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60th Anniversary
Yamaha WE/R1

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Blending the new with the old!

Who has such crazy ideas as to strip a brand new 2018 R1 Yamaha of all its parts and put them into a 1998 R1 Yamaha chassis?

Well one person did, a gentleman by the name of Mark Boxer – cameraman, journo, bike builder enthusiast and a man with many zany ideas.

Mark pitched his idea of this crazy build to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Yamaha R1 to an Aussie bike parts distributor who had approached him about building a promo bike for their spares and accessories.

So when it was all made official, Mark approached Race Bike Services and spoke with Tony and Graeme to come on-board. Race Bike Services has a special area for this type of work as well as heaps of technical expertise to aid in getting all the ‘new bits’ to fit in the ‘old bits’.

A Bit of History – the 1st and 2nd R1’s to come off the production line came to Australia and the launch was at Phillip Island. In fact Bike 1 was blue, whereas the 2nd is the red and white one we all know today.

Righto – back on track!

The 1998 donor bike had seen better days (well it was 20 years old, had changed colour and was a bit ragged around the edges) compared to the pristine 2018 donor bike which had only 20kms on the clock when it went on the bench.

So the stripping down started and the job of bringing the new to the old began.

This is called ‘retrotech’ – basically the bike retains its original look but underneath it has all the new technology.

It was dubbed the ‘WE/98’ – ‘WE’ being the model code for the 2018 version.

The Build and how Race Bike Services ‘did their bit’!

There was a lot of input from many sources for this ‘blending’ and Tony & Graeme’s part started right from the beginning with the workshop space.

Tony’s technical knowledge was invaluable from the beginning but he came more into the project once the bike was being assembled back again – mainly for the electronics, brakes & suspension work.

Tony had to make changes to the new wiring loom, ensure that the wiring fitted and was long enough to reach the earlier model lights. New CAN bus-compatible LED headlight bulbs were needed to ensure the lighting ECU would power them up and not fault - normal H4 halogens were not suitable to this new wiring.

Venhill braided brake lines were supplied, customised and fitted to suit the ABS system and the rear shock was stripped and modified – to shorten the length of the shocker and adjust fixing points.

Along the way Tony & Graeme assisted Mark whenever they were needed – again, not only for technical advice and guidance but also the muscle and brawn bit!

The final countdown!

After the build beginning in February and with some delays along the way, it was finally finished in May.

On the 11th May, the ‘WE/98’ was revealed at a launch party at Race Bike Services. Motorbike enthusiasts, especially R1 owners were encouraged to come along and see the new machine, which did not disappoint.

What now?

Well, at the moment it’s had a bit of ride in Sydney and is up for grabs on the Ficeda Motorcycle Accessories website.

Last words from Mark: “It felt great on the first ride, and was like kinda like riding a brand new bike. The one thing neither the 1998 or 2018 bikes had over the new one is the induction noise; because it’s going over the radiator and drawing from under the tank, it really roars!”

Last words from Tony & Graeme re this project: “Exceeded our expectations and was well worth the headaches at times” They’ve been asked - would you do it again? Resounding answer: YES!

So if you have a zany idea or even have an old bike that needs a rebuild, look no further than us here at Race Bike Services. With many years of experience and knowledge, these two are the ‘go to’ boys to ensure your beloved motorcycle will be working and looking at its best in no time.

Pictures supplied by Speedhunters.com

If you want to read more of the techy stuff head on over to:

• http://www.speedhunters.com/2018/06/back-to-the-future-retroteching-the-yamaha-r1/
• http://www.speedhunters.com/2018/06/back-to-the-future-retroteching-the-yamaha-r1/yamaha-r1-we98-mark-boxer-speedhunters-67/

This bike build even reached as far as the UK – magazine Performance Bikes has a great write up –

October 2018 edition - https://www.performancebikes.co.uk/magazine-issues/october-2018

Mark thanks Liam and the team at Ficeda Accessories, Tony and Graeme from Race Bike Services, Cam, Johnny and Brett from Solid Engineering, Ben from Extreme Creations, Tony from Southland Trim, Ariel from CPC and not to mention Nathan who owns the gorgeous original 1998 R1, his mate Jhye who owns the 60th Anniversary WE/R1 and Michael who owns the 1998 R1 with the white wheels.

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