The R1 was the bike that defined Yamaha as a name to reckon with in the superbike segment. Developed with technology derived from their successful MotoGP racers, the R1 was at a point of time one of the most advanced motorcycles around. But then, development stagnated over the past five years, during when their compatriots and the Europeans took over. They upped the stakes by offering godly-levels of power, coupled with electronic systems that’d put even space rockets to shame. But Yamaha wasn't sitting idly in the the shadows. They've been studying their competition closely, because now, they’ve got a new ace up their carbon-fibre sleeves to take them head on.
Enter the 2015 YZF-R1, an amalgamation of steel, magnesium, and titanium, along with a suite of electronics, moulded to perfection by the talented boffins at Yamaha, all in the pursuit to make setting fast lap times a cinch, for both Rossi and lesser-talented mortals.
The new 2015 R1 features an all-new 998cc in-line four-cylinder engine, one that’s lighter and more compact. It retails the same cross-plane crankshaft set-up, but boasts of new technical innovations, such as twin-injectors for each cylinder, titanium-alloy connecting rods, and titanium exhausts.
Weight-saving has clearly been given a high-priority in the new R1’s development – the bike just doesn’t look compact, it is quite light too. It weighs in at smidge below 200 kg with all fluids, thanks to parts like the magnesium sub-frame fitted to an all-new Deltabox frame, a set of lightweight magnesium wheels, and an aluminium fuel tank. Suspension is handled by fully-adjustable KYB forks at the front and a 4-way adjustable KYB gas-charged monoshock at the rear.
With the horsepower race reaching a fever pitch, electronic rider aids have now become more of a necessity than a novelty, so that riders are able to deploy all those horses safely onto the tarmac. The 2015 R1 is no different, and hosts a bevy of electronics that should allow the lesser-talented mortal to play Rossi around corners. The list includes banking-sensitive traction control, slide control, launch control, anti-wheelie control, quickshifter, and linked brakes with ABS, all of which come as standard on the new R1. That is some serious MotoGP-level technology, all for the road!
Finally, the design – we have no qualms in saying that the 2015 R1 is one stunning piece of machinery. “Where are the headlights?” was the first question that popped to mind at first glance. The unconventional placement of the headlights makes it look like a full-on track bike. Styling is clearly inspired by the M1 – the fuel-tank and ram-air intake bear an uncanny resemblance to those on Yamaha’s MotoGP racer. Adding to the bike’s coolness quotient is a pair of LED position lights, which reside in the slits beside the ram-air intake. The bulky front melds into a lithe tail-section, which has a gaping vent on either side to reduce drag. We really doubt you'll find any willing to sit on the tiny pillion seat though.
The 2015 YZF-R1 heralds in a new era for one of the most iconic names in motorcycling history. All that remains to be seen is how it stacks up against its peers in the litre-class superbike segment.
Oh, and for the first time, Yamaha has launched not one, but two variants of the new R1. More on that soon!