What we appreciate about most European sportbike tuners is the track bias of their work. Euro riders have access to a plethora of incredible racetracks and that exposure to closed-circuit riding naturally rubs off on many of the overseas builds. Whether at Brands Hatch in the UK, Jerez in Spain or Mugello in Italy, it’s quite easy—and pretty cheap—to secure a track day and rip around locales most of us in the states will only see on the Speed Channel. As a result, the mods made over the pond lean towards road racing. Stock suspension and brakes are swapped for WSB-spec units, and an emphasis on weight savings usually trumps cash spent on aesthetic upgrades. Which brings us to a pair of barely street-legal sportbikes that you’d be lucky to find on any showroom floor.
German tuner and Yamaha dealer Dominik Klein is representative of dealerships at the top of their game. This hands-on shop owner demonstrates a passion for Yamaha performance which has gained him notoriety stretching far beyond his shop and onto every pit lane he frequents. Feast your eyes on two of his best—a ridiculous R1 and a track-built FZ1, street ready and foreign-focused.
Hate or love the ‘big-bang’ engine and its unique sound, the 2009 R1’s overall package leaves ample room for powering out of a bend. But the stock bike is sorely in need of a diet and added grunt in order to compete with the class leaders of 2012.
Klein was quick to sort both of these major grumbles. Starving the portly R1 meant losing nearly everything required for the road. The shop then swapped out the standard chassis parts for lightweight running gear that included the likes of forged magnesium PVM wheels. Not only were they lighter, but the wheels also worked in conjunction with top-spec Öhlins suspension components for a chassis nearly glued to the asphalt. Ben Spies WSB-replica carbon fiber bodywork along with TTSL carbon-fiber fenders and tank shed even more weight. The result? More than 65-pounds shaved off the scale.
The motor wasn’t safe from the fat trimming program either. Dull engine components were ripped out, tweaked within an inch of their lives, rebalanced, polished and ported. The internal operations bumped compression to a hefty 13.6:1. Yamaha Race-kit parts (YEC) ranging from the ECU to a head gasket and velocity stacks bumped power further. A full titanium Akrapovic race exhaust spewed fumes leftover from a special map Klein created for a Motty Electronics four-channel air/fuel module that further dialed up thrust. When the motor massaging concluded the final dyno numbers read a claimed 192 HP.
The standard R1 is a fantastic streetbike, but not a perfect racer. So I tried to keep that fantastic rideability of the R1 for an uncompromising racebike.
Keeping it all under control was a joint effort between an Öhlins damper, Italian-made GRIPone traction control and French Superbike-spec wave rotors gripped by SBS sintered brake pads. What could not be kept under control was the total build cost. If you ride your own ’09 R1 into Dominik Klein’s workshop and hand him $26,000, you too can be a proud owner of such a track master.
2009 Yamaha R1
Front End: PVM magnesium wheel, Öhlins FGRT 43 fork and damper, Magura master cylinder, French SBK-spec wave rotors, SBS pads, BKG triple clamps and clip-ons, S/S brake lines
Rear End: PVM magnesium wheel, Öhlins TTX36 shock, French SBK-spec wave rotor, SBS pads, S/S brake lines
Motor: Akrapovic full system, ported cylinder head with modded valve guides, Race-kit head gaskets, ECU, wiring harness and velocity stacks, rebalanced rods and pistons, modified cams, clutch and air box. Motty Electronics A/F tuning system, GRIPone TC unit, Tellert CTS quickshifter, Böckers radiator
Accessories: TTSL carbon-fiber tank and mudguards, Spies Replica carbon-fiber bodywork, Gilles Tooling rearsets
Owner/Builder: Dominik Klein
The Naked Route
Able to remaster an R1 motor in his sleep, it did not take long for Klein to make up for the HP deficit carried by a 2006 FZ1 compared to an ’06 R1 engine. Klein carried out a similar attack plan with his naked as he did with the R1. Modified internals, cunning headwork, altered camshaft profiles and compression-raising Race-kit gaskets all brought the power output up to spec but not without help from some usual, and not so usual, suspects. A PC3 worked in conjunction with Japan’s Over Racing Ti-headers paired to an Akro muffler for a harder and longer hit up top.
Superbike remake not your thing? A more ergo-friendly and naked option from the Yamaha camp is the widely debated FZ1. Some argue a Kawasaki Z1000 or Triumph Speed Triple make better starting points in this class but Dominik Klein doesn’t do things the easy way. Besides he’s a Yamaha man and had grand plans for the soft-to-start detuned naked R1—nearly $32,000 later and voilá, a fine-tuned work of art.
A TSS slipper clutch decreased unnecessary wheel spin downshifting into braking zones while ’04 R1 calipers initiated the clamping forces on a near identical braking setup to its custom R1 counterpart. Reaching apexs became a planted affair compliments of an internally reworked ’04 R1 fork and Öhlins rear shock—goodbye soft corner entries.
Pick Your Poison
Throw out everything you thought about these bikes in stone-stock form. Together this terrible twosome combines for a one-two punch of extreme track performance in upright or crouched-down positions. America’s custom sportbike scene houses builders with the same mentality as Klein, but sometimes it’s nice to step back and take a look at what’s taking place overseas. So have a gander and take some notes.
2006 Yamaha FZ1
Front End: PVM magnesium wheel, ’04 R1 modified fork and calipers, 16mm master cylinder, France SBK-spec wave rotors, SBS pads, BKG triple clamp, Öhlins damper, S/S brake lines
Rear End: PVM magnesium wheel, ’04 R1 caliper, France SBK-spec wave rotors, SBS pads, Öhlins shock, S/S brake lines
Motor: TSS slipper clutch, Over Racing headers with Akrapovic pipe, Dynojet PC3, GRIPone TC, Tellert quickshifter, Böckers radiator, modified airbox, Kit cylinder head, ported head, R1 velocity stacks, DNA
Accessories: R1 gauges, carbon- fiber covers
Owner/Builder: Dominik Klein