Missed out on buying that Limited Edition motorcycle you yearned for? Build your own like Ian did! Words: Kris Hodgson Photography: Ian Judd
The story of this Kenny Roberts Rep Custom Anniversary Edition 2006 Yamaha YZF-R1 starts simply enough, with Ian spotting the bike and knowing straight away it needed to be his, “I originally bought the R1 on a bit of an impulse,” explained Ian.
“My sons were visiting at the time and wanted to find some jackets that may not have been available in the UK, so we wondered through the local dealers until we got to my local Yamaha dealer. There on display was the 2006 LE Anniversary R1 as well as the updated regular models in the iconic paint scheme.
“Being an old fart and growing up watching King Kenny racing back in the day the Yamaha’s were always a personal favourite. When I saw the R1 in old school livery the way a real Yamaha should be, it was as if it was meant to be – I didn’t question the reasoning I just bought it.”
2006 was the 50th anniversary of the YZF-R1 and the bike received an update across all models with an extended swingarm, revised forks and cylinder head for additional power and a very special paint scheme.
The Anniversary Limited Edition on the other hand was a run of just 500 models available in the US, that was considerably more expensive and boasted Ohlins suspension, Marchesini wheels, rear ride height adjustability and a slipper clutch…
“This model isn’t the LE,” explained Ian, “But then I couldn’t afford the LE when I bought this bike anyway! In the eight years since though, I have been gradually making my own version of the LE which I have chosen to call the R1 Unlimited Edition…
From a performance standpoint this R1 hasn’t been massively modified, except for the obvious weight reduction from a number of components, with engine modifications not a concern, particularly as Ian currently has an additional worked engine he is building another R1 around.
“The bike has no engine mods as it was always going to be a road bike that would be ridden, so reliability was the main concern,” explained Ian.
“I’ve got a race engine that I’m building another R1 around though – that is reported to put out numbers pushing 190hp plus and has been fully worked, but I’m happy with this bike as it is.”
What was added was a full race radiator with Samco hoses, using Adel Wiggins fittings, along with Factory Pro velocity stacks, a K & N airfilter, full Akrapovic exhaust system and a Power Commander III for tuning.
The gearing also has had a tooth taken off the front with a Superlite drilled sprocket and one added on the rear for streetability with a Driven item, with a DID 520 ZVM-X chain conversion done when the sprockets were chosen.
A Bazzaz QS4 quickshifter was also added with the bike running race shift pattern for that real racer feel, while a DRD Speedo Healer keeps the dash reading the right figure after the gearing changes.
The frame is one of the few items that has remained untouched, with the stock offering retained but sporting upper and lower frame plugs, while the triple-clamps were replaced with Italian billet IMA Model 4 Evo fully adjustable offerings and matching IMA adjustable clip-ons.
The clip-ons hold CRG ‘bar end mirrors, with Graves adaptors allowing fitment, while Renthall grips are joined by a Brembo 19 x 18 billet front master-cylinder and Rizoma billet front reservoir and bracket.
A matching Brembo HPK clutch perch and switch balances out the other side of the ‘bars, while on the left Euro controls integrate a fan override switch, and a 2009 R1 right-side control provides a mode switch which allows control of the high-tech Translogic F Series race dash. Both bars sport Graves ‘bar-ends in black.
The IMA triple-clamps hold Ohlins FGR670 gas forks, which are some serious kit for a roadbike, while a Ohlins steering damper has also been fitted with a Harris damper mount. Bolted to the bottom of the Ohlins forks is a set of Brembo P4 34/34 Monoblock calipers, fitted with Ferodo XRAC pads and contacting BrakeTech Axis full floating narrowband iron rotors.
Naturally the front brake lines are Fren Tubo Type II SS braided offerings, complete with Staubli Quick Disconnect fittings, while the caliper bolts have been replaced with Pro Bolt titanium race bolts, with Greggs Customs titanium caliper spacers.
The braking system runs ATE Super Blue brake fluid, following the race specific theme of this build, while the caliper bleed nipples are Pro Bolt titanium offerings.
