On the track, the knurled footpegs provide excellent grip, without being too aggressive. In addition, the dual-roller-bearing-equipped pedals provide precise shifting and braking action, and the units are rock-solid and fail to flex under load. Unlike the stock folding pegs, the Diablo Racing units would permit use of footpeg stands when swapping suspension bits too.
Convenient, especially considering a box of K-Tech suspension goodies had recently found its way to our office, including a 20DDS front fork cartridge kit and 35DDS rear shock. Released back in 2009, the 20DDS cartridge kit from K-Tech works with most all modern sportbikes’ front forks and turns them into a fully closed damping system. Equally as beautifully designed as the 20DDS kit is K-Tech’s race-proven 35DDS rear shock, which features 30 clicks of compression and rebound, plus a 16-position adjustable bypass valve and hydraulic spring preload adjustment.
Rather than being overzealous, we opted to first test the R1 in semi-stock trim. Not only would this allow us to get a better feel for the power modifications made in part one, but it would also allow us to better compare the K-Tech components over stock at race track speeds. Out to Buttonwillow Raceway we headed with the crew from Trackdaz and fresh Pirelli rubber from CT Racing.
Mounting the GB Racing engine...
Mounting the GB Racing engine guards took just minute, and in the event of a crash they will prevent cracks to the engine covers. Convenient is the fact that all the guards came in one package deal, along with swingarm spools that permit use of a rear stand.
Mounting the Competition Werkes...
Mounting the Competition Werkes fender eliminator kit seemed easy enough, although the wires for the included short-stalk turn signals proved to be too short, forcing us to splice in some additional wire. Once fitted, the kit tidied our R1’s tailsection up well.
With its Graves exhaust, PC V and ECUnleashed reflashed ECU, the R1 instantly proved to be a terror, accelerating off corners with authority — and typically one wheel in the air. Surprisingly, the OEM Soqi front and rear units proved to be sufficient as well, allowing us to push relatively hard.
Completely transforming the bike, though, was the K-Tech cartridge kit and rear shock (While Orient Express is the exclusive North American importer and distributor for K-Tech Suspension, our bits were installed and dialed in by the crew at Catalyst Reaction Suspension Tuning). While turn-in and transitions were rather slow with the Yamaha’s stock Soqi fork, the opposite was true with the K-Tech kit, and we found ourselves riding closer to the race line — with less effort required to get there. Plus, the K-Tech 20DDS kit provided a slightly more rigid feel from the front (in stock trim, the R1 chassis suffers from a lack of rigidity) and perfectly telegraphed what the motorcycle was doing underneath us. While some of the quick steering can be attributed to the fact that the fork was mounted recessed in the triple clamp and the rear shock was set 3mm longer than stock, the superb feel can surely be attributed to the development that the company has done with racers in a number of high-level race organizations, such as British Superbike.
Out back, the K-Tech 35DDS rear shock was equally as impressive with its bypass valve providing excellent slow-speed compression tuning to compensate for weight transfer. Immediately noticeable was the exceptional damping characteristics and improved feel over the rather soft Soqi unit. Most impressive was how the 35DDS rear shock worked mid-corner. In conjunction with the Pirelli slicks, which provided great grip and wear life throughout the day, the K-Tech unit provided great feel and exit speeds increased exponentially.
Come day’s end, what surprised us even more with the K-Tech suspension was that we never had to veer away from the recommended settings that the units were installed with — although we did test various settings. For us, this was extremely important as it meant we weren’t continually searching for a better setup, but could focus more attention on our riding. An added touch is that the K-Tech includes three sets of fork springs and the tools necessary to change them. So what’s the downside to the K-Tech parts? Well nothing really, so long as you can come to grips with the high entrance fee. At $1691.90 for the rear shock and $2,423.40 for the cartridge kit, these upgrades aren’t exactly cheap.
During track testing, Pirelli...
During track testing, Pirelli Diablo Corsa tires were fitted and provided excellent grip all day long. Conversely, Dunlop Q2 rubber was spooned on for street testing.
As equally as quick as it started, our Yamaha YZF-R1 build comes to an end. It’s unfortunate too, as this bike has turned into one of the staff’s favorites. Not only has it proven to be extremely comfortable on the street with good looks and an intoxicating exhaust note to boot, but its track potential is extremely high now with only a few goodies needed to turn this thing into a potent superstock race bike. We’ll try to not let a tear drop as this thing leaves the test fleet. SR