2013 Yamaha R1 Review – Photos and Specs

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2013 Yamaha R1 Review -

The 2013 Yamaha R1’s been updated with the addition of traction control, smoother fueling and a new rear shock, all in the name of making the 180bhp superbike more exploitable.

Research specs, pricing, insurance and compare the 2013 Yamaha R1 to other superbikes here.

What’s New:
To us, the 2013 Yamaha R1, for the last nine years, has been one thing above all other superbikes — an ultimate cornering machine. The introduction of the crossplane crankshaft in 2009 complimented that prowess by enhancing a rider’s feel of what the rear wheel was doing, meaning you could get on the power that much earlier in complete confidence.

That’s a characteristic which should combine well with this new 7-mode, switchable traction control system. Because the R1 already has ride-by-wire in the form of Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle, traction control was a relatively easy addition. This new system monitors front and rear wheel speed, RPM, throttle position and gear selection. It monitors lean angle by reading changes in the rolling circumference of the tires. When rear wheel slide reaches a certain degree — determined by lean angle and which level you’ve selected — YCC-T adjusts the injection and ignition to bring it back in line.

Other changes are minor. There’s no extra ponies, but more importantly, they’ve managed to smooth out the previously rough fueling. A mode can no longer be referred to as, “nutcracker mode,” it’s been smoothed out to replicate the feeling of Standard mode while still offering 30 percent quicker throttle response during the first 50 percent of throttle opening. The rear shock now has a spring that’s stiffer at the beginning of its stroke and softer at its end. The rate was changed from 98.1n/mm to 93.2n/mm and spring preload has been increased. All that results in better bump absorption and improved rear traction. That can be felt on bump roads too, the ride is now much plusher.

2013 Yamaha R1 track action

What’s Good:
Traction Control made learning the new bike around Chuckwalla easy. At its highest, safest level of intervention, I noticed the TC light flashing on the dash on most corner exits. You can’t otherwise feel the system kick in, you just seamlessly accelerate out of the corner, drama free. This is an advanced system with subtle control, it keeps you in line without dramatically and harshly cutting power.

Settings 3 and 4 allow you to slide the rear out of corners like a pro, just in complete safety. Ever ridden an R1? Imagine riding in aggressive A throttle mode, then, as the rear wheel begins to spin, switching to mile B mode. That’s what it feels like when TC saves a slide. the power delivery soften enough that you can ride out the slide without letting off the gas one bit.

The Verdict:
The big question here is, “is it worth spending up to the 2013 R1 over a used model with a budget for modifications?” We have to say, after riding it hard on street and track, go for the new model. Its smoother power delivery and all the other subtle changes really do make it a better overall package. Plus, you gain this huge safety net in the form of traction control. The 2013 R1 gives you the confidence to push the now-higher limits.

RideApart Rating: 7/10

  • grb

    The traction control system on the R1 would be a very good addition to the 2014 R6 (that goes unchanged again). I think its still one of the best looking supersports, great handling and nimble, it does need more power, maybe, but TC & ABS would be something that would help bring the bike up to 2014 and make it an incredible sport bike, and imo still great looking

    • MichaelEhrgott

      More room would be nice. I had a 2009 R6 (see avatar) and it was just too cramped for me at 6’1″. Rearsets help a bit but not much. Other than that it was the most fun thing I’ve ever ridden on the track…for a few sessions at least. Then the legs started cramping.

    • Hassan

      The new zx6r with its 636cc and TC makes it at the top of its class

  • Chanson

    Where is the “What’s Bad” section? Wondering what earned the bike 7 instead of 10.

    • Hassan

      What’s bad is some ridder’s prefer raw power over performance enhancers. Some people like the feeling of “kid skid” on tracks

  • Piglet2010

    Can the older versions of the current model be upgraded by changing the ECU for the new one?

    • HardLookAtReality

      no, you still need the wheelspeed sensor at least

  • Jordan

    If you are dead set on traction control but considering buying an 09-012 R1 and using aftermarket software like Bazaaz, I don’t think you’ll quite reach the level of seamless integration as the 2013 bikes.

    A friend of mine that is a super fast rider (I know everybody on the internet says that about somebody they know, but give me the benefit of the doubt here; if you saw his R1 you would understand) on the earlier model cross plane bike uses the Bazaaz TC and explained to me the software is bad to cut power entirely in the case of a slide and can become a catalyst for a high-side. You can try and tune that out of the software, but it can become a nightmare of eternal trial and error to get it to your liking. Just something I thought I would mention.

    Lastly, I know a lot of people are complaining about how Yamaha hasn’t overhauled their R series bikes in a long time but if I had my guess, it probably has something to do with trying to build a competitive bike against a new EURO emissions standards that’s supposed to be rolling out soon, along with the shift of the market from sport bikes to more practical machines. Sounds crazy, but the length the manufacturers have to go to make a bike pass emissions testing is nuts, especially when a lot of sport bikes are just collecting dust in dealer showrooms.

    • Geert Willem van der Horst

      It might also have an awful lot to do with the financial problems Yamaha is in….

      • Jordan

        Besides what’s shown in Yamaha’s 2012 annual report that discusses a slight decline in profits and not meeting quarterly sales expectations, what kind of problems do you speak of?

  • Benji

    Proof reading. It’s a thing that people do before they publish articles. Try it out some time!

  • Shawn Cowan

    Anyone else hate the bug eye headlamps?

    • Josh Eason

      their ugly, but ill look past it for that note

    • Hassan

      It’s what makes the R1 an R1

  • Hakkan

    Rating 7 out of 10 means do not change your bike, if you have a R1. I am not sure if the new is much better than one year old R1 unless you are a track racer.

    • HardLookAtReality

      …unless they’d rate your old one a 6 out of 10.

      Which they probaby would considering that except for TC the 2013-14 R1 is the same as the 2008 model.

  • Hassan

    Yamaha didn’t mention anything in their manual about the 3 D-modes, but from ridding my 2013 R1, I’ve tested the 3 modes. After turning off the TC so I can enjoy the power on it. A-mode can power wheelie easily cause it gives an extra 30% power and aggressiveness. STD is a normal way of ridding. B-mode is a smooth throttle response and not aggressive

  • HardLookAtReality

    I don’t think that the R1 is “the ultimate cornering machine” by far, especially since I preferred riding an FZ1 around a track over riding an R1 around the same track. The R1 is not bad but far from the best cornering bike I’ve ever ridden, or can think of. I’d think that at the least the RSV4 would be better, probably even the ZX10R maybe the Gixxer 1000…it’s questionable whether an R1 is even better than an R6 at cornering.

    In any case the bars are too low and too tight for “ultimate cornering”.
    Even if you give that much of a nod to the crossplane-crank.
    Now with 160hp on tap and an effective TC that may change my perspective some.
    Still I doubt it’s any better than the Aprilia TC and doesn’t the ZX-10R have TC also?
    Yep it has Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC). Since 2012 at least.
    Plus ABS, more power and less weight. Hm.