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
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