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could you ride a motogp bike?

o i t c se u need

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best go 19% kwak faster ever for ÂŁ50



2009 usa $8.95

24 bikes oNe wiNNer we tested

and found

...a 16,000-mile honda


all the best new and used sportsbikes rated

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20/1/09 18:21:31

Caterham v Yamaha 2008 YAMAHA R6 PRICE £7495 ENGINE 599cc inline four POWER (CLAIMED) 127bhp@14,500rpm TORQUE,000rpm WEIGHT 194kg FRONT SUSPENSION 41mm telescopic forks REAR SUSPENSION Monoshock, fully adj RAKE/TRAIL 24°/97mm WHEELBASE 1380mm FRONT BRAKE 2 x 310mm discs with four-piston calipers PB LIKES Handling, feel, build PB DOESN’T LIKE You can fall off it

000 006

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Yamaha R1

Yamaha have made plenty of noise about the new R1’s MotoGP breeding. The bike makes lots of MotoGP-type noises, too

enter the growler* r1. is this a new dawn for performance motorcycling? woRds roland brown Pics yamaha



PRICE £9999 ENGINE 998cc 16-valve four BORE X STROKE 78 x 52.2mm POWER (CLAIMED) 179bhp @ 12,500rpm TORQUE (CLAIMED) 85lb.ft @ 10,000rpm FRONT SUSPENSION 43mm usd forks, fully-adjustable REAR SUSPENSION monoshock, fully-adjustable RAKE/TRAIL 24 degrees/102mm WHEELBASE 1415mm WET WEIGHT (CLAIMED) 206kg (incl full fuel tank) FUEL CAPACITY 18 litres

*Stop sniggering at the back. If you know something funny share it with the rest of the class. We say ‘growler’ as opposed to ‘screamer’. STOP sniggering!

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22/1/09 08:02:41

no doubting Yamaha’s commitment to refining the company flagship. Bodywork is all new, incorporating more effective air intakes plus the pair of tiny headlights, both of which now stay illuminated on main and dip beam. The chassis is new, too, with a redesigned frame and swingarm, both of which use a combination of castings and pressed aluminium sections for an optimum balance of rigidity. The frame’s castings at steering head and swing-arm pivot are highly stiff, while the linking sections are more rigid vertically but less so laterally than their predecessors, to improve feedback. Geometry is tweaked by moving the engine forward by 8.2mm, and tilting it backwards by nine degrees to sit more vertically. The result is a slightly more forward biased weight distribution. Other chassis changes include new suspension at both ends, including a shock with rising-rate linkage below, in M1 style. This makes room for a slightly shorter, lower fuel tank for better mass centralisation.

Selected mode, gear and throttle position all shown here Painted lady


Engine capacity remains 998cc but the 16valve unit, already the most oversquare of the litre-class fours, gets 1mm wider pistons that bring dimensions to 78 x 52.2mm. As before, electronics include Yamaha’s YCC-I ride-bywire throttle control and YCC-T variable intake trumpets. Now, though, the rider can choose from three YCC-T maps. Selecting A mode sharpens the throttle response from standard; B softens it while reducing peak power by 6bhp. Claimed max output is 179bhp at 12,500rpm, 2bhp up on last year’s R1. Mostly, though, the new engine is all about that crankshaft – which introduced itself the moment I fired up the R1 in the Eastern Creek pit lane. From the cockpit Yamaha’s great white shark looked and felt much like previous versions – but the deep bark from those high-level pipes was almost V4like and totally different to any previous straight-four production bike. Whether it’s nicer is another matter: if all fours sounded like this, I suspect we’d be raving about the higher-pitched alternative of a ‘screamer’. But the Yam’s unique racket definitely makes it special. And it didn’t take many laps of Eastern Creek to discover that the engine feels special too. Throttle response was notably immediate, even after the excellent fuelling of previous R1s. The change wasn’t so obvious that I’d have suspected something radical was going on inside the engine if I didn’t know – or hadn’t been able to hear the strange, offbeat bark under acceleration. But the new Yamaha responded to throttle movement with a precision that made its midrange performance magically easy to access.

Ram air enters alongside projector lights

‘yamaha have plenty of evidence to back up the crossplane’ FOLLOWING THE M1 FORMAT

Its radical crankshaft is the most important of a long list of new features that make this the most comprehensive update since the original 150-horse R1 blew everything off the road in 1998. Redesigning the crank so its journals are placed every 90 degrees, instead of in 180-degree pairs like a normal inline four’s, doesn’t just give a raspy sound like Rossi’s YZR-M1. The configuration also gets rid of unwanted ‘torque noise’ that interferes with a rider’s throttle control. Or so Yamaha say. And having dominated MotoGP pretty much since Valentino and the crossplane M1 arrived together for the 2004 season, they have got plenty of evidence to back it up. Now we mortals can sample crossplane technology, in a thoroughly revamped R1 whose angular look remains, slightly scrunched up but still unmistakable from its bulging projector-beam eyeballs all the way to the shorter, fatter silencers at its kicked-up rear end. The white bike’s red-anodised frame and swingarm might be a bling step too far (the alternative blue- and-black-painted bikes have conventional black alloy bits) but there’s

Looks like part of the bellypan’s missing... No change to the brakes. None needed


Getting out of corners fast is always good news, and the R1 certainly did that. It catapulted towards its 13,750rpm redline through the slick-shifting gearbox, punching so hard that I had trouble deciding which ratio was best for some bends. The acceleration from 8000rpm upwards made the bike feel stronger than last year’s, though it’s Ó Ó Ó


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22/1/09 08:03:27

modeRn legend words ben miller Pics paul bryant

Honda’s sP-1 tHe HRC HeRo you Can affoRd

With RC30s and 45s gone stratospheric there’s still a way to get some HRC-stamped magnesium in your shed. The time is now to invest in an SP-1. Harris stands at the ready...


igh in a glittering tokyo skyscraper well over a decade ago there occurred one mother of a board meeting. across a vast glass table the two sides, equal in number and in the strength of their convictions, faced each other in a moody half-light. above the hum of the building’s fantastically complex air-conditioning system the chaos of tokyo’s traffic was barely audible, the only noise the occasional clank of glass on glass as another suit set down his tumbler after slaking his parched throat.

