2009 Yamaha R1 slower than 2007 model

Galleries -


Independent, same-dyno tests conducted by England’s Performance Bikes magazine have shown that the 2009 Yamaha R1 makes less power and torque than the 2007 model both outright and in the midrange. The new bike also weighs 4kg (9lbs) more. Progress?
PB found that the 2009 R1 made 156hp and 76lb/ft of torque at the wheel
(Yamaha claims 182bhp and 85lb/ft at the crank). While measured
horsepower can differ between dynometers and with variations in
elevation and temperature, the same dyno, just days apart, recorded
162hp and 78lb/ft for the 2007 R1. That might not sound like a huge
difference, but consider that the only place the new R1 makes more
power than the old is below 4,700rpm, where it makes about 5hp more.
But in the midrange, at 5,500 and 8,000rpm, the old bike is up 9hp.

Yamaha don’t quote an official dry weight for the 2009 R1, preferring
instead to quote it wet — 206kg. While, on the surface, that could
appear to be in the spirit of openness, it is, in fact, concealing. Dry
weights are just that, no oil, no gas, no radiator fluid, nothing;
therefore they’re more transparent than wet weights, which can
sometimes be quoted as a full tank or a half tank of fuel, with the
overall capacity of those tanks not taken into account. While the wet
weight is, as a customer, the way you’ll find the bike, dry weights
make comparisons easier. The 2009 R1 weighs 177kg or 390lbs (dry); the
2007 R1 weighs 173kg or 381lbs (dry).

The new R1 isn’t supposed to be all about power though, it’s supposed to
be the inline-four that, like a V4 or V-Twin, puts traction and
ease-of-use first. We never had a problem getting the power down on the
old one, in fact finding it, along with the 2005 GSX-R1000, very easy
to exploit. Well, as easy-to-exploit as a liter bike gets.

PB goes on to report that the 2009 bike uses a more track-oriented
riding position as standard than the 2007, meaning it’ll be less
comfortable on the road.

Is a 6hp difference, less midrange and slightly more weight worth
getting worked up about? In the world of liter bike dominance it could
be, in-class sales success has been decided on less. In fact, more
prescient questions would be: Has Yamaha done a good enough job selling
the crossplane crankshaft to the public to make up for these
deficiencies? In this economy, should you spend $12,390 on the new R1
or save thousands by buying on the slightly faster, better looking
previous generation?

[Performance Bikes doesn't bother having a website, so we'll link to a forum its readers have created instead, PB Mag Forum]

  • geonerd

    Dyno’s from different days always give different results. That’s just laziness. But honestly, isn’t 156 hp enough for the road? More than.

  • sam

    “isnt 156 hp enough…?” yea they should probably just give up and sell us the 07 bike, because its just fine…not like theyre trying to win any races anyways

    • http://www.actionbike.de Alex

      Very right comment. I just gon’t get why someone want R1 for the road. It’s a track machine, it has to be raced. And when racing you never have enough power. Always hungry for more.

    • geonerd

      yeah, you’re so right. we need more than 156hp for public roads. especially in the UK where you could use a max of about 65 percent of that power on any given road.

      you can compare results from the same dyno on different days, but you’re never going to achieve any consistency because of the weather.

      any decent tuner will tell you:same bikes, same dyno, same day. if PB can’t do the test right, then what’s the point in reporting on it?

    • I hate sam

      youre such a squid. Just because you need every ounce of horsepower to do your circle wheelies and make your mohawk helmet ruffle just the right way, doesnt mean real motorcycle riders need that. Valentino rossis bike doesnt make the highest horsepower or torque numbers, but he is still the best motorcycle rider on the planet. Go learn you some motorcycles before you start complaining that one of the winningist brands motorcycle isnt trying to win races.

  • http://www.actionbike.de Alex

    Other magazines quoted measured power in region of 162 hp for new 09 R1. Very respected magazine Motociclismo (italian) made a huge test of most litre sports bikes, and according to them R1 has most power on the black rubber thing than any of the bikes tested except MV Agusta, but it has got 1078 cc instead of 998 cc.

