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Further Thoughts on Yamaha’s New R1

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Last week, we reported on the introduction of the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 and R1M. This is a bike that shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle of the huge volume of new bike announcements this year.

Sportbikes may not dominate the market here in the United States the way they once did, but the new R1 really caught our attention nonetheless. We discussed the features in our first article, such as the aluminum gas tank, magnesium wheels, and the titanium fracture-split connecting rods, among other features, but we want to focus special attention here on the electronics package.

Yamaha states the new R1 is the first production motorcycle featuring “six axis of measurement” from its Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). The IMU includes a gyro sensor that measures pitch, roll and yaw, in addition to an accelerometer that measures acceleration in the fore-aft up-down and right-left directions. All of these variables are calculated 125 times per second.

The IMU measurements are communicated to the Yamaha Ride Control (YRC), which includes Power Delivery Control, Traction Control System, Slide Control System, Lift Control System, Launch Control System and Quick Shift System. All of these systems are adjustable and can be saved within four pre-sets. Here is how Yamaha describes each of these systems:

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  • Power Delivery Mode (PWR), similar to the earlier “D-Mode” system, lets the rider choose from four settings of throttle-valve opening rate in relation to the degree of throttle-grip opening to best match their riding conditions.
  • Variable Traction Control System (TCS) with lean angle calculating the differential in front to rear wheel speed as well as the lean angle, it helps prevent rear wheel spin when exiting corners. As lean angle increases, so does the amount of control…with ten separate settings (off and 1-9) enabling the rider to dial in the exact level of control needed.
  • Slide Control System (SCS), the first of its kind on a production motorcycle, comes directly from the YZR-M1. It works in tandem with the IMU, where, if a slide is detected while accelerating during hard leaning conditions, the ECU will step in and control engine power to reduce the slide. This too can be adjusted by the rider. Four settings (1-3 and off).
  • Lift Control System (LIF) IMU detects the front to rear pitch rate and the ECU controls engine power to reduce the front wheel lift during acceleration. Four settings (1-3 and off). Launch Control System (LCS) limits engine rpms to 10,000 wide open throttle. It maintains optimum engine output in conjunction with input from the TCS and LIF systems to maximize acceleration from a standing start. Three setting levels regulate the effect (1-2 and off).
  • Quick Shift System (QSS) cuts engine output so riders can up-shift without using the clutch and closing the throttle, for quicker lap times, also with three variable settings (1-2 and off).

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Of course, rider input is through a fly-by-wire throttle (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle), which also controls the variable intake system.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that this level of integrated electronic aides in a production, street legal motorcycle was unfathomable, at least to this author. Of course, other motorcycles today have very sophisticated control systems, but the new R1 highlights the availability of systems just recently available exclusively to factory racers.

Everything about the new R1 is impressive, at least on the spec sheet. Take a look at this PDF of the entire YZF-R1_brochure.

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103 Comments

  1. Jose says:

    Way to many different modes for this old cat. The only one I need is the “FATAR” mode button (F..k All That And Ride).

  2. Mac says:

    What a face! Reminds me of the Zando-zan hit beast from the “Last Starfighter.”

  3. Norm G. says:

    not sure if I want the bike to ride it…? or for the voyeuristic pleasure of simply binning that exhaust for a full Graves, Akrapovic, ANYTHING…!?

    generally I’m indifferent to stock kit, but “hear ye, hear ye all yon blacksmiths”, pipe benders, welders, and craftsmen…

    your ship has come in.

  4. Tori Zimbalas says:

    Any manufacturer will need to have advanced electronics to stay in the game…..I would expect Suzuki and Honda to follow suit next year….having said that…the ones I have tried(Duc and Aprilia) I found myself curious and consequently flirting with my own personal limits to find exactly when the electronics decide to intrude… and this was while street/canyon riding….as far as safety will it prove to be a double edged sword or will it create rider awareness for the skilled I suspect the latter or hope so ?

    I dont know But Im still happy I kept my 08 CBR1000rr…..it took a while to like its looks though….

    One thing for sure Yamaha has done exactly what it needed to with the R1 and thats a good thing

    And the looks are growing on me too

  5. Gronde says:

    I’m a commuter and want to know if all these whiz-bang electronic devices will bail me out if the front end starts to slide on wet, oily pavement? What types of situations would it save me from kissing the pavement?

    • Ben(pi) says:

      Twist throttle slowly. If rear starts to slide, hold throttle steady. If rear still sliding feather clutch.

