Avid riders can be a notch closer to the real deal next month. After its introduction of the YZR-M1 WGP50th Anniversary Edition in June on MotoGP's Assen circuit, Yamaha will be delivering the same historic livery design to its flagship street racer, the 2012 YZF-R1 motorcycle. Covered in the unique red and white motif, plus a special 50th anniversary badge, the limited edition celebrates Yamaha's very first entry to the World Championship Grand Prix back in 1961. The 50th anniversary color scheme is also available in Yamaha's YZF-R6, YZF-R125, FZ8, and other models, but with its consecutive wins as the American Superbike Championships, the YZF-R1 is by far the most desirable. It isn't all cosmetics though. Power comes in the form of a 998cc inline 4-cylinder 4-valve DOHC, a product from Yamaha's MotoGP experiences. Another is the new Traction Control System. Gained from feed backs of its MotoGP riders, the 2012 edition includes a 7-level traction control system, a necessity for extreme cornering. Limited to 2000 units only, each of the YZF-R1 World GP 50th Anniversary Edition will be individually numbered and badged, all set for launch next month with a retail price of $14,490 US
2012 YZF-R1 50th Anniversary Edition: ULTIMATE CONTROL
For the 2012 season Yamaha will introduce an uprated YZF-R1 50th Anniversary Edition featuring a range of important MotoGP inspired engine and chassis changes which are designed to elevate the performance and enjoyment of this unique race-proven motorcycle to another level.
Since its launch the latest-generation R1 has set new standards for engine and chassis performance on the road and track, winning the World Superbike Championship at its first attempt in 2009 with Ben Spies. In the 2011 WSB season Yamaha's race-winning factory YZF-R1 50th Anniversary Edition Superbikes have proved to be amongst the fastest and best-handling 1000cc machines, and in many National Superbike and Production race series around the world, the R1 is the machine of choice for front-running racers.
Powered by a 998cc in-line 4-cylinder engine equipped with an innovative crossplane crankshaft, the latest-generation R1 delivers a truly special blend of linear power combined with superior traction and outstanding cornering performance.
Unlike conventional 180º - 180º - 180º - 180º crankshaft designs - which feature con rods and pistons moving up and down in pairs - the R1's crossplane crankshaft features an uneven 270° - 180° - 90° - 180° firing interval which gives each piston and con rod its own individual and separate movement. The combination of an asymmetric firing sequence with the staggered con rod layout makes for a stronger low to mid-range pulse, as well as a more linear torque output for higher traction - and as a bonus the rider can enjoy a truly unique exhaust note!
On the road or track the R1 rewards the rider like no other large-capacity supersport machine, and for even more highly purified excitement the 2012 R1 is equipped with an advanced Traction Control System (TCS) for wider ranging controllability in a variety of conditions. As every rider knows, a feeling of total confidence in your machine's abilities is one of the most important qualities that any bike can offer, and the new TCS inspires a high level of trust in the new R1's roadholding performance. By monitoring and controlling rear wheel spin, the new TCS creates a special bond between the rider and machine, enabling the owner to exploit the enormous potential of this outstanding motorcycle.
In addition to the new TCS, the latest R1 benefits from an optimised engine control unit for improved corner exits and stronger low to mid-range performance.
A reshaped front cowl enhances the bike's pure race-bred looks, while a newly-designed YZR-M1 style handlebar crown and reshaped footrests make for an even greater feeling of rider-machine unity.
New 6-mode Traction Control System For the 2012 season the R1 is equipped with an advanced new 6-mode TCS (Traction Control System) which has been developed using feedback gained from the winning Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP racer.
The new Yamaha TCS constantly monitors sensors in the front and rear wheels, and when any rear wheel spinning is detected the system alerts the ECU which instantaneously adjusts the degree of throttle opening, fuel injection volume and ignition timing. With six settings plus an 'off' mode, the R1's new TCS can be adjusted to suit differing rider requirements, as well as a wide range of surface and weather conditions - and when used in association with the existing three-mode Variable Map Function, the 2012 R1 offers a total of twenty-one engine set-up options.
