“The ultimate cornering Master (Yamaha R1/YZF-R1)” – Yamaha
2007 Yamaha R1/YZF-R1
The fifth generation of the YZF-R1 targeted the handling of 600cc motorbikes. To achieve this, a lot of work was done on the rigidity balance of the whole chassis.
A new frame, new swingarm and new front fork were the result of this target along with new 6-pot brake callipers setting new standards regarding braking performance.
The air intake featured YCC-T (a kind of ‘fly-by-wire’ throttle technology from MotoGP) and YCC-I (a variable intake that switches from long to short intake funnels at higher rpm). The compression ratio was increased to 12.7 to 1 and a 4-valve engine design (all previous generations had 5 valves) incorporates lightweight titanium valves. Horsepower output was upped to 180 HP with a dry weight of just 177 kg.
A 3-way catalyser enabled The R1 to comply with tougher EU-3 regulations and a slipper clutch, similar to the one used on the SP model the year before, was now fitted as standard equipment.
2008 Yamaha R1/YZF-R1
2008 – Again new colouring and graphics were introduced in 2008.
The fifth generation R1: Precision Engineering
“We target expert skilled riders with the R1”, says Product Planning division manager Takeshi Higuchi. “People who go on racetracks, and who have very high requirements towards riding dynamics.”
In addition to that, the bike should also provide a competitive base for World Superbike Racing. “The chassis was to become much more agile while keeping the stability. Our handling target was to come close to the R6. That is a big benefit for racing, but it’s also good for normal road use. You can ride on secondary roads with an extremely enjoyable handling!”
What are the elements that make the more sporty setup of the chassis? The aluminium frame is completely new, with an ideal ‘stiffness balance’. Step by step the engineers and test riders developed a construction which is very rigid in certain areas – for example the mounting points – and at the same time offers a certain flexibility and ‘feel’ in other areas. For example, the wall thickness in the main frame side panels was reduced while the cast areas at the mountings were strengthened. In the same manner, the axle and mounts of the front fork were strengthened with an under-bracket that has a height of 40mm (versus 25mm before) while at the same time the wall thickness of the front fork inner tubes could be reduced. Also the swingarm, with the ‘upside down truss layout’ derived from the M1, is completely new with a 30% higher torsional rigidity while at the same time the lateral rigidity could be reduced slightly.
All these things combined create a greater responsiveness of the bike with a better feeling and feedback for the rider and a better traction out of corners.
More sporty setup:
The new R1 is tuned even more towards sporty riding, following Yamaha’s ‘no compromise’ philosophy: The rear suspension has a sportier base setting, and also a more progressive linkage rate and a 2-way (low and high speed) compression damping adjustment. Also the front suspension is set up more sporty with a higher spring rate. It also has a completely new high-performance design, with a larger piston diameter to give a very precise and stable hydraulic damping. The piston rod is now of a new, light-weight aluminium design. The front brakes are equipped with new 6-piston (radial mounted) callipers, to make fuller use of the disc at its perimeter. This creates an outstanding brake performance, while at the same time the disc diameter could be reduced from 320 to 310mm for lighter rotating mass and better agility.
Engine: high excitement
The engine setup is modified in important ways too. “The over-rev area is much more exciting, and feels more powerful” says Oliver Grill, Product Planning manager for motorcycles at Yamaha Europe. “The bike has 180 horsepower now. It would be no problem from a technical point of view to reach a much higher figure, but that would give no benefit to go faster in reality. Our target was to be fastest on the track, so the controllability of the high level of power was crucial. Lap-time is usually gained not on the straight but in corners, so you need the best control of acceleration at any moment of cornering, the best stability under braking, etcetera.”
Latest engine technologies
To control the huge power of this engine, Yamaha is pushing the technological development forward in many ways:
– YCCT: Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle.
This technology, directly derived from Valentino Rossi’s championship-winning M1 race bike, ‘translates’ the throttle opening by the rider, combined with information from temperature, speed, lean angle etcetera, into the correct throttle opening in the intake duct. This helps to achieve a smoother torque character and a higher level of rider-machine unity. It also simplifies the air intake passage because there is no need anymore for sub-throttle or secondary throttle systems.
– The compression ratio is increased from 12.4 to 12.7:1.
New, 4-valve cylinder heads were developed with redesigned combustion chambers and lightweight titanium intake valves which enable high valve lift. The bike now delivers 180 PS @ 12.500 rpm, and this is without the forced air induction effect that pressurizes the airbox at higher speeds!
