2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 | Preview

2012 Yamaha Motorcycle

In 2009, Yamaha widened the eyes of Superbike enthusiasts by offering its YZF-R1 with a MotoGP-derived cross-plane crankshaft, a feature that was designed with input from nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.

The R1 machine immediately began a powerful performance on circuits across America, the Team Graves Yamaha rider Josh Hayes taking second in the AMA Superbike Championship that year behind the now-retired Australian, Mat Mladin.

But Hayes wasn’t satisfied with second, and went on to take the 2010 and 2011 AMA Superbike Championship, showing the all-out prowess of the YZF-R1.

Sure, the bike was winning championships in AMA Pro Racing the last two years, but except for color choices, nothing drastically changed on the street machines that are offered to everyday riders.

That was until Yamaha unveiled the 2012 YZF-R1; the superbike is now offered with a seven-level Traction Control System (TCS), which was "developed specifically so the rider doesn’t feel any unnatural or harsh intervention from the system."

Yamaha says: "Coupled with a new ECU optimized for acceleration and controllability in the mid-to-low-speed range, as well as a the proven three-level D-Mode electronic throttle response control, 2012 R1 riders will have no less than 21 different choices available to tailor to their riding preference.

"The large choice of settings enables the R1’s TCS to compensate for subtle changes in the contact patch between the tire and the riding surface. In addition, because TCS results in less wheel spin, the system can aid in reducing tire wear."

But Yamaha didn’t stop there.

The revamped R1 took more from the MotoGP M1, including a redesigned top triple clamp, and a limited edition Pearl White/Rapid Red color scheme taking directly from the 50th Anniversary bikes used in 2011 MotoGP by Yamaha Factory Racing pilots Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies. The LE will feature a 50th Anniversary emblem on the top of the fuel tank, a specially engraved and numbered plate showing the production number of only 2000 bikes that will be produced worldwide in the commemorative colors, and gold Yamaha emblems.

The stock footpegs on the 2012 R1 have been revamped for better ergonomics and boot-sole contact.

And regarding aesthetics, the 2012 Yamaha R1 receives a "new upper fairing with a revised headlight cowl for more modern and aggressive styling, new LED position lights for a more menacing and distinctive look, and new hexagon-shaped muffler caps and heat shields for a sharper profile at the rear."

Besides the LE MotoGP edition, the R1 will be available in three base colors: Raven, Pearl White/Candy Red, and Team Yamaha Blue/White.

Followiong are the highlights, specs, color options and MSRP for the 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1.

2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Highlights:


  • Crossplane crankshaft technology proven in victory after victory on MotoGP® machines provides a high-tech uneven firing interval. Unlike typical inline-four engine design, where the two outer and two inner pistons move together in pairs with 180°intervals, the crossplane crankshaft has each connecting rod 90° with a unique firing order of 270° -180° – 90° – 180°. This overcomes the inherent fluctuations in inertial torque during each engine revolution, and the accompanying peaky torque characteristics. Instead, combustion torque continues to build, giving the rider more linear throttle response with awesome power and traction out of the corners.
  • To maximize rider comfort as well as power output, the engine adopts a coupling-type balancer that rotates in the opposite direction as the crankshaft.
  • This engine features forged aluminum pistons to take maximum advantage of the power characteristics. Titanium intake valves are lightweight.
  • A forced-air intake system is adopted to increase intake efficiency by using the natural airflow during riding to pressurize the air in the air box. This contributes to outstanding power delivery characteristics in the high-speed range, while the design also helps to minimize intake noise.
  • Slipper-type back torque-limiting clutch greatly facilitates braking/downshifting from high speed.
  • The exhaust system is meticulously designed to enhance engine output while, thanks to its three-way catalyst technology, also reducing exhaust emissions. The silencer is a single expansion type, and the sound coming through from the unique crossplanecrankshaft- equipped engine is unlike any other inline-four cylinder production supersport.
  • This fuel-injected engine takes full advantage of YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle), the MotoGP-inspired fly-by-wire technology used to deliver instant throttle response. There’s also YCC-I, Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake, the variable intake system that broadens the spread of power.
  • Have it your way, thanks to Yamaha D-MODE (or "Drive Mode") variable throttle control. There are three modes that control how YCC-T responds to throttle input from the rider. The selectable "A" mode puts more emphasis on engine response in low to midrange rpm. "B" mode, on the other hand, provides less sharp response to input for riding situations that require especially sensitive throttle operation. The standard map is designed for optimum overall performance. Selecting the map you want is as easy as pressing a button on the handlebars.


  • The frame has a combination of uncompromising rigidity where needed along with carefully achieved flex for the precise rigidity balance this bike needs to give the rider the full benefit of its handling and engine characteristics. It is a sophisticated combination of Controlled-Fill die-cast, stamping, and gravity casting… the exact technology needed for each portion of this advanced frame.
  • Front forks take a page from the championship-winning design of our MotoGP® weapon, the M1. Since both forks always move together, compression damping duties can be confined to the left fork, while rebound damping is precisely handled by the right fork, reducing oil cavitation.
  • The rear shock features both high and low speed compression damping plus an easy-to-use screw hydraulic adjustment for preload. This unit also adopts a pillow-ball-type joint for exceptional shock absorption, road hold feeling, and damper response. To achieve maximum performance, a bottom linkage is used to work with the rest of the chassis refinements for brilliant, crisp handling characteristics.
  • Factory racers get machines tailored to their preferences. Welcome to the club. R1 has adjustable footrests, with a 15mm height and 3mm front-to-rear adjustment.

Additional Features:

  • The instrumentation includes everything a rider wants to know, including gear position.

2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Specs:


  • Type: 998cc, liquid-cooled 4-stroke DOHC 16 valves (titanium intake valves)
  • Bore x Stroke:78.0mm X 52.2mm
  • Compression Ratio: 12.7:1
  • Fuel Delivery: Fuel Injection with YCC-T and YCC-I
  • Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
  • Transmission: 6-speed w/multiplate slipper clutch
  • Final Drive: 530 O-ring chain


  • Suspension / Front: 43mm inverted fork; fully adjustable, 4.7-in travel
  • Suspension / Rear: Single shock w/piggyback reservoir; 4-way adjustable, 4.7-in travel
  • Brakes / Front: Dual 310mm disc; radial-mount forged 6-piston calipers
  • Brakes / Rear: 220mm disc; single-piston caliper
  • Tires / Front: 120/70ZR17
  • Tires / Rear: 190/55ZR17


  • Length: 81.5 in
  • Width: 28.1 in
  • Height: 44.5 in
  • Seat Height: 32.8 in
  • Wheelbase: 55.7 in
  • Rake (Caster Angle): 24.0°
  • Trail: 4.0 in
  • Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gal
  • Fuel Economy: 33 mpg
  • Wet Weight: 454 lb


  • Primary Reduction Ratio 65/43 (1.512)
  • Secondary Reduction Ratio 47/17 (2.765)
  • Gear Ratio – 1st Gear 38/15 (2.533)
  • Gear Ratio – 2nd Gear 33/16 (2.063)
  • Gear Ratio – 3rd Gear 37/21 (1.762)
  • Gear Ratio – 4th Gear 35/23 (1.522)
  • Gear Ratio – 5th Gear 30/22 (1.364)
  • Gear Ratio – 6th Gear 33/26 (1.269)
  • Warranty 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)

2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Color Options/MSRP:

  • World GP 50th Anniversary – Pearl White/Rapid Red / $14,490
  • Pearl White/Candy Red / $14,190
  • Raven / $13,990
  • Team Yamaha Blue/White / $13,990

Available from October 2011