Yamaha R1S – A Cheaper Superbike but for US Only

As was expected, Yamaha will be making available a cheaper version of their new Yamaha R1, titled the R1S. Priced $1,500 below the asking price of the standard R1, it loses its magnesium oil pan, engine covers and wheels (replaced with aluminium) and the titanium exhaust headers and connecting rods are replaced with steel versions. Less aggressive tires are also fitted.

Initially we thought the idea of a cheaper R1 that was more in line with the previous models pricing was a good idea, but seeing on paper what Yamaha have done makes us reconsider. With the changes the bike gains 9 pounds of weight (4kg) plus with the changes to the valve design and the use of the steel connecting rods, peak power and ultimate redline is down, too.

Yamaha hasn’t disclosed how much the performance is blunted but by looking at the dyno chart below, it looks to be around 5hp down on peak power and around a 2,000 rpm lower rev limit. That turns the Yamaha R1 from a bike that has for many, many years maintained a 1:1 power to weight ratio into a bike that is likely probably down a total of 5% on performance.

Yamaha R1S - A Cheaper Superbike but for US Only

For $1,500 cheaper that’s not a big hit but it does somewhat spoil what Yamaha R1 has always been about. Even with the reduction in performance the bike will offer far more than anyone can use on the street and even on the track for most people, but the question we’d have to ask is if anyone who was willing to spend $14,999 on a brand new bike really not going to consider spending another $1,500 on buying the bike the way it was meant to be?

As it stands, the R1S will only be released in the United States with both Europe and Australia having no plans to offer the bike in their respective markets for now.

 

Countdown to the 2015 Yamaha R1

It’s now official – the 2015 Yamaha R1 will be unveiled in just a few weeks at EICMA exhibition in Milan on November 3rd. We’ve previously had a look at all the potential rumors regarding 2015 YZF R1 and since then nothing has really changed. We’ll repeat what we know so far below and make one change – it’s now looking more likely that the 2015 Yamaha R1 will in fact have a dual clutch gearbox, so we’ve pushed that rumor into the ‘Possible’ category. Otherwise from a specification point of view, nothing new has leaked.

Two new images have also come out however – one showing the dash of the 2015 Yamaha R1 in great detail – note the engine mode, stability control, launch control and traction control – pretty much all as expected. Another image shows a silhouette for the R1, which tells very little.

Highly Unlikely Possible

The new 2015 Yamaha R1 will feature a semi-automatic/dual clutch gearbox.  This rumor is based off some obscure patent filings made by Yamaha, but it seems unlikely.  Firstly, even though a semi-auto box on a superbike won’t offer any sort of clutch lever free shifting, it’s risky to even have the term ‘auto’ anywhere near the R1 and that Yamaha would risk softening the image of it’s flagship racer given such connotations seems doubtful.  Secondly, motorcycle gearboxes already provide rapid shifting compared to cars and it would seem to create unnecessary complexity and expense to the bike for very little gain.

Since we wrote the above, this rumor has become louder, so it appears we could be quite wrong. We’ll find out in a few weeks.

The engine will change from an in-line four to a triple.  This rumor actually had some legs earlier, but the latest indications are that the new 2015 Yamaha R1 will retain the existing engine configuration.

Possible

The 2015 Yamaha R1 will produce 230 bhp.  While it hasn’t been confirmed, this is a figure that is gaining credibility.  If it is true, it’s a massive increase from the current model’s 180 bhp and would easily see the bike crack the 300 kph mark if it wasn’t for electronic limiting.  The only reason this rumor is still a ‘possible’ and not a ‘highly likely’ is that other stories state that not a huge amount of work has gone into engine changes, which would make a 50 bhp increase seem difficult to achieve.

The new Yamaha R1 will feature electronically adjustable suspension.  In isolation, this rumor has probably sprouted because things like electronically adjustable suspension, engine mapping and so on is becoming the new thing for top tier bikes.  But given that it seems Yamaha is targeting the BMW HP4 with the new R1, it’s a distinct possibility.

Likely

The new 2015 Yamaha R1 will be released in two versions – a road legal track version and a ‘standard’ version.  There are two reasons why this rumor is likely to be true.  Firstly, Yamaha wants to take a real crack at the WSBK and with it’s new rules, you pretty much have to race with what you sell.  Secondly, it makes sense to have a hero bike that is top of the pile, but also sell a version that the mass market can afford (and how many people really need a superbike championship winning bike for everyday use?).

It seems the track version will feature as many technical gadgets as possible, such as traction control, throttle control, engine maps, cornering ABS and so forth, as well as the previously mentioned electronically adjustable suspension.  The track version will produce the full 230 bph, while the standard version will receive a ‘de-tuned’ engine and less (or perhaps even none) of the electronic aids, save for ABS.