Got to ride an R1 today, here are my thoughts on it for anyone that's curious
Took the R1 for about 40 mins from Apex, went up to some mild twisties by the Airport in Breslau
Chassis & Handling
The R1 felt very similar to the R6, I felt right at home on it. In a way, that’s its biggest compliment! It shares the “on top of the bike” sitting position and the 20lbs extra that is has on top of the R6 is unnoticeable. Maneuvering it around the parking lot or at low speeds was easy to do with confidence. In a way, it almost felt more agile than the R6 since it is nowhere near as wide to accommodate the giant R6 headlights.
Out on the road, it felt great at 50-70kmh flicking it right and left and moving on the bike. The gas tank shape is very, very well thought out and provides perfect knee support for braking or if you’re hanging off the bike. Tip in is very, very fast at both high and low speed. How hard it would be to flick around a tighter road/track I have no idea.
The suspension is also similar to the R6 in the sense that it gives you tons of feedback of what the front/rear is doing. This also has the fallback of awful comfort for bumpier roads. It was just as bad as the R6; every bump and pothole in the road I could feel up my spine. This leads into one of the bigger problems I have with the R1 (more on that later)
The motor is very, very smooth. It’s incredibly docile under 4000 rpm and has enough torque for putting around town. Similar to the R6, pinning it at low rpm is relatively lackluster though I suspect the stock exhaust has much to do with that. You also have to twist the throttle quite a bit for the power but when it comes on, it really comes on! The transmission is nothing short of incredible, the quick shifter is completely seamless (another downfall I’ll talk about in a bit). Mid corner upshifts are buttery smooth; you can not feel the bike unsettled. Very impressed
The electronics, eh, I don’t know much about. I left it in Power mode 1 with TC on 3 and the slide control on 3 as well. The tires were pretty cold and you could definitely feel it working when pinning it in second or third. How the bike reacts to that mid corner is not something I’d ever want to test but I’m sure Yamaha has done their homework. The dashboard also gives you some neat gimmicks like showing brake lever force and front/rear suspension travel. But without the data logging abilities of the R1M, it’s a pointless gimmick that takes up space on the dashboard. The lift control is also pretty neat, clutch ups in second cut the power as soon as it got off the ground more than 25 degrees or so.
Nothing to say here, can’t really test this responsibly but I am sure they are more than adequate
Verdict (and why I will likely not be picking up the R1 anytime soon)
The R1 is an incredibly well built bike, silky smooth motor/transmission, 600-like handling and weight and gobs of power. But here lies my issue with it. In my opinion, it’s just too nuts for what I want in a street bike. I mentioned how well the suspension relays road noise and how awful it is for daily streetabiliy. It is not a bike I’d want to commute on or ride regularly; I say the same thing about the R6 after more than 3 years with is and 40,000kms on it. The quick shifter is fast; too fast. It’s such an incredibly silky bike that you straight up don’t realize how quick it accelerates. You’ll hammer on it in first, seamless shift to second and you think about going to third. But you’re already bordering on 200kmh…. Where do you want to go from here?
Anyways, that wraps up my thoughts on the bike. Note that I said in MY opinion, its too much bike for what I want in a bike. The R6 will be the race bike next season so I’ll be getting my speed fix there. I’m quite heavily set against a street 1000cc SS; it just doesn’t fit into what I want in my next bike.
But my god, what an awesome bike. I could definitely see one as a track bike for the future. It is incredibly agile and exhilarating
Got to ride a 2019 MT09 today, here are my thoughts on it
Took the MT09 for about 40 mins from Apex at Yamaha’s demo day, did some minor twisties/roundabouts.
Chassis & Handling
I think the best way to describe the MT feel, especially at low speeds, is like a bicycle. The wide bars are super comfortable and give you tons of leverage to maneuver around. It weighs about the same as the R6 but since it’s an inline 3, it is quite a bit narrower. In contrast to the XSR900, the tank tapers down along the inside leg which helps to not only make the bike hide it’s true weight/size but also give the rider a much more planted feel. The riding position is very upright for excellent comfort and visibility. Seat height is quite unforgiving to vertically challenged riders like myself; luckily the narrow seat allows one to easily slide off a cheek and flat foot the bike when coming to a full stop.
If I had one word to describe how it feels out on the road, it would be planted. The 180/55 rear tire provides excellent stability and contact patch while retaining the light flick able characteristics. Swerving and moving around the bike at 80kmh is effortless largely thanks to the massive leverage one has on the bars. The tapered tank provides excellent grip and positioning on the inside leg for the goons that like to hang off their bikes.
Suspension is a huge talking point; the 2017+ received a major update compared to the previous FZ badged bikes. This update brought along a slightly stiffer rear shock and more importantly, adjustable forks. To me, this is really bizarre; the rear shock felt incredibly plush and the travel was massive. I can’t imagine an even more plush unit that the FZ would have had; likely because I’m coming from the R6 which has a wooden plank for a seat and stupidly firm shock. Going over bumps and rough pavement was super smooth, the seat padding helped with that tremendously as well. So how did it feel at higher speeds/cornering? Not bad. Not bad at all. I think a lot of people equate soft suspension with poor handling which is not necessarily the case. It felt planted in corners and I felt confident in all parts of the curve. Corner exit was bizarre as getting on the power compresses the shock even more and there’s a slight delay. It’s not an SS however, and if that’s where you set your expectations, then you will be disappointed. You are trying to make the bike something its not.