The R1's crossplane crankshaft engine has already established an enviable reputation for its high levels of linear torque output, and the addition of the new MotoGP-developed TCS allows the rider to exploit the bike's already high levels of traction to an even greater degree. The benefits of the new TCS are particularly evident on winding roads, where the new system enables and encourages performance-minded riders to bring out the full performance of this remarkable motorcycle.
As well as enjoying their bikes on the public highway, a significant proportion of R1 owners are also exploring the bike's potential in the controlled environment of race circuits, and it is on the track that the TCS gives a real quantifiable advantage. By fine-tuning the system to suit the prevailing conditions, R1 riders can optimise the bike's linear torque characteristics and are able to push harder on the circuit for improved lap times. As well as the undoubted technical advantages it offers, the R1's TCS is also designed to reinforce confidence, allowing the rider to perform at an even higher level on the circuit.
Optimised ECU In order to achieve a new level of driveability, the 2012 R1 also benefits from the fitment of a new re-mapped ECU. The revised mapping covers the degree of throttle opening for the YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle), as well as the fuel injection volume and the ignition timing functions. These changes to the ECU improve low to mid-range controllability and out-of-the-hole performance - which, in the real world, equates to stronger acceleration when powering out of slow corners, and better roll-on acceleration when overtaking.
New YZR-M1 style handlebar crown Another YZR-M1 inspired feature on the 2012 R1 is its new handlebar crown, which is based on the design featured on the Yamaha MotoGP factory race bike. Manufactured from gravity-cast aluminium, this high-specification component underlines the machine's quality feel and appearance.
Also new is the special relief pattern cast into the handlebar crown's back face, which helps deliver an outstanding balance of rigidity to complement the handling characteristics of the compact short-wheelbase chassis.
Newly-designed footrests For 2012 the footrests have been redesigned, and they now feature a modified tread pattern of cast aluminium protrusions which deliver improved feel and fit. This revised design enables the rider to shift their feet easily and quickly for more efficient body weight transfer when cornering.
New-look low-drag front cowl A new-look front cowl is introduced for 2012, and as well as giving the R1 a more menacing 'glare', the latest low-frontal-area design offers improved aerodynamics. Compared to the existing model, the section beneath the two 'eyes' of the headlights has been opened, and a sharper line is created above the 'eyes'.
The central nose portion of the cowl sits higher than the existing model, and the surfaces either side of the nose portion have been reshaped. Although relatively subtle, the combined effect of these changes is to refresh the face of the 2012 R1, while at the same time reducing drag.
LED position lamps and linear illumination The new cowl is equipped with LED position lamps, and a new reflective finish is incorporated in the lower edge of the twin headlight assemblies to give an 'eye line' illumination effect when the position lamps are on. Together with the newly designed cowl, this linear illumination makes for a dramatic look, especially during night time riding.
Hexagonal silencer tail caps The latest R1 benefits from new hexagonal silencer tail caps for an even sharper and lightweight look, while new protectors fit tightly around the silencers to give a more compact looking tail.
2012 YZF-R1 50th Anniversary Edition Technical Highlights
* MotoGP-developed 998cc liquid-cooled inline 4-cylinder 4-valve DOHC * Crossplane crankshaft with uneven 270º-180º-90º-180º firing interval * Linear torque output for high levels of traction * New 6-mode MotoGP-developed Traction Control System (TCS) * New ECU with revised mapping * YCC-I (Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake) * YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle) * 3-position D-mode Map * Short-wheelbase aluminium Deltabox frame * Idealised balance of rigidity * Restyled low-drag front cowl * LED position lamps with linear illumination * New M1-style handlebar crown * Redesigned footrests * Hexagonal silencer tail caps