For almost two years I have been enjoying local canyons on a1999 Yamaha R1. This bike was purchased with all of 1700 miles on it, and not a flaw to be found. That was thanks in part to sitting in a hanger at Santa Monica Airport. A space rented by Nick Cage to the store many of his toys.
This bike was the latest and greatest in the late nineties. It had everything the competition had, and more. First released in 1998, Yamaha was out to give the fellow liter-bike contenders a run for their money. The big targets were Honda's CBR 900, and Suzuki's GSXR 1000. Boasting 127bhp at the rear wheel and a top speed of 186mph, it was the prime example of "kando", as Yamaha corporate calls it.
On top of the factory bells and whistles, this R1 assures smooth control with a Scott's steering dampener. Additional power and flow is accomplished via a Yoshimura Stage III exhaust, and jetting system. Stopping is made easier thanks to a Brembo brake upgrade and stainless steel lines front and rear. What more could one want... right?
This was number sixteen for street bikes I have owned, it quickly became my favorite. It didn't sit as low as my GSXR, but made up for it with power and performance. Even having said that, I felt the need to find a newer toy for my soon-to-be birthday.
Enter a deal on a beautiful 2008 Honda CBR 1000RR. But not just any RR, this one was bought new by Guy Webster for his own birthday. After only 1000 miles on the ticker, Guy decided to trade out for a Ducati. I don't blame him as I doubt I would ride such an aggressive bike one day over fifty!
I was happy to be the new proud owner of this modern day two-wheel rocket. Oh how things have changed in the past decade. The fuel injection is my favorite, followed by the electronic steering stabilizer and sipper clutch. Overall this bike just feels more refined than the R1. Yet theirs something amiss, something a little hard to explain.
I have owned newer bikes before and after the R1, but something makes me miss it so bad. I think it was the attraction to the rawness of a bike with synchronized carbs. Maybe it was the fact that you actually have to rev match your down shifts, not having the safety of a sipper clutch. It's nice to know that I don't need technology to help me ride well.
These two excellent examples of two-wheel utopia now sit side by side in my garage. The R1 has been sold to a fellow gearhead in Colorado. It will soon be transported to it's new home in the Rockies. Having family there, I'm glad I can visit someday.