Yamaha went back to the drawing board for its 2009 YZF model line, introducing an all-new look and one of the most impressive engines available in a street-ready sport bike. The R1 features many attributes previously exclusive to the MotoGP racetrack, providing consumers with the closest MotoGP experience they can get with a production bike.
The star behind the 2009 Yamaha YZF is its innovative uneven firing interval cross plane crankshaft engine, the first of its kind on a production bike. It’s capable of pumping out 179.5 horsepower at 12,500 rpm and 85 lb-ft of torque at 10,000 rpm. The crank journals have been appropriately enlarged to 36mm to sufficiently handle the torque produced by the 998cc engine, and a counter-balancer has been put into play to help control the new, uneven firing order for a velvety-smooth running engine.
The 2009 Yamaha YZF features the Japanese company's trademark YCC-T throttle system, which expertly controls its updated YCC-I variable intake system for a much smoother throttle control. For the 2009 lineup, the bike's 32-bit fuel injection system is aided by secondary 12-hole Mikuni injectors for improved atomization, another first for a production bike.
The bike's exhaust system has been overhauled in order to comply with EPA noise and emission standards, and the resulting system features over-large mufflers that sit directly under the seat. Unfortunately, the exhaust changes on U.S. models do cause the bike to suffer a loss of about six peak horsepower, as compared to European models.
The redesign of the 2009 Yamaha YZF is largely due to the new engine, which required a new chassis to be built around it. Since the engine has an angle that is nine-degrees steeper than its predecessors, engineers were able to move the engine slightly forward, giving the bike more upfront weight, a lower center of gravity, and a shorter wheelbase. The clip-on handlebars are now 10mm closer to the rider, affording the rider the ability to enjoy a more compact riding position.
The new instrument panel is rich with bells and whistles, including a gear position readout, an accelerator opening angle indicator, an engine mode indicator, as well as the more common displays. There's also a Yamaha-exclusive D-Mode throttle control selector that allows the rider to switch the engine mapping mode based on his needs at the time. For instance, selecting B-Mode helps reduce rear tire sliding, while A-Mode helps the bike handle those racetrack corner-exits like a dream, with sportier low- to mid-range engine performance.