– YCCI: Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake.
This system adjusts the length of the air intake funnels with an electronic control, depending on rpm and throttle opening.
– Normallly the length of the intake funnel is a compromise. A long funnel is best for torque at low and mid rpm, and a short funnel is best for high rpm and maximum top power.
The YCCI system makes it possible to use the high-rpm oriented system with the short funnel layout, while keeping the higher torque characteristics of the long funnel at low and mid rpm
– One of our testriders summarized it like this: “It gives a lot of riding sensation and performance, without sacrificing midrange.”
– The new engine now features a slipper clutch: a typical race-spec feature to help to prevent slipping of the rear wheel due to the back-torque of the engine, for example while approaching corners during hard braking. The system is basically similar to the one used on the top-spec 2006 R1 SP model.
– The new R1 also features an optimised, full titanium exhaust system with dual EXUP, 3-way catalyser and a new elliptical shape muffler design.
On the road
Despite the amount of race-spec features, is the new R1 still usable on normal roads? Oliver responds: “We know that many customers will use the bike on public roads and of course we take care that the R1 will also perform in those conditions, with more than enough excitement factors such as the superior road-holding, the fantastic agility, the exciting engine, the best brakes. And last but not least, the bike has this great sound with an aggressive touch.”
YZF-R1: State Of The Art Race Technology
A decade ago, the YZF-R1 set new standards in the world of supersport bikes. Ever since the R1 has become an icon and embodies Yamaha’s racing DNA with the spirit of competition in every component. In the last 10 years, the R1 has undergone 4 major model changes in 2000, 2002, 2004 and in 2007. Of course a lot of other improvements have been made almost every year during its lifecycle so far.
The new R1 is a complete redesign with new engine and chassis. The direction of development was clearly focused on more sporty performance in general. The knowledge gained in GP racing with Valentino Rossi’s YZF-M1 has been implemented into the 2007 YZF-R1.
The new R1, with an even more super square bore & stroke of 77 x 53,6 mm, benefits from an entire new cylinder head where four valves-per-cylinder combustion chambers were adopted. This has allowed more upright inlet and exhaust valves positioning, and thus helping boost top end power to 180 PS/12,500rpm. Even then, an extra 9hp is available, thanks to the effect of the redesigned pressurized air intake system that comes into its own at higher speeds.
Titanium inlet valves have been adopted, with all the valves in the engine now operated by lightweight VX Alloy valve springs. More racing technology introduced on the 2007 R1 for the benefit of street riders comes from the use of a similar slipper clutch found on the 2006 YZF-R1SP.
Included this year is the same type of YCC-T fly-by-wire throttle that was so effective on the 2006 YZF-R6, and a completely new Yamaha innovation – variable length intake funnels called YCC-I (Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake). At lower revs the inlet funnels, mounted inside the airbox, run at their maximum length of 140 mm. As the revs approach the top end, the top section of the funnels are lifted from their regular position by a servomotor, shortening the effective intake system length to 65mm and improving the engine’s efficiency right to the top of the rev range.
To maximize the effectiveness of the electronic components used in the intake system, a new design of titanium EXUP exhaust works in harmony with the R1’s engine.
New for the 2007 model year is a 3-way catalyser, to ensure efficient breathing, while meeting the demands of current emission regulations. Platinum and rhodium elements form a classic honeycombed mesh to clean up exhaust gases, with data on gas composition fed back into the ECU by an oxygen sensor.
The latest Deltabox chassis may look like the previous versions at first glance, but significant changes all round mean it’s a complete redesign, with a balance of the rigid and the flexible, right in the areas where modern chassis philosophy would expect them to be. This brings about a construction in three different types of alloy material, in different areas of the chassis. Gravity cast alloy for the engine mounts, steering head pipe and swingarm pivot support, extruded panels for other sections, the other parts made of only 2.5mm thick aluminium panel, making the whole chassis more forgivable in some planes, while increasing rigidity in others.
The rear swingarm is asymmetric in design, and features another lesson of racing development, the upside down truss. The same three-material construction techniques are used here; gravity cast alloy at the pivot end, die-cast sections for the main arms, and forged aluminium for the ends. The final result is an increase in torsional rigidity of 30%, but lateral rigidity has been consciously reduced, as the chassis and swingarm must act as suspension when the machine reaches extreme lean angles.
