2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 First Ride – Motorcyclist Magazine

16 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 First Ride – Motorcyclist Magazine
Yamaha YZF-R1

Electronically Enhanced

They say: “MotoGP technology you can own.”

We say: “More like the YZR-M1 than ever before.”

They say: “MotoGP technology you can own.” We say: “More like the YZR-M1 than ever before

It’s likely that every literbike will someday be appointed with traction control, but we figured Yamaha’s YZF-R1 would be the last to get it. That’s because the R1 already has outstanding traction characteristics, its Crossplane crankshaft and ride-by-wire throttle letting the rider manage rear-wheel slides easier than on any other sportbike without TC.

But with computer-controlled throttle butterflies already in place, adding electronic spin suppression was just a software download away. Aside from a tome ring on the front wheel and a rocker switch on the left handlebar, outfitting the 2012 R1 with TC didn’t require any additional hardware.

Yamaha’s Traction Control System (TCS) employs pre-existing rpm, throttle- and gear-position data feeds, plus front-wheel speed input to monitor and maintain rear-wheel traction. The math involved in interpreting the data is complex, but the result is beautifully simple: seamless and totally transparent slide management. The system offers seven levels of intervention (one to six bars on the LCD, plus off), and is adjusted via the aforementioned switch.

Changing modes can be done on the fly but requires pulling in the clutch lever. To turn the system off entirely, the bike must be stopped. Yamaha says the TCS is self-calibrating, and can accommodate all common tire sizes and adjust to minor gearing changes.

Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha YZF-R1

TCS is certainly big news, but the R1 received a few other changes as well. A minor facelift finds the headlights squinting more aggressively, with larger LED marker lights in the corners of the air intakes and reflectors extending down the edges of the openings. Out back, the muffler heat shield and end caps have been redesigned to help reduce the perceived size of the Yamaha’s posterior.

Other changes include a lighter-rate shock spring and a new top triple clamp that’s cast to look more like the machined piece on Ben Spies’ YZR-M1 MotoGP machine. This past season marked Yamaha’s 50th anniversary in GP racing, and to celebrate the YZF-R1 is available in a limited-edition white/red livery.

Moto-journalists had the chance to experience the 2012 R1 for two days in Southern California: half a day exploring the mountain roads above Palm Springs followed by a full day at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in nearby Desert Center. Riding up State Route 74 reminded me just how tractable the Crossplane engine is. It also reacquainted me with the R1’s heavy steering, stiff brakes and searing engine heat.

If you ride in hot weather, it will test your pain threshold!

As with the R1’s Crossplane crankshaft and YCC-T, TCS is trickle-down technology that was developed and refined on Yamaha’s YZR-M1 MotoGP machine.

Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha YZF-R1

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