Well, I have finally gone and done it.... after waiting for 12 months to make sure that all the teething problems were well and truly sorted, I went and bought the R1.
I was supposed to be buying one of this seasons models in red/white/black, but I spotted this one for sale second hand, at the same place I originally bought Vicky's Ducati Monster, so a deal was struck and he took the Monster back, in exchange for this `98 model R1 with `98 World Super Bike paint work and a Vance and Hines race pipe.
What an animal. I am going to thoroughly enjoy this bike. Its spread of power is just awesome and I'm literally stuck for words to describe it. At the moment I am just getting to know it, but have already fitted an Ohlins, across the front, steering damper, and have started to try and dial in the optimum suspension settings. The standard settings actually make it a bit slow steering for my liking and the damper has only accentuated the slowness, so the next move will be to lower the yokes by about 5-10mm and try to find a good balance between the damper and front steering angle. I always have this gripe about Yamaha's standard set-up, so it was no surprise. Probably comes from racing the RGV 250 which was by far the sharpest & quickest steering missile I have ridden from standard.
Really I should take the damper off and adjust the initial suspension settings, from the base, without its influence, but then you have to allow for the fact that it will slow it up a bit when it's refitted. At the moment it is not quite as sure footed as my '95 YZF 750 through tight, bumpy roads, but hopefully a day at Knockhill and a day trashing the back lanes round my local area and I will have something that is a good compromise. Engine wise, it can't be faulted. With close on to 140 BHP at the back wheel from standard, and a midrange boosted along by the Exup, this engine will just blast its way past anything, or tootles around in top through towns and villages. One of my main problems so far is trying to bring the front wheel down gently after the monster wheelies it will produce off the throttle in 1st , 2nd and even 3rd. Heavy landings cost a fortune in head bearings and light bulbs, not to mention drive chains...!
After a few months with this bike, trying different tyres and settings, I found that the front fork action was very slow and sticky, but managed to get a fairly good compromise, after dropping the yokes by 10mm.
I wasn't happy with the Vance & Hines pipe that was fitted to it when I got the bike, so this was changed for a JHP Hi-Level Titanium item and a Dynojet carb kit and K&N filter. The bike was run on a rolling road, and she was putting out a healthy 142BHP at the rear wheel. The biggest difference was the cleaner fueling and quicker response off a closed throttle.
I lived with the bike and middle of the road handling for the next year or so, and was about to consider trading it in for the latest 2002 model, but then thought that for the price of a new bike, I could make mine the bike I really wanted out of it. Change the wheels, suspension etc etc, so that's what I did.
Check out the R7-1 page for the full details of the conversion and how it has gone from a street missile, to an Intergalactic weapon of destruction!
For a bigger image size, just click the thumbnail you want.