Of crucial importance when attempting to exert downwards force when exiting corners, the swingarm pivot point is now 3mm higher than the 2006 model – a valuable lesson transferred from the world superbike racing development programme.
Significant improvements to the new rear shock absorber and notably more progressive compression damping mean that the rear of the R1 digs in more on corner exits. An enhancement in materials, technology and damping-mechanics allows the 43mm upside down front forks to be manufactured from thinner steel on the 2007 model, matching in with the philosophy of a balanced approach to rigidity. A larger 24mm internal piston is fitted to the forks, working in conjunction with a lowered pressure difference between the stroke and non-stroke statuses of the fork, a factor that also reduces ‘bubbling’ of the fork oil.
Steering mass has been reduced by the adoption of a lightweight lower triple clamp on the 2007 model, with a greater contact area. This increased rigidity helps another improved aspect of the R1’s design to shine all the more: braking.
The improved efficiency of the new 6-pot calipers permitted the usage of smaller brake rotors, their diameter now been reduced by 10mm, to 310mm. Smaller discs reduce steering inertia, a double benefit, as handling and braking are now both improved.
The integrated, sweeping styling of the R1 has always drawn admiring glances, and thus the heritage of previous models is clearly present in the current styling. Subtly more aggressive edges to the bodywork, a reduction in the size of the tail piece, plus visibly larger and more efficient air intakes move on the game of aesthetic excellence still further. The front cowl’s layered structure is engineered to reduce wind resistance and increase the flow of air to the new high compression four valve head. Form and function in combined action once more.
Valentino Rossi’s impressions of the new YZF-R1
“The first impressions are great,” said Vale. “I think it’s a good step from the previous R1. The first difference in the feeling on the track is from the engine.
It has a lot more power from the bottom; when you open the throttle the engine is more eager to accelerate. From that point of view it’s a lot easier to ride.
Also, there is a very different feeling from the chassis. The bike feels a lot smaller, more compact, so there is a gain in agility; it is also more precise at the entry of the corner.”
Rossi also sensed the improvements that the adoption of the new YCC-T throttle has brought, especially as it is another offshoot of the MotoGP experience.
“This system helps a lot because the connection between the throttle and the engine is a lot closer – and is better,” he asserts. “Like this the bike gives more feeling during acceleration and it is easier to open the throttle earlier and go faster. Now, in MotoGP, this aspect is very important because the horsepower is high and the way the engine delivers power is most important thing to make a good lap time. Especially when the tyres start to slide. They have taken these ideas and adapted them for the R1.”
The influence of the two-stage variable inlet YCC-I system is also plainly evident to Rossi, as it plays its part in smoothing out the engine’s delivery. “This is a big advantage because I think when a bike has this amount of horsepower normally we need to work a lot with the engine, but on this bike the acceleration remains very easy to use. The power arrives at a very constant curve. This is important for the track but especially for the road, where you ride more slowly, where you can have some bumps and surface changes. So the feeling of the throttle is very important.”
Rossi even goes as far as to say that the cornering abilities of the R1 are up there in M1 territory. “It is very close to the M1 – it is possible to go through the corners very fast. The bike is stable in braking and the front gives a good feeling for corner entry, so you can go in very fast, and the position of the bike at maximum angle is comfortable for the rider. You have a lot of feedback from the tyres, from the surface, to understand the limit and the amount of grip of the track. Also the clutch is very important on the MotoGP bike so they have taken the technology from the M1 for this part as well. This aspect is very different from the previous bike, because the slipper clutch needs to be used in a different way. But it never locks the rear tyre and never starts vibrating. So, it is possible to enter the corner much faster.”
The man in charge of the development of the new R1 is project leader Toyishi Nishida
He explains why racing was the driving force behind the new R1’s design.
“My priority was to get a much higher level of riding pleasure, particularly on the racetrack, and also make improvements to the power curve. So the technical mentality was to get much greater feedback from the road and much higher controllability on the exit of the corners. And, of course, to get much higher RPM performance.”
Of all the individual advances learned from the MotoGP experience, Nishida put special emphasis on two particular engineering initiatives. “The R1 was inspired by the M1 in the YCC-T system and also the rigidity balance of the new chassis,” said Nishida.
Going into more specifics of what really makes the R1 the ultimate racetrack machine while maintaining the usability in every possible traffic situation, Nishida explains, “The three main areas were the engine, the chassis and the bodywork.”
