Video: 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 First Look | Sport Rider

Video: 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 First Look

Yamaha goes all-in with its 2015 R1, complete with new engine, chassis, and electronics pacakge

Yamaha has finally released images and information on its 2015 R1, and the bike doesn’t disappoint. We should say bikes, actually, as Yamaha has unveiled both a standard R1 and limited-edition R1M, both of which borrow a mass of technologies from the Yamaha MotoGP program and will be available early next year.

We know what you're thinking, that "MotoGP-derived technology" is something Yamaha and every other Japanese manufacturers have been touting since before traction control. But with the new R1, these claims seem to hold more water than ever before. Updates include a new chassis with shorter wheelbase and swingarm, updated engine that’s intended to have more peak horsepower plus low-end torque, and an electronics package with updated traction management systems.

A new TFT display enables adjustment to each of the R1's many electronic rider aids.

Changes to the R1’s 998cc crossplane-crank engine include a larger bore (79 vs. 78mm) and shorter stroke (50.9 vs. 52.2), plus larger intake and exhaust valves, which measure 33mm and 26.5mm respectively. Intake and exhaust ports have been reworked and the valve angle has been updated, which works with the combustion chamber shape to increase combustion speed and efficiency. An updated crossplane crank design with lightweight coupling balancer reduces the inertial moment for better low-end acceleration, while titanium “fracture-split” connecting rods give the engine a more responsive character at high rpm, Yamaha says. Back up top, there are new, high-strength forged-aluminum pistons that weigh less than the outgoing slugs and have low-tension piston rings for reduced power losses due to friction. The 2015 R1 is claimed to produce just under 200 horsepower (at the crank).

Yamaha's heavily updated 998cc crossplane-crank engine is claimed to produce 200 hp, plus better low-end torque.

A small part of the bike’s power increase comes from an airbox that’s 19-percent larger than the unit on the current R1. The fuel injection system is new and features “two-directional 12-hole main injectors which direct their high pressure spray at the back of the two new large diameter intake valves,” Yamaha says. The idea behind this design is to minimize the amount of fuel that hits the back of the ports walls, thus decreasing combustion speed. A 4-2-1 titanium exhaust and lightweight slipper clutch—with assist feature for lightweight actuation—are new as well.

The R1’s Deltabox frame uses a left-right asymmetric design and magnesium subframe for added weight savings. The bike is claimed to weigh 439 pounds with a full tank of fuel, which equates to a (much-needed) savings of 16 pounds. Additional changes to the R1 chassis include a 15mm shorter swingarm, 10mm shorter wheelbase, and 3mm larger axle, which is said to increase front-end feel, something Valentino Rossi talked about often during the presentation for the new R1 at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. Rake (24 degrees), fork offset, and trail (102mm), are the same as they were on the ’14 R1. Suspension includes a 43mm Kayaba front fork and Kayaba shock, plus the bike will come with 10-spoke cast magnesium wheels which combine to save 1.9 pounds. A 17-liter aluminum fuel tank is 3.5 pounds lighter than the previous fuel container and reshaped (as is the seat) to provide a better rider interface, especially at the track, Yamaha says.

Brakes on the 2015 Yamaha R1 include monoblock calipers up front biting on 10mm-larger discs. The bike is now outfitted with steel-braided lines for less brake fade, plus unified brake system which applies some pressure to the rear brakes as soon as the rider grabs at the front brake lever. ABS comes standard, but can not be switched off.

Braking force for the linked brake system is based on input form the R1’s six-axis Intertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which consist of three gyro sensors that measure pitch, roll, and yaw, as well as three G-sensors that transmit data on forward/backward, left/right and up/down acceleration. “By constantly analyzing this data 125 times per second, the IMU is able to establish the R1’s position and behavior – including lean angle, slide speed and pitching rate. Data is then sent via a CAN system (Controller Area Network) to the ECU that makes real time calculations and instantly adjusts the R1’s various electronic control systems in order to achieve optimum performance with high levels of controllability,” Yamaha says.

The R1's front cowl and screen reduce wind resistance by eight percent. Notice the LED headlights that are almost concealed by the fairing, which Yamaha says it did to hint at the R1's track pedigree.

That, however, is just the tip of the R1’s electronic package; In addition to ABS and linked brakes, the 2014 R1 will come standard with a rear wheel Slide Control System (SCS), Traction Control System (TCS), Front Lift Control system (LIF), Launch Control System (LQS), Quick Shift System (QSS), and Yamaha Ride Control system (YRC), which offers four presets for quick and easy selection of all electronic controls through handlebar switches. “In the YRC, each of the control modes can be freely adjusted into new combinations based on user preferences and riding environment,” Yamaha says.

The majority of the aforementioned electronic rider aids are made possible by the six-axis IMU. The Traction Control System, for instance, takes bank angle into account when controlling rear wheel traction, then manipulates power output by adjusting throttle valve angle, fueling, and ignition timing accordingly. Similarly, the R1’s Slide Control System adjusts engine output via the ECU to limit sideways movement of the tire, which will theoretically help keep the tires in line.

The Yamaha’s Lift Control System keeps wheelies in check at the exit of a corner, whereas the Launch Control System enables more efficient starts by restricting engine rpm to just 10,000 rpm. All electronic rider aid settings are made via a rectangular Thin Film Transistor (TFT) liquid crystal display with bar-type tachometer, speedometer, and brake pressure display. A street mode (displays gear position, odometer, fuel figures, and more) or track mode (displays lap number, lap times, and tachometer which starts at 8000 rpm) are standard.

Valentino Rossi was said to be a big part of the 2015 R1 development program, while much of the technology was borrowed from his M1.

The R1 gets a heavily updated set of cowls, plus new LCD headlights which are located within the leading edge of the side cowling and hint at Yamaha’s track-oriented design brief. All other body parts, including the mirrors and tail, have been made more aerodynamic using an aerodynamic analysis program. As a result, the front cowl and screen reduce wind resistance by eight percent, Yamaha says. The 2015 Yamaha R1 will be available in Race Blue or Racing Red, and will retail for $16,490.

For more information, stay tuned to, or pick up an upcoming issue of Sport Rider magazine.

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