      To be serious for a moment, front end slides are usually do to overloading the front. As such, the only way to help is to reduce the load on the front, which means getting on the gas. The electronic aids are designed for positive traction control, ie rear wheel spin up, or front brake lock up. Wheel speed sensors tell when the rear is spinning up faster than the front, which allows them to know when to reduce power to the rear wheel to bring it back under control. If you’ve lost the front while the wheel is rotating (ie not brake lock) the yaw sensor will be able to tell something is off, but none of the systems are designed to apply throttle without you twisting it on. That would lead to unintended acceleration issues.

      You can also check out what’s been happening in MotoGP the past few years. The guys with the hotest electrics are hammering it and the electronics can do magic (not taking away from the riders!), but when they lose the front, the electronics aren’t saving it. That’s what elbows and knees, and throttle are for.

      • Gronde says:

        So the answer is “no”, they won’t help out the rider with average skills avoid going down in that situation. That’s what I figured. If I don’t get myself in that situation to begin with, then I don’t need all the techno-wizardry that won’t help even if I had it. Thanks.

        • Dave says:

          ABS helps in the situation you describe, no? If you attempt to corner aggressively enough to lose the from in known greasy conditions then no, none of these technologies will help you. If you chose to ride like that, in those conditions then you’ve made an error in judgment. The only thing that helps that is surviving unfortunate experiences.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “The only thing that helps that is surviving unfortunate experiences.”

            3 months confined to a hospital bed offers lots of time for data review and introspection.

          • Gronde says:

            I encountered wet, oily pavement on a freeway on ramp on a rainy morning while riding conservatively. Sometimes you can’t see every inch of road surface so down you go. Might have been a diesel spill, who knows? Riding is never 100% predictable, but we can keep the shiny side up MOST of the time if we choose to ride responsibly. There are situations that no amount of skill or computers can bail you out.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Plan on zero, and be occasionally, pleasantly surprised when it does.

    • unloading the front can as in letting off the front brake fast can also cause a front slide

  6. Agent55 says:

    Even though such a robust electronics pkg isn’t much of a selling point for me personally, it’s quite an incredible value along with the almost unheard of features like the magnesium wheels and ti-rods. This looks to be perhaps the best race platform available for super stock classes especially. Can’t wait to see the various superbike iterations when racing resumes next year.

  7. Sean says:

    hope it looks better in person

  8. PN says:

    Good for Yamaha. They both have to do this because of their competition, and they want to do this. But I wouldn’t buy a litre bike. Who can ride this stuff? In the present driving environment?

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: Who can ride this stuff? In the present driving environment?

      A: again, these guys…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5_Zc2mpBX0

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww40TiNInZc

    • HS1-RD-CX100-VFR says:

      I think a liter bike is ideal sized, all purpose bike for intermediate and above riders. An 800cc cycle may have enough power to do highway duty, but you do feel wind buffeting from gusts and big trucks a lot more. The 1200’s and above start to become bigger than is advantageous for running around town. No one bike does it all well. Kawasaki has proven that with their “can sort of do multiple things, but absolutely awful at all of them” KLR and Versys 650’s. That said, for pavement only purposes it is hard to beat the liter class for bikes with more than two cylinders. Throttle mapping and traction control can take care of the overage for riders who aren’t newbies and use their heads.

      My dream bike is a 1000cc triple with slightly forward of upright seating, just ample-enough frame mounted fairing, factory cases, and no beak. I need just enough ground clearance to ride better maintained USFS roads at moderate speeds so I can get to improved campgrounds and trailheads. This doesn’t require the stilts that are the fashion on adventure bikes. I’d also be happy with the same in a slightly larger 90 degree twin. A wheelbase of 58 to 60 inches is about right.

      • Bocker says:

        A liter sized street focused bike is vastly different from the liter size “race bike with lights” represented by the R1 seen in this article. To compare the two would be apples and oranges. I get where you’re coming from, to be sure, I just don’t necessarily think your response addresses the question at hand. You have more of an all around type bike in mind. The R1 will most definitely not fit the bill for that purpose.

        I’m with the OP in this case. Very few mere mortals can actually ride a liter bike. The R1 might just have the right electronic goodies to make the additional power useable for Joe Schmoe track day rider to ride it fast with less fear of binning it.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Any mortal can ride it. Which is why plenty mortals will buy it. You don’t have to be able to eek out 100% of a machines capability to appreciate it and get some type of intrinsic benefit from riding it.

