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R1 Transmission Recall

121715Yamaha

We are aware that one of our Honorable Mention 2015 motorcycles, the YZF-R1, is in the middle of a recall/repair process involving the apparent replacement of the transmission. We reproduce below, in its entirety, the official letter from Yamaha notifying owners that they should stop riding their bikes and get them to a dealer for repair. We appreciate Yamaha undertaking this very expensive recall, and certainly sympathize with the inconvenience this will cause purchasers of the 2015 R1 models.

IMPORTANT SAFETY RECALL NOTICE

December 4, 2015

Dear Yamaha Owner:

This notice is sent to you in accordance with the requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in all 2015 YZF‐R1 motorcycles. Our records indicate that you own the affected motorcycle shown above.

The reason for this recall:
In affected motorcycles, both second gear wheel and pinion gears in the transmission may break as a result of extremely high stress and/or improper shifting. This is due to inadequate component strength and stress concentration at the gear teeth bottom land. In addition, the third and fourth wheel gears may be deformed or break as a result of excessive stress caused by hard usage. This is due to inadequate component strength. If gears fail, the transmission could lock up, causing loss of control that could result in a crash with injury or death.

What Yamaha and your dealer will do:
To correct this defect, your authorized Yamaha dealer will replace the transmission assembly with one that includes gears of a different design. The procedure takes almost 16 hours to do but be aware that your Yamaha dealer may need to keep your motorcycle longer depending upon their current service schedule.There will be no charge to you for this procedure.

What you should do now:
Please call your Yamaha dealer to make a service appointment to have this procedure performed. At that same time, you can find out how long they expect to keep your motorcycle for this service. Remember to take this letter with you when you take in your motorcycle.

You should not ride your affected motorcycle shown above until this modification is performed.

If you are unable to return to the Yamaha dealer who sold you the motorcycle, this service will be performed by any authorized Yamaha motorcycle dealer. For the name of a dealer near you, call 1‐800‐88‐YAMAHA or visit the Yamaha web site at www.yamaha‐motor.com.

If you have had this repair performed before you received this letter, you may be entitled to receive reimbursement for the cost of obtaining a pre‐notification remedy of the problem associated with this repair. For more information, contact Yamaha Customer Relations at 1‐800‐962‐7926.

Federal regulations require that any vehicle lessor receiving this recall notice must forward a copy of this notice to the lessee within 10 days.

If you need help:
If, after contacting your dealership, you have questions or concerns which the dealership is unable to answer, please write to:

Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.
Customer Relations Department
P.O. Box 6555
Cypress, CA 90630
Or call: 1‐800‐962‐7926

If, after contacting Yamaha Customer Relations, you are still not satisfied that we have done our best to remedy the situation without charge and within a reasonable time, you may submit a written complaint to the Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590; or call the Auto Safety Hotline at 1‐888‐327‐4236 (TTY: 1‐800‐424‐9153); or go to http://www.safercar.gov. Refer to campaign 15V802.

If you no longer own this Yamaha:
If you have sold your motorcycle to another party, please call us toll‐free at 1‐800‐962‐7926 with the name and address of the new owner, along with the serial number shown to the right of your name on the address label above.

We’re sorry to cause you any inconvenience, but we are sincerely concerned about your safety and continued satisfaction with our products. Thank you for giving your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,
Customer Support Group
Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.


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47 Comments

  1. Motorhead says:

    With the low mechanics salaries at local bike shops, it’s hard to attract top, trustworthy talent. It would be wiser to trade the old R1 in for a new R1 and make the dealer handle and live with the recall repairs.

  2. The Spaceman says:

    Has Yamaha announced how many defective bikes were sold? I recently noticed there weren’t any on the sales floor at my local mega-deaker. I assumed they’d sold; now I’m thinking they were pulled (there were 2 standard bikes and 1 MM).

    Maybe those “obselete” CB1000RRs don’t look so bad now.

  3. Ron H. says:

    I thought they used a cassette gearbox as well. Maybe it is but they still have to remove the engine? Any Yamaha mechanics out there?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I thought they used a cassette gearbox as well.”

      not so much.

      re: “but they still have to remove the engine?”

      yeah so much.

  4. Jim says:

    Wow, if the local Yamaha dealers mechanic is anything like our local KTM dealers mechanic I’d just sell the bike.

