Fast Bikes - - CORE TEST -

Yamaha gen­er­ally don’t get the credit they de­serve when it comes to build qual­ity and the R1’s level of fin­ish is su­perb, eas­ily on a par with Honda and prob­a­bly even bet­ter. How­ever the R1 does have a few is­sues when it comes to re­li­a­bil­ity.

While the engine is solid, the gear­box is a bit weak and sec­ond gear loves to go miss­ing. Al­ways en­sure it lo­cates nice and pos­i­tively (it is clunky) and doesn’t hop out on a test ride. While on the test ride, al­ways check the tacho as the R1 has a fault di­ag­no­sis sys­tem that will cause the rev counter to drop to zero, re­turn to a set fig­ure, then drop to zero again be­fore show­ing the ac­tual revs. This usu­ally means that ei­ther the EXUP valve is seized or the Throt­tle Po­si­tion Sen­sor (TPS) is bro­ken. Nei­ther is that ex­pen­sive to fix, but they are an­noy­ing.

Check­ing the EXUP valve in­volves re­mov­ing its cover (un­der the engine, near the right-hand foot peg, the cover’s fix­ings will al­most cer­tainly be rounded) and see­ing if the valve turns when the mo­tor is revved. If all is well, as­sume the TPS is down and hag­gle £90 for a new sen­sor and £150 to get it fit­ted off the bill as it needs care­ful cal­i­bra­tion by an ex­pert.

Early R1s have a large elec­tri­cal con­nec­tor lo­cated on the left hand side be­low the air scoop that is the main elec­tri­cal feed. The con­nec­tor isn’t re­ally up to the job though and of­ten cor­rodes and fails or shorts, caus­ing the lights to flicker as a warn­ing sign be­fore the whole bike’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem fails. You can up­date this for a bet­ter con­nec­tor, but al­ways check the lights aren’t flick­er­ing at all. Other than these is­sues it’s only oil level, seized sus­pen­sion link­ages, crash dam­age and worn bear­ings that you re­ally need to worry about.

R1 is wor­thy of a stand­ing ova­tion.

Time hasn’t dulled the ap­peal.

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