Mike Stevens | Sep 12, 2008

Yamaha has unveiled the 2009 YZF-R1—or simply the R1 to the likes of you and I—and the news garnering most attention is the addition of a crossplane crankshaft.

The R1, since its introduction in 1998, has generally seen significant updates every two years, and the 2009 model is no exception to this rule. If anything, the new R1 is worth two updates.

How so?

Yamaha is the first motorcycle company to implement its modified firing order technology—previously only seen in MotoGP bikes—in street bikes. The crossplane crankshaft uses a staggered layout, with each crank pin placed 90° to the previous rod in the order. Yamaha says the resultant firing order delivers higher RPM power similar to an inline-four, while maintaining the smooth powerband of the two-cylinder engine.

2009-r2_01

To assist the crossplane crankshaft's transition into a street bike, an advanced ECU individually maps each cylinder's ignition and fuel injection timing.

The 2009 R1 also features D-Mode variable throttle control, allowing the rider to adjust performance characteristics to suit the riding conditions and their intentions. Standard mode is mapped for optimum performance, however the rider can also select from A Mode for sportier response low to mid-speed range, and B Mode for subtler response in situations that demand sensitive throttle work.

2009-r3_01

Handling is improved by a new, more advanced chassis. Control filled die-cast frame rails are used to balance high vertical rigidity with low lateral rigidity, enabling increased stability in cornering and high speed stability.

The most striking visual change to the 2009 R1 is the twin project beam headlights, sitting free of any sort of lens covering. Directly above and behind each light are the forced air intake ducts, which by being integrated with the overall headlight design, allows for a smoother form in design.

Follow Mike Stevens on Google+