  5. GP says:

    If I owned one of these bikes, I would be upset about this. It would be less painful for the owners if Yamaha took the route that BMW did with their shock recall and offered a buy-back/loaner bike/cash choice. Being forced to have your new bike stripped down to the transmission is going to leave a bad taste.

  6. CP says:

    While this is going to be rough financially for Yamaha Corporate, it’s a windfall for the dealers. The dealers get to charge Yamaha Co. 16 hours labor (at warranty rate, admittedly) for every R1 that comes in. The dealer gets to sell Yamaha transmissions (at warranty prices, admittedly) for every R1 that comes in. The service adviser gets to make commission on each warranty R.O., and the technician gets to flag 16 hours over and over and over… It makes no sense for the dealer to put lower level tech’s on these jobs. If tech “A” takes 5 days to complete the job, and only gets to flag 16 hours, they loose money. If tech “B” takes a day and a half, he still gets to flag the 16 hours and they come out ahead. In my experience, Tech “B” now becomes the “Yamaha R1 transmission recall specialist” and gets dispatched the majority (if not all) of these repair orders. He gets faster and faster with each completed repair, and the shops’ efficiency rating goes up. This is a huge opportunity for a well managed service department.

  7. Brinskee says:

    This is not going to be a cheap issue to tackle for the tuning fork company. Anyone with industry knowledge have any idea how they will offset the costs? These kinds of things always interest me.

    I do feel badly for the owners; it’s not going to be a quick turnaround, doubt about their mechanic’s ability, lower resale value, loss of faith in the brand, etc.

    Agree with Provologna, this thing is art when you put it up next to the ZX-10. Even with the recall I’d have the R1 over it any day.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “Anyone with industry knowledge have any idea how they will offset the costs?”

      In the US at least, manufacturers accrue an expense for recalls and warranty repairs based on prior experience to offset actual costs associated with such actions, so some of the offset is already built into the price. This particular recall is so expensive that I doubt Yamaha accrued anywhere near enough to offset the total expense. If it is a vendor quality problem, such as hardening/poor machining/etc., the vendors will be on the hook for virtually all the cost. If it is a design issue,then Yamaha probably has a product recall insurance policy to cover catastrophic expenses over a certain limit that they will tap into to cover some of it. Yamaha eats the rest.

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: “This is not going to be a cheap issue to tackle for the tuning fork company. Anyone with industry knowledge have any idea how they will offset the costs?”

      (very good observation and very good question)

      A: these long block assemblies still have significant dollar value not to mention functional value. remember 99% HAVEN’T scattered. they have an updated finger follower valve train and the first ever fracture split Ti rods so no, we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water over a simple gear. to a crew chief it’s just a broken part in the engine, and something you’d better have removed, torn down, renewed, and back in the bike and running in 45 minutes or somebody’s getting a BOOT IN THEIR A$$…!!! LOL

      right then, it’s a good job Yamaha has a “brandy new” Crescent team to support in WSBK. Alex Lowes, Sylvain Guintoli anyone…? of course if you attended any MotoAmerica race last year (or Indy GP) you saw there’s like a DOZEN teams here in the states now on R1’s (can’t throw a rock without hitting one) this, in addition to factory Graves. and naturally there are the highly advanced, first adopter teams of BSB.

      Milwaukee won the 2015 title with the new R1 and just announced a move to WSBK with BMW, but rest assured another UK team fancies their 2016 chances with Brooksey’s winning kit. also, there’s the teams down under in ASBK. sure Aussies throw “shrimps on the barby”, but never whole engines over the flames over a cog, they’re not that fearful or foolish. oops, and how could I forget the French and the long-standing Yamaha GMT94 Endurance team. not sure what’s going on up in CANSBK (eh?) or in the All Japan series, but certainly those bikes are racing there too.

      yup many R1’s are racing the world over with many a talented team, talented wrench spinner, and talented crew chief who aren’t so much concerned with warranty…? as they are about winning. so my guess (now made obvious) is these engines will show up there. it’s literally a GOLD MINE of support from Yamaha Japan.

      (10am) all crap, we just blew our last engine with a crash in T1…!!! (11am) no worries just got off the phone with Yamaha Japan, DHL will be here with a crate by 12 noon. you guys go ahead and take an early lunch and then have “Guinter’s” bike up and ready for FP2 at 1:15. GO TEAM…!!!

