Silver dream racer | MCN

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IT’S again in Would possibly 1979 and I’m dashing to my native newsagents to select up the newest reproduction of American motorcycle mag Cycle Global. As I stroll into the store I glimpse the entrance quilt and there, in wonderful color, is a crimson and silver apparition. The identify at the tank says Suzuki, however above it there’s a odd decal with 4 symbols and the phrase ” Yoshimura ” .

As I flick throughout the 15-page street take a look at I’m captivated by means of pictures of a Suzuki GS1000 doing issues a Suzuki GS1000 shouldn’t have the ability to do. I stare wide-eyed at images of a motorbike leaned farther over than anything else I’ve ever observed. I’m amazed at how top the entrance wheel is in wheelie pictures, and I’m left in awe of the system’s efficiency figures.

My fascination with the motorcycle didn’t forestall there. Like a safety blanket, I’d take the magazine far and wide I went for weeks. I sought after to take in each and every element about this maximum unique bike. I sought after to reel off the stats verbatim and wow my pals with outrageous figures. I sought after to understand how Yoshimura had taken an obese street motorcycle and became it right into a race-winning superbike. However greater than anything else, I sought after to trip it.

Two decades later, I in finding myself on the Willow Springs race monitor in California. The elements is very good and the surroundings impressive, however there’s just one factor occupying my undivided consideration – a crimson and silver superbike that includes a odd decal with 4 symbols and the phrase ” Yoshimura ” . Similar to the GS1000, this was a heavyweight Suzuki street motorcycle. A Hayabusa, actually. However on this guise it makes the arena’s quickest manufacturing motorcycle glance insignificant.

It’s simplest the second one time any individual out of doors the company has clapped eyes on its newest introduction. It’s so new that Yoshimura hasn’t ever even run the motorcycle on a monitor or had time to position it on a dyno. The one factor they may be able to inform me is that it weighs round 175kg (385lb) and makes a minimum of 190bhp on the rear tyre. That’s 38kg (83lb) not up to the inventory motorcycle and 15bhp extra robust. This must be attention-grabbing.

I first glimpsed the motorcycle a few days in the past at Yoshimura’s U.S. headquarters in a faceless warehouse in Chino. If it wasn’t for the Jap flag lollopping within the stifling warmth you’d be hard-pressed to search out where in any respect. Surrounded by means of courier corporations and speedy meals joints, it’s now not essentially the most auspicious house for a system which is alleged to price the most productive a part of £50,000, however then deep-seated hobby isn’t housed in grandiose environment. And for the fellows at Yoshimura, construction exceptional bikes is a keenness – and one they don’t proportion freely. Little is given away to prying eyes, however at the back of the gates I see dozens of blokes in white coats making exhausts. They’re one of the vital well-known exhausts on this planet, and as I cross I’m informed I’ve simply observed technicians striking the completing touches to a brand new titanium machine for Honda’s SP-1. I think privileged certainly.

Each phase for the Hayabusa racer –codenamed X1-R – has been made in-house, too. Regardless of its unassuming external, that is one spectacular facility. Within the automotive park across the again there are two huge race transporters sprayed in Suzuki paintschemes subsequent to a few different constructions housing a large workshop. That is the place the manufacturing unit engineers get ready and care for the race-spec GSX-R750s used within the American superbike championship. As I’m led into the primary workshop, I stroll previous the very motorcycles Mat Mladin and Aaron Yates trip within the collection, entire with a smattering of squashed insects from the newest spherical at Sears Level.

Then, lurking in a darkened nook of the room, I glimpse the motorcycle I’ve travelled up to now to peer. To start with look it does kind of resemble a Hayabusa, however as I am getting nearer I get started noticing issues which straight away counsel that is one thing particular. Almost about the whole lot has been modified, from the clocks to the ram-air machine. If it wasn’t for the tiny unmarried headlight and rear numberplate you might want to be having a look at a Suzuka 8-Hour race motorcycle.

At the aspect of the motorcycle a cable dangles from the custom-built wiring harness. It’s plugged right into a diagnostic pc and subsequent to it there’s a Jap engineer inputting mapping instructions to the motorcycle’s engine regulate machine. We’re offered and he nods in a well mannered method, however I sense he’s now not concerned about my presence.

He glances over at my information, who in an instant suggests I’ve observed sufficient and ushers me out of the room. I’ve observed what I sought after to peer, and I think a way of delight that I’ve were given this a long way.