Other Pro Bolt titanium fixings on the front-end also include the clip-on bar and fork/triple pinch bolts, reservoir bracket bolt, front rotor bolts, damper bolts, master-cylinder bleed valve, as well as full titanium fixtures for both the Brembo master-cylinder and lever, as well as the Brembo clutch controls. An alloy Evotech top yoke nut also adorns the triples.
With practically the whole front-end custom components, it comes as little surprise to find that the front wheel is also a BST carbon-fibre 17 x 3.5in offering, fitted with a Dunlop Sportmax Q3 tyre which is matched on the rear.
The fairings are standard items, albeit with Greggs Customs indicator and mirror block-off plates, DZUS fasteners, a Magical Racing screen held by a Pro Bolt kit and GYTR carbon-fibre tank lowers, with painted ram air intakes in Raven Gloss black, instead of the original matt plastic finish.
The front headlight was also modified, with the running lights converted into LED indicators and a carbon-fibre front guard replaced the original.
The tank is the original item, with a Harris Racing 1/4-turn gas cap and Pro Bolt bolts, with the tank bolts replaced with Pro Bolt titanium items at the front and rear. In 2015 Ian was also able to attend the US GP, where he met Colin Edwards who signed the OEM filter box (front tank panel), which has since been clear coated to protect the signature! The final addition to the tank was a GYTR carbon-fibre tank pad to help prevent scratches, with the bike being ridden so often.
Where the engine may be internally stock the same can’t be said externally, with Ian choosing a variety of aftermarket protectors to help keep his pride and joy in one piece in a worst case scenario, with Harris Racing sliders adorning the clutch, frame and gearbox, while Woodcraft case sliders were added to both sides of the bike for additional protection.
A custom aluminium radiator guard also ensures road debris doesn’t cause damage to the race unit, while an Akropovic carbon-fibre clutch protector was added with a matching front sprocket cover from the same manufacturer.
With the front-end of the bike being so impressive it’s hard to image the rear would still be able to impress, but Ian hasn’t disappointed with some amazing kit on this end as well, starting with a Harris Racing swingarm.
“The Harris swinger is something that I had been longing for, for years,” explained Ian, “And a couple of years ago I got a message from one of my friends in the UK that someone was breaking a Jentin racebike and that there was a swinger in the small print…
“I was on the phone immediately and agreed to purchase after seeing a few pictures. I had it shipped to my friend in the UK who was going to send it on but upon arrival it wasn’t in the condition we had hoped for.
“There was a small dent on one side, with a larger dent or crease on the bottom of the other and it hadn’t come with lifters, an axle, caliper hanger or even wheel adjusters!”
With what seemed like a disaster on his hands, Ian’s never say die attitude took over and he started getting into contact with those in the know, with plans on fitting BST wheels both front and rear and needing the swingarm fixtures for everything to fit.
A mate of his who ran a bike repair shop in the UK and who had dealt with Harris in the past got in contact with them, with Harris Racing happy to help out.
“After some back and forth the swingarm was returned to my friend,” added Ian, “And all the parts had been made, including repairing the smaller dent in the swingarm, with the larger dent left due to rising labour costs…”
“Long story short I got a quote for the larger dent to be repaired as well and back it went for the second repair, with the repair job being superb – I couldn’t even tell where the damage had originally been!”
With the Harris Racing Superbike Widetrack swingarm fully repaired and ready to go in bare aluminium, Ian was stoked, especially with the quick change axle and custom captive rear caliper bracket, with BST helping out in providing specs and measurements to ensure the carbon-fibre wheel would fit.
The BST wheels both run on ceramic bearings, with titanium cush drive pins from Pro Bolt, with angled valve stems providing easy access and the quick release axles both front and rear.
Joining the stunning BST rim and Harris swingarm on the rear is a Brembo 84mm Axial caliper in Ni-Cad finish, with a BrakeTech Axis full floating iron rotor, Spiegler SS brake line and Staubli quick disconnect fittings – naturally with titanium hardware from Pro Bolt.
An Ohlins YA343 shock was also commandeered and fitted for the bike along with a 2006 LE adjustable linkage, again held with full titanium hardware from Pro Bolt, with a CleverWolfe carbon-fibre chain guard and rear hugger helping keep road grime off the shiny new additions.
Sato Racing fully adjustable rearsets were another addition, naturally in black, with a Brembo master-cylinder joined by a Rizoma billet reservoir, and G-Craft return spring and adjuster, while a carbon-fibre shark fin protects the rear sprocket.