The inline 3 is also very smooth, no complaints here. Supposedly the FZ had jerky throttle issues; the MT had no issues with that. Throttle tube travel is much too long for my liking but that’s an easy fix. The torque on the motor is fantastic as is the sound. Even high gear, low rpm, the bike pulls like mad. I described the bikes handling as planted earlier on; that all goes out the window when you ring its neck. The front end gets super light when getting on the gas and you have to have some experience to keep it controlled. It’ll power wheelie easily in second; sneezing in first will result in you looping the bike. Top end also seems quite good but it is definitely not where the bike excels at. This was a Yamaha sanctioned demo ride, so didn’t get to test this aspect much.
I would say a quick shifter is an absolute must and am a little disappointed that Yamaha doesn’t include it as standard. After riding with one for quite a while now, riding a bike without one is just lame. Let the peasants use the clutch; I want to stay on the power and shift seamlessly!
Unlike the R1, I got to play around with the electronics a little. The bike essentially has 3 features which keeps things simple; ABS, TCS and power modes. Starting with ABS, it’s something I would disable right away. I tried locking the rear and sure enough, the unit did its job and prevented lock up. However, that takes some fun out of it for me; I like playing around with that kind of stuff. With the tires available today and with a somewhat experienced rider, I definitely don’t think ABS is a necessity. Learn proper braking technique and you’ll be better off. TCS comes in 3 settings; off, 1, 2 with 2 being most aggressive. Clutching it up in second gear with TCS on 1 was relatively easy but it does cut power and makes it awkward to modulate. 1 wheel shenanigans aside, the TCS works really well and I saw the TCS strobe a few times coming out of corners or even 2nd gear roll ons. Power modes supposedly change the throttle mapping; I didn’t play with it too much and left it on standard. Mode A felt more snappy but it’s more of a gimmick in my mind. I would have preferred A to be an eco-mode button for instance.
Like the R6, the MT has radially mounted calipers which have excellent bite and braking is smooth and predictable/stable. Nose dive is pretty severe but that could potentially be tuned out in the way of suspension settings.
Verdict (and why I will likely be picking up the MT sometime soon)
The MT is exactly what I am looking for in a road bike; very comfortable, gobs of torque and power and great handling characteristics. Its 10k price tag is also quite appealing and you get a ton of value for your money. If I am going to have 2 bikes; I might as well get 2 different classes. The top end and high speed smoothness wont come close to an SS; and expecting that is setting yourself up for disappointment. You have to understand what this bike is and not try to make it something else. Being a naked style bike, wind protection is minimal. Going 120kmh feels fast, vs on the R1 where 200kmh felt like putting around. It just seems like a more sensible street bike decision.
That about sums up my thoughts on the MT and why I’ll be picking one up. Once I put some nice sticky Q3’s on it, it will be a very fun, fast bike
I’m undecided on new vs used; used ones on Kijiji are posted for 9k or I can spend 10k and get a new one from the dealer. I’ll likely be picking one up sometime in September/October!
Great reviews.... For the MT if the price difference is really only 1k or so to get a new one i think it is a no brainer. I'd have to save quite a bit more to make it worth my time to get a pre-owned bike. Sounds like a great bike either way.
It’s officially a fundraiser and information night for Big Brothers Big Sister of Centre Wellington, which some of you may know is an organization I’ve supported for many years.
Unofficially, it is THE event of the year, featuring - Exotic Cars, Bikes, Food, Beer and Fabulous Scotch, all at an Exclusive Location in Wellington County known as the Garagemahal.
Here’s a little taste of some of the confirmed cars that will be there, and the list keeps growing!
I will be riding my street bike there so if any other riders want to join me let me know and we can sort out a meet spot.
Spots are limited and quickly filling up! We strive to provide a welcoming, friendly atmosphere where you can connect with and learn from other riders. If you haven’t already, get signed up at kwsportracing.ca. BBQ lunch and overnight camping is included with your pass and pricing is all in.
Pre-registration has closed, but you can still reserve your spot at gate price. By paying gate price, you gain flexibility and are able to cancel for a full refund at any point.
We appreciate your support as we aim to provide the most engaging and community oriented track days in Southern Ontario! See you all on June 3! We will be running the technical layout.
Hey folks, it's been a couple years since I posted or spent any time on this site. Are there any regular meetups going on or planned? I'm hoping to ride with a group on occasion, ideally one that isn't looking at breaking any land speed records. Hopefully there's some folks here that feel similarly.
Putting a little ride together for anyone interested; Conestoga lake and then stopping to check out the Bike night at Concordia around 8 or so.
Today, June 11
Meet: 5:45pm, KSU 15 mins later, have gas!
Location: Tim Horton's, 120 Ottawa St. N Kitchener
This ride is a medium/fast paced ride so I would say no, it is not really newbie friendly. I would recommend keeping an eye out for Medium or Cruise paced rides. That being said, we always wait for people at turns/stops so if you want to tag along, you are more than welcome too. Regardless of posted pace, you should never ride above your comfort level to try to "keep up"; it's a quick way for things to go south.