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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, first post, registered specifically to write this up. Felt I had to tbh, as I consider my recent experience life-changing.

After a recent ride out with the missus and some mates I finally reached the point where I could no longer put up with my SV650s, which I’d had for 2 years. Just got sick of the bike, sick of the suspension, horrible OEM tyres which just would not die, sick of the seat… Engine is a real peach and kinda justifies the whole bike, but the rest is pure baws. Couldn’t even be bothered to wash it…

On that note, I sauntered over to the friendly dealer’s fishing for a deal. Lo and behold – the bike I tentatively lusted over a few months ago (and was then sold) is back in the shop again. Graphite-black /gold 08 R1 with gold rims and tons of other goodies; 8k on the clock, FSH, mint condition.
Getting a litre bike was something I’d never considered. Even basic research chucks up tons of pretty strong opinions on why you should never, ever go for a 1000cc bike, such as this: https://rideapart.com/articles/11-reasons-why-you-dont-want-a-literbike. I have to admit, deep down I felt like I was making a big mistake, I even cancelled my first test ride because it’d been raining.

I’d had a plan in my head, where I would upgrade the SV to a 600, run that for a few years and then consider my options. Rode an L3 GSXR 600 earlier this year and loved it; I was pretty much set on it. Seeing the R1 back in the shop I buckled and got a quote. One thing led to another, booked myself in for a ride, rode it and finally put the deposit down last Saturday, pickup this weekend.

Some things became immediately apparent during my test ride:

1. The R1 is exceptionally easy to ride. Easier even than my SV650s. Feedback from the chassis and tyres, handling, far superior gearbox, brakes – it just gels together into a complete package.
2. Power is definitely there, but the bike is not propelled by magic or a rocket engine. If you have decent experience of riding “big” bikes, then you can manage the power with ease, i.e. just don’t pure gun it everywhere.
3. …which is feasible because it’s not awkward at low speed – I found its “bigger 600” power delivery very good for cruising; the bike does not bully you into breaking speed limits at all.
4. R1 is way comfier than my SV. By some margin, too. Riding position is a bit more radical, but thanks to the seat and general ergos I found the bike really comfy. I’m 6’ and nearly 15st.
5. Did I mention it is easy to ride? Due to SV’s OEM Dunlops and suspension, deep lean on that bike was terrifying. I am trading the bike in now with inch-wide chicken strips, on its original set of rubbers. On my wife’s Gladius I scrubbed the tyres in within a week and they’re worn to the edges. Missus also finds it easy and natural to lean in way deep on her bike because it’s so reassuring. SV was nothing like that; it was very vague and tippy. Junction ramps in the wet = heart in mouth every time. R1 was just amazing in that respect. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to ride fast and use the whole tyre. I was never in doubt as to how much grip there is left or when to open the throttle. Pure joy.

I really don’t get all this negativity around litre bikes. Maybe it’s R1 specifically, but I found it an extremely refined, civilised and friendly bike to ride. Of course, cruising in 4th the difference between 50mph and 80mph is literally a second’s lapse in concentration and the power is ludicrous all around. But that doesn’t make it “unrideable” without electronics, as Rideapart would have you believe. Just open it up when the time is right and you have the space, I did on my test ride several times and I’m fine – still here today to write about it. Sure, top-end rush and noise on this bike is more addictive than smoking, but most people don’t smoke every minute of every day. I see no reason I would need to cane the bike everywhere. It’s just as awesome at slower speeds.

Overall, the R1 is the best bike I’ve ever been on (out of roughly a dozen). Not just because of sheer power, or handling, or brakes. It’s because the whole package delivers insane levels of excitement; I get all tingly just thinking about picking it up on the weekend. I already know each ride will be an event. Already ordered shampoo and wax; must be a good sign, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Cheers :) Will post pics once I got it and washed it.

I will look into sprockets, was looking into decatted pipe as well but it's already cold where I am so happy about the heated seat ;-) can maybe splurge on that before summer.
 

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Master of the Obvious
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Great write-up and pretty much dead on with a friends opinion of the SV a few years back. Great engine tho.

I would not put much into what rideapart says in their article. They are nothing but a bunch of girls who are scared to get their dress dirty. :fact
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ha ha, that what it came across like to me too, just didn't want to diss them too much.

It's really simple - if you still have it in you to seriously take the p*ss on a bike then an R1 will land you in jail, or worse. Even today I did some questionable stuff (drunk on power) and I've only had it a few hours. Self control is the name of the game. I had a few moments today where I opened it up to the stops and acceleration is mind bending; I've much to wrap my head around and much to learn. I defo need to look at the speedo a lot more often as on this bike a 100 feels pretty casual to me, probably not so much to the coppers. Also, as the bike start to wail from 4k revs and already sounds spooled up it's kinda hard to tell how fast you're going without following the speedo. I'm coming from a pedestrian v-twin, mind you.