It’s taken me weeks of calls to the company’s PR guy Doug Wells earlier than they after all allowed me to seek advice from, after which some other few days to influence them to let me trip the motorcycle.

After I after all were given permission from the massive fits, I used to be on a flight quicker than you might want to say 194mph Suzuki. It’s superb how the considered enjoyable a lifelong dream could make a 10-hour flight cross very quickly, and much more superb how the scourge of jet-lag appears to be absent. Even the rush-hour site visitors of downtown LA can’t hose down my spirits as we head to the resort.

The next morning I open the curtains on conventional azure Californian skies. I used to be awoken early by means of the humming of reports helicopters chasing tales and the consistent drone of the highway, however that is one morning I’m very happy to get away from bed. It’s some 40 miles to the monitor, and at the method I will’t assist reminiscing in regards to the first time I heard of Yoshimura such a lot of years in the past.

As we become Willow Springs’ get entry to street I see one of the vital huge race transporters being unloaded. Because the hydraulic again finish opens, I confidently search for the X1-R to be peering down at me from the darkness. When all I see is 2 80cc quads sitting there my nerves start to jangle. Have they made up our minds to revoke my trip in spite of everything? Was once the motorcycle now not in a position? Reassurance got here from advancement engineer and Mladin’s staff leader Ammar Bazzaz, who informed me he’d been up since morning time tweaking the engine control machine and that the motorcycle would arrive in a while. A plume of mud emerging within the distance signalled in a while had already arrived.

Sooner than I used to be allowed out, despite the fact that, the photographer sought after his personal personal time with the motorcycle. Bazzaz hadn’t had time to suit the bodywork after his previous alterations, so when it arrived on the monitor it was once bare.

Strangely for a company so concerned about retaining its secrets and techniques precisely that, I used to be amazed they had been so amenable when it got here to poking and prodding across the exposed chassis.

Because the photographer shoots unending rolls of movie, I stroll around the motorcycle attempting to soak up the plethora of o.e.m additions. Christ, if I’m getting this excited having a look on the factor, what am I going to be like in terms of driving? It wasn’t lengthy earlier than I discovered.

Team leader Bazzaz bump-starts the X1-R and slowly brings it as much as temperature. The silence is shattered because the one-off Yoshimura Tri-Oval can barks its caution. The light-weight ignition machine would by no means spin the engine over speedy sufficient to start out it, however with a fully-charged battery it fires up nearly immediately.

As I am getting kitted up, Bazzaz is converting engine settings by the use of his pc, checking sensors and diagnostic parameters. That is his specialty and the bloke has excellent reason why to test the whole lot. The motorcycle has a pre-development engine control machine with a pre-production Motec liquid-crystal show. The machine is getting used at the X1-R to peer if it’s value becoming to the manufacturing unit superbikes later within the 12 months. The benefit of the unit is its talent not to simplest retailer data, however relay the main points from

a financial institution of sensors by the use of the engine. Maximum different techniques have two banks of sensors, requiring a extra sophisticated harness and which means a better possibility of machine failure. He is aware of the set-up neatly as he constructed the harness linking the gadgets in combination. After an additional take a look at he palms the motorcycle over to Mitch Boehm, editor of American mag Motorcyclist.

After a temporary clarification of the purposes at the ultra-trick sprint, Boehm slips it into first and will get a push up the pit lane. The large Suzuki fires up and blasts out directly to the desolate tract race monitor with a howl.

I watch the motorcycle flow into, producing warmth within the tyres, whilst I look ahead to my flip. I’ve by no means ridden at Willow Springs, so I take a Yamaha R6 for a couple of laps to determine the place the monitor is going. As I look ahead to the X1-R to flash previous, I will really feel the new wind blasting my face. After two laps I open the Yamaha up. That’s once I learn how robust the desolate tract wind will also be. Exiting the lengthy, speedy flip 9 I tuck in at the back of the R6’s display heading directly to the fast primary instantly and the motorcycle feels as though it’s hardly ever transferring.

Glancing down on the LCD sprint displays it’s slightly hitting 90mph. Run it the wrong way with the wind at the back of you and also you’d expect a minimum of some other 40mph. That’s the impact a relentless 30mph head wind will have at this finish of the circuit. Thankfully, the wind doesn’t have an effect on the opposite aspect of the monitor.