          Unless you currently race in MotoGP or WSB, there is no bike you can buy that someone can’t get more out of. We mere mortals cannot fully utilize the full capabilities of ANY bike on public streets, but that doesn’t mean we can enjoy owning and them. If the R1’s riding position is acceptable to the rider, the ample power will make riding it pleasant even a street speeds; and the electronics package will make the bike safer than most in the hands of a mature rider.

  9. VLJ says:

    Is it just me, or do the crustacean-like headlights paired with the antennae-esque turnsignal stocks give this new R1 a rather pronounced Louie the Lobster look?

  10. Kris W. says:

    As long as I’m plunking down hard earned money for one of these amazing machines loaded with all these electronic rider aids I’d want to be assured of their long-term reliability. Like, give me lifetime warranty coverage on the electronics for as long as I own the bike. How about 10 years/150,000 miles free replacement for any faulty electronic component? It’ll NEVER happen…these electronics will only be covered by the basic warranty, in most cases. Better get ready to pony up for some expensive component replacement costs when they fail, folks…and make no mistake, they WILL fail.

    • Dave says:

      Re: “Better get ready to pony up for some expensive component replacement costs when they fail, folks…and make no mistake, they WILL fail..”

      Why would the electronics on these bikes fail any more easily than the electronics on cars or in homes? Besides, sportbikes are almost always low mile users.

    • fivespeed302 says:

      You plan to put 150,000 miles on a superbike, and all you’re worried about is the electronics failing? Hell, while you’re at it, why not demand free tires and clutches too?

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “why not demand free tires and clutches too?”

        don’t think he hasn’t thought about it pal…?! oh yeah…! OH YEAH…!!

      • Kris W. says:

        I put 102,000 miles on a bone-stock 1982 Yamaha 650 Seca…nothing spectacular there, lots of people go well over 100,000 miles with no mechanical issues. No, I don’t plan on putting 150,000 miles on a superbike but there’s no reason why it couldn’t be done. But electronic rider aids have permeated motorcycling and it’s my belief that these aids are the weak link for longterm durability. I guess it’s not a problem if you plan on trading in your bike as soon as the warranty expires.

    • Curly says:

      Buy the YES extended warranty if you’re worried about that but even that won’t get you to 150K. Really 150K on a Super sport bike? Really?

      • Kris W. says:

        Sorry, I was generalizing…of course I don’t expect a sportbike like this to go 150K. I believe the motors/drivetrains are capable of it but I personally don’t believe the electronics are. I suppose they are consumable items like tires, suspension, and fluids? I don’t expect any manufacturer to provide unlimited tires, clutches, valve adjustments, etc. It’s a machine, things wear out…I get it. My point is that electronic failures are going to be potentially very costly. Perhaps I’m wrong.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “My point is that electronic failures are going to be potentially very costly. Perhaps I’m wrong.”

          no, you’re right…

          but I just priced a full set of fairings for a ’91 VFR750 a few weeks ago and they totalled up to something like $3000 dollars…? I shot soda from my nose.

          so see, expensive OEM parts isn’t even remotely a new phenomena.

    • Ed says:

      You want to buy a first year of a new model and expect perfect reliability? Whadda heck? Since when has the first year of anything been perfect? Why don’t you wait 2 years and by the 3rd model year most manufacturers have worked out most of the bugs.

  11. Mark says:

    I wasn’t a fan of the looks initially, but they are growing on me. Especially the front.

    A big YES PLEASE to all the techno wizardry that will help me lap faster.
    Love it!

  12. Skif says:

    They need to sex up the computer display so that it matches the rest of the bike.

  13. Starmag says:

    Not a Luddite or I wouldn’t be here. Still:

    Screens in my house in the bed and bath

    Screens in the kitchen and I’m not even good at math

    Screens in my car in the front and back seats

    Screens in the booths if you know what I mean

    Screens at the dentist and many at the doctor

    Screens at the shows of even retro rockers

    Screens seem to be the thing people like

    Just keep the damn screens off my bike

  14. Juan says:

    Every day I’m more in love with my Yamaha FZ 1000/2005

  15. pete Rasmussen says:

    Can you see the day coming when the authorities decide they need to take control of the throttle? Maybe bluetooth signals instead of speed signs? I’m amazed by how many Luddites there are here! And I’m one of them! They had it perfect when they put 40mm Delortos on a Ducati. We are going backwards from there for sure. I could take the carbs and heads and exhaust off in about fifeteen minutes! Used to spend an hour fettlin the shims for the ride on sunday. Now even the tires tell you how much air they have. It used to be so much more than the riding. There was great satisfaction in having the bike running and handling sweet. I guess the mechanicals can still be approached in the same way but I’ll bet most riders now would not know how to stringline the wheels.