The tail was also a matter of contention, needing to suit the rest of the bike’s race theme, with Ian taking it to Paragon Customs who used the OEM items for a race tail conversion, removing the pillion seat and finished off in gloss black, to better highlight the Akrapovic pipes hanging from under the tail.
The tail was then further tidied up with the addition of a Moto Dynamics integrated taillight, Greggs Customs fender eliminator and billet tag light. Naturally the tail, fender, and rearset bolts were all of the titanium variety from Pro Bolt.
The end result of all of Ian’s hard work is a stunning looking machine, that would probably be overlooked by the unaware, who wouldn’t be able to spot the numerous modifications, which while subtle turn a great looking motorcycle into an extremely modified machine.
“She rides like a dream now,” explained Ian, “And the culmination of all the work is amazing… the suspension is arguably a bit firm for a street bike but not excessively and the bike has a beautiful race stance and that’s how I like it.
“The bike spools up really fast with all the weight loss and the wheels make a huge difference there too, with braking a one finger affair. I added a 55 profile rear tyre which also helps tip in and the bike flicks from side to side effortlessly.”
The bike has been weighed and with a full tank of fuel came to 179kg, which isn’t bad considering they had a claimed dry weight of just 174kg and this is with the standard fairings, sub-frame and tail!
Whether such an impressive and race inspired bike sees any track time was my first question after seeing the modification list and Ian admitted his answer might be a bit controversial, “The bike is full of track parts – more than I ever anticipated and this is actually an area that a lot don’t understand. I frequently get asked, ‘Why would you have all those track parts on a road bike?’…
“I have ridden at the track in my younger gears but this bike will not be tracked… I now have far too much invested in it, it’s way more than I ever dreamed and I’m just not prepared to trust myself on the track.”
The end result is amazing considering Ian started his mods by joining the R1 Forum and fitting the usual sliders, ‘bar ends, tail tidy and levers, he’s come a long way since, with the forum providing a great sounding board and source of inspiration – especially when you consider that Ian has created this build over a number of years, while working within a very strict budget.
“I have done all the work myself with the exception of the fabricating and tail conversion,” added Ian.
“I’ve had fun and frustration as you’d expect but the overall sense of achievement is well worth it. It’s been a ‘learn as I go experience’, with great support from all the like minded and equally obsessed internet friends, not to mention my buddy Brian who has kept me sane some days!
We’ll be keeping in touch to see how Ian goes with his race bike!
ENGINE: 2006 Yamaha YZF-R1, race-spec radiator, Adel Wiggins fittings, Samco hoses, Factory Pro velocity stacks, K & N airfilter, Power Commander III, Bazzaz quickshifter, 520 chain conversion – DID gold chain, Driven rear sprocket +1T, Superlite drilled front sprocket -1T, DRD speedo healer, Akrapovic full exhaust system
CHASSIS: 2006 Yamaha YZF-R1, IMA Model 4 Evo triple-clamps, Evotech Performance alloy top yoke nut, IMA adjustable clip-ons, Ohlins FG 670 Superbike gas forks, Harris Performance aluminium Superbike widetrack swingarm, quick change axles, 2006 LE adjustable linkage, Ohlins steering damper, Ohlins YA 343 shock, BrakeTech Axis full floating iron front rotors, Brembo P4 34/34 monoblock calipers, Greggs Customs titanium caliper spacers, Ferodo XRAC pads, Brembo 19 x 18 radial master-cylinder, Fren Tubo Type II stainless steel lines, Staubli quick disconnect fittings, Rizoma billet fluid reservoirs, Brembo clutch switch and perch, BrakeTech Axis full floating iron rear rotor, Brembo 84mm Axial Ni-Cad rear caliper, Brembo sintered pads, Speigler stainless steel brake line, Sato Racing adjustable rearsets, G-Craft master-cylinder return spring and adjuster, BST carbon-fibre wheels, ceramic wheel bearings, Dunlop Sportmax Q3 tyres, See breakout for Pro Bolt fixings
BODYWORK: 2006 Yamaha YZF-R1 fairings, Dzus fasteners, Paragon Customs YZF-R1 modified tail, upper and lower frame plugs, modified headlight for integrated LED indicators, GYTR carbon-fibre tank lowers, CleverWolfe carbon-fibre front and rear huggers, Magical Racing screen, Yamaha Raven Gloss Black ram air tubes, Greggs Customs fender eliminator and mirror block-offs, CRG ‘bar end mirrors, Graves bar ‘end mirror adapters, Renthall grips, Translogic F Series race dash, European R1 left switchgear, 2009 R1 right switchgear, GYTR carbon-fibre tank pad, Harris clutch, frame and gearbox sliders, Akrapovic carbon-fibre clutch and sprocket protectors, Woodcraft case sliders, custom aluminium radiator guard, Moto Dynamics integrated taillight, carbon-fibre shark fin guard, Harris Performance 1/4-turn gas gap, See breakout for Pro Bolt fixings
My wife more than anyone for putting up with my addiction and understanding what it means to me.
My close friend Brian, who’s been there to help, as a sounding bag for ideas and sometimes to just keep me sane.
A group of friends known as the R1 Performance Group, who helped source and delivery parts, repaired parts, helped with advice and never ridiculed when I asked something stupid. A better group of likeminded nutcases you would never find, with a passion for bikes that is second to none.
Lester Harris from Harris Performance.
Terry from BlackStone Tek (BST).
Ian has used an extensive list of titanium Pro Bolt fixings with many lockwired, which his wife describes as, “Jewellery for his Mistress”. Here’s the full list:
- Throttle bolts
- Clip on bar bolts
- Clip on fork bolts
- Reservoir bracket bolt
- Tank bolts
- Rear Rotor bolts
- Front Rotor bolts
- Bleed valves
- Damper bolt
- Fender bolts
- Rear Sprocket bolts
- Race Spec Stabiliser bolt
- Brake Lever Pivot nut
- Front bleed valves
- Master bleed valve
- Race Spec Brake Lever Mounting bolts
- Race Spec Brake Lever Pivot bolt
- Brake Lever Pivot nut
- Race Spec Clutch Lever Pivot bolt
- Race Spec Clutch Lever Mounting bolts
- Race Spec Clutch Lever Pivot nut
- Race Spec Clutch Protector cover bolts
- Race Spec Fairing Stay bolts
- Fairing Stay nuts
- Race Spec Front caliper bolts
- Race Spec Knuckle bolt
- Race Spec License Plate bolts
- Race Spec Rear Lifter bolts
- Race Spec Rear M/C bolt
- Race Spec Rearset Mounting bolts
- Race Spec Reservoir Bracket bolt
- Race Spec Reservoir Bracket Triple bolt
- Race Spec Shift Rod bolts
- Race Spec Shock bolts
- Race Spec Stand Mounting bolts
- Race Spec Stand Pivot bolt
- Stand Pivot bolt nut
- Race Spec sub-frame bolts
- Race Spec Tank mounting bolt
- Rear fork pinch bolts
- Rear M/C lock nut
- Rearset Lock nut
- Rearset Mounting bolts
- Mid fairing bolts
- Mirror bolts
- Stand switch bolts
- Mid exhaust bracket
- Mid exhaust bracket
He also used the following Pro Bolt aluminium kits:
- Gas cap bolt kit
- Black aluminium tail bolts
- Valve caps
- Screen bolt kit
LOCATION: Wisconsin, USA
HOW LONG INTO BIKES: 40 years.
OTHER BIKES OWNED: ’72 Puch 50 Motard, ’74 Yamaha DT125, ’76 Suzuki GT380, ’75 Yamaha XT500, ’75 Kawasaki Z900, ’76 Bultaco 350 Sherpa, ’80 Kawasaki Z1300, ’84 Honda VFR750, ’86 Kawasaki GPZ1000, ’90 Kawasaki ZXR750, ’00 Gas Gas 280, ’06 Yamaha YZF-R6, ’04 Yamaha YZF-R1, ’13 Kawasaki Concours
BIKES DESIRED: I would still like to find a nice Motard so I’m hoping Yamaha will bring a street 450 to the US eventually.
OTHER INTERESTS: Fishing, travel .I was an avid scuba diver when I lived in the UK but I’m too far from the ocean now. More motorcycling!