Quite simply the best bike that money can buy in this category,. The acceleration and power delivery is supremely smooth, and has none of the aggressive feel of most other bikes I've ridden. The engine braking is excellent, and I would not advise fitting smog blank off plates, as this will reduce its effect.
The braking is as sharp as a tack, although I have never experienced the stock set up, as I have braided lines wavy discs and HH pads fitted.
The standard suspension set up was very stiff, and I found benefit by rolling back on all settings by a couple of clicks. The bike is extremely light, and feels very easy to ride. It is far less tiring than other heavier machines. Handling is a definite plus point of the R1. I need to add however that the bike should have come with a steering damper as standard fitment, as they are essential.
My particular bike has adjustable bars, rear sets, and has been lowered, which may contribute to the lower score on comfort, as I find my glutes and hamstrings sore after a long ride.
The running costs of an R1 are quite restrictive. I find that after 1600 miles my rear Bridgestone bto14 is needing changed again, and I will be fitting my third rear tyre since owning the bike in the next few days. Presumably chain sprockets and brake pads will be pretty much the same for most sports bikes.
As far as fuel being more expensive by the hour, I can honestly say that the R1 uses no more fuel than my previous GSXR 600, and I get roughly 120 miles before the fuel trip meter comes on.
At age 38 with 4 years no claims bonus and a clean license, insurance quotes have come in ranging from £700 - £210 fully comp, therefore it pays to shop around.
It is hard to see how Yamaha could improve on the 2003 version of the R1. By this stage in its development all the problems of previous incarnations have been ironed out to provide us with a truly stunning machine that does what it says on the tin.