From the desk of John Burns:
Alrighty then, I swang by Yamaha USA's lavish digs on the way in to MO HQ this morning, where I had the not-to-be-taken-for-granted pleasure of trading an '01 R1 for the long-awaited '02 version, with no monetary transaction needed. Such a deal.Riding along the freeway in light traffic, it became shortly apparent that this Yamaha is considerably quicker than a really expensive-looking BMW 850 automobile.
With 280 miles showing on the odometer, we wasted little time lashing the silvery beast upon the Dynojet 250 for a quick pull; I'm thinking 140 horsies easy, thing feels a lot snappier than the old bike...
Don't you hate when somebody drops a fact in your lap that contradicts your preconceptions? Or a dyno chart? This one makes 138.9 horses at 11,200 rpm--just four more more than the '01 bike--and 75.7 foot-pounds of torque at 8,300 rpm, five more foot pounds than the old one. It feels like more.
What gives? Simple, really, as Mike Cory at Dynojet kindly explained: it's all about the throttle response. Peak horsepower numbers between two bikes can be exactly the same, but if one bike has better throttle response, it'll get around the track (or down the street, of course) faster.
In the same way, two bikes with the same peak power and the same drag will reach the same top speed--but the one with the better throttle response will get to that top speed quicker.
Well then, I think we can safely say that the Yamaha men have come up with probably the best FI we've ever sampled on a motorcycle--as smooth in take-up as a perfectly carbureted bike, but with instantaneous snap that makes wheelying home, I mean back to the office, from lunch even easier. Who wants to mess with a clutch after a heavy Mexican nosh?
Also, where the '01 bike could get a little buzzy at 6000 rpm and 90-some mph cruising speed, the new bike hits some sort of Harmonic Convergence with the Universe and goes eerie smooth. So far, we like it. Stand by for the Superbike comparo, coming up as soon as Honda gives up a CBR954RR.