2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 – Traction Control Cometh

09/14/2011 @ 10:20 am, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

The 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 has broken cover, and the biggest feature the lightly tweaked liter-class bike boasts is a new seven-level traction control system (for our brothers in arms across the pond, a six-level traction system is being used…consider that punishment for your European ways). Other material changes include a revised engine map for smoother power delivery in the lower and middle rpms, while the footrests, triple clamps, headlight marker lamps, front cowl, and exhaust guards & end caps have also been revamped for 2012. More after the jump.

Yamaha is light on details about its traction control system, but says the electronics package will have seven settings for the US market (six settings in the European market). Coupled with Yamaha’s D-mode throttle response control system, there is effectively 21 variations that a rider can choose from to tailor his/her ride on the new R1. While that sounds like a lot of options, the reality is that a rider first picks their desired throttle response from the D-Mode system, then sets the level of traction control interference.

Selecting the “A” mode puts more emphasis on engine response in low to mid-range rpm, while the “B” mode provides a dampened throttle response, ideal for riding situations that require especially sensitive throttle operation. Meanwhile, the standard map is designed for optimum overall performance. Once a D-mode throttle map has been selected, the rider then tailors the traction control to one of the system’s seven sensitivity settings.

Sans these electronic changes, the 2012 Yamaha R1 is the same 998cc crossplaned crankshaft loving liter bike that we all know and love. US pricing will start at $13,990 (Raven & Yamaha Racing color schemes), $400 more than the 2011 model, while the “New Jersey Shore” schemed Pearl White/Candy Red version will command $14,190. Also new for 2012 is the Yamaha World GP 50th Anniversary model with its red and white race livery, which will go for a cool $14,490. All models will be available October 2011.


2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 US Photos:

2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 European Photos:

Source: Yamaha USA & Yamaha EU

  • Lone Wolf

    Now we have seen the 2012 R1 package….Show us Corner Junkies the 2012 R6 package!!

  • R-Dog

    That matt black colourscheme is almost good enough to eat, but on a three year old bike it would leave a sour aftertaste – traction control isn’t really going far enough for it to be considered “new”. Rest assured that European sensibilities won’t be offended in the slightest because there is no danger of them selling over here for the money that’s being demanded!

  • So when will the Lorenzo replica be available ?? and like the R-dog says its going to take more than TC before I put down my bucks…

  • John Magnum

    save your coin and get a run out 11 or 10 im sure there are plenty……what a shame!

  • greg

    gee this an ugly bike. fat and very over weight – it’s as wide as a house. combined with outdated engines design (inline 4) the heaviest of all sport bikes need more than a new paintjob. no stars. :(

  • John Magnum

    i was looking forward to an update. i like how the crossplane has that chev sound but to trade up when it really is just an 09. Yamaha sales will tell the story, id say it will only be bought by squids moving up to a litre bike.
    all they had to do was drop 30lbs off its fat guts and give it some more Hp and i would have still considered perhaps.

    i heard these things are heavily restricted cause the cross plane is loud. does anyone know if they are greatly improved by getting rid of the 50lb OEM exhaust and playing with the ECU.

  • MikeD

    That is just CRAP-tastic. Xcellent Job Yamaha…same on the ’12 R6…wish i find it weird isn’t posted at the same time as the R1, here.

    In the voice of Dave Chappel acting as Rick James….


    Ok Kids, keep walking to the Suzuki and Kawasaki Stands…they may have something NEW-er or completely new (with some luck) on November OR before(Kawi 10/10/11)

    In all seriousness, I can swallow the bike(overweight, not packing the latest bells and wisthles, etc) but those FUGLY HEADLIGHTS and it’s related area HAVE TO DIE…and the turning signals, wich can’t be bigger.

    This bike was so good AND CLEAN looking in 2004 ! What happened ?! (0_O ) ?

  • That’s because they didn’t put traction control on the R6.

  • akatsuki

    Shame they didn’t get rid of the creepy eyeballs and add about 30 hp.

  • Damo

    I am with Johnny Magnum on this one. Find a left over 2009 if you really want an R1, probably get a scorching deal on it.

  • John D’Orazio

    What an ugly mess. Besides, just how many of these/things does Yamaha expect to sell in the current economy?

  • I think that in ’04 to 07, Jap bikes hit their peak in terms of design. Since then everything went backwards. Case in point is this sorry excuse for a Superbike.