Overall a brilliant day, managed to keep my license and even be semi-responsible with the bike. Still pinching myself looking out the window and seeing it, can't believe I actually own this thing now.
 

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kickin' at the darkness
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Okies, I've had the bike for a couple of months now and used it as much as it is feasible in Scottish late autumn / winter (~ 1k miles, rode it today too). I thought I would add a few points which I think are worth mentioning.

1. Battery (Koyo KTZ10S) has now gone flat on me twice, had to recharge. Already spoken to the missus and Santa is expected to fill my stocking with a trickle charger. New battery next year as well, I reckon. No biggie, but wheeling the R1 out of the garage in the morning makes my insides tingle so when it refuses to catch (crank-crank-crank... nothing) - my heart breaks.

2. She drinks. Bloody hell, does she like a drink. I was caught out once going into town (Edinburgh) without a wallet, gambling on squeezing miles out of the girl and I have a feeling I got home on sheer will. And some fumes. It was comical to see drivers getting well out of my way expecting me to gun it past them, while I was desperate to nurse her home in 6th at 2 - 3k rpm.

3. She is still as comfy as the day I got her, love the seating position, love the seat, love the compactness of the bike. I think you're starting to see where this is going...

4. I will never ride a bike without aftermarket rearsets again. Previous owner forked out for Gilles rearsets and they make a massive difference.

5. Whirry fuel pump. Why does it whirr so much? Mind you, the whirr does go away after a few miles but it had me concerned initially (especially after I had handed over the cash). Once properly warmed up the fuel pump noise subsides and bike starts to sound more serious, what with all the popping and snorting on the overrun. Love it.

6. But to the point - the bike has really got under my skin. Like, properly. I've never been overly kind to machines, or too bothered, but the R1 really stuck the hand in deep and grabbed me by the guts. I've developed a really strong bond with this bike, I don't know when it happened and why, all I know is that I actually feel emotional about her, big time. Now, I'm a grown up, I'm not known for being overly soft about anything, but somehow... Man, every time I ride my R1 I'm just overwhelmed by it. The groan it makes when I try to whip her from lower revs (the sort of ughhhh... you being serious bro?... sound), the way it looks parked in my garage, the mad power curve (which I grossly underestimated initially, this bike is a very, very serious piece of kit), the way she feels burly and almost bling, poseur at the lights but feels just so, so sharp on the move, the way it does pretty much everything. Each time I swing my leg over, I think of that Avatar thing about making the connection with the mount :) Dunno, this is getting pretty deep and personal but I've ridden a few bikes, some more, some less, but none ever came close to making this sort of impression on me. It feels like some kind Japanese bloke sat down and made a bike just for me, it really does.

OK, enough rambling. Overall... I'm totally head over heels. I'm not so much into giving my bikes nicknames, or anything, so I will not try and come up with a name for the R1. All I know is that I will stick with this bike until it croaks probably, seeing as I love everything about it, the good stuff and the stuff that some might call downsides but for me it's merely quirks. Really got me, this one. Safe riding guys.
 

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Welcome to the madhouse my friend! I enjoyed reading the write up! Glad you loved the bike! They sure are a great machine! Enjoy your stay around here and post up pics when you get the new beauty home!
 

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Great description. Curious about your aftermarket rearsets comment: I have OEM and don't notice anything terrible. What do you like so much about your Gilles set? Thks.
 

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kickin' at the darkness
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not terrible but it really depends on how you ride, how long your legs are n' what you find comfortable

Gilles are great looking, fully adjustable, provide excellent grip when riding spirited, they look great too :sneaky
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Great description. Curious about your aftermarket rearsets comment: I have OEM and don't notice anything terrible. What do you like so much about your Gilles set? Thks.
Sorry for the delayed reply bud. As bacchus40 mentioned in his post - there is nothing inherently wrong with OEM sets. My mate rides an 07 Raven with stock pegs (but with a 3/4 akra system, which I desperately want) so I have a valid comparison. They are perfectly fine and unless you've experienced what a tailored riding position feels like, you probably won't appreciate it. Not for nearly 500 quid anyway. I did mention earlier that my 08 feels really comfy; the 07 simply doesn't, not to the same degree. It's uncanny how much difference a quarter of an inch can make, but the longer you're on the bike the more obvious it becomes. To really drive it home, I promise you that if left peg is set to, let's say, 4 and the right peg is on 3 you instantly feel the difference, you know something is badly off the instant you rest your feet, and the difference is maybe 2 - 3 mil. That's as well as I can really explain this.
 

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.......... the bike does not bully you into breaking speed limits at all.


Well then you're clearly not having as much fun as you could on it then.
Keep trying though. It'll come. And that's really the best part of it all.



Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 
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