An introduction about the R-series design DNA by our current Japanese designers. Learn about the evolution of the R-series design since the launch of the first R1 in 1998!
Our engineers made a radical change: instead of starting from the previous R1, they took the YZR-M1 MotoGP bike as a basis. This resulted in a new R1 that is about 80 % similar to the MotoGP machine, with crossplane engine design, super sturdy chassis and extensive electronic support systems. The differences are in components that are designed to be street legal, more durable or more affordable.
“The R125 is a big success in the 125 class” says product planner Guglielmo Fontana-Rava. “We decided to upgrade the model with better components and to give it a fresh look, while we kept the great overall design that makes it so successful.”
"Traction control is working very well in racing, so at a certain point we started to develop it for road bikes" says Product Planning Manager Oliver Grill. "It really helps you to go faster. Whether you're a professional or not: if you have to concentrate less on grip conditions you can focus more on your speed".
“The ultimate cornering Master” was the key phrase in the development of the 2009 YZF-R1. Yamaha engineers took this challenge so serious that they developed a revolutionary new engine layout, with a cross-plane crankshaft and irregular firing order. Read about the technical background in this story!
“After we had launched the fourth generation of the YZF-R6 in 2006, I was often asked, what would be next.” Takeshi Higuchi, responsible for Product Planning in Europe smiles as he continues: ”The R6 can be used on the racetrack for competition without modifications. Most of the technical solutions we used come straight from our competition bikes.”
“We made the new YZF-R125 deliberately as a real sport bike and the similarity to its bigger sister the YZF-R6 is intentional, “ explains Hiroshi Komatsubara, President of Yamaha R&D development centre in Milan, Italy. “There are only a few real super sport bikes in today’s 125 cc class. And we felt that our young riders still think like the generations before when it comes to motorcycles. They like serious machines with exciting performance and many of them dream of a bike like the R6.”
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.
"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."
"The whole bike concept has become more racing orientated" mentions engineering Project Leader Makato Shimamoto. "We developed a brand new engine for a new performance level, and the engine defined everything around it."
'The modifications to the new R6 are entirely done for racing', says our European test rider who is a former racer himself. 'In those conditions, we really needed the bigger brake size, and for a long time we have been racing the 70 (height) tyre because the best race tyres are only available in that size. In the past we had to cut the fairings ourselves to fit the tyre.'
There has never been a bike running off Yamaha's production line, that had more influence from GP and World Superbike than the third generation R1.
"I believe that the new R6 represents the state of the art in 600 cc supersport technology", says Tony Maeda with a convincing expression on his face. As product planner at Yamaha Motor Europe headquarters near Amsterdam he pushed for use of the latest technologies. "This machine is completely new. For the first time we used a special casting process, (called "CF casting") for the rear arm and parts of the frame, which enables us to decrease the wall thickness dramatically. Next to the all new chassis we did lots of modifications to the engine too."
The development priorities of the new R1 are handling and controllability. What are the engineering ingredients that make the bike faster in corners and at the same time even easier to handle?
Nicknamed THE ONE, the second generation R1 focuses on what supersport excitement is all about: cornering, enjoyment of winding roads and racetrack.
The 2001 R1 survey, which we had on our website a few months ago proved a point: motorcyclists are really dedicated to their hobby and they are full of surprises. The interest in the questionnaire was really high and we received over 12000 answers from all over the world.
R1 and R6 are Yamaha top class supersport machines. One could think, the 600 cc is just a smaller version of the 1000 cc version. That's wrong! Both bikes are entirely different!
It all started with a white sheet of paper at an informal meeting in the paddock building at Killarney circuit near Capetown in South Africa. The world’s best motorcycle journalists were just testing the newly launched YZF1000R Thunder Ace. While the media was focused on this new Yamaha sportbike in the hot and sunny South African environment, a group of Yamaha Japan’s key engineers took the opportunity to discuss some new ideas with Yamaha’s European product planners in this relaxed atmosphere.