Yamaha has always suffered from Honda’s CBR 1000RR influence and as a 2009 model year, this ads “ABS” to its designation. Being radically revised for 2008, next year’s CBR wasn’t modified for high speed down the straight line, but for fast cornering. Engineers did that by adding a C-ABS braking system which results in instant improved lap times and more rider confidence.
After seeing the long list of modifications and additions on the 2009 Yamaha R1, we tend to believe that history does repeat itself as the FZR1000 was always more of a speed machine, while Tadao Baba’s Fireblade was a tactical winner with fewer horses.
Suzuki and Kawasaki continue to successfully sell the GSX-R1000 and ZX-10R as 2008 model years, but we’re still waiting for them to present their 2009 lineups and become even stronger contenders in the liter class.
2009 Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha marks the big 2009 revision by totally redesigning the bike into a slightly less aggressive, still sharp, but more mysterious looking product. Why is that? Well, Honda decided to go for the smooth design in 2009 (what, did you think that the R1 is the only one that is restyled?) and Yamaha was also well ahead with the drawing board to do any changes, and the bike looked really good, so here it is.
The 2009 R1 sleek appearance given by the side fairing is slightly counteracted by the projector-type bulbs featuring round lenses and being mounted as close to the bike’s nose as possible. This makes room for the repositioned ram air ducts and also leaves the front end looking damn…interesting.
On the sides, the fairing is smooth and provides impeccable air flow. Earlier Yamaha R1 models would have featured a sharper design, but this simple one proved more effective after all.
2009 Yamaha YZF-R1
Also interesting on the 2009 R1 is the shape of the gas tank, which is developed using 3-D simulation analysis technology and the production process is called press-forming. The tank has also a practical role as its elongated shape allows it to be positioned well within the frame and contribute to a lower and more concentrated center of gravity.
Ten years from now, when we’ll be completing the history of Yamaha’s top supersport motorcycle, we surely won’t forget to mention the wicked looking colors of the 2009 model year: Raven/Candy Red, Pearl White/Rapid Red (the colors of the first R1), Cadmium Yellow and Team Yamaha Blue/White.
What we won’t mention is that they had a fair influence on the MSRP. Painted in the first three color schemes, the suggested retail price is no more or less than $12,490, while the now insipid Yamaha Blue and White is 100 bucks cheaper.
Available from January 2009, the new Yamaha R1 is practically a racing bike with headlights and mirrors. It is the result of Yamaha people’s wise way of interpreting the information from past years and knowing what to do to make it even better. Of course, the Yamaha M1 MotoGP bike was the source of inspiration, but what is even greater is that while bikers start riding such highly-evolved motorcycles on the streets, ways are being found to take them further. It will never stop and the best thing is that nobody wants it to.