    • TimC says:

      I’m not too worried about remote speed control because tickets are way too important revenue-wise for nearly every jurisdiction in existence.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      ” It used to be so much more than the riding.”

      I don’t have time for the other stuff anymore. I’ll take more riding.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Used to spend an hour fettlin the shims for the ride on sunday.”

      screw that, already burning 5hrs in slab time.

  16. Mars says:

    why does everything devolve almost instantly into a red vs blue thing? remember the .45cal vs 9mm “debate” or any other nonsensical back and forth screeching over opinions. this is that. yikes. yeah, all that e-control is new and weird, especially since we can’t see it or really understand it. to my mind, the only way to make a definitive evaluation of the efficacy (whatever unit of measurement you want) of e-controls will be in an epidemiological mode, that is, we have to get a few years of road history to see if the e-controls make a difference in crash/death rates among riders. until then, it is opinion shouting, IMO. lol.

    beautiful bike, but I’m headed to small displacement (Duke 690, NInja 250, and a Ninja 650 “touring” bike) and FUN over chest thumping these days. Still, for those with the desire and the cash, there has never, ever been a better period for motorcycling. the new bikes, hell, even the ten year old bikes, are AMAZING!!!

  17. -D says:

    If you don’t want rider aids then get a smaller displacement bike!
    The R6 probably doesn’t need any of these electronic aids except for maybe ABS.
    On a bike putting down around 200 horse like the new R1 does, it becomes a matter of safety. All the safety nets that you can put down should be. In the case of managing 200 hp going to a single wheel on a 2 wheeled vehicle weighing under 400 lbs…
    …ALL THE SAFETY NETS THE BETTER, and if you don’t want them and think you are MAN enough to tame the BEAST, you have the choice to turn them off. Me personally, I would leave them on. I think they help make even the BEST rider even BETTER.

    • todd says:

      The fact that a good rider on a non-electronic 650 can ride circles around the average rider on a R1 means the bike is a waste. I would rather improve my skills on a $2000, 20 year old bike than have the bike do the hard riding for me and never improve.

  18. Frank says:

    ‘Tough’, industrial, and handsome looking bike…but not nearly as beautiful as it was when they penned a classic in it’s first several years of production. Good thing they won’t be able to go ‘driver-less’ with bikes as the car industry is apparently destined to go. Still in it’s search for ever more technological control over riding parameters that were once skills learned and preformed by the rider, it seems the motorcycle industry is on a march toward co-opting more and more rider/bike interface and assigning more and more computer/bike interface non the less. Not sure this serves much of a purpose outside of raising prices…street riders don’t need all of these control measures, though a few do provide a basic safety net, and racers who win ride through and past them all the time to make podium.

    • Provologna says:

      At his peak, even GP Champion Michael Schumaker shifted a regular manual transmission slower than a dual clutch transmission in auto-shift mode. If the most winning GP Champion of all time can’t “learn” to out shift a dual clutch, it’s presumptuous to claim anyone ever will.

      Also, in the past five years please list, confirmed my independent authorized party, anyone winning a race without modern electronic stability and traction controls in race where such were allowed. It’s absolutely impossible to even prove or disprove such statement, so it fails miserably on its face.

      The claims you made to which I reply above win for pure emotional hyperbole, and not much else.

      I respectfully suggest persons with troglodyte tendency not bother reading about the latest race replica technology. You can’t buy electric toothbrush without a computer chip today.

      BTW: high sides suck, totally, and always.

      • Dave says:

        Re: “Also, in the past five years please list, confirmed my independent authorized party, anyone winning a race without modern electronic stability and traction controls in race where such were allowed.”

        It is widely reported that Josh Hayes only recently adopted traction control, winning the 2010 & 2011 titles without it. AMA started allowing T/C in 2006.

        That said, I found that amazing. As for the shifting/skills comments, shifting gears is not riding/driving. It’s a distraction from riding/driving. Manual shifting goes away exactly the moment when automatic shifting outperforms the driver or when rules allow, whichever comes first.

  19. Blackcayman says:

    For me the new look pays tribute to the MotoGP bike and thats a good thing. Regarding the elctronics package; if it can help prevent nasty highsides from trackday mates, that’s a good thing. Most of the crashes we see at trackdays are related to too much throttle coming out of turns (as we naturally want to go faster, and faster and faster).

