perhaps not the best looking R1, but i'm going to go out on a limb and declare it as "the best motorcycle ever made by a man"...!!! now this could also mean my personal ride of choice is a heap
, but keep in mind this comment comes from a man who does ride a variety of bikes on a regular basis... you can include the desmosedici in that group.
however, this time 'round i got to ride one of the newest bikes ever built around one of the newest tracks ever built (NJMP thunder course). yamaha corp in a conjunction with NESBA in a recession busting move is wisely offering "track demos" of all their 2009 product (check for a local track near you). well when i saw the advertisment, you didn't have to ask me twice...!!! LOL
initially i thought my demo was going to be over the lunch break during a typical track day (ie. during the warmest part of the day). unfortunately, it was scheduled for 8:30 in the morning.
WTF...? how silly of me. of course at any trackday in the northeast in early april, the high of the day doesn't really come till at least 1 or 2 pm and easter 2009 was no exception. i froze my ass off on the way to the track. froze all day long... and just short of froze on my home. aaarrrghhh.
but it was worth it. at 8:30am, on a cold track, on a liter bike, and on street tires i was actually able to PUSH IT on the R1. now i didn't push it as hard as some, but i refused to be the guy who wadded a 1,000cc bike on loan during an obviously cold 35 degree morning because they rode over their head. that's dumb.
i pushed it hard enough to know that yamaha has set the fine line of "in control" VS. "in over your head" so FAAARRR out there that the majority will be hard pressed to cross it. i mean EVERYTHING worked fantastically. the engine, the riding position, the suspension, and the brakes.
OMG, THE BRAKES. it wasn't until after i came back in that i realized i was using the same late braking markers @ 8:30 in the morning that i use on my ABS equipped beemer in the late afternoon. LOL BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE...!!! i should mention that it piss poured cold rain all day saturday the day before so the track was EXTRA VIRGIN green in the morning. strangely, using ABS over the past 3 years has somehow "tuned" my brain to brake better, but everything worked that good. if there's any fault i could find is the feeling of the throttle. not the response (which does adjust on the fly with the switch so long as the sensor sees that you're not turning the throttle), but the weight.
coming from a bike with a traditional cable operated butterfly (as most would be) to suddenly not having the "drag" of a cable gave a feeling of "detachment". to lessen this yamaha should maybe fit a heavier torsion spring. because it's so light, muscle memory makes you "overturn" the throttle at first, but i suppose after a few hours of riding most would adapt to the sensitivity. the lesser of the 3 mode settings does help offset this but i'd still like more "spring" to simulate a cable. and that's about it.
okay, so when you go to compare the new R1, remember... you don't just compare it to another bike, you have to compare to the SUM COLLECTIVE OF EVERY OTHER BIKE EVER MADE IN HISTORY... that wasn't made... to be a 2009 yamaha R1.
it is literally the 2-wheeled equivalent of a sword made by "Hattori Hanzo" ...!!!
if you don't think it was cold here's evidence. this was a common site all day. guys "takin' soil samples" coming in on the crash truck 2 at a time.
there was even a 3 or 4 bike pileup in one of my afternoon sessions heading into turn 1 at the end of the straight only like 45 mins before this...!!! you'd think one would learn something from that...? notice the time stamp of this pic a lil' past 4pm. guys were riding WAAAYY out of control for the temperatures. the second coldest trackday i ever done, but the most crashes ever seen in 10 years. i'm really surprised no one got killed.
although not an american automobile, honorable mention to the skyline in attendance.
also honorable mention to the guy with the direct tv satellite dish setup on his trailer. LOL i'd like to think he was trying to watch the motogp race...?