    In regards to weight, Motociclismo has measured all bikes with same amount of fuel in tank, 8 liters, same tires, same datalogging system 2d. According to them R1 has 201.2 kilo, Suzuki 193.6, Kawasaki 195.2, Honda 195.6 and so on.

    Back to PB, few years ago they had tested KTM superduke, and complained about lack of power comparing to other one they have tested. Back then they had made a conclusion (and very rightly so) that bike with 2000 miles under it’s chain has all the power released it suppose to have, while brand new machine has tight engine and can easily loose 10-15 hp while braking in.

    So what’s happened now? New PB’s staff has forgotten old lessons? I really miss Baron’s sections and of course brilliant material from Dale Lomas. PB is simply not the same without them. C’mon guys, you can do better that that.

    PB reader from Prague

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      You can’t compare numbers between different dynos, but you can compare numbers between the same dyno, does that make sense? Did Motociclismo put the ’09 up against the ’07?

      While brand new engines do take a little bit of time to break in and deliver full power, PB’s bike has already been hammered on by the press.

  • Brian

    I have been noticing this problem for some time. Seems the pinnacle for weight and hp was in the 2004-2005 Kawasaki ZX-10R which weighed 374 lbs dry / 433 wet and 162 hp. Seems that only Honda has gotten consistently lighter and added hp to their litre bikes over the past five years. Suzuki has add hp but also weight. Kawasaki has gone up and down but also added weight and Yamaha has added both weight and reduced hp.

    I know it’s all about ridability and I think the new R1 has it but due to the counter-balancer in the new R1 motor the top end hp rush is gone. This is why I am waiting until next year. Maybe Yamaha will refine their R1 by dropping weight and adding more hp? If not, I’ll be looking at the new RSV4 or BMW S1000RR or the rumored uneven firing order of Kawasaki’s new real big bang motor. Which, by the way, the Yamaha, although rumored to be, is not!

  • http://www.speedymoto.com Christian

    What about a bike that has been broken in and a bike that has not?

    There could be a big difference in hp if the 07′ engine has loosened up or the exhaust has blown out? not to mention a 24hr period is enough for the ambient temp and humidity to change completely. (Qatar MotoGP??) Not that I’m defending the new R1, but its the lack of a truly controlled comparison…

  • Koelus

    So what is progress mean? 5% increase in BHP every year? So not long we’ll have 300HP bikes capable of 300MPH. Get a life. These bikes are too fast for public roads.

    • oldman sayinggetoffmylawnyoupunks

      I am aware that modern litre bikes have some advanced technology but do they now have a mind of their own? “These bikes are too fast for public roads.” LOL These bikes only go as fast as the rider wants. What about too fast for trackdays or racing? LOL

  • http://www.speedymoto.com Christian

    That depends on your public roads. Turns out new tracks are being built all the time and more and more people are participating in trackdays and race clubs…

    If Henry Ford had had his way everyone would simply be diving black model T’s. Or as Harley has done, make the same basic bike for 100 years and call it nostalgia.

    I think some of us are attracted to the sport because of the advanced technology and performance of these bikes…even if we can’t ride like Stoner because of the law or our own skills on the track.

    I wanna go 300mph!

  • SpaceWeasel

    Your headline is a misstatement. While it may prove to be slower, none of the tests you cited would prove that. Less powerful and heavier, yes. But, as you said, and as Yamaha is trying to sell us, this generation is about better putting the power to the ground. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but please don’t overstate your data.

  • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Indian Car Blog

    This is quite surprising, you pay more for the new model to go slower?

    BTW no way of subscribing to the blog?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      There’s an RSS Link up at the top of the page, you can subscribe through that using an RSS reader or Google Reader or similar. You can also follow us on Twitter.