    When the covers came off the ’04 R1 it was a sight to behold. Of the 4 litre bikes it stood head and shoulders above anything in the looks category. It wasn’t that a bad package either (Ok the K5 was an all round better bike but you get my point)

  • Chance Gray

    That bike is so over weight its ridiculous..I had a 09….Keyword here—“HAD”
    Damn shame yamaha!

  • JawDroppin

    Still ugly – change the shape, couple with Big Bang and Traction Control – then I may consider… ;)

    Til then – its staying on my ‘fugly’ list…

    JD ;)

  • frogy 6

    Greg how is online 4 a outdated design? It’s prob the best design, hence why its so popular. It does need a engine update and needs to go back to the screamer set up, big bang was not a success.

  • MikeD


    I wouldn’t say one design is best than the other,they all work just fine…is people who xpect to get out of it what it wasn’t susposed to give the ones at fault. If u like the kick on the pants of the flat crank there’s nothing wrong with it, this R1 is just not for u.

    The I-4 is Ancient by now…but not outdated.

    I personally think the + Plane Crank is the Cat’s Meow, then again i like V-Twins, P-Twins, V-4 and I-3, so there might be a bias in there somewhere…

    NO, it won’t make a ton a of HP like a flat crank…no problem…continue driving pass the Yamaha Dealer towards another brand’s dealer.
    Honda, Suzuki & Kawasaki still got u covered with your HP Fix. I don’t see any of them following Yamaha ( GO AHEAD GUYS(oems) MAKE ME EAT MY WORDS).

  • Clay

    Believe me when you ride a big bang u dont give a toss what the head lights look like! Atleast it has some sort of character which I cant feel on a std I-4

  • Jaybond

    Just as I expected, there won’t be any major rework on the current R1’s crossplane engine (and I’m sure this will also be the case with the upcoming CBR1000RR facelift). Which means that the Japanese manufacturers are yet to come out with a worthy rival for the BMW S1000RR. Surely, the traction control system can improve the performance of the current R1 model. But in order to fight head on with BMW, you gotta have at least 200+ bhp engine underneath. I guess, you have to wait at least another 1-2 years for a full blown new Yamaha & Honda superbikes..and Suzuki maybe.

  • greg

    interesting discussion. i was expecting most to disagree with me however i think it’s fair to say the consensus is that this bike is an ugly, overweight, outdated porker lol. i agree with RD46, japanese superbikes peaked probably 2008 with the then new honda 1000 and the suzuki had reached a very refined peak also by then. the yammie was and still is a very undesirable bike – the kwaka – never in the same class i’m afraid. but then japan ran out of money. frogy6 – the v4 has to be the future of superbike engines – slim. powerful, balanced and not fat and porky like yammies lol. honda will go back to v4 as soon as the finacial crisis that is japan (and the usa and the pigs) is over – however this may be a while! it’s a real shame hey? we used to get a major facelift on every model every two years and a BRAND NEW bike every four years in the past but those days are gone. sad……

  • Jason

    Jaybond, the part of the story you’re unaware of is the tiered emissions testing for manufacturers here in the US. It will be nearly impossible for any of the Big 4 to build a liter bike that produces the HP that the BMW does in stock trim. As a smaller manufacturer BMW has much looser restrictions and will have that advantage until they more than quadruple their volume. This is the same reason KTM can build a killer street legal enduro, they simply don’t have to be as clean or as quiet.

    That being said, the difference is almost completely wiped out once the bike is in race trim or has been modified for performance. Where the Big 4 offerings have a lot to gain by removing their mandated emissions equipment, the BMW is already pretty maxed out. Just look at your local club races, despite how awesome magazine articles make the S1000RR look it’s far from dominating in a competition setting.

    It’s disappointing that the Yamaha’s didn’t really get any updates, but not surprising for anyone who truly understands the impact the world economy is having on our sport right now. Producing new models, especially sportbikes, is a very expensive endeavor. Even in good times 5-6 years ago it still took a couple of years for a manufacturer to start being profitable on a 600cc sportbike. Now consider we have less than half the buyers we did then and the fact that the sportbike enthusiasts typical demographic isn’t exactly known for having stellar credit or savings and the end result is a dramatic decrease in sales. Two year life cycles are gone for the foreseeable future, until the economy bounces back the Big 4 will be forced to get as many years out of their bikes as possible changing or updating them only as absolutely necessary. In Yamaha’s case they needed to do more with the R1, but the R6 is still topping the sales charts for the current year model so there’s nothing broken there.