  8. todd says:

    Manufacturers might reimburse you if you do the repairs yourself. Saab gave me a nice check years ago when I fixed a warranty item on my wife’s car. If you’re that distrusting of the dealer, see if that’s feasible or perhaps an independent race shop.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Manufacturers might reimburse you if you do the repairs yourself”

      there’s “no crying in baseball”…

      and there will be absolutely “NO DIY” in the context of a consumer warranty/safety issue in modern motorcycle world (never not ever).

      the risk and liability ramifications are too great.

  9. Bob says:

    In 1973 I bought a brand new Yamaha TX750, their flagship model. After a few months, I had some serious problems with it, loss of power and disturbingly loud unusual engine noises, like there was loose metal inside the cases. Yamaha recalled every unit for faulty design of the “omni-phase” balancing system. The bike was at the shop and out of service for months, before the repair “kit” was installed. I was 19 at the time but I was able to identify perhaps as many as 15 other very obvious design flaws and bad design decisions on this bike, which I will not detail here. Never-the-less, my confidence in Yamaha was shot and it was not until 1986 that I bought another one. But I am still a Yamaha guy, and I believe that they build tremendously good machinery. Best of luck to the R1 owners caught up in this.

    • teelee says:

      I owned one of those TX 750’s, [ I had the gold one] removed the oil pan and took out the balance chain that was laying in the pan. Rode the bike but it shook terrible, sold it and have not owned a Yamaha since. Exception Yamaha stereo equipment.

  10. Ed says:

    Given the talent in the shops at our local dealerships I’d trade take my lumps and move on. It takes them weeks for simple repairs and although they will tell you they are booked for weeks the mechanics are always pissing and moaning they aren’t busy. Too bad for Yamaha, given they are really stepping up and the New R1 is such a amazing bike.

  11. Ninja9r says:

    Well at least it’s winter.

  12. azi says:

    Wow that’s a major recall. Good to see it being picked up and rectified though. The 2nd gear dog design was a big flaw in the first generation R1 and R6, and that never got recalled.

  13. Provologna says:

    Performance wise the new ZX-10 appears to be the “bees knees.” Cosmetically, it’s a useless pile of teenage dung vs. this beauty.

    Feel bad for the owners. OTOH, I presume the mechanics all have access to detailed service data including videos for the job. Still though, I’d search out the best shop and travel far to find it, and bring treats of various sort to the shop.

    Kudos to Yamaha for being so blunt in the announcement. No punches pulled at all, they laid it out black and white.

    What good is selling it if the next bike has similar problem?

    • Tom K. says:

      Agreed, Good on Yamaha for not blaming the failures on “owner abuse”. May be as simple as thier buying the gears from a vendor who did not follow Yamaha’s heat treating specifications properly (hello, China or India), it’s hard to believe that a bad “dasign” wouldn’t have shown itslef during Beta testing. I remember bending the shift forks on my 1978 XS 750, but believe me, that WAS owner abuse.

  14. Bob L says:

    There goes the resale value!

  15. todd says:

    It used to be if you abuse your transmission by dumping the clutch from 10,000 rpm in second gear for a drag launch – you were on your own.

    • Brian says:

      Times are better now.

    • guu says:

      How would that be especially hard on a transmission? To the clutch yes, but not to the tranny. The problem Yamaha is facing are the shock loads from shifting where the gears are slamming together as they engage.

      • todd says:

        Sudden shock loading of applying 150ish horsepower instantaneously. Chains break, splines strip, gear teeth shear off. You’re lucky if the tire breaks loose instead. Dumping a clutch is not at all hard on the clutch. Excessive slipping is.

        • guu says:

          The teeth would already be engaged in such a scenario (no clutch disengages completely) so the shock would be much lower than a bad shift. Chains break? Really? Quick calcultions would reveal that no production bike has even close to the torque necessary to do that or even “stretch” the chain. If you literally dump the clutch at 10000 rpm without any slippage you’ll loop out even on a 125, let alone on a 150-hp machine!