    This is why new trackday riders are encouraged to start on Supersports rather than liter bikes – less likely to overpower the rear tire, while getting back on the throttle.

    Carrying speed through the corners is where the must fun is had on the track – FOR ME. Mind blowing acceleration out of every corner might be the thing for others. In that case, I think these electronic nannies, if properly understood – settings carefully refined during implementation could assist a rider in going faster. I don’t think riding at “Track Speed” has any place on the street.

    What an incredible world we live in when you can throw down your 20K and ride away on a 200 HP Street-Legal SuperBike, from multiple manufacturers. As much as the Ducati, BMW and Lusty V-4 Aprilia are, I’d most likely opt for the Yamaha (never been a Kwaker fan – styling related only).

  20. George says:

    Love the new R1.

    Unfortunately, all these electronic riding aids take away a lot of the “riding” as far as I am concerned.

    I teach MSF classes at least one weekend per month: BRC, ERC and ARC/MSRC. In the last 2 MSRC (military sportbike riders course) and 2 ERCs I have had at least 1 student in each of the 4 classes tell me straight up that they did not need to know how to use their brakes properly because their bikes have ABS and it is OK to rely on the ABS.

    I could somewhat understand that if the student was in a BRC and had no riding experience but these were all experienced riders with, in 2 cases, decades of riding experience.

    What a win for marketing but a totally incorrect statement/belief!

    ABS only helps in quick stops. ABS does nothing for proper braking technique when applying the brakes for setting up a corner or a mid turn correction or any other time except for quick stops.

    I can tell you all of these riders had horrid braking skills and none were concerned about it.

    Huge FAIL on the part of technology!

    I worked with each student but I don’t believe any of them will change their poor riding habit of relying on ABS for all their braking “skills.” Each seemed to make a lame attempt to placate me on the range but I don’t believe they will actually change their dangerous, irresponsibly bad habits.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      That is scary.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “Huge FAIL on the part of technology!”

      I think you mean huge FAIL on the part of the RIDERS.

      • George says:

        Yup stupidity is scary and you can’t fix stupid!

        Yes it is definitely a huge failure on the part of the riders.

        It is also a huge failure on the part of the technology and the marketing thereof because they are not fully educating their customers.

        I was comparing notes with another ridercoach and he had a student in a BRC that had never ridden before and had just purchased a BMW S1000RR with all the riding aids. His “reasoning” was that he believed that all the rider aids would actually prevent him from crashing.

        The stupidity is amazing and the marketing and sales folk are just loving the “successful” results.

        • kjazz says:

          So you’re saying I SHOULDN’T turn on the motorhome’s cruise control and go make a sandwich while going down the interstate……? 😉

          It’s a-mazing how people just don’t get it. And motorcycling isn’t a sport for people who don’t get it like George’s students he mentioned above. I’m constantly being reminded by friends, family and acquaintances of how “dangerous” a sport any format of motorcycling is. And of course I want to respond to people with a simple, “no it isn’t…”, but I’m sort of afraid to tempt fate. Because after all it does have its dangerous elements. But the real truth is that with all the rank dumbasses out there pretending to be motorcyclists, it is no f-ing wonder we have a perception of being involved with a hugely dangerous sport. Oh well. I guess physics will eventually weed out the stupid…….

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “motorcycling isn’t a sport for people who don’t get it”

            and there it is.

            re: “I’m constantly being reminded by friends, family and acquaintances of how “dangerous” a sport any format of motorcycling is. And of course I want to respond to people with a simple, “no it isn’t…”

            don’t do that, they are 100% correct. the difference between us and the “civilians” is we’re simply DESENSITIZED to the danger. just remind those family and friends that car they drive is ALSO statistically dangerous.

  21. Norm G. says:

    re: “Yamaha states the new R1 is the first production motorcycle featuring “six axis of measurement” from its Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU).”

    let’s clear up a little confusion. how this should read is the “R” (pirate voice) is ONE of the first production motorcycles featuring this sensor.

    you guys may have missed it, but the IMU is on the VVT Multistrada. i remember reading these initials in that article. further check reveals it’s also on the new 1299 (not covered by MD). it’s not anything made by Yamaha or even Ducati. it’s a vendor product made by Bosch who’s basically supplying OEMs with variants of their 9M ABS modulator.

    http://tinyurl.com/ln249zd

    this seems like a further extension of MSC (Motorcycle Stability Control) that recently debuted in the KTM. i would guess, KTM uses the lesser 2-axis sensor while this is a full 3D+ axis sensor.

    aw shucks, here let Dieter and hipster sideburns tell it…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFqZ63dGolc

    it’s sensors like these i recall the Israelis first developed back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, and now US Defense are using in their controversial DRONE programs. sensor’s like these are how you stabilize remotely piloted vehicles in flight. a decade into the 21st, and we’re seeing the trickle down.