When both sides had put forward their case, the time came for the final decision. You could cut the atmosphere with a camshaft. ‘Gentlemen, we have heard both sides of the argument. You have read the engineering and HRC reports. And we all know the score – five-one to the Italians in six years. The talking must now stop. The winning must begin. Gentlemen, the replacement for the V4 RC45 will be a V-twin, the VTR1000 SP-1.’ In the wider world the fallout of that decision was the talk of dealer showrooms, race paddocks and pub bars long before the bike it would sire emerged. ‘Honda build a Ducati,’ quipped the early headlines, complete with wide-of-themark sketches of a tricked-up Firestorm. They should have known better. An awful lot of corporate pride may have been swallowed with the move away from Honda’s beloved V4 engine configuration, but that only made the firm    070 070

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22/1/09 16:22:59

Down a dark alley. Just where you’d expect to find a menacing, uncompromising thug


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22/1/09 10:47:42

PB Projects

PB Project Bikes 2009 words & pics pb team


01 sUZUki GsX-r750Wt srAD owner Scott Redmond Bought for £950 in 2008 Mission statement glory on a budget Budget £400, zero contingency fund and a chequebook of favours ready to be cashed. You know who you are Deadline In time for the first race in April chances of the above actually happening 7/10 02 sUZUki rG500 GAMMA owner Ben Wilkins Bought for £500 in 2003 Mission statement After an off at cadwell, the nose cone and right fairing panel need repainting. The forks need attention too.They need springs and the oil level playing with. Then there’s the dragging clutch… Budget £300 Deadline july 2009 chances of the above actually happening 7/10 03 kAWAsAki ZXr750r (k1) owner john McAvoy Bought for £1500 in 2006 Mission statement To right the wrongs of the bike’s previous, tasteless owners, breathe life back into the jaded chassis and

engine and sprinkle it with some modern technology Budget Less than £1000 Deadline Before the clocks go back in October. Probably chances of the above actually happening 9/10. I won’t let the PB readers down. This is the kick up the arse I need

dash around Europe chances of the above actually happening 9/10

08 sUZUki t500 owner Ben Wilkins Bought for £175 in 2008 Mission statement To build a 500cc, two-stroke twin café racer. I bought the engine off eBay but need to scrounge the rest of the bits. So far I have an engine, a collection of metal and a vision… Budget £0 Deadline jan, er, 2010? chances of the above actually happening 2/10

09 kAWAsAki kr-1s owner Tim Thompson Bought for £2500 in 1990 06 sUZUki rG250 GAMMA Mission statement To find Mki, jAP iMPort another five horsepower, overhaul owner Kar Lee the brakes and the leaking cooling Bought for £900 in April 2008 system, and to eliminate midMission statement To get it corner fork chatter through an MoT. Brakes are seized, Budget £500 04 HoNDA cBr600Fs it won’t start and the chain and Deadline Early summer... or owner Ben Wilkins sprockets are shot I miss all the fun Bought for £500 in 2008 Budget £500. half the value of it, chances of the above Mission statement To get this but it’s got to be right actually happening 7/10 ex-Wilco zeelenberg Dutch Deadline Needs to be running by championship-winning cBR600 mid-summer. This year 10 cAGivA Mito/cr500 up and running again. Possibly chances of it happening 6/10. owner Matt Wildee the ultimate 600 for a PB 90s I’ve fitted new tyres and a battery, Bought for £350 in 2007 trackday? which is now flat again Mission statement To finish Budget £600 (including tyres) the bloody thing. The project Deadline April 2009 for a spring 07 sUZUki GsX-r750H started off brilliantly and then trackday run owner Matt Wildee stalled. Last year it sat in Oc’s chances of the above Bought for £950 in 2008 shed while he worked on his twoactually happening 10/10 Mission statement To make it storey Wendy house-build (that’s fit for fast riding. I want to sort the true). It WILL be finished though. 05 APriLiA FALco sL1000 suspension and brakes, ThEN Some parts are so beautiful it owner Ben Wilkins worry about making it shiny brings a tear to my eye. can you Bought for £6500 in 2000 Budget £500 be in love with a subframe? I can. Mission statement To improve Deadline I want to ride it at the Budget I’ve just paid off my the midrange fuelling. It has july Folembray trackday I rode the Mastercard... aftermarket cans and a chip R6 to last year. Deadline I want a runner by April. already, so it needs optimising chances of the above I just haven’t decided in which with a Power commander. gonna actually happening 5/10. I’ve year yet. try to fuel it myself initially to save plenty on my hands with the Mito, chances of the above the cost of a custom map and the gSx-R is already a good actually happening 8/10. The Budget £300 ride for a 22-year-old bike. Then bike’s at gibson Exhausts at the Deadline Definitely by july 2009 again, just a suspension rebuild moment having a colossal one-off for my week’s annual balls-out and a shock would make it brilliant pipe made. Read more soon

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See over the page for more on the PB SRAD












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Performance Bikes March 2009 sampler