It’s An R1 Without The Hefty Price

Yamaha’s YZF-R1S expands the R1 range down into a slightly younger demographic with the “S” variant that sheds some of its fancy metallurgy in favor of slightly less-noble metals with a concurrent decrease in the sticker shock. The “S” delivers the same thrilling performance as the rest of the line as well, so this isn’t just a detuned or repowered look-a-like, its a bona fide R1 that drops a few race-day features to make a bike that is not only less expensive, but more pragmatic for a daily rider. Now you can get that same feel and performance even if the parking lot is the closest it will ever get to a track. Today, I’m going to see what all the buzz surrounding this bike is about, and see how it compares to other lower-top-shelf models currently on the market.

Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R1S.

Yamaha YZF- R1S Design

2018 Yamaha R1S
- image 788795
The “S” has everything a [supersport->mot293]/street rider should be looking for with enough trackside appeal to satisfy the budding, wanna-be racer crowd.

Windtunnel-tested body panels punch a hole in the wind with minimal resistance, and the front fairing also acts as a ram-scoop that redirects pressurized air from the pressure wave at the entry to the intake tract for increased volumetric efficiency; kind of a poor cousin to a turbo/supercharger, but a damn sight better than purely natural aspiration. After all, there’s a reason that the old-school lobster boats all had a big funnel for an intake, and it wasn’t because it looked cool, I assure you.

Behind the scoop of the cowl, the body covering quickly opens up in a series of vents and peters out to nothing to leave much of the powerplant exposed, at least in profile. Clip-on bars pull the rider forward over the 4.5-gallon tank to tuck in behind the bubble canopy-style windshield, and to be honest, the rider’s triangle leaves little opportunity for a relaxed riding position; the best you can hope for its to just push yourself up off the tank a bit. If you’re looking for a more-upright riding position, you’re looking at the wrong kind of bike here.

A shallow butt-pan contains the pilot, but the passengers get little love with a narrow p-pad that is barely sufficient to cushion the naughty bits. A combination mudguard/turn-signal/plateholder unit finishes off the gear in the rear, and I gotta’ say that as nice as this bike looks, it’d look better with a hugger and side-mount plate, but maybe that’s just me. At a glance, the “S” has everything a supersport/street rider should be looking for with enough trackside appeal to satisfy the budding, wanna-be racer crowd.

Yamaha YZF- R1S Chassis

2018 Yamaha R1S
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All the metrics add up to deliver elbow-dragging performance, if you have the testicular fortitude for it, that is.

The R1S’s Deltabox frame was borrowed from the M1 project, and it is meant to deliver top-notch racebike handling and nothing less. Remember the less-noble metals I mentioned? Well, it starts right here in the 17-inch wheels that are cast-aluminum instead of the much lighter magnesium used on the base R1. Steering geometry is as sharp as ever though with 24 degrees of rake and four inches of trail on a 55.3-inch wheelbase that delivers elbow-dragging performance, if you have the testicular fortitude for it, that is.

KYB supplies the suspension goodies with a pair of fully-adjustable, 43 mm usd forks up front and coil-over piggyback shock out back that is similarly adjustable and adds spring preload to the mix. The brakes come off looking strong with dual 320 mm discs up front and a 220 mm disc to slow the rear wheel, but the real magic is under the hood. Yamaha’s Unified Brake System applies a portion of the front braking pressure to the rear caliper in order to improve stability, and let’s face it, keeping the ass-end behind you where it belongs is a great first step to remaining stable, yeah?

ABS does its bit as well to prevent loss of traction in an overbraking situation, plus it uses data from the gyro in the Inertial Measurement Unit to modulate the ABS intervention levels while taking into account the diminished available braking traction because of the cornering forces. Smart stuff, so you don’t have to be.

Suspension / Front: 43mm KYB® inverted fork; fully adjustable; 4.7- in travel
Suspension / Rear: KYB® piggyback shock, 4-way adjustable; 4.7- in travel
Rake (Caster Angle): 24.0°
Trail: 4.0 in
Brakes / Front: Dual 320 mm hydraulic disc; Unified Brake System and ABS
Brakes / Rear: 220 mm disc; Unified Brake System and ABS
Tires, Front/Rear: 120/70ZR17/190/55ZR17

Yamaha YZF- R1S Drivetrain

2018 Yamaha R1S
- image 788800
The stock “S” has just about everything you get on the base R1 except the quickshifter feature.

Race-tastic bikes get race-tastic engines, and the R1S certainly doesn’t disappoint. Mechanically, it’s the same Crossplane Concept mill used by the rest of the range, but with some more of those cost-saving metallurgical efforts that sees steel conrods rather than titanium, aluminum covers instead of magnesium and stainless-steel exhaust headers as a lower-cost alternative to titanium.

