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2012 R1 Receives Traction Control and Cosmetic Updates

The YZF-R1 that Ben Spies rode to the WSB title a few years ago is getting a sophisticated seven-level traction control system for 2012.  Yamaha has also tweaked the ECU settings to improve driveability from low and mid-range rpm levels.  The engine is otherwise unchanged.

Cosmetic changes for 2012 include a new headlight cowl and LED position lights up front, along with new silencer heat guards and end caps out back.

The top triple clamp has been redesigned based on the YZR-M1 MotoGP bike.  Like the 2012 R6, the R1 will be available in a World GP 50th Anniversary Edition paint scheme (pictured below).  Visit Yamaha’s web site for all the details on this model and other 2012 street motorcycles.

48 Comments

  1. Norm G. says:

    to help you guys better frame this bike in the context of the 8 recent titles (count ‘em 8) from which this bike is born, here’s a link to the new yamaha vid of spies and the 2012 at parcmotor in catalunya. i believe BMW held one of their debuts of the S1000 here…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vg70r41iCI

    while the R1 might not be the king of the dyno, there’s probably something to be said for the fact the average consumer CAN’T ride like rossi, lorenzo, spies, hayes, or camier either…?

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  2. mark says:

    Sorry Norm. My previous post was not meant as a reply.

    Just a point to the R1 exhaust nay sayers. It’s funny to hear people complain about the R1 stock exhaust style. If you roll with stock exhaust on any high performance sportbike, you have no style. I remember when the 929′s from Honda came out. Then I saw the stock exhaust in person. I started laughing at the artillery cannon on the side of the bike. Stock exhaust is always the first upgrade for my bikes. Then the chip, next the…

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  3. billy says:

    Monsterduc, there really isn’t forward thinking like you are thinking anyway. You’re kind of stuck in the nineties if you think the manufacturers will/can move the ball forward twenty yards every few years.

    How about the crank for forward thinking? Ride one hard with pipes. The sound is quite unique. Maybe similar to the RC45 and not unlike a v-twin down low.

    The new R1 is light on it’s feet if not in the garage. Also it is dead smooth. I mean so smooth I sometimes forgot to shift higher than fourth until I glanced at the rev counter. This is a desirable trait in a street bike. For resale value and build quality I can not even consider the Suzi or Kawi. So that only leaves the CBR or R1 to me.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “How about the crank for forward thinking?”

      trickle down directly from motogp and VR46. perhaps even moreso than the D16RR. first ever crossplane (bigbang) engine, ti valves, 6 piston radial calipers, variable throttle bodies, ride-by-wire, 7 step TC, VR46 flex clamp, slipper clutch, soqi forks with seperated compression/rebound. dripping with tech and can be bought for waaaayyy less than $25 grand homologation specials of old…? i’m sold.

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  4. Joey Wilson says:

    Yamaha lost several billion dollars just a few years ago. They’ve endured that horrible earthquake. They’ve walked away from AMA and now WSB for next year. Graves has become their ‘outsourced’ AMA team (Congrats on the nail-biter at New Jersey!), similar to the arrangement whereby Suzuki has ‘outsourced’ their AMA effort to Yoshimura.

    So the stimulus and the economic conditions to keep these kinds of rides on the frenetic every-three-year new-bike-replacement schedule is just over. These are WELL beyond what any normal rider can use on the street, and how many racers can they get to justify the ‘arms race’ of development when they’ve exited the two biggest production race series in the world?

    For me, Kawasaki seems to be riding the smartest path: Make limited numbers of the ZX-10 for the hard core and racers, and use lots of that technology (and pay for your R+D and tooling) in the faired and naked 1000cc Ninjas for the rest of us who just can’t justify a personal cruie missle, while the ZX-10 is there for the truly talented and AMA duty.

    And yeah . . . . the Anniversary paint scheme is birchin’, but iw would have been way cooler with a red frame / wheels to match.

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  5. billy says:

    I disagree too.

    I mean have you guys ridden one or even seen one in person?

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    • monsterduc1000 says:

      Never ridden one, but I have sat on and stared at them in disbelief (or should that be disgust) at bike shows. Every r1 was gorgeous and top or near the top of the class before this iteration.Check out some sport bike reviews and forums for user opinions and you will read that it is an underwhelming bike when you swap out from the other modern day super bikes.

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  6. Roland R. says:

    I disagree with some of the previous comments on aesthetics. I do agree that it has a porky look and physically probably weighs more than the competitors, but, the look is different and menacing. I would’ve liked to see the R6 style treatment on the R1. The glory days of two year updates are over!

