The bike industry is finally bouncing back from the poor economy, as demonstrated by Yamaha's overhauled literbike. Manufacturers have been hesitant to update their catalogs, but the latest R1 should breathe some new life into struggling dealerships.
The big news is seven-way adjustable traction control. A simple switch on the left bar allows the selection of different levels-from mild to extreme. When combined with the three selectable fuel maps (from the previous model) the rider's ability to custom "tune" is almost endless. We were expecting the R1 to join the traction control club, but there were some other updates that weren't anticipated.
New colors and graphics are laid over fresh bodywork that moves away from the previous model's plumpy styling and brings the R1 back to its roots with more angular, streamlined plastics. The most noticeable slicing has been done to the headlight area, but the tail has also been tailored and tidied up.
Look for a first ride coming soon.
Colors: Blue, white, black, anniversary
Availability: November 2011
A limited run (2000) of 50th anniversary editions will be available for a little extra cash ($14,290). There aren't any mechanical differences, but you get a bitchin' paint job, an accessory sticker kit, gold tuning fork logos and a numbered plate on the tank.