  22. Bill says:

    I could write a book on this, but instead, this stuff seams cool, potentially useful, on the road hopefully not so much. Personally I prefer a bike I can fix with a screwdriver, not a laptop.

  23. Bill says:

    What a beautiful machine. I’m far too old to be the target but, Lordy, I’m in love with it.

  24. Neil says:

    $$$ KACHING! – It just makes the bike too expensive to buy. And it means more idiots will be making a bad name for motorcycling by breaking the speed limits all over the place in order to try all the electronics. – They can put all the electronics on it they want, but they can’t make the rider more intelligent, which is what we need. They wear T shirts and sneakers and their passenger does too. Tons of sport bikes on Craigslist with the crap beaten out of them, no insurance, no maintenance etc. – We need more bikers on the road. If it takes an SR400 or an R3 to do it, then that’s what we need. Look at National Geographic’s special on drug smuggling and use in the USA. More people are buying meth, crack and heroin than are buying bikes.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “maintenance”

      what’s that…?

    • Hot Dog says:

      You mean a bad name for motorcycling like the loud pipe clowns that ride six abreast on the freeway, doing 20 mph under the speed limit? Or did you mean the clown suit leather safety vest, no helmet or gloves crowd? At least alcohol isn’t a drug, is it? Apparently we need a Briggs & Stratton mounted to a Schwinn and we’ll solve our drug problem.

  25. Hot Dog says:

    Holy cripes Batman, I’m suffering from information constipation! When this thing descends to the comets surface, do I have to activate reverse thrusters manually or will the DORNA spec ECU automatically teleport a beam to my brake lever? Us old dogs used to use our wrists for just about everything, even motorcycle control but this thing is beyond my patience to master it. She may be a beautiful bike but do you think I could connect to it via my rotary dial flip phone? Nope, I didn’t think so either.

  26. TexinOhio says:

    Ultimately bikes like these are intended for the track, they just so happen to be street legal. So all these new bits and pieces are meant for improving track times in racing. Not to improve street times to the corner store for a quart of milk then back to the house.

    The other extreme would be taking say a HD bagger or big Indian to a track day and try to run with bikes like the R1.

    Not the ultimate intended purpose.

  27. All I can do is laugh while ya’ll meh, snivel, whine, all ya’ll are never gonna buy one anyway, me neither, but love the fact that we are seeing some forward motion.

  28. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    I enjoy seeing the new model info being released this time of year and always read about it.
    There are time when I decide to make a purchase, too.

    My opinion on the new bikes, which I believe will be designated YZF-R1F and YZF-R1MF:

    As far as the looks and styling go, I think it looks a bit better than the 2009-2014 models, but still not as good as the 1998-2003 models looked.

    I feel the electronics have gone a bit overboard for this guy.
    I imagine there are a bunch of younger riders who have been raised on electronic personal devices that will get a kick out of it, though.
    Honestly, if I had that bike, I’d probably just decide on settings that made the bike feel most natural to me and leave them there, forgetting about them from that point, onward.
    I’d gladly trade all of that tech for some styling that makes me go, “Whoa!” every time I look at it, as I’m sure the performance would be just fine.

    Actually, my personal solution to this bike is known as the FZ-07 I’m now riding.
    After two R1s, two FZ-1s, an R6, a YZF-750R (remember those?), and dozens of other bikes, this little 689cc bike is more fun to ride on back roads than any of those bikes ever were.

  29. The Spaceman says:

    Inertial guidance control in a consumer product? That’s astounding, and definitely worth a follow-up article to review. Motorcycles have hit a point in their life cycle where producing power isn’t the issue, managing that power is. The H2 may be grabbing all the headlines with its 300 HP, but Yamaha’s IMU has much deeper long term significance for ALL types of riders and bikes. Right now we’re hearing the same blowback on it that ABS got a decade ago, but today any rider with half a gram of sense will get it if they can.

  30. PatrickD says:

    it seems to be quite easy to scoff at these fecilities and their racetrack suitability, but there’s surely alot to be said for a system which might prevent a rear wheel spinning up on a white line or wet man-hole cover?
    I’ve had ABS on a bike and in the seven years I had it, i reckon I felt the pulsing through the lever four times. Not alot, but if it saved me from a damaged panel or leg, it was a useful feature.

