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