First Look 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 | R1 M First Look 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 | R1 M First Look 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 | R1 M

After a six-year production run Yamaha raises the bar in the Superbike class with a completely overhauled YZF-R1 sport Available this February in standard and up-spec ‘M’  variations the 2015 R1 is set to eclipse the competition.


Like before the R1 is powered by a water-cooled Inline Four engine with dual overhead camshafts and a 16-valve cylinder head (intake valves remain fabricated from titanium, while the exhaust are stamped from steel). Displacement is unchanged at 998cc. It also benefits from Yamaha’s crossplane crankshaft design and uneven firing order introduced on the ‘09 model. Besides those general specifications everything inside the engine case is new.

Specifically the bore/stroke formula was modified (more oversquare) for increased top-end performance. Accordingly fresh forged aluminum pistons were fitted squeezing fuel to a higher ratio. Each cylinder continues to employ a pair of fuel injectors and sucks air through a 19% larger capacity airbox. Spent gasses are expelled from an exhaust that is manufactured “mainly from titanium," accordingly to press materials, and terminates on the right-hand side of the swingarm. Similar to the 2010 and newer YZ450F motocross bike, the cylinders are offset toward the center of the crankshaft to reduce friction. Rocker-arms augment the shim-under-bucket valvetrain allowing for more aggressive camshaft profiles. Titanium connection rods were also installed.

Together these updates should boost engine response, however there’s no word if redline has changed from the previous generation (13,600 rev ceiling). Yamaha was also tight lipped on power numbers (for reference the 2009-2014 R1 pumps out roughly 150 horsepower at the back tire). All told Yamaha claims the engine is 1.2 inches narrower at the crankshaft and nine pounds lighter than the 2014 model.

Lastly, the six-speed transmission was revamped and is matched to a cable-actuated racing-style slipper clutch and electronic quickshifter.


A new variation of Yamaha’s Deltabox-style twin spar aluminum frame was developed yet it retains the R1’s tried and true geometry numbers (24-degree rake and 4.0 in. trail). It’s matched to a reshaped aluminum swingarm and magnesium subframe. Wheelbase has been reduced slightly from 55.7 in. to 55.3 inches. Curiously, the position of the rider’s footpegs is fixed and no longer adjustable. The 4.5-gallon fuel tank (0.3 gallons smaller) is now fabricated from aluminum (as opposed to steel) further reducing weight by 3.5 lbs. On the scale, Yamaha claims a 15 pound weight reduction versus the 2009-2014 generation superbike (439 pounds ready to ride).

The ‘15 R1 replaces its Soqi-sourced suspension components for the latest hardware from KYB. Although the fork outer tube diameter is unchanged (43mm) each leg houses independant compression and rebound damping circuits, with all adjustment made atop each cap (including spring preload). A new gas-charged KYB shock works through a revised linkage and offers spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping adjustment. The ‘M’ machines swaps out the manually-adjusted KYB pieces for electronically adjustable suspension by Ohlins.

It rolls on a pair of 10-spoke magnesium wheels that are said to be nearly two pounds lighter than the cast aluminum rims they replace. The wheels are shoed with Bridgestone’s latest Battlax RS10 high-performance rubber. Braking capabilities are enhanced with larger diameter brake rotors. The 320mm discs are clamped by a pair of monobloc-style four-piston radial-mount calipers from Nissin. The set-up is actuated hydraulically through stainless-steel brake lines (a first for a Japanese sportbike) with ABS and unified braking (in which the rear brake is activated when the front is applied).

Visually the R1 borrows aerodynamic styling cues from the YZR-M1 MotoGP prototype, including its flat nose that discreetly hides a pair of LED headlamps (a first for a Yamaha street bike). LED turn signals are also neatly integrated into the rear view mirrors. And for those looking of added exclusivity the ‘M’ spec R1 adds carbon fiber bodywork, and a polished tank and swingarm.


Yamaha builds upon its impressive array of production sportbike electronics (including its ride-by-wire [YCC-T] and variable length intake funnels [YCC-I]) with the fitment of an Inertia Measurement Unit. It serves as the motorcycle’s digital six-axis compass integrating a gyro and accelerometer/G-sensor that calculate pitch, lean, and yaw, in addition to front and rear wheel speeds. The data augments the R1’s comprehensive electronics suite including wheel spin (traction control), slide, lift (wheelie), launch, and unified braking control systems. A slick-looking and full color TFT-style LCD monitors settings and can be set-up specifically for street or track use. Furthermore a communication control unit allows the rider to monitor the motorcycle’s track performance via an Android or iOS-equipped smartphone (standard on the ‘M’ machine but can be purchased as an accessory for the base model).

2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 Specifications
Engine: 998cc liquid-cooled four-stroke Inline Four, DOHC, 16-valves
Bore and Stroke: 79.0 x 50.9mm
Compression Ratio: 13.0:1
Fuel Delivery: Electronic fuel-injection with YCC-T and YCC-I
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate slipper clutch, cable actuation
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: Chain, TBD gearing
Frame: Twin spar aluminum
Front Suspension: 43mm KYB inverted fork; Three-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension: KYB gas-charge shock; four-way adjustable for spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping; 4.7 in. travel
Front Brakes: 320mm discs with radial-mount Nissin monobloc-style four-piston calipers
Rear Brake: 220mm disc with double-piston caliper
Curb Weight: 439 lbs.
Wheelbase: 55.3 in.
Rake: 24.0 deg.Trail: 4.0 in.
Seat Height: 33.7 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal.
Colors: Team Yamaha Blue/White; Rapid Red/Pearl White; Raven
Warranty: One year, unlimited mileage

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