2005 YAMAHA YZF-R1

Chris’s brother is a picky sod: he wanted 150bhp, mod­ern han­dling and great looks for less than £4k. But he found it, and now we’re adopt­ing his new mini-project

Performance Bikes (UK) - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy Si­mon Lee 2005 YAMAHA YZF-R1 CARL NEW­BIG­GING

BE­ING RE­LATED TO the editor has its perks: I’ve been had a spin on a few new sports­bikes in the last few years. But that’s come at the ex­pense of my re­la­tion­ship with my Day­tona 955i – my lovely old triple lost its shine next to R1s, Pani­gales, S1000RRs... So it’s got to go, to make room for some­thing that’ll give me the sort of thrills I now crave. Chris has al­ways been a bad in­flu­ence on me...

I had £4000 to spend: I trawled dozens of ads for ZX-10Rs (ei­ther crashed or butchered at this money), GSX-R1000s (not re­ally my bag) and Du­catis (out of my bud­get for a mod­ern-ish sports model). But then I came to the 2004-2006 R1, or the 5VY as own­ers call it (it’s the model code on the frame num­ber). I had op­tions of clean bikes, with rea­son­able miles, free from tat and ar­se­wit­tery. I found this 2005 bike with the valve clear­ances just done, and in lovely, mostly stock con­di­tion. Best of all, I paid just £3750, bar­ter­ing down from £4000 when I pointed out the wob­bly swingarm pivot bear­ings. I wasn’t con­cerned: it’s a sim­ple swap. Well, sort of...

A com­bi­na­tion of jacks, straps and sup­ports had the bike off the floor with the spin­dle ac­ces­si­ble, and I roped in big bro, given this is all his fault... Apart from the knock­ing bear­ing, I’d also noted a lot of heat from the ex­haust Y-piece. It has a cat­a­lyst in it, but as the back half of the ex­haust has to come off any­way, I in­tended to fol­low the lead of other own­ers and knock the cat ma­te­rial out.

Some­one had beaten me to it, as it turned out – prob­a­bly when the lovely, not too quiet, not too loud Mi­cron cans were fit­ted. That’s sort of good, but the cav­ernous cat cham­ber doesn’t look like the best thing

for gas flow. I might fit a neater link pipe any­way.

Gen­uine bear­ings (£70) solved the knock, but despite be­ing gen­er­ally very nice, this one still had a few bits I didn’t like. A bodged-in, non-func­tion­ing gear in­di­ca­tor: in the bin. Dodgy, dim af­ter­mar­ket rear in­di­ca­tors (and bodged wiring) were re­placed with a gen­uine set Chris found from a by­gone PB test bike (best guess is Trev Franklin’s 2002 R1, which was cartwheeled at Pem­brey in a race...) I binned the cheap-look­ing tail tidy, too, and picked up an OE mud­guard for £25. It’s a neat de­sign, and keeps more filth off me and the bike: why wouldn’t I?

Ti­died up and swingarm made good, I’ve been get­ting to know it. I love the poke – it’s not quite as strong at the top as a new R1, but the shunt lower down is strong, and I’m get­ting used to the nov­elty of power wheel­ies. The fu­elling and re­sponse is a bit iffy – not ter­ri­ble, but it needs an ECU flash to suit the cans and de-cat­ted pipe. I’ll fit a per­for­mance fil­ter and new Y-piece to make the most of a cus­tom map.

The chas­sis is leagues ahead of my 955i, but the sus­pen­sion feels its age, pack­ing down at the back and get­ting a bit slappy. Ad­just­ment will no doubt help, but again Chris reck­ons the orig­i­nal Kayaba parts could have stood a re­build and revalve from new, so I’ll be tak­ing his ad­vice at some point. There he goes again, talk­ing me into spend­ing more money...

‘The chas­sis is leagues ahead of my 955i, but the sus­pen­sion feels its age. I’m look­ing at a re­build’

Not too shab­byy for less than a quar­ter of the price of a 2017 R1

Mi­cron cans con­trib­ute to an ex­haust note just the right side of ‘neigh­bour-both­er­ing’

Carl was go­ing to knock out the cat, but a pre­vi­ous owner had beat him to it

This is the first time Carl has seen the top yoke in fo­cus

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