Plenty has been said about the 2009 R1, especially it looks, when it came out. From being hit by every branch on its way down the ugly tree to its "special" front end. Lots of hype too: crossplance wonky engine, motogp derived this and wsbk derived that. The list was as long as my arm, but not everyone was convinced by it.
Granted that front end can be taxing on the eye, but there's also a certain meaness about it that the previous svelte R1s lack. The way the front hunches, with the rear tail high, and the thick mid-section, it seems ready and willing to hand out a bruising. Its never going to be as pretty as the 04 or 07, but its not here to win a beauty contest.
All you have to do is put on the race fairing and that transform the front - gone are the Johnny 5 headlights. The huge air intake remain, looking like black holes sucking the air from the front and unloading from the rear in a series of backfires.
This megasaurus is heavy though - 210 plus kg is a lot. Doesnt help that I weigh about half that! Where does it leave the bike - heavy and not the best looking, but wait a minute.
The motor is amazing. The way it snarls and thunders in that flat ratchety tone is gorgeous. The Yoshi its got on at the moment seem to amplify the snarl tenfold - you can feel the engine vibrating your insides! It shunts and shoots off like a cannon if youre not watching what the right wrist is doing. In A mode it transforms into a murderous and homicidal dinosaur on crack.
Going down the road with the exhaust barking and the engine thrumming, and the backfires everytime you shut the throttle - that is something special. I have owned about a dozen bikes over the past 20 years but none of them feel as involving and special like this one.
The first ride after I had run the bke in (the proper way mind you, none of that hard breaking nonsense for me), was quite simply quite unique. Where the my old 04 was tame and placid even, the 09 was like a crazed animal. The acceleration out of the corners was amazing, it was spinning up road tires without an effort, and the feeling you get when you hit that 8k rpm - it's like riding a tsunami wave of torque.
Maybe I got too into but in early September 2009 and I was going through Turn 8 in Pasir Gudang when I slid the rear tire and next thing I knew I was fighting a highside - for a while I deluded myself into thinking I had it muscled - then I was flying and landed awkwardly on my arm. The bike crashed well - I, unlike Humpty Dumpty, however had 2 fractures in the right wrist that need a titanium bottle opener to hold everything together.
Im getting all my notes together and I shall expand a bit more of my experiences as well the difficulties in setting up and getting the bike to turn and steer in the manner I want it to. If you have a 09 you might find my suspension setting interesting.