Published on April 7th, 2015 | by Boris
2015 YAMAHA R1 – BORRIE THE CUSTODIAN – DAY FIVE
I have sequestered myself in my garage.
Like a mendicant monk.
But there’s a YZF-R1 in there with me and a quantity of beer, so it’s not so tedious.
The rain is teeming down. The gutters I cleaned yesterday are overflowing anyway.
I have left instructions that I am not to be disturbed.
There are important motorcycle matters to be attended to, and I cannot attend to them if I am needed to break up dog-fights.
If you don’t know, I have two bull terriers, and they tend to rambunctiousness when they’ve been inside a while. Sure, I can let them wrestle out in the rain – they certainly don’t mind – but then they bring their canine UFC into the house and the results make my wife more than a little crazy. That in turn impacts upon my quality of life. Thus it’s better if the beasts do battle inside where it’s dry.
So no, I am not riding the R1 today.
I am communing with its computer systems instead.
I feel a bit like Dave dealing with HAL in Kubrick’s iconic space film.
But I am brave. What could possibly go wrong? Hell, I can drive an iPhone…more or less. And if it all goes to shit, I have an 18-year-old son available. He’s like an IT department in that regard.
Essentially, what I have at my fingertips, and what I have been able to work out, is four modes – A, B, C and D. Each of these modes can have its acronyms adjusted. Thus traction control, slide control and power (and some other stuff) can be individually set – and then toggled to as required while on the fly.
Now I am a simple man. If you’re gonna give me sorcerous electronic options, then I would prefer Option One: “Piss off, I’m racing!”; Option Two: “Shut up, I’m commuting!”; and Option Three: “It’s raining and I must not die!”
The R1 is entirely programmable in that regard.
For example, select Mode A, then dial in the amount of Traction Control you think you need, add the amount of Slide Control you feel you can deal with, and then choose how much Power is appropriate. Or not appropriate, as the case may be. Then Go to Mode B and dial in other options. Then Mode C, etc. Hell, you can play with this for hours.
In short, with a few beers and some imagination, you can create four different R1s in one.
Happily, my Modes had all been pre-set by a helpful Yamaha tech, and I beheld his selections, deemed they were righteous, and opened another beer.
Then I sat and pondered the technological marvel that is the R1.
I have sat and pondered many bikes in many garages over many beers over the years.
It is a good thing to do.
Motorcycling has come far and in the time I have been riding. The 2015 R1 is the pointy end of a sword that is always being re-forged. As a track-bike, its stated and intended purpose, it is arguably peerless (I have not ridden the new Bimmer yet, so I cannot compare); but I do not race and my track days are few.
I will always look at any bike in terms of what it offers me in the real world. If you need to know what racers think of the R1, I am sure there will be many such views. I don’t, and never have. I do not ride like they do, nor do 99.9 per cent of motorcyclists.
In my world, technological wizardry is only welcome if it enhances my road-riding. I don’t give a shit what it does on the track. I want to know what it does when I’m chasing my lunatic mates up some deserted road, crazed with speed, with my heart in my mouth and my brain shitting output like an erupting volcano.
If it pleases the Road Gods to grant me some dry roads this week, then I might stand on the lip of that volcano and peer into it some.
I’ll let you know.