Ten laps later I come into pit lane and pa down the sidestand. The Yoshimura engineers are busy refuelling the X1-R and Bazzaz is checking the electronics. That is the primary time the motorcycle has been run on a monitor and the staff are getting as a lot comments as they may be able to. Without a issues registering at the engine diagnostic programme, I look throughout at Bazzaz and he provides me that reassuring nod, as though to mention ” it’s all yours ” .

The primary drawback I’ve is getting at the motorcycle. That is like no Hayabusa I’ve ever sat on earlier than. The combo of difficult suspension settings and Yoshimura seat make the motorcycle so top that it takes a few makes an attempt earlier than I am getting my leg over. This isn’t this type of motorcycle you need to be accountable for losing. As soon as on I will simply get my toes directly to the ground. I achieve over the beautiful, hand-made Yoshimura tank for the clip-on taste bars and it’s glaring the driving place is designed for one objective. It feels similar to a large GSX-R750, however I’ve by no means observed a GSX-R750 with such a lot stuff at the sprint. Bazzaz explains the readouts. To save lots of battery energy you turn on the show by means of a small swap at the left bar. I flick it on and the sprint runs thru its personal diagnostic tests in seconds. When it has completed it presentations battery voltage, engine temperature, throttle place, tools place, pace, air/gas combination and engine revs. A big crimson gearshift gentle sits on best of the sprint, which will also be programmed to come back on at any revs.

There’s a small gas spray bar to help beginning the massive motor, so bumping it’s not the issue you’d be expecting. All you do is flick the kill-switch to run, snick the gearbox into first, give the throttle a twist to 100 in line with cent after which unencumber the throttle and let the grasp out.

With my thoughts operating additional time to determine all of it out I am getting the wave I’ve been looking ahead to. Iridium visor down, I pull within the ultra-light hydraulic grasp because the motorcycle gathers pace, snick the gearbox down into first and sell off the grasp, catching the engine revs because it fires. No Hayabusa ever seemed like this.

There’s no tickover, so I blip the throttle to stay the engine working as I weave in opposition to the monitor to get some warmth into the Dunlop D207GP tyres.

Paying attention to the exhaust observe as I head into the primary left-hander, I start to calm down. I transfer round testing the fast, top billet aluminium footpegs and handmade seat. The entirety feels correct.

This tucked-in driving place confirms that if you happen to organize to pull a footrest it’s going to be carefully adopted by means of your elbow… then your head. That is not anything like the usual motorcycle, the place you’ll floor the cans with out attempting.

The large motorcycle steers remarkably simply as I experiment with the immensely robust race-spec brakes. As I head up the left-right turns to the easiest a part of the monitor I open her up and head down in opposition to the short left and down Willow’s even quicker again instantly. I’m nonetheless taking it simple and permitting the whole lot to come back as much as temperature. I go out directly to the entrance instantly and look throughout on the staff. Some other 4 laps and I sign that I’m entering the pit lane. There’s not anything mistaken – this has been the plan we’d agreed. I’d have a couple of laps within the morning to acclimatise myself to the system and circuit, after which move out for a 2nd run within the afternoon to in point of fact see what it’s fabricated from.

As I cruise as much as the assembled mechanics, I let the engine die and brake to a halt. Even earlier than I’ve got rid of my lid Bazzaz is in there along with his probes, gleaning each and every piece of knowledge because the engine cools. As he’s doing it he’s probing me for comments. ” How was once it? ” ” Does it want any changes? ” ” What’s the throttle reaction like? ” ” Is the suspension arrange accurately…? ” My replies to all his queries are sure.

An hour or so later I’m again within the seat for my 2nd consultation. Two laps to building up temperatures and the instant of fact has arrived.

Because the rev counter readout sweeps over 5000rpm, the rear squats and the engine observe adjustments. My imaginative and prescient begins to blur because the difficult, racing suspension struggles to clean out the bumps and the rear Dunlop fights to forestall 190bhp tearing it into chunks. I’m shouting expletives into my lid as I think an immense quantity of energy firing me alongside the entrance instantly.

You’ll be able to really feel the large grunt looking to pull the fast and hugely-braced manufacturing unit swingarm forwards because the entrance wheel climbs upwards. I attempt to edge up the tank to get some weight over the entrance, nevertheless it’s nearly unimaginable to forestall the Marchesini emerging because the revs climb and the rear spins up, even if drawing near the shift gentle at 12,000rpm.

