At one time a few years ago, Akrapovic exhaust systems were on every Japanese factory or factory-supported World Superbike team's bikes. A couple of the Japanese factories even used the Slovenian company to custom-build the elaborate exhaust systems for the MotoGP machines that were destined for glory on the Grand Prix circuits of the world. You don't build connections like this without having a sterling reputation for not only quality construction and attention to detail, but also absolute performance.
Yamaha Motor Corp USA's Geniune Accessories division now carries the Akrapovic lineup for its sportbikes, so we asked to try out the top-shelf EVO full titanium exhaust for the '10 R1 in our test fleet. This full exhaust system is not cheap by any means, but once you take a close look at the EVO's construction, you know you're getting your money's worth. The level of build quality is stunning, with exquisite welds at every junction, and the complex number and type of bends (all done by a state-of-the-art hydro-forming machine-see our "Sign of the Skorpion" story in the last issue) are all smooth and blemish-free. Even though the R1's stock exhaust system is mostly titanium in its construction, the Akrapovic EVO cuts more than 10 pounds off the overall weight, with the complete system weighing in at 12.32 pounds (from the stocker's 22.98 pounds).
The beauty of the Akrapovic...
The beauty of the Akrapovic exhaust's construction is so nice, you almost don't want to hide it underneath all that R1 bodywork.
The Akrapovic system is comprised of 10 separate pieces that slip-fit together, so some patience and time is necessary (especially considering the myriad number of stock R1 components and bodywork that need to be removed in order gain access for the install). The slip-fit piping also requires spring clasps to secure them together, requiring a bit of dexterity to install them. Nonetheless, the Akrapovic system went together fairly easily, and considering the number of bends required to route the 4-into-2-into-1-into-2 system under the engine and up beneath the tailpiece, the fact that everything lined up fairly well and didn't require any major muscling to mount up was welcome. Most of the stock heat shielding near the right footpeg is used, with the upper portion replaced by carbon shields (unfortunately, our system was somehow delivered with two left-side shields).
The baffles in the Akrapovic system appeared to be biased more towards the street side of sizing (with resulting noise levels that were well within reason, even at full honk), but that didn't stop the EVO exhaust from posting some very impressive numbers, especially with no fueling changes. The Akrapovic actually provides a small lift in torque right off the bottom, and even though it momentarily lags just a hair behind stock between 3500-4500 rpm, from that point on the EVO system towers over the stock exhaust. The stock R1's annoying dead spot at 5000 rpm is filled in nicely, and the midrange bump in power has the R1 wheelying off many lower-speed corners without provocation. The power gain is even greater past 9500 rpm, with the Akrapovic sailing to a 151.8 horsepower peak at 11,750 rpm, an impressive 6.5 horsepower gain over stock. Even the overrev past the power peak is held better and longer with the EVO system.
As we said earlier, the Akrapovic EVO full titanium exhaust system is not cheap; the carbon fiber end cap/canister system we tested retails for $3299.95. Hard to argue with the power increase, though.