The four-cylinder plant runs a 79 mm bore and 50.9 mm stroke that adds up to 998 cc total, and it gives the engine a sizzlin’ hot 13-to-1 compression ratio that’ll put you at the expensive pump every time. While the R1S’s engine isn’t exactly detuned, it does have a longer spool-up time due to the increased weight of the conrods. Overall power, however, remains as spicy as ever with 82.9 pound-feet of torque at 11,500 rpm and a staggering 200 horsepower at 13,500 rpm, so yeah, it’s every bit as capable as its less street-friendly siblings.

A ride-by-wire feature controls the engine, or at least, it informs the ECU of your desired power level. That signal is then modified by the Power Mode (replaces the old D-mode) and the Traction Control features to determine the actual butterfly position. The electronics suite continues with launch control, wheelie control and even slide control, so you get all the goodies you need to handle all that power. In other words, the stock “S” has just about everything you get on the base R1 except the quickshifter feature.

Engine: 998cc, liquid-cooled inline 4 cylinder DOHC; 16 valves
Bore x Stroke: 79.0 mm x 50.9 mm
Compression Ratio: 13.0:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection with YCC-T and YCC-I
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate assist and slipper clutch
Final Drive: Chain

Yamaha YZF- R1S Pricing

2018 Yamaha R1S
- image 788800
Unless you're actually spending time on the track, the expense of the racing materials really just isn't worth it.

Part of the marketing strategy here revolves around the price. The YZF-R1S rolls for $14,999, and that’s a significant break from the full-on R1. Let’s face it, unless you’re actually spending time on the track, the expense of the racing materials really just isn’t worth it.

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Colors: Cerulean Silver/Raven
Price: $14,999

Yamaha YZF- R1S Competitors

2018 Yamaha R1S
- image 788804
2015 - 2018 BMW S 1000 RR
- image 678698
Yamaha beats the socks off BMW at the checkout counter and enjoys a little more flexibility in electronic engine-control fandanglery.

Even toned down a skosh, the R1S is still far more race-tastic than the vast majority of the field, so I had to look for another top-shelf street machine built for closet racers and BMW’s S 1000 RR immediately came up as a likely candidate. Right off the bat I gotta point out that aesthetics take a backseat to performance, and form-follows-function so I’m going to cancel the beauty pageant and say the bikes both fit the mold; not that it matters much since looks, as ever, are definitely subjective.

BMW gets a leg up in the suspension department as it floats on electronic/automatic/dynamic damping adjustments whereas Yamaha’s stems, however adjustable, fall short since you have to manually adjust them. Beemer’s powerplant packs in a single additional cube for a total of 999 cc, and the power figures are similarly close with 199 horsepower and 83 pounds o’ grunt from the Beemer against 200/82.9 though the Yamaha enjoys a little more flexibility in the electronic engine-control fandanglery for a slight advantage in that category.

So far so good for the Tuning Fork Company, and it gets even better at the checkout; Yamaha beats the socks off BMW with a price that clocks in almost four grand cheaper than the $18,845 BMW, and with all else being so close, that’s a real dealmaker/breaker there.

He Said

“Gotta’ say mission accomplie for Yamaha on this one. It’s got the performance. It’s got the price. It’s got everything but titanium, really. If you’re lusting after an R1 and just can’t swing the price, the “S” looks like a viable alternative. Hell, even if you can afford the R1, unless you plan on hitting the track somewhere other than in your mind, the “S” covers enough of the same bases to qualify as a “close enough” alternative.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “It’s a stupid-fast bike, for certain. It has a nice electronics package, much like the R1, but it’s a much more affordable ride. If you’re looking for a thrilling commute and don’t have plans to track it, this could be your Huckleberry. It’s fairly well behaved on low-speed maneuvers, smooth on acceleration, and comfortable enough as long as you ride it like a sportbike and not try to sit up.”

Yamaha YZF- R1S Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 998cc, liquid-cooled inline 4 cylinder DOHC; 16 valves
Bore x Stroke: 79.0 mm x 50.9 mm
Compression Ratio: 13.0:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection with YCC-T and YCC-I
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate assist and slipper clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis:
Suspension / Front: 43mm KYB® inverted fork; fully adjustable; 4.7- in travel
Suspension / Rear: KYB® piggyback shock, 4-way adjustable; 4.7- in travel
Rake (Caster Angle): 24.0°
Trail: 4.0 in
Brakes / Front: Dual 320 mm hydraulic disc; Unified Brake System and ABS
Brakes / Rear: 220 mm disc; Unified Brake System and ABS
Tires, Front/Rear: 120/70ZR17/190/55ZR17
Dimensions & Capacities:
L x W x H: 80.9 in x 27.2 in x 45.3 in
Seat Height: 33.7 in
Wheelbase: 55.3 in
Maximum Ground Clearance: 5.1 in
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal
Fuel Economy: 34 mpg
Wet Weight: 448 lb
Details:
Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Colors: Cerulean Silver/Raven
Price: $14,999

References

BMW S 1000 RR

2015 - 2018 BMW S 1000 RR
- image 678700

See our review of the BMW S 1000 RR.

Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
- image 788808

See our review of the Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M.

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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: yamaha-motor.com, bmwmotorcycles.com

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