20 years of the R1
Boothy’s been finding out first-hand what 20 years’ worth of R1 development is like.
Boothy loves R1s so to celebrate their 20th anniversary, the lucky bugger’s spent aweek getting his leg over a20-year-oldmodel.
W hen I look back now I realise my 1998 Christmas list might have been a little bit ambitious. I couldn’ t see the appeal of yo-yos,I already had Dr Doolittle on VHS and I didn’ t need anymore Lynx Africa. All I wanted for Christmas was my two front teeth and a Y am ahaYZ F-R 1– I didn’ t think that was too much to ask but Father Christmas obviously didn’ t get theme mo. To most seven and a half year olds,a new litre sports bike might not have made much sense, but tome, even then, I knew it was a game changer. Since then I’ ve always had a real soft spot forth eR 1 dynasty. And it’ s a soft spot that turns into a raging hard one almost every time I throw a leg over my current 2018 R 1 M long term er. They are absolutely incredible bikes and despite there being a massive amount of competition in today’ s litre sports bike market the current R 1 has been able to hold its head high in any group test we have done in Fast Bikes. And the same canbesaidforall the incarnations of R1 that have come before it. So to celebrate the R1’s 20th birthday we thought we would see just how far Yamaha have moved things on since Boyzone and B*Witched were fighting for top step of the Pepsi Chart. On paper, things have moved on a lot. Back then, the R1’s EXUP exhaust valve, digital speedo and self-diagnostic dash were considered pretty cutting edge, but to compare that with today’s R1’s fuel injection, TFT dash and electronic rider aids package, is to compare a Nokia 8210 with an iPhone X. And as far as power figures go, well the ’98 R1’s claimed 150bhp is actually nearer 130bhp by the time it get to the back wheel; it’s never going to be able to hold a candle to the modern bike’s 190+ ponies. But we don’t care about holding candles, here at Fast Bikes. And we don’t really care about which model’s spec sheet can shout the loudest, either. So to find out first-hand what 20 years of development is like, we borrowed our mate’s completely bog-stock original1998 YZ F-R 1 andblagg ed ago on Yamaha UK’ s very own2018YZF-R1i nits Anniversary Special custom colour scheme. And as if an umpteen hundred mile road test isn’ t enough, we also went to Silver stone to spin some laps with none other than multiple British champion Niall Mackenzie. Here’ s how we got on.
Old versus new. Which tickles your fancy?