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  7. monsterduc1000 says:

    WOW! I was hoping for an update to the forward thinking r1′s of the past. They always used to be sexy, fitted with cutting edge tech, tons of power and low weight. Now they are back of the pack with the ugliest, heaviest bike of bunch for 3 years running!

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  8. Gutterslob says:

    As a long time Yamaha man, I’m truly disappointed.

    I guess it’s true that Japanese industry is dying a slow, painful death. Post-Soichiro Honda is a shadow of its former self (Soichiro would have bankrupted the company to stay in 1, but they would have won everything for sure), and Yamah looks he same. Run by fat bankers instead of engineers.

    Sad times, these. :(

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  9. Justyn says:

    Traction control but no ABS? I thought the whole purpose of the big bang motor was that it was easier to control?

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  10. ROXX says:

    Exhaust = Horrible
    Fairing = Hideous

    That fairing, to me has always looked like the missing eyes that should go on top of the awful, stupid smiley face Mazda 3.

    Come on Yamaha, you can do so much better.

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    • Ruefus says:

      “Pretty” is not a word I would use. Like all the other race-reps out there, they exist as a platform for production racing.

      If I’m racing – I don’t care if it looks like a shoebox on an old metal roller-skate. If it gets me around the track faster than everyone else…..I’ll take two. :)

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      • vince says:

        I agree Ruefus: while it is as heavy as the Aprilia RSV4 ( the R1 and the std RSV4 both weigh 473 lbs full of gas, roughly 13 to 34 lbs more than the competition), when the R1 is race kitted it works as good as the competition. The results of Melandri, Josh Hayes, Ben Spies in 09, and even Laverty are proof of that.

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      • ROXX says:

        Funny Ruefus, you say ‘style’ doesn’t matter but in your post below you just got done talking about how ‘style’ (cruisers) is what sells.
        Re-read my post, it says nothing about the function of this bike.
        I, as many others on this blog, have stated that the exhaust and the fairing are ‘ugly’.
        I do believe it’s a good bike. I was totally rooting for Ben to win that WSKB title on board the R1.

        I am an artist and designer for a living, and when I look at the styling, it just doesn’t do it for me.
        Apparently I’m not the only one.

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        • Norm G. says:

          re: “I am an artist and designer for a living, and when I look at the styling, it just doesn’t do it for me. Apparently I’m not the only one.”

          all part of the tuning fork’s clever ruse. :) dare i say the “999 effect” has now become a deliberate part of the design repetoire. they clearly lead with the engine on this one. so by releasing a heinous exterior for a few model years, it reignites appreciation when they debut a new, sexy version. in a year or 2 we’ll all be singing their praises like it’s the second coming (ref. 1098). meanwhile, yamaha’s actually been playing us like a fiddle. the jig is up. they’re wise to us and our devauling measures. this is the counter measure.

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    • vince says:

      I bought one in 09 simply because I was enamored with the sound Rossi’s M1 made. And I’ve never been happier with a bike ( riding for 32 years). The motor is simply divine! I have put 26,000 miles on it and I could see myself riding it forever. The engine is so smooth and free revving that is feels like it has weightless internals. But I’ve never been enamored with the underseat pipes ( had an 06 too). It costs way too much $$$ for slip ons. My jacket smells of exhaust on a long ride. And I don’t think my 09 is the prettiest looking but I can’t see how it looks when I’m riding it. And riding it gives me so much pleasure that I would buy another in a heartbeat!

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  11. Ruefus says:

    The profit is not found in these bikes. Think about it. Where’s the money?

    Develop a full-race bred, super-duper best-in-class sport bike and charge $13,500. You’ll sell a handful because of insurance, total cost and the fact that it’s a very extreme unit with curb appeal, but not real-world daily-rider appeal.

    OR

    Continue cashing in on cruisers. Sell a ton of V-Star 1100′s for 9200 bucks where the development was paid for over a decade ago and your grandma could ride it?

    At the end of the day – these companies are in business for profit. If trikes with pink polkadots sell well and pay the bills……guess what gets built?

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  12. Gary says:

    That is the dumbest, heaviest looking exhaust I ever seen. Might work on a Triumph hooligan, but not on a sportbike. Just the looks of this thing discourages me on it. Sorry Yamaha.

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  13. LD says:

    I still think Yamaha should go back to the traditional exhaust (bottom) layout for the R1 like Honda have done with their Firblade.
    The R1 rear end just looks so cluttered unlike the racy skinny M1′s rear.

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    • MikeD says:

      I would rather go completely under belly, nothing sticking to the side or burning your legs or bottom…lower a good bit that cluttered(as u said) tail and KILL – RIP OUT – BURN those HIDEOUS Headlights and Ram Air Ducts.

      The 04-08 front end was so much cleaner,simpler and a Ton less Wacked Out than this 09-12 Gen.