The X1-R catches me by means of wonder as I begin to brake for the following nook – difficult in left earlier than accelerating directly to an extended decreasing-radius correct. I’m into the nook earlier than I realise, forcing me to cut the throttle as I slam the engine down two gears and drop the anchor. Nonetheless working in too difficult, I squeeze the large six-piston calipers and the impact is nearly fast because the X1-R stands on its nostril and shakes its tail like a shark thrashing round a contemporary kill.

With my center nonetheless in my mouth, I pitch the motorcycle in difficult directly to my slider earlier than using uphill, snatching some other tools because the entrance wheel once more lifts. Rolling at the throttle once more, the wheel tries to wreck unfastened and spin up as I tighten my line in opposition to the cambered left.

It’s glaring that is no NSR500, and you’ll really feel the burden as gravity pulls you in opposition to the ground. It doesn’t care for badly – relatively the other – however you’ll’t assist questioning what it will be like in the event that they’d shaved off some other few kilos (despite the fact that don’t inquire from me how).

The engine is so torquey you’ll dangle the wheel within the air whilst sweeping previous 130mph. Because it comes go into reverse I pitch into a quick, apparently unending right-hander and scrub off pace for the tight go out earlier than selecting out a small crimson cone marking the apex. Mindful that the wind has covered the nook in positive sand, I back down somewhat greater than I’d like – neatly, that is the one X1-R on this planet, and I don’t need to give my editor an insurance coverage invoice for the cost of a small semi in Basildon. I’m happy I rolled off as I think the again finish snaking round somewhat over the outside, however no faster have I handed the cone I appear to be doing 120mph. The pick-up in this factor is simply unbelievable.

As I boost up even tougher down the again instantly, I dare to sneak a have a look at the speedo – it’s registering 160mph. Now whilst you might imagine your CBR600 will do this, keep in mind that I’m driving a £50,000 motorcycle into a significant head wind and there’s a six-foot brick wall along me. Those stipulations aren’t conducive to hurry checking out. Yoshimura publishes a most of 205mph, however Bazzaz claims that’s with a detuned motor. Sooner than it was once tweaked he says take a look at riders clocked greater than 220mph in pace strip runs, however he needed to knock it down as a result of no tyres may take care of that more or less rigidity for quite a lot of miles.

However, the quantity of energy to be had, how it’s delivered and the best way this motorcycle clings to a line all move as an instance how other the X1-R is to a typical Hayabusa. It is a race motorcycle with lighting that simply occurs to have a Hayabusa body and the similar elementary engine. However so far as a driving revel in is going, it couldn’t be farther got rid of. I do know the inventory Suzuki is the quickest manufacturing motorcycle on this planet, however this makes it really feel pedestrian.

After some other 5 laps I sign and are available again into the pits to peer if the suspension will also be softened a bit of, nevertheless it’s now not imaginable nowadays. Bazzaz explains it takes a couple of hours and an entire surprise alternate and spring swop to set the motorcycle for my weight and driving taste. With that during thoughts we make a decision to name it an afternoon. In some way I’m relieved it’s all over the place. Apart from the truth it’s so unique and dear, this motorcycle kilos your senses. After not up to 15 laps I’m utterly knackered, each bodily and emotionally.

Because the behind schedule jet-lag catches up with me at the as far back as the resort, I flow out and in of a dreamworld. A dreamworld I first skilled two decades in the past once I noticed that Yoshimura GS1000 at the quilt of {a magazine}. Apart from this time, the dream is in line with truth.


Value: £50,000

Availability: Yoshimura 001-909-628-4722

Colors: Pink/silver/black


Engine: Liquid-cooled, 1298cc, 16v dohc four-stroke in-line 4. Motec gas injection. 6 gears.

Chassis: Aluminium twin-spar

Entrance suspension: Ohlins inverted forks, changes for pre-load, compression and rebound damping

Rear suspension: Ohlins monoshock with Yoshimura emerging charge linkage, changes for pre-load, compression and rebound damping

Tyres: Dunlop D207; 160/70 x 17 entrance, 180/55 x 17 rear

Brakes: AP Racing; 2 x 320mm entrance discs with 6-piston calipers, 220mm rear disc with 2-piston caliper


POWER: 192bhp @ 10,500rpm

TORQUE: 110ftIb @ 7500rpm

Weight/energy to weight ratio: 175kg (385lb), 1.10bhp/kg

Status 1/4-mile time/terminal pace: 9.5s, 148mph

Best pace: 205mph (detuned from 220mph)

Moderate mpg/tank capability/vary: Relies on engine settings

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