Yamaha has fired all cannons in the latest instalment of the World Superbike wars with the release of the new YZF-R1 and R1M. MotoGP gods Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo made an appearance at EICMA Milan to pull the covers off what Yamaha is calling “the most MotoGP-inspired motorcycle ever” – and while we’ll leave it to others to debate whether Ducati’s Desmosedici RR already took that title long ago, the new R1 looks like a very yummy piece of kit.
In recent years it’s been European bikes setting the supersports agenda, with BMW’s S1000RR, MV Agusta’s F4 and Ducati’s Panigale beating each other over the heads with peak power figures around the 200-horsepower mark and the Japanese factories maintaining a dignified separation back around the 180 mark.
2015 seems to be the year Japan decided “enough!” Kawasaki struck first, a month ago, with the frankly silly H2R, packing 1,000 supercharged cubic centimeters of lunacy that’s said to peak out at 300 horsepower and is now available on a track-only basis. A roadgoing H2 is expected to put out around 200 horses, but with a Kawasaki-crazy blown power delivery.
And the new R1 doesn’t disappoint either. Its memorable name is still the one non-motorcycle people associate with really, really fast bikes, and now it’s back in the mix with a claimed 200 crank horsepower and some very nice looking electronics. It’ll launch in February.
The 2015 R1 sticks with the inline 4-cylinder, 998cc engine of its predecessors, and likewise uses the crossplane crankshaft from the last generation R1. It’ll put out 200 horses before high-speed ram air is accounted for, as well as 112.4 Nm (82.9 ft-lbs) of torque. The crossplane layout made the previous R1 torquey to the point of excess in the lower rev ranges, so this thing will move.
Chassis-wise, the wet weight is just under 200kg (443 lbs) and the R1 will ride on KYB fully-adjustable suspension front and rear. Brakes are 320mm discs with 4-piston radial calipers, and while the front tire is a standard 120/70/17, the rear is a touch wider than its predecessor at 200/55/17 to help get the extra power down. The wheelbase is a hair shorter than the 2015 BMW S1000RR at 55.9 inches.
The electronics is where the MotoGP inspiration comes in. It’s got the lot, starting with a six-axis “Inertial Measurement Unit” (IMU) that uses gyros and accelerometers to measure pitch, roll, yaw, and acceleration from front to back, left to right and up to down. This unit communicates with the Yamaha Ride Control ECU to provide data for a brim-full goodie bag of rider assist, safety and go-fast features including:
- Adjustable and user-programmable power delivery modes
- Lean angle sensitive traction control
- 4-stage slide control to manage powerslides
- 4-stage lift control to dial in your maximum wheelie settings
- Full-throttle launch control (one of the most terrifying experiences you can have on two wheels)
- Quickshifter for upshifts only
- Slipper clutch to keep the rear from losing traction on high-rpm downshifts
- Linked ABS braking designed to help keep the rear down under hard braking
The new TFT dash looks absolutely fantastic as well, and manages access to all the new features. Design-wise it’s a much more compact looking R1 than the previous generation. The front fairing breaks from sportsbike tradition by refusing to look like a face at all. The front panel is totally flat and anonymous, with twin LED headlights poking out from beneath - an interesting touch that adds to the track-focused feel of the design.
The 2015 YZF-R1 will launch in February and RRP is set at $16,490 in the USA.
2015 Yamaha YZF-R1MRather than issuing an SP model as it has in the past, Yamaha has concurrently released an upgraded model with a new “M” designation clearly designed to evoke the YZR-M1 MotoGP bike’s mighty name.
The R1M shares most of the R1’s specifications, but replaces some of the bodywork with carbon fiber to effect some 5-odd pounds of weight loss.
It also features fully electronic, active Ohlins suspension that takes data from the IMU on speed, attitude, lean angle, acceleration and brake pressure in order to constantly update rebound and compression damping for the ideal ride, be it on the street or track. More advanced users can switch to manual mode and adjust everything in fine detail without getting the screwdrivers out at all.
The other key selling point for the R1M is an advanced datalogging GPS system that communicates via WiFi with an iOS or Android app to give riders a huge range of data about the track season they’ve just completed, including the ability to make settings changes to re-upload back to the R1M. Yamaha says this level of data availability “blurs the line between a factory superbike and a MotoGP bike.”
These extra goodies certainly come at a price – the R1M will retail at US$21,990.
We’ve included a giant photo gallery of studio, action and detail shots of both the R1 and R1M – delve in and enjoy!