While Yamaha is naturally tight-lipped about its upcoming new bikes, we're confident we'll be seeing the debut of an all-new R1 flagship this fall. Not surprisingly, Yamaha wants to keep this news confidential, so we don't yet have official pictures of such a machine, but we’ve come up with some images that suggest what the ground-up redo of the new R1 might look like.
In 2008, Yamaha's YZF-R1 reached the 10-year anniversary of its introduction. In 1998 the 150-horsepower R1 was nothing less than revolution. While being more vicious than the rest, it left the 143-horsepower 1998 Kawasaki ZX-9R for dead. Honda and Suzuki were nowhere near and got caught with their pants down. It took three full years for the others to catch up, and only Suzuki managed to take away the literbike crown with the all-new GSX-R1000 in 2001.
Product cycles for Japanese sportbikes usually follow a two-year pattern. The '98 R1 was followed with a revised version in 2000, then with another revamp in '02. An all-new R1 debuted in 2004, boasting a more oversquare (77.0 x 53.6mm bore/stroke) engine architecture and sexy new styling. It was such a successful design that Yamaha kept with the same platform until its update in 2007 that saw the introduction of a slipper clutch, variable-length intakes and a new four-valve cylinder head.
More: 2009 Yamaha R1 Preview on Motorcycle.com