New Quick Shifter and Lift Control for 2018

Yamaha’s R1 family brings genuine racebike fun to the unwashed masses for a price that belies their capabilities. The base-model R1 and its even more race-tastic “M” variant come with MotoGP-level performance, and indeed are actually set up to be quickly converted for track use, so these are no poser bikes, not by a long shot. A powerful liter-sized mill pushes the R1 family well into the stupidfast category with updated electronic subsystems to help you keep it all under control, and of course, the synergy between the components makes the R1 family much greater than the sum of its parts. Let’s dig in and see what else the Tuning Fork Company has going on with this pair.

Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M.

  • 2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    998 cc
  • Price:
    16699
  • Price:

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M Design

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
- image 788806
There's a bit of rise to the tapered tail for that nose-down/tail-up stance that looks so good, but it should come as no surprise that the pillion area isn't quite as robust as the rest of the bike.

A windtunnel-tested skin mostly contains all the goodies, but leaves a bit more of the engine visible than is typical of supersport-level machines. It’s built to offer minimal resistance to penetration as any good racebike should, but the factory takes advantage of the ram-air effect and uses it to deliver a higher volumetric efficiency than is possible with a naturally aspirated engine.

Tiny LED headlights take care of business from their unobtrusive little niches at the top of the cowling scoop, and since the turn signals come integrated with the mirrors, they add no extra drag of their own. Plus, it’s really convenient if you want to strip the bike down to its race-weight for a track day.

A bubble canopy gives the TFT display a measure of protection as well as creates a minimal, race-style pocket that you really have to tuck into to get any protection, but the clip-on bars and jockey-mount pegs encourage that kind of posture anyway. In fact, if you plan on using this as a streetbike/commuter, you should be aware that this isn’t like a “standard” model that will let you push off for an almost-upright posture; you’re going to be almost locked into Superman mode at all times.

The 4.5-gallon aluminum fuel tank strikes a long flat flyline ahead of the steep tumble to the pilot’s seat, and it comes with the typical flared shape that leaves a handy knee-hanger to enable your body English. There’s a little bit of rise to the tapered tail for that nose-down/tail-up stance that looks so good, but it should come as no surprise that the pillion area isn’t quite as robust as the rest of the bike. It comes with a skinny p-pad that may prevent any bruised tailbones or naughty bits, but not much else. Oh well, you can’t have everything, and if you plan on having a regular passenger, I’d recommend a different machine; a very different machine. At the terminus, the mudguard mounts the tag and rear turn signals so, like the mirrors and winkers up front, it provides an all-in-one assembly for quick raceday prep.

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M Chassis

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
- image 788808
The R1 and the R1M start to diverge a bit in the support structure; not in the bones itself, but in the suspension components.

The R1 and the R1M start to diverge a bit in the support structure. Not in the bones itself — both run the stressed-engine Deltabox frame that sprung from the M1 project — but in the suspension components. The base R1 runs some nice gear to be sure with inverted KYB stems that float the front end on 4.7 inches of travel and provide the full spectrum of adjustments. Out back, a KYB monoshock springs off the long, boomerang-shaped swingarm with the same travel figure and adjustments plus a spring-preload feature because, well, because people expect it no matter what kind of bike it is.

Yeah, all that is great and fine, but the M takes it to another level entirely with the Öhlins Electronic Racing Suspension system that receives data about vehicle motion and attitude to automatically adjust the dampers for a dynamic riding experience. The factory added two new settings for track tackling performance with a road-friendly response curve and three rider-programmable profiles that allow you to dial it in for yourself.

Stupidfast bikes need crazy-strong brakes, and the factory obliges with dual 320 mm discs up front and a 220 mm disc out back. As with the suspension, the brakes benefit from the 3D, six-axis inertial measurement unit that feeds data to the ABS. It allows for the fact that the braking effort shares the same finite amount of traction and prevents you from pulling a lowsider from overbraking in a curve.

On top of that, Yamaha’s own Unified Brake System shares a portion of the pressure from the front brake circuit with the rear caliper to help increase stability under heavy front brake use. That’s right, go ahead and trail-brake with abandon, the R1 has your back.

Super-light, 17-inch magnesium wheels round out the rolling chassis with even more racing tech, and they’re lined with a ZR-rated 120/70 up front and 190/55 out back.

Model:YZF-R1YZF-R1M
Suspension / Front: 43mm KYB® inverted fork; fully adjustable; 4.7- in travel 43mm Öhlins® electronic suspension w/inverted fork; fully adjustable; 4.7-in travel
Suspension / Rear: KYB® piggyback shock, 4-way adjustable; 4.7- in travel Öhlins® electronic suspension w/single shock; fully adjustable; 4.7-in travel
Brakes / Front: Dual 320mm hydraulic disc; Unified Brake System and ABS Dual 320mm hydraulic disc; Unified Brake System and ABS
Brakes / Rear: 220mm disc; Unified Brake System and ABS 220mm disc; Unified Brake System and ABS
Tires / Front: 120/70ZR17 120/70ZR17
Tires / Rear: 190/55ZR17 200/55ZR17

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M Drivetrain

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
- image 788811
There's electronic fandanglery aplenty to help you manage all that power, and most of us will need as much help as we can get.

Now for the star of the show, the beating heart that makes all the magic happen, Yamaha’s Crossplane Crankshaft engine. The beating heart runs in an inline-four configuration with race-proven tech borrowed, once again, from the “Mission One” program. Super-light titanium conrods have fracture-split big ends that are supposed to deliver superior fitment, but there’s no doubt that the lowered reciprocating mass helps the engine spool up quickly in response to demand at the right grip. Of course, that demand washes through a number of electronic safety systems before it gets to the engine.

