17 years of YZF-R1 History: an overview of all models, all colours
1998 First generation: 150 HP, 177 kg
The first R1 shook the motorcycle world by putting the 1000cc class supersports back on the map. Japanese competitors had launched 900cc models in the ‘90s aiming for the best compromise in power and in weight. Yamaha decided for a ‘no-compromise’ approach. The development team were given 3 clear targets: to make the highest power, the lowest weight and the most compact dimensions.
What Yamaha’s engineers created was a new 998cc engine featuring a 5-valve design, big-bore 40mm downdraft carburettors and 4 into 1 exhaust featuring Yamaha’s EXUP system for improved midrange (which the first generation R1 was famous for).
The compression ratio was 11.8 to 1 with a bore and stroke of 74 x 58 mm. The cylinder and crankcase were designed in 1 piece which was lighter and stronger than the conventional ‘bolted’ designs. The complete engine was designed to be a stressed member in the latest generation aluminium Deltabox frame.
The engine featured a revolutionary new tri-axis design where the crankshaft, drive shaft and main shaft are not arranged in a horizontal line (as normal) but in a triangular layout so that the overall engine build could be much shorter.
This more compact engine design enabled a layout with a very short wheelbase (1395mm) for excellent handling, combined with a very long swingarm which is beneficial for traction and stability. This layout structure is still up to date today, and many competitors have followed this development.
In 1999 the R1 received new colouring and graphics to remain current and up-to-date.
The model update in 2000 was aimed at improving the handling and creating a more linear throttle response. Using the same basic components and layout the engineers fine-tuned many details to maximise the potential of the motorcycle. The most noticeable detail changes were the modified carburettor settings, reduced frictional losses in the engine, improved gearbox and many weight-saving changes throughout the model.
The silencer was changed to titanium and the bike’s bodywork was totally new.
Emissions were reduced in accordance to EU-1 regulations by an air intake system (AIS). Total weight was reduced to 175 kg.
2009 R1: Engine with uneven firing order
YZF-R1: State Of The Art Race Technology
The fifth generation R1: Precision Engineering
YZF-R1 Third generation: The real stuff
R1: A closer look at engineering details
R1 The world is a curve: Cornering that's what supersport is all about!
R1 and R6: The top class supersport machines
R1- How it all started