  31. Mike says:

    Sophisticated? No doubt! But certainly not the beauty that the original and follow-up R1 were.

  32. Stuki Moi says:

    Electronics and tech is all well and good for the limited purpose of going as fast as possible around a track, but much of it has by now, in my old curmudgeon (but still right, darnit…) opinion, gotten to the point where it detracts from more than it adds to the riding experience.

    “Form follows function” used to be, and still is, a desirable idiom for designing products that sees use.

    But what we are increasingly seeing, in motorcycling as well as in many other fields, is that “feel follows function.” Where function is the measurable, like laptimes, top speed etc. This I’m not so convinced is a good thing in a field like motorcycling. The problem is, as the machines are getting better and better, the weakest link more and more often becomes the rider. So that the way to improve “function” is increasingly to leave the rider out, and let electronics take over more and more of what used to be man/machine interaction. With the rider just being along for the ride, “looking fast.”

    Ride by Wire is one such area. Instead of the rider controlling the airflow to the engine directly, he now merely suggests to a computer how much acceleration he wants. The computer then mulls it over, making sure the rider’s request is safe and proper, and then adjusts throttle accordingly. In terms of pure function, according to any objective metric, from pace to fuel economy, as long as the computer is clever enough, the end result will be “better.” But the experience will for sure be very different. And, for those of us who consider intimacy with a combustion engine one of the important joys of motorcycling, it is not a change for the better.

    But now that sensors and electronics are cheap enough, inserting them between the twistgrip and throttle valves is a much cheaper way for manufacturers to meet minimum criteria for measurable throttle smoothness, than the much more difficult task of tuning a purely mechanical. The latter often requires tolerance of a multitude of mechanical components be kept very tight, which will never be cheap. So in not too long, RbW will be all that is left. At least outside of some Japan Only models, as some Japanese seem to take the whole “old curmudgeon” mantra to it’s ultimate conclusion like nobody else ever will……. Of course, many will not care about what they are missing, since the RbW computers will allow for “better” throttle control anyway….

    Another peeve of mine, is the current fashion for sticking steering dampers on everything from super bikes to, pretty soon, 50cc scooters. Again, doing so allows the makers to spec faster, lighter steering, hence “function” improves by most measurable criteria. But it also makes simply riding down the road more dull and vague. For no benefit 99% of the time. Just so that the bike can achieve more “impressive” performance, “hide it’s weight” etc., during head to head comparison of outright speed on a twisty road against another bike without a damper and hence “stuck” with heavier steering. Again, more often than not an area where “feel follows function” engineering renders the experience of motorcycling poorer in my mind.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “for those of us who consider intimacy with a combustion engine one of the important joys of motorcycling…”

      …and I do.

    • VLJ says:

      Excellent post, Stuki. I am completely turned off by all these new nanny-assist electronics on motorcycles. If I’m Dani Pedrosa chasing down Jorge Lorenzo at Phillip Island, sure, I need all the help I can get. Otherwise, no, this overload of techno-crap is absolutely silly for a streetbike. As has been stated elsewhere in this thread, so many of these bikes are already massive overkill for the street. Rarely going past quarter-throttle while still risking your license is not my idea of fun. Now we’re adding even more power, only to keep it “safe” by reigning it in with an ever-increasing wet blanket of electronic training wheels?

      With each new layer of whiz-bang electronics added to the latest batch of sportbikes, the simple purity of my Street Triple R is looking better and better to me. Sure, there are (very stupid) occasions when I long for more top-end power, but hey, at least I often get to twist the throttle to the stop, I’m not accelerating quite as ferociously as I would be on a 175 hp monster, but I am getting to experience that gorgeous Triple howl at full song…and, my own stupidity aside, it’s still remarkably fast. If I’m being honest, that bike at 12,000 rpm is already way faster than I should ever be riding on the street. Most importantly, however, it’s also much more fun than anyone should ever be allowed to have on the street.

  33. Montana says:

    Won’t be long and every bike will have a CMC system (complete motorycle control system). This will obviate the need for a rider altogether. The reduction in weight and the lower CG should do wonders for lap times.
    Think of it, no more highway fatalities! Every couch potato can enjoy his motorcycle from the safety of his computer monitor. Not only that, the unfair advantage of riders who’ve taken the time and trouble to master their craft will be eliminated resulting in equality for all. Those who can’t afford motorcycles will be eligible for DSA (disenfranchised squid assistance).
    Now this is progress!