The Quick Shift System got updated to allow for seamless, push-button shifting both up and down the range, as did the Wheel Lift Control so it will generate more drive while trying to keep the front wheel on the ground. Power modes, Launch Control, Traction Control and Slide Control add to the fandanglery to help you manage all that power, and most of us will need as much help as we can get since the mill churns out a staggering 200 horsepower and 82.9 pound-feet of torque. Yeah, it’s like that, and it can drive the R1 at speeds up to 186 mph. Huh, not with me on it.

The 70 mm bore and 50.9 mm stroke adds up to 998 cc with a 13-to-1 compression ratio that adds up to premium fuel, no way around that, but thems (sic) the breaks if you want to play with the big boys. A slipper clutch adds another layer of traction-patch protection with a six-speed gearbox to crunch the ratios and send power to the rear wheel via O-ring chain drive.

Engine: 998 cc, liquid-cooled inline 4 cylinder DOHC; 16 valves
Bore x Stroke: 70.0 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

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M Pricing

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
- image 788815
At $16.7k, the R1 is a about $6k less than its more race-tastic sibling.

You can score a 2018 YZF-R1 in Raven or Team Yamaha Blue for $16,699 MSRP. The R1M is significantly pricier at $22,999 MSRP, but the envy it generates comes standard with the base package.

Model:YZF-R1YZF-R1M
Warranty: One Year (Limited Factory Warranty) One Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color: Raven, Team Yamaha Blue Carbon Fiber/Liquid Metal
Price: $16,699 $22,999

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M Competitors

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
- image 788819
2015 - 2018 BMW S 1000 RR
- image 678698
Any advantage one may have over the other will evaporate in the face of a superior skillset.

The BMW S 1000 RR is currently one of my favorite Euro-tastic literbikes, and I think it makes a dandy competitor for the R1, so here we go. Beemer’s body panels are equally aerodynamic though they do leave a little more to the imagination as they cover more of the engine. An asymmetrical headlight arrangement gives the BMW a distinctive mug head-on, and the fuel tank hump is bit more dramatic, but bike design at this level is driven entirely by performance so aesthetics are merely a vanity here.

At the stems, there is little to choose between the two as they both rock automatically adjustable suspension systems with data from an on-board gyroscope that also feeds the ABS for corner-braking protection across the board. Yamaha alone offers a UBS feature, though I question the necessity. Riders at this level should be able to balance their own brakes by feel and muscle memory. If you can’t, you need to get good on something a little tamer.

BMW tops the displacement chart by a single cube for a 999 cc displacement. Inline four-bangers drive both bikes with similar drivetrains and electronic gadgetry, and naturally, come with similar performance profiles. Beemer claims a total of 199 horsepower and 83 pounds of grunt versus 200/82.9 from the R1. If you’re looking for a silver bullet, you won’t find it here, and any advantage one may have over the other will evaporate in the face of a superior skillset.

Yamaha picks up a significant win at the checkout with the $16,699 sticker on its stock R1 against the $18,845 tag on the S 1000 RR, and that should put the R1 on your shortlist if you’re looking for a toy to gift to your inner racer.

He Said

“Ya know, frequently the price tag on these street/race machines acts as a firewall to keep the plebes safe by keeping the bike out of reach. The R1 doesn’t enjoy that filter, but I’m tellin’ ya now, you’d better know what you’re about if you fancy one of the models from this family.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “It’s a stupidfast bike, that’s for sure. If you’ve ever had the chance to sit on an R6, sitting on the R1 feels just like that. It’s very smooth, very aggressive, and very wide. Unless you’re fairly tall, it’ll be a challenge to get your feet down so there’s more to the seat height here than just a number in the spec list. This bike wants to go fast, and I feel like unless you know what you’re doing and have the skillset to handle it, you can really get yourself into trouble in a hurry.”

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 998 cc, liquid-cooled inline 4 cylinder DOHC; 16 valves
Bore x Stroke: 70.0 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:
YZF-R1: 43mm KYB® inverted fork; fully adjustable; 4.7- in travel
YZF-R1M: 43mm Öhlins® electronic suspension w/inverted fork; fully adjustable; 4.7-in travel
Suspension / Rear:
YZF-R1: KYB® piggyback shock, 4-way adjustable; 4.7- in travel
YZF-R1M: Öhlins® electronic suspension w/single shock; fully adjustable; 4.7-in travel
Brakes / Front: Dual 320mm hydraulic disc; Unified Brake System and ABS
Brakes / Rear: 220mm disc; Unified Brake System and ABS
Tires / Front: 120/70ZR17
Tires / Rear:
YZF-R1: 190/55ZR17
YZF-R1M: 200/55ZR17
Dimensions & Capacities:
L x W x H: 80.9 in x 27.2 in x 45.3 in
Seat Height:
YZF-R1: 33.7 in
YZF-R1M: 33.9 in
Wheelbase: 55.3 in
Rake (Caster Angle): 24.0°
Trail: 4.0 in
Maximum Ground Clearance: 5.1 in
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal
Fuel Economy: 34 mpg
Wet Weight:
YZF-R1: 441 lb
YZF-R1M: 443 lb
Details:
Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color:
YZF-R1: Raven, Team Yamaha Blue
YZF-R1M: Carbon Fiber/Liquid Metal
Price:
YZF-R1: $16,699
YZF-R1M: $22,999

References

BMW S 1000 RR

2015 - 2018 BMW S 1000 RR
- image 678701

See our review of the BMW S 1000 RR.

Yamaha YZF-R6

2017 - 2018 Yamaha YZF-R6
- image 716668

See our review of the Yamaha YZF-R6.

no article
- image 788830

Read more Yamaha news.

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

Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: