Aggressive but compact, Yamaha YZF-R1 is a well-focussed super sports bike

The fast and furious Yamaha YZF-R1 was the first big bike to boldly make it to India when the CBU route opened in 2008. While 2009 saw the global launch of a radically different all-new R1, this exciting missile didn't make it to our shores immediately. Yamaha is finally bringing the 2010 YZF-R1 to India.

Aggressive but compact, the latest R1 looks like an evolution of its legendary predecessors. The front fairing, which houses a pair of radical-looking projector lights, incorporates ram air scoops into the headlight assembly. Instrumentation is comprehensive, the cockpit dominated by a large analogue tachometer and digital read-out that now gets a gear indicator. Switchgear includes a new ride mode selector — Yamaha D-Mode — which allows the rider to toggle among three levels of power delivery for varied riding conditions.

A muscular 18-litre fuel tank, which sits atop exposed sections of the YZF-R1's frame, leads to the racy rider seat and its tiny pillion perch. The rear is brought up by a pair of aerodynamically-styled titanium underseat exhausts, which are accompanied by a triangular LED brake lamp.

The latest R1 borrows cutting-edge technology from the Yamaha YZR-M1 race bike that recently powered Valentino Rossi to his seventh MotoGP World Championship.

Powered by a four-stroke, 998cc, in-line, four-cylinder and liquid-cooled engine, the ‘One' uses a unique crossplane crankshaft to tame its massive power output — 182bhp developed at 12500rpm. With four crankpins aligned in two planes, the crankshaft produces an uneven firing interval of 270-180-90-180 degrees that gives the bike a rider-friendly and easier-to-master linear power delivery.

Like the earlier model, throttle is fly-by-wire, courtesy YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle). Also at hand is YCC-I or Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake, a system to elongate the intake funnels at low rpm and shorten them at high engine speeds for a wider power spread. The R1 employs a six-speed gearbox and slipper clutch that facilitates aggressive downshifting without any drama.

Deploying a trademark Yamaha aluminium Deltabox frame, the latest R1's rear frame components are made from lightweight, high-strength die-cast magnesium for optimal mass centralisation. Borrowing another page from MotoGP, the R1's inverted telescopic front forks feature independent damping with the left fork handling compression damping and the right fork rebound damping. The R1 is also armed with an electronic steering damper. At the rear, a beefy alloy swingarm supports an adjustable link-type monoshock suspension. Equipped with dual 310mm front and 220mm rear disc brakes, the R1 offers safe stops for all its power.

At Rs. 12.5 lakh (ex-showroom India), the bike is priced at par with the outgoing model, and available at 24 Yamaha CBU dealerships in three colours — blue, black as well as a bluish white shade.

While a super-sports bike as focussed as the YZF-R1 is at absolute odds with the prevailing traffic and road conditions in India, we are sure the Japanese manufacturer will find many takers for this fire-breathing monster.