Video: 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 Crossplane Crankshaft Explained
Ever wondered why the 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 sounds so good?
Since 1998 and the world release of the YZF- R1, there has been a loyal following to this model. And rightly so, as it has remained loyal to the design DNA and concepts that first brought it onto the motorcycling planet. The focused style and function has delivered dividends to all that have the guts (and the place) to use the offering to its maximum potential.
But that focus has also been a negative in the eyes of some journalist, testers and owners. They often lamented about the lack (relative) of mid range from the engine and the difficulty of holding the line while in transition from that mid rpm to maximum acceleration. While those complaints have some substance, there was barely a shootout that didn’t show the R1 in a dominating position once in it’s element; out on the track and being ridden as designed.
So back to the 01X and what do we find? A jog in the direction of the concept flow.
The biggest change in this “all-new engine” without doubt, is the crossplane crank.
The engine produces a completely different kind of power from what we have known before. On other liter-class motorcycles (and previous generations of R1), with such big power, the feeling is usually that we are just “along for the ride” as the crank spins up and the landscape starts to blur. This is because the spinning crank being hit by evenly spaced firings “gets away” from the torque being produced by the combustion and we feel the “inertial torque”.
With a crossplane crankshaft, we can design an uneven firing interval which effectively cancels the inertial torque so all we feel is the combustion torque. –Phew! So what does that mean to the rider?
It means we feel an incredible connection between the throttle and the power being delivered to the rear wheel.
The model concept mantra for 01X was the “Corner Master”, and we can only go faster through corners if we can precisely control the power being laid down by the tire. After riding the new R1 back to back with the offerings from the other big 3 manufacturers as well as our own 2008 model, I can completely understand why Valentino chose this engine configuration for the M1 and why it has continued use since the beginning of 2005 MotoGP season. In his words (add Italian accent) “This is one sweet engine”.