  • Zeitgeist

    Its getting a case of 900rritis it seems. When Honda launched those in 1992 or 93 the were very light and had lots of power. In subsequent years they gained weight and even with modest power gains the extra weight affected the handling none the less. Everybody else caught up and Honda eventually went back to the CBR1000rr. As a first year with a new engine lets hope that it was a gltich and that the new design allows for significant gains in the future or through aftermarket and perf add ons.

  • Bishop

    Ride it then repent. I’ve spent time on both bikes at the track and dyno numbers no longer mean a thing. The new engine delivers power so differently that it doesn’t need as much HP or torque to better anything out there. Just ask MCN, their CBR1000RR bested the R1 everywhere on the dyno, but couldn’t pull the Yamaha anywhere on the street. Anywhere! This engine is the biggest breakthrough in sportbikes in over a decade, forget everything you thought you knew about inline fours. I thought you guys at HFL were a little different, but as it turns out your numbers knobs just like the rest of them.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      For now, Bishop, we’re just asking questions as we’ve yet to be given the opportunity to ride the new R1. Our invitation from Yamaha USA must have been misplaced…

      • Bishop

        Went back and read it twice just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Didn’t see a whole lot of questions, just a bunch of assumptions.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      When a machine is marketed and purchased based on performance figures, those figures become extremely relevant, regardless of how ridiculous that whole thing might be.

      If, in the real world, a bike doesn’t live up to its hype, that’s a story.

  • KungFuGrip

    I’m not following all of this 152 HP is enough logic. Is the arguement that Manufs. should stop developing because it’s enough? That’s not very logical, realistic, or forward thinking.

    Sure 152 HP is plenty for the street and even for the novice track day. So what? Sportsbikes are now developed mainly with racing in mind. Buying one certainly doesn’t make you a racer, but it does give you the opportunity to own and experience the latest piece of technology. This is called the selling point lol. No selling point=No sales. There is a reason winning races sells bikes.

  • DoctorNine

    Too much is never enough.

    Bikes are evolving to be more and more powerful, and lighter and lighter in weight. They are becoming so radical, that fewer and fewer riders can realize the full potential of the machines. Even at the track. Even under ideal conditions. Taking the mathematical limit of these tendencies, soon we will see motorcycles that are composed solely of a shrink fitted 1000HP motorized bearing, designed specifically to press on the testicles of precisely measured professional riders. And only individuals who have brass cojones the diameter of a 55 gallon drum will be eligible to ride them.

    Gimme Moar!!!

  • Ua

    I think both bikes ridden by the same people around a track on the same day would give us a better idea if it was slower. Less power maybe, but it could still be a faster bike if you can apply that power quicker and more linearly. As far as I know dynos only measure power while the bike is stationary, and two bikes standing still are just as fast as one another.

  • Mitch

    Independent, same-eyeball tests conducted by me have shown that the 2009 Yamaha R1 is ass-ugly compared to the 2007 model both outright and in pictures.

  • Star
  • Star
  • http://www.arkriders.com LAUBINERO

    My 2009 R1 is more powerful than my 06 R1- the mid range power is filled in nicely now, the top end is the same. It is more comfortable than previous versions…the bars are higher..PB is just making drama to sell their rag to R1 haters. Hellforleather is guilty of buying into it without even riding the bike yet. SO ya’ll just lost some cool points with me
    Dynos vary and can be manipulated…
    As it was said RIDE it…and you’ll see the light.
    Bottom line on it is that’s its a better bike overall and is more exhilarating to ride now.

  • ISellMotorcycles

    Horse power is not always the fastest way around the track. Yes the dyno tests could be a little skewed, but I could imagine that they are accurate within just a few hp. There are so many other factors that need to be considered and I am sure they will be tested in the future.

    The truth is that most riders will never see a track and even if they do its for pleasure not a podium. I can’t remember the last time Yamaha was on top in a drag race. Unless we consider the V-MAX. But I believe they have been building the best handling litre bikes in the past 2 or 3 model runs.