  34. Starmag says:

    Electronics are getting to be silly. I’m sure we’re not done yet. Programming my bike to go for a ride? I’ll just ride something with less power, problem solved. No geeks needed. Of course I’m not looking for bragging rights anymore though. That in itself is getting more difficult by the day. 200HP street bikes and 250HP MotoGP bikes look wimpy compared to the 350 HP aftermarket turbo bikes that have been available for some time. I seem to remember some moto publication did a test with talented European motojournalists aboard high power sport bikes and measured throttle movements. A tiny fraction of time spent on these bikes on the road was done at more than 1/4 throttle.

    I’m sure the frame triangulation does good things for handling (the old R1 didn’t handle well enough?), but it’s a shame the aesthetics are awful and the silver paint on it isn’t hiding that. With the new fairing that doesn’t cover the side of the bike, that engine would have looked great hanging out but doesn’t because of the frame. It seems like it will present servicing problems also.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I seem to remember some moto publication did a test with talented European motojournalists aboard high power sport bikes and measured throttle movements. A tiny fraction of time spent on these bikes on the road was done at more than 1/4 throttle.”

      I believe Superbikes in UK did that (have the issue somewheres in a moving box) with it also maybe having been republished later on MCN…? recall seeing it online, though could’ve been a scan/post on a forum.

      • Neil says:

        1/4 throttle, exactly. Enter the FZ07. I see youtubes of 1000cc sport bikes in the twisties with guardrails and trees and think the R3 should replace the lot of em. What do they need 1000cc’s for in the California canyons? The R3 will have 42HP. My TU250 had what, 17?

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “What do they need 1000cc’s for in the California canyons?”

          you’re right, you don’t. it’s the little matter (or should I say BIG?) of the California Freeways upon exiting the canyons.

          when those metering lights on the 880 turn green…? you’d better have your launch control set for MOTOGP…! LOL

  35. Brian says:

    My 2010 R-1 only has the D-mode option. For mere mortals like myself, that’s all we should really need. If someone other than a really good track rider is running through these settings, it means he/she is thinking about doing something he/she shouldn’t on the street. They should all be in the “off” position and the person should be riding like a normal person.
    My lasting impression on this bike is that it is great to see something “out of the box” from Japan for the first time in years. The other bikes have not seen a significant breakthrough in years, even the ZX10 changed but still looked somewhat cookie cutter. Great to see a real effort at design and electronics targeted directly at Germany and Italy. I hope they will be back in World SBK with this effort as I see they continue in BSB. Ben Spies? How is your shoulder doing? are you on speaking terms with Yamaha any more?

    • dino says:

      ” If someone other than a really good track rider is running through these settings, it means he/she is thinking about doing something he/she shouldn’t on the street. They should all be in the “off” position and the person should be riding like a normal person.”

      Agreed. There should just be a shortcut button, a bug RED one, that is simply labelled “Please don’t kill me”, and automatically puts all the electronic nannies on high alert! But… It is amazing to have that kind of control at your fingertips! To really explore those settings, you need to be on a track, but it is sweet to have the option to do so!

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I see they continue in BSB”

      Chuck Graves chomps at the bit…

      http://tinyurl.com/n6h4qsz

      • Norm G. says:

        j/k. given his commitment to the brand (4X Champeens), Cypress (Hill) probably made sure Chuck had access to the kit BEFORE the rest of us even knew about it. LOL

  36. rapier says:

    One great thing about the motorcycle industry is how dedicated it is to engineering and striving for mechanicaland functional excellence. Sans the cruiser portion that is. All that engineering, cumulatively, on what are really tiny machines has produced perhaps the greatest consumer products of all time that are within the financial reach of ordinary citizens.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “One great thing about the motorcycle industry is how dedicated it is to engineering and striving for mechanical and functional excellence.”

      SUCK IT CAR WORLD…!!!

  37. mickey says:

    you know, I had to reprogram my reprogrammable thermostat the other day, due to the onset of winter and switching from air conditioning to heat. It gave me fits. no way would I be able to program that screen we are looking at above. Good thing I am not the target audience for this bike. I do think it’s beautiful, and I did test drive an R-1 with the cross plane motor. great sounding motor. i wish they would put that in a Gen 1 FZ-1 type bike for us older folk.

  38. VLJ says:

    Gotta feel for the poor motorcycle salesman who will be forced to watch some stupid jagoff with a learner’s permit wad this thing before he even gets it out of the parking lot.

    “Lift control? Suh-weet! Let me at ‘er!”