      And loose some LBS on the process…she’s the porkiest of the 1ks if im not mistaken.

      TCS,ABS and all the other latest Farkles are nice to have but not essential…

      On the note of TCS, i didn’t see a ring and sensor on the back wheel…could they have used the speed sensor signal as a rear wheel “ring-sensor combo” replacement ?
      ABS is not that far from there…it wouldn’t have hurt to slap it along too…after all, if im not mistaken both ABS & TCS share the same sensors.

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      • billy says:

        I think that’s what he meant. Although I would say the “traditional” exhaust is the type found on the original ’98 R1.

        I rode a 2011 last Sunday that had about 300 miles on it and I can tell you the stock exhaust absolutely cooks the whole seat unit. Very uncomfortable, at least for summer use. As much as I like the bike that could not be ignored.

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        • vince says:

          In colder climates, that underseat exhaust never is an issue. I’ve never noticed it. However for California, etc it must be a problem because the magazines always mention the Yami and Ducati as bun toasters.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I still think Yamaha should go back to the traditional exhaust (bottom) layout for the R1 like Honda have done with their Firblade. The R1 rear end just looks so cluttered”

      but remember, it was all us SAME guys who clamored ad-nauseam for yamaha to move the pipes under the tail in model year ’04…! and now we’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater. LOL trust me, it was all the forum chatter back in ’02/’03. i’ve always thunk it ridiculous and something best left to ducati.

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  14. dino says:

    I also love the 600′s anniversary red scheme! Sometimes less is more, compared to the R1 and its odd graphics on the fairing panel…

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  15. brinskee says:

    What a fantastic paint scheme that World GP 50th Anniversary Red is! Looks HOT!

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  16. George says:

    I know we aren’t in great financial times however manufactures aren’t going to boost slow sales with new stickers. I had hoped to see a reworked R1 that would resemble the MotoGP bike.

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    • vince says:

      It has more than new stickers. It has traction control. Granted it doesn’t look much newer but
      remember Suzuki didn’t even import any bikes in 2010. We can’t expect new litre bikes
      as often as before. I look forward to trying the new R 1!

      PS I agree with you George. I also wish the new R1 looked more
      like the M1. If anyone from Yamaha is reading…For 2013??!!

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      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I also wish the new R1 looked more like the M1. If anyone from Yamaha is reading…For 2013??!!”

        no worries, it will. but yamaha knows us better than we know ourselves. rest assured that design ALREADY exists. they don’t have to be told to create that. however, they know we will only “devalue” it in short order. so instead, they spoon feed us just the crossplane engine technology first (put that in our proverbial pipes to smoke) and then after 4 model years they “bring sexy back” in 2013 wrapping the bike in a silouette that resembles the M1. while they could’ve certainly done it back in ’09, for our own good, the good of their internal timeline, and the competition from the other manufacturers, we can’t be given all that at once. remember, our ranks are mostly home depot vs. lowes grade “consumers” now, not the classic appreciative and thankful “motorcyclists” of yore. well some of us still are.

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    • MikeD says:

      Just what i was thinking. If/when the industry hit A rebound those with the strongest/fresher/most technologicaly advanced and diverse line up will rebound even harder (KAWASAKI,BMW & TRIUMPH ANYONE ?).
      Just because the economy is in the Toilet and some of your rival OEMs too u can’t just seat around, hold up, strangle and choke the new models Pipe Line and hope for the best.
      This won’t help or make things better.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I had hoped to see a reworked R1 that would resemble the MotoGP bike.”

      request denied. calling no joy, return to base. bike debuted with M.Y. ’09 and were on a 4yr cycle so the standard mid-life update is all we’re getting.

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      • mark says:

        Traction control on a high performance street legal bike is worthless. Let me break this down. 95% of street sport bike riders have huge chicken strips on their tires. If you need traction control when your going straight you either have zero throttle control or burn-outs are against your religion. If you’re losing grip rolling on the throttle, exiting a turn, you’re either in the 5% that can benefit from traction control or the tires on your bike are trash. Out of that 5%, only .05% will put that traction control to proper use. The thing with the eligible .05% (pro racers)is, they will use their own traction control hardware/software, not Yamaha’s. Don’t oogle over TC.

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        • mark says:

          Sorry Norm. My previous post was not meant as a reply.

          Just a point to the exhaust nay sayers. It’s funny to hear people complain about
          the R1 stock exhaust style. If you roll with stock exhaust on any high
          performance sportbike, you have no style. I remember when the first 929′s from
          Honda came out. Then I saw the stock exhaust in person. I started laughing at
          the artillery cannon on the side of the bike. Stock exhaust is always the
          first upgrade to come my bikes. Then the chip, next the…

          Report this comment