2012 Yamaha R1 - From Zero to Hero

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Category: Reviews

Details of the reflash:
Starts in A-Mode.
Removed ignition timing restrictions.
Raised idle for improved start up, faster launches, better mid-corner throttle take up.
Reduced engine braking for better corner entry.
Keep injectors on while throttle is closed for smoother take up.
Removed factory throttle restrictions (+12hp).
Raised redline to 14,700rpm.
Smoothed out factory throttle maps.
Eliminated steering damper code, no warning light when disconnected.
Removed top speed limiter.
Adjusted injector phasing for better fueling at high RPM.
Adjusted velocity stack opening point to boost mid-range power.

No other mod comes close to the impact this reflash had. It’s night and day. The R1 is now fast, smooth and delivers amazing feel of what’s going on at the back tire.

Next, I needed to fix that suspension. A 30mm Ohlins fork cartridge kit and TTX shock did that. That, plus the reflash turned my bike from bouncy and jerky into a focused tire shredding beast. I now have better feel and better control, plus the ability to exactly tailor the suspension to my exact riding style and weight.

With that suspension, I was also getting close to the visual appeal and handling of the 1198 S, but I didn’t stop there. Aluminum Marchesini rims really tipped the scales, making the R1 a true superbike. Steering is now effortless, requiring minimal input to turn into corners at high speed.

Other mods were smaller, but still necessary. Gilles VCR38GT rearsets fit my 6’ 3” frame on the R1. The Zero Gravity double bubble enables me to get behind the screen. HIDs give the bug-eyed R1 a more menacing glare. Harris pivoting levers proved effective during a heavy crash at The Streets of Willow, the bike flipped over a couple of times but the levers only had tiny scratches. The stock electronic steering damper feels nonexistent at low speeds, so I replaced it with a Scotts rotary damper.

Of course, I wasn’t happy with Yamaha’s graphics either. The red accents on the black ’09 bike seemed tacky, even if they’re not as bad as the fake carbon stickers or airbrushed ghost skulls on the ’11. Jack from Platinum Motorsports gave me a nice metallic matte finish on the upper and mid fairings. Black glossy air vent panels from the blue R1 were ordered, as were its gold fork externals. The end result is something I can be proud to see on Rock Store Photos.

All in, this cost me around $6.5k on top of the stock bike. The 2009-2011 R1 is not the bike to brag about in stock trim. It comes with too many shortcoming that can’t be alleviated without spending some serious cash. If I add the cost of the bike plus the cost of all the mods I installed, I could have purchased a Aprilia RSV4 Factory or new Ducati 1198 S. I’m happy with the end result which is a very focused racing machine that puts a big grin on my face every time I’m about to perch upon it.  But next time around I think I’ll settle for out-of-crate-monster. I’m not interested in searching for any bike’s true potential again, it should be readily accessible fresh from the box.

For those who feel they may be close to my size, here are my suspension settings:
Front
Compression - 16
Rebound - 14
Sag - 30
Rear
Compression - 10
Rebound - 10
Sag - 7/29

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