Call this one a recession special. In lieu of an all-new model or significant updates, Yamaha is instead heaping its flagship R1 with classy new paint jobs and all manner of popular aftermarket upgrades. Foremost among those? A seven-level traction control system, bringing the 2012 Yamaha R1 up to speed with bikes like the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R and BMW S1000RR.

The rest of the upgrades read like a list taken from Adey’s R1 — a revised ECU for smoother low-down drive; M1-alike triple clamps; grippier rearsets; LED running lights; slimmer exhaust heat guards.

Black beauty.

2012 Yamaha R1: traction control
The all-black 2012 Yamaha R1 "Raven."

The crossplane-crankshaft inline-four remains unaltered and the only visual alteration, aside from the new paint, is a sleaker headlight cowl.

All that comes at in at $13,990 only a $400 premium over the 2011 model. Unless you want the tacky flat biller graphics ($14,190) or the Yamaha GP 50th Anniversary edition and its red and white speed blocks for $14,490.

Click here to see how the R1 stacks up to other superbike rivals on power, torque and other specs.

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