    The big deal with the new R1 is that it has the crossplane crankshaft, SOQI suspension, a mode switch, electronic steering dampener, adjustable rear sets, YCCI, YCCT, its as sexy as ever, and it is still less expensive than the GSX-R. I agree that horsepower is not in short supply and hasn’t been on a litre bike since the 1990s. So motorcycle manufacturers should put their R & D into other areas. I think they hit the nail on the head.

  • Steven c

    What is it that hfl is trying to accomplish here.Are they just putting more test data out there for one to use in there choice on weather to buy a new yami or something else.They do sound as if its a warning for bike cancer.Im not swayed by any of it im gonna buy the 09 r1 for the total package and the real facts are it smokes the compitition!

  • Matt

    I sell baseball bats at the store I work at. We have lots of different brands that essentially all do the same thing. They all have different technologies, prices in the mid-200′s USD, but all perform about the same. I typically ask customers what colors they like the best.

    What does this have to do with motorcycles you ask? In the end it will all come down to rider skill, these things are all so close in performance that none will make a novice rider beat a seasoned rider on a different bike. I race bikes all the time and those ‘tards running a 2009 R1 or ZX-10R or any liter bike will see nothing but the full width of my 180mm rear tire on my 919 Hornet. Even worse if I’m on my GSX-1000R. I’m not claiming to be a bad a$$ or anything, but I do have a lot of experience riding on the track and stunting bikes, and I don’t care what brand new liter bike you’re on….if you don’t know how to ride, performance numbers count for almost nothing….

    …my advice, buy the cheapest 600cc you can find that runs and get REAL track experience…when you are sponsored and racing for a career, the difference in 2-5hp will actually matter.

    Oh and the 09 R1 is a blast to ride around town, plenty fast to enter a freeway. If they made it into a naked they would really be onto something…

    ISellMotorcycles- right on bro…sounds like you are a salesman I could actually deal with…

    Houston, TX, USA

  • Seb

    “…I race bikes all the time and those ‘tards running a 2009 R1 or ZX-10R or any liter bike will see nothing but the full width of my 180mm rear tire on my 919 Hornet…”

    Ohh that was a good laugh thanks man. I own a 919 and a 10R. No you won’t be showing me anything.

    11′s < 9′s

  • Paul

    I just bought an 09 R1, and I love it… still has the long gearing… but its made to race over 100mph… This is my third superbike in the last 6 years and by far the smoothest ive ever owned…

  • Brian

    I think what this thread was trying to bring to light….in general most folks feel that progress is lighter bikes with more horsepower. But over the past few years these bikes have in fact sometimes gotten heavier and sometimes have less hp. We all buy into this because this is the exact propaganda that each manufacturer feeds us each year to get us to buy their bikes. Honestly, it is exhausting!

  • hjworton

    I think almost everyone who has commented has completely missed the point of this article – both here and in PB.

    Yes, the 2009 R1 makes less power than the previous incarnations of the machine. Does this matter ? No. The bike is winning is race series on both a world and domestic level.

    The bike is much easier to ride, IMHO. That is the point. Power is just top-end and that can be dialed-in, at a race-level at least. So lower power figures are irrelevant in this case.

    Having read reviews of the bike from various publications around the world, it is clear that the bike polarizes opinion
    like nothing for a long time. It is very different in feel and, as motorcyclists, we are(in general) naturally quite conservative. Given time, I think most riders who ride both the previous and the current R1 would agree that the new bike is, basically, better in every way. Yes, it is heavier. Yes, it makes less power. Botom line: Does not matter.

  • jmoretti13

    I just bought the ’09 R1 and everyone that sees it, in person I might add, loves it. I’ve ridden the zx-10r, gsxr 1000, and the CBR1000 and nothing pulls quite like the new R1. The different sound and look definitely turns heads…and did I mention it is still ungodly fast? Kudos to Yamaha for one sweet machine…

  • BRIAN J.


  • Ben Hernandez

    Stop licking balls and start riding fuckers!!!!!