It was not just about top end power with the engine, even though the original aims of more revs and a higher output were successfully achieved. “Regarding the engine, we focused our improvements on the mid-range torque and making a smoother power delivery right up to high RPM. In terms of the chassis package, rider feel was prioritised to make the riding experience more rewarding and we focused on improving feedback from the road,” said Nishida, before confirming that the new R1’s bodywork changes are a lot more than a makeover. “In terms of bodywork we focused on achieving much smoother airflow, and more efficient cooling effects.”
Jeffry de Vries
Yamaha Motor Europe Chief Testrider
After a racing career that encompassed over 104 World superbike races and notable success in the 600cc Thunderbike division, Jeffry de Vries is well placed to draw expert opinions about the relative merits of any machine which believes itself capable of making the change from a roadbike to a racebike. The Dutch ex-racer is an ideal choice then for any manufacturer who would like to make use of those analytical racing skills to ensure that their road-going products are engineered from the outset as race-ready.
“I basically started my job in Yamaha 10 years ago with the first R series,” said Jeffry. “When Yamaha launches a new machine on the market, we have already started on the development of the next ones.”
The decision to instill genuine racing DNA into their R series machines was an entirely deliberate one, and one which has paid great dividends, according to de Vries. “It was a big change in philosophy. It was needed because back then the supersport machines were too street-oriented, not so much for racing. At that time the phrase they used was ‘no compromise’ in anything. They wanted light bikes with high power,” stated de Vries.
Until the most recent R6 and R1 offerings, the original R7 must have been the most race-oriented machine de Vries had ever worked on? “Yeah, but the new R1 is now as much race focused as was the R7 back then. So many things are further improved compared to the previous R1. The results with the former bike were very good but the new one is definitely an even better start to the business of making a full superbike for track use. In that way, it is like the R7.”
He gets even more specific. “A real difference is the free revving engine character, compared to the previous R1. There is a major improvement in traction and acceleration out of slow corners. It was to do with the relationship of the frame and swingarm. On the new bike the pivot point is higher and that helps a lot. Plus the engine is smoother, much smoother than the older one, and that is the result of lots of little things; like the adjustable intake funnels, revised mapping, and so on. It means that the bike is so much easier to ride fast.”
2007 Yamaha R1/YZF-R1 Specifications
Engine type Liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, forward inclined, parallel 4-cylinder
Displacement 998 cc
Bore x stroke 70.0 x 53.6 mm
Compression ratio 12.7 : 1
Maximum power 139.0 kW (189 PS) @ 12,500 rpm with direct air induction / 132.4 kW (180 PS) @ 12,500 rpm without direct air induction
Maximum torque 118.3 Nm (12.1 kg-m) @ 10,000 rpm with direct air induction / 112.7 Nm (11.5 kg-m) @ 10,000 rpm without direct air induction
Lubrication system Wet sump
Fuel System Fuel injection
Clutch type Wet multiple-disc coil spring
Ignition system TCI
Starter system Electric
Transmission system Constant mesh, 6-speed
Primary reduction ratio 65/43 (1.512)
Secundary reduction ratio 45/17 (2.647)
Final transmission Chain 50VA8/DAIDO
Ratios gearbox 1st 38/15 (2.533)
Ratios gearbox 2nd 33/16 (2.063)
Ratios gearbox 3rd 37/21 (1.762)
Ratios gearbox 4th 35/23 (1.522)
Ratios gearbox 5th 30/22 (1.364)
Ratios gearbox 6th 33/26 (1.269)
Chassis Aluminium die-cast Deltabox
Front suspension system Telescopic forks, Ã˜ 43 mm
Front wheel travel 120 mm
Rear suspension system Aluminium Swingarm (link suspension)
Rear wheel travel 130 mm
Front brake Dual discs, Ã˜ 310 mm
Rear brake Single disc, Ã˜ 220 mm
Front tyre 120/70 ZR17MC (58W)
Rear tyre 190/50 ZR17MC (73W)
Overall length 2,060 mm
Overall width 720 mm
Overall height 1,110 mm
Seat height 835 mm
Wheelbase 1,415 mm
Minimum ground clearance 135 mm
Dry weight 177 kg
Fuel tank capacity (reserve) 18 L (3.4 L)
Engine oil tank capacity 3.83 L
Specifications and appearance of Yamaha products shown here are subject to change without notice and may vary according to requirements and conditions. For further details please consult your Yamaha dealer.