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9 months ago

RideFast Dec 2020 online

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  • Yamaha
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One of the first

One of the first machines to use a six-axis gyro to control its rider aids in 2015, the new R1’s electronics are even more advanced with four power modes, 10 traction and four slide control levels, three launch control settings and three up/down shifter modes. A new lighter ride-by-wire throttle is now completely cable less. Well – the roads were flippen slippery – and it is a 300k plus bike – please pop it into the most user friendly mode that you can... Luckily he did just that... Shado arrived at the office and the boys headed out for the very tight Kart track to get some laps and pics. He Says: Having completed the commute from my humble abode in Pretoria , through to Bredell on my trusty SV1000S, the new and upgraded epitome of Yamaha engineering was silently waiting to be boarded and to show me exactly how things have progressed in the last 20 years or so. You can imagine that my first ride of the day toward this marvel of Yamaha engineering, on an old school Suzuki SV are worlds, if not, universes apart! It’s quite easy to see that Yamaha has aimed this bike at track riders. The dash doesn’t include a fuel gauge. Or a distance to empty indicator. 20 km’s after picking it up I was looking to check if it was full of fuel. And there was no way to tell without stopping and opening the lid. Yep. A short commute to a dealer down the road was no indication of what this bike was like. Fast as expected, pretty racey and aggressive – and very nimble through the traffic. But that’s no test. Sadly, the dealer I was calling on kept us standing about until the thunderclouds rolled in again – and the visit was abandoned. A very wet, thoroughly miserable rider made his way home, too scared to actually open the throttle in zero visibility on Yamaha’s finest. We can, however vouch for the bikes waterproofness– the water was often over the wheels on the bypasses... We parked her snug and warm in the garage to dry off. Track impressions: By Shado Alston Thursday broke – and cracks of sunshine started to appear. At first, being loyal to the red bikes, I had my reservations about this particular machine, having had some exposure to the first generation of the CP4 cross-plane engine. But, let me just stop you right there... The 2009 ‘big-bang’ was heralded as a chip off the MotoGP YZR block. It was, to some degree that, but in my humble opinion, more of a novelty with a nice sound than anything else. Having worked on a few of them and the 2006-2008 variants, my heart actually leaned more toward Yamaha’s swansong conventional crank’d in-line 4 cylinder screamer, which I might add, is still a respectable machine, for over 12 years old. But, the 2009 first-gen CP4 cross plane, had proved itself as a user friendly, tuneable and pilot-able machine from the get go. Eagerly wanting to for the criminally fast breakfast runs to daily commute and be wound up around any race track you may wish to hurl at it. So, in the spirit of all things being equal, the day was started with a jaunt on the R21 out of Bredell for a highway run on the way to somewhere else that I’ll delve into ‘now-now’. The highway is always a good personal gauge for litre bikes because you can find the sweet speed for the road, the wind in your helmet and the general character of the machine. Everything from throttle response, braking, handling and suspension come out in some way or another, to give you an indication of the manners and character of the rocket between your legs. Not to mention the goods just behind the tank that tempt you to open the throttle a little more than necessary and such testosterone-induced behaviour that I didn’t exhibit. Yes. Sure! Immediately, I found the R1 to be very user-friendly and easy to command. Being civil with it will produce a smooth ride, with every little input being sublimely translated to a change in direction, a little more throttle, a bit on the brakes and even an intentional bark from the aftermarket ST exhaust system that was fitted to the machine. The R1 would easily pitch itself up with the rest of the machines as an icon of the manufacturer’s ability to produce a thrilling and capable machine for road or race. It sucked up the imperfections on the highway with ease and would almost never show the least bit of rudeness on the bumpy district roads. Which personally, I find confidence-inspiring especially spending a lot of time on public roads, on my motorcycle. The road lap was a tad short for my liking, but there was much more fun to be had at my next stop... As it so turns out Formula K cart track is not very well suited to superbikes, as well as say, Zwartkops race track. We were to join the folks from SA Biking Academy to ascertain whether or not the track would be useful for track school and days. I’d opt for a sub-500cc road machine or a motard on this particular track because of the tight corners and the actual length of the track that was laid out for us to test. (All of two crazy fun kilometres, for your abuse). There were a few BMW S100RR’s, one Kawasaki ZX10, two one rands and a 1250GS. Shorter ratios and a short wheelbase will prove to be good fun, and I can safely say that the corkscrew before the main straight will have you throwing your machine around like soap in a stocking trying to beat someone to the pole! This brings me to the chassis and suspension on the standard issue R1; The package, out of the box is exceptionally nimble and proved to suck up the corners and elevation changes on the cart track with ease, actually providing me with a little workout because of all the weight shifting from left to right to get the knee to the floor. It responds clinically to your input and delivers exactly what you ask of it, every time. Clad with the Bridgestone RS11 rubber, there was more than enough grip out of the 190/55 rear tyre. Only stepping out on the initial bite as you roll on and then planting itself firmly in the line I had chosen. Being a short circuit, there wasn’t much in finishing the rev range further than two thirds of second gear so in all of the corners the gearbox was pretty much banged down to first gear and the right wrist was there to coax a stripe or two onto the excellent surface. So, I was a little limited in pressing the machine too hard because: