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Choosing Wisely and Safely: New-Ray 2001 Yamaha YZF-R1

Without a doubt, the YZF-R1 is the top dog when enthusiasts talk about their favorite Yamaha super sports bike. And we talk from experience: In 2003, Manuel Gaspar “Boy” Albos, Jr., the executive vice president (EVP) of Norkis Trading Corporation, which was the former distributor of Yamaha motorcycles in the Philippines, showed us a brand-spanking-new Yamaha R1 that just arrived in their warehouse.

Mr. Albos knew that I was an avid rider and he asked if I was interested in the R1. My heart was saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” but somehow my brain was telling me to think it over. I didn’t want to get into a situation where my riding abilities are overpowered by the sports bike I’m on. A lot of novice riders got hurt, crippled, or died just because they immediately went up the displacement scale, thinking that they can handle the power of a liter bike, especially one that goes from zero to 100 km/h in less than 3 seconds and hit a top speed of around 270 km/h.

“I’m not ready for the R1 just yet”, I told myself. Even though I’ve been riding motorbikes since high school, I still have to develop my riding skills further. I started riding 100cc motorcycles and scooters when I was 14, stopped riding for a few years, and then got back on two wheels, first with 115cc Yamaha Nouvo, and then with a 250cc Yamaha Virago. Jumping up immediately to a 1000cc R1 might look cool but it also can be a big mistake.

But the heart gets what the heart wants. To satisfy my desire for the R1, I got myself a 1:12 scale model YZF-R1 made by New-Ray Toys Company Ltd. The model bike was a 2001 R1 finished in Yamaha Blue with white graphics. It was a nice representation of the real thing except for some minor detailing lapses. The metallic silver finish of Delta Box frame contrasts nicely with the Yamaha blue fairings with white and silver-gray stripes. The “Yamaha”, “Delta Box”, “EXUP”, “YZF” and “R1” stickers are spot-on while the instrument panel needs a little more detailing and the handle bar need a little less plastic chrome.

The seats have a texture that imitates the material of the real one but the illusion is shattered by the Philips screw that attaches the muffler to the right side frame below the pillion passenger foot peg. The anodized blue muffler should have a carbon fiber finish while the blue piston caps of the disc brake calipers could be a little darker and less plastic-looking . The shiny chrome-like disc brake rotors should be scuffed to capture the look of the real bike.

For the average model collectors, like yours truly, this 1:12 scale R1 is already good enough but the more discerning collectors would spend hours on meticulous modeling work on the items I mentioned above before this model bike can go on their display shelf. It would require some finesse, patience, and a steady hand to bring this New-Ray YZF-R1 to a more accurate level but it would be worth it since this model is a good one to begin with.

I bought this New-Ray Yamaha R1 model bike in December 2003 for a relative bargain of only P438.75 – and I believed that it was a very safe decision. I continued to hone my riding skills with a 535cc Yamaha Virago before I moved up to big bikes. “Life imitates Art”, they all say and in my case, this Yamaha model bike compelled me to chase after a limited-edition BMW R1100 S Boxer Cup Replika for 4 years, and then acquire a Japanese liter bike 10 years later. Let’s reserve that story for next week.

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