I’ll be honest. Yamaha’s VX models may be the industry’s perennial bestsellers, but in the past I’d be the first one looking for another ride after spending a few minutes on a VX at the company’s annual press intro. Not that the VX isn’t a good craft. It’s pretty great, actually, reasonably priced and versatile. It’s just that with other more powerful models at my disposal, I’d grow quickly restless with the VX’s 1,052cc engine. I just wanted a little more power.
Yamaha insiders confide they did, too, and for 2016 we all got our collective wish. The TR-1 High Output, a new 1,049cc triple replaces the former powerplant and, despite losing a few ccs and one cylinder, produces about 13% more horsepower than its predecessor. It’s also surprisingly light and compact. Physical dimensions — 30” long, 21” wide, and 19” in height — reflect a 40% decrease in size in comparison to the MR-1. The TR-1’s scant 160 pounds is also a 20% reduction in weight. One way Yamaha achieved this is by eliminating the reduction gear. The oil tank has also been integrated, and the ECU/air filter attached to the engine.
Remove the saddle and you can literally see the empty space, with room to access all the vital service points. Skinned knuckles should be nothing but a not-so-fond memory.
I tested the TR-1 in a 2016 VX Cruiser during Yamaha’s early-July press event outside Atlanta. Conditions — high heat and humidity — were less than ideal, but I recorded a 53.3 mph top speed, an improvement over the former model. In better conditions I’d expect that top end to creep up even higher. The delivery of that power also seemed far more satisfying, with a crisp, hard-hitting response that was far removed from the old engine’s tame demeanor. As to Yamaha’s promise of better fuel economy, I had the opportunity to hook up fuel-flow equipment to several models. At a 30 mph cruising speed, the engine burned through only 3.7 gallons per hour. Pinning the throttle pushed that total to 8.3 gallons per hour.
The TR-1 replaces the MR-1 in the V1, V1 Sport, VX, VX Deluxe, and VX Cruiser for 2016, as well as finds its way into a new VX Limited model. Look for a more in-depth review soon.