, but it was really easy to maneuver on the road too. The 2014 engine with cross-plane technology (V4 characteristic) is now nominally 32 hp more powerful, but firstly, the maximum output has increased by around 3000 rpm and secondly, the engine runs far up to 4000 rpm not as round and smooth as the old, classic row quad.

It’s difficult: in the past, we journalists were always upset that too many compromises were made with the super athletes and that they always had to be reworked for real racing, and now the manufacturers are building race-ready machines that achieve serious lap times out of the box, but nobody wants drive them on the road more – and very few still buy them.

The most brutal thing is that nowadays you are one of the losers with a nominal 182 hp. Of course not on the country road (nobody can need more than 150 hp there), but at least at the regulars’ table and in the fast league also on the racetrack. If there are pilots on the track who really understand their craft, a minus of 20 horses simply cannot be made up for.

Rod had a sparkle in his eyes: “I always had a lot of fun with the R1, terribly preparing the S 1000 RR that were not moving properly – and believe me, there were and are many. So whenever I heard someone in the pit lane say that their S 1000 RR was much better than the inferior Japanese stuff, I waited until they hit the track and dismantled them. Preferably at the corner exit. He then had to see the thick end pots of the Yamaha YZF-R1 until the next braking zone. Lovely! No question about it, the S 1000 RR is the faster and more powerful motorcycle, but a 2014 R1 shouldn’t be underestimated. Although the new one will be of a different caliber. I’m absolutely sure with this. "

Yamaha YZF-R1 2015 – Greetings from Rossi

I hope that the new Yamaha YZF-R1 will have the same radiance as the first R1 back then. Super athletes are the culmination of motorcycle construction and the flagship of the manufacturer. Yamaha should finally have faced this challenge again. It has to be that the R1 is parked in front of the ice cream parlor and someone whispers reverently in the background. As before.

Before I left Switzerland, I took my heart out and said to Rod: “I understand that you pour yourself the fondue and raclette mercilessly, but one thing must be clear to you: If the new Yamaha YZF-R1 is twelve kilos less and you have fourteen kilos more, only half of the performance increase is left. ”Rod countered with a grin:“ Allegedly there is also a MotoGP replica with 230 hp. Since I can calmly continue to gulle. Heidi – you know, the post commander’s daughter – cooks incredibly well. "Crossplane engine. And Heidi certainly doesn’t think it’s bad when you shed a few pounds. We wish you good luck with your diet.)

Technical specifications



Drive: Four-cylinder in-line engine, four valves / cylinder, 134 kW (182 PS) at 12,500 / min *, 116 Nm at 10,000 / min *, 998 cm³, bore / stroke: 78.0 / 52.2 mm, compression ratio: 12.7: 1, ignition / injection system, 45 mm throttle valves, mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath anti-hopping clutch, six-speed gearbox, G-Kat, chain.

Landing gear: Light alloy bridge frame, steering head angle: 66.0 degrees, caster: 102 mm, wheelbase: 1415 mm, upside-down fork, Ø fork inner tube: 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression level. Central spring strut with deflection, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression (high / low). Spring travel front / rear: 120/120 mm, light alloy cast wheels, 3.50 x 17 / 6.00 x 17, front tires: 120/70 ZR 17, rear: 190/55 ZR 17, first tires: Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier, front " MT ", 310 mm double disc brake with four-piston fixed calipers attached radially at the front, 220 mm single disc with single-piston floating caliper at the rear, ABS.

Max. Rear wheel power **: 120.5 kW (164 PS) at 262 km / h
0-100 km / h: 3.2 s; 0-150 km / h: 5.1 s;
0-200 km / h: 7.5 s   
Draft **
50-100 km / h: 4.0 s; 100-150 km / h: 3.9 s
Top speed *: 285 km / h
Weight: 215 kg with a full tank, v./h .: 52.6 / 47.4%,
Tank capacity: 18 liters
Setup fork: stat.neg. Spring travel: 36 mm, compression: 16 K open, rebound: 12 K open, level: standard
Setup shock absorber: stat.neg. Spring travel: 15 mm, low / high compression: 12 K / completely open, rebound: 8 K open, level: standard
Base price: 14,795 euros, test machine: 14,795 euros

all damping settings counted from completely closed; static negative spring deflection standing vertically without driver; U = revolutions; K = clicks * manufacturer information ** PS measurement


"The new R1 has to shine like a star again"

The 2014 R1 is a race-oriented machine that impresses with a 182 hp in-line quad with a V4 configuration in the firing order and a very well-balanced chassis. The fact that it is nowhere near as popular as the original R1 in 1998 is due on the one hand to the fact that it lacks between ten and twenty horsepower compared to the Bavarian top dog, and on the other hand because it is somehow due to the thick rear looks clumsy and has no sharp charisma. With the new Yamaha R1 that will change suddenly: less weight, more power and a captivating look. The name "R1" will be whispered again in awe.

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