          • todd says:

            FYes, chains snap. Static crankshaft torque is not much of an issue. Look at how small a bicycle chain is and you can easily apply 150 lb-ft to the crank by standing on the pedals. In the motorcycle there are dynamic forces like the enertia of the crankshaft and flywheel storing a ton of energy, then there’s the torque multiplying effect of the gear reduction in the transmission. In all, it’s horsepower that chains need to worry about, not static torque figures.

            How many drag bikes do you see looping out? I typically see them struggling to keep a ten inch slick from spinning and wasting all the power. You can easily drop a clutch and spin a rear tire, I see stunt bike guys do it all the time. Pulling the front off the ground requires a well timed yank of the bars, throttle and clutch – or sitting too far back on the seat.

            Burn outs and other shenanigans are probably what Yamaha are trying to mitigate. It’ll be fine if the tire breaks loose but if your rear tire is huge, hot, and under-inflated, it’s bound to hook up and break something.

  16. Rocky V says:

    I thought these bikes had casette type gear boxes ?

    • Norm G. says:

      no, just it’s big brother M1, though other brands like Aprilia, Kawi, and MV offer it at the consumer level. Honda ironically even offered it in the previous generation of Blade/CBR1K but moved away from it in the current generation. BMW actually doesn’t feature it on their racy S1KRR, but DOES on their more touring oriented K bikes so figure that one out…? Suzuki and Ducati the 2 brands with easily the LONGEST racing pedigrees have never offered this on any of their bikes (honourable mention to the ’86 limited GSXR with the ducati-esque dry clutch). so as you see historically, the manufacturers clearly don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason for when and where they offer this kit. like a domestic cat, it just does its own thing, coming and going on it’s own schedule.

    • LanceGamma says:

      Suzuki did in fact offer and deliver on a true cassette transmission with the GP replica 1986 RG500 Gamma. You could have the trans out in 20 minutes pretty easily.

  17. BP in AZ says:

    The last thing I would want is a big job like this being done by any of the jack of all trade, experts of nothing mechanics at the metric dealerships around here. I would have to sell it due to loss of confidence.

    • Brian says:

      Seeems like an overreaction to me, accomplishing little more than punishing yourself for Yamaha’s mistake on the basis of a stereotype about dealership mechanics.

      • MGNorge says:

        Not just in bikes but with cars too, I’ve noticed dealers putting their lowest common denominator on any given job. Go in for an oil and filter change and you may get a young kid just hired on the job. They put their best and fastest mechanics on larger profitable jobs where they work faster than book time and can bill out more hours. Because of that I run into substandard work done from time to time and must return for a redo.

        If it were me, I’d ask some very pointed questions of the dealer and who is going to do the work. I’d then find out more about them and their level of expertise. If Yamaha reimburses the dealerships fairly for this work they will hopefully put their better mechanics on it. The dealership’s reputation is at stake too!

  18. Rocky V says:

    BJC

    That’s funny

  19. TF says:

    Kudos to Yamaha for dealing with it in a proactive manner.

  20. Trpldog says:

    In the first place, I wouldn’t want my new motorcycle torn down COMPLETELY. And second, torn down by WHO?. We’re not talking about an oil change here. That would be a hard pill to swallow for me. Tough stuff for sure.

  21. Krisd says:

    16 hours?

    Ouch- that’s gotta hurt.

  22. Norm G. says:

    meh, it happens. happened to Aprilia, happened to “Bey Oom Vey” (Beethoven accent).

    step 1, remove engine.
    step 2, replace engine with new.

    • TF says:

      Hyosung never has recalls…….

    • PABLO says:

      Even happens to the big H! Every Goldwing from 2001 -2015 has been recalled just recently due to a potential brake issue.
      Suzuki recalled a lot of GSXRs from 2006 onwards and replaced the frontbrake master cylinder assembly, Kawasaki have had plenty of recalls over the years. I seem to remember front wheels shattering on early model ZX10s…….the list goes on

      • MGNorge says:

        Today’s vehicles are highly complicated machines. Anyone would be dreaming to think that every one to roll out the factory is 100% perfect. There are suppliers that can deliver faulty parts too.

        While some factories have better track records than others it’s good to know someone is watching our back in case something develops.

        A gearbox lockup is some pretty serious stuff though so if it were me I would heed the warning to get them fixed ASAP. Perhaps luckily for some of the smaller shops, there aren’t going to be huge numbers of 2015 R1’s needing this done all at once.