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2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 and R1M Press Launch, Report 1



MD has Ed Sorbo, an experienced racer and suspension tuning expert, attending the 2015 R1 launch in Sydney, Australia this week. In addition to some sightseeing and street riding, MD will test the bike at Eastern Creek International Raceway later today (it is currently Friday morning in Sydney).

Here are a couple of shots Ed took last night at the media tech presentation (as well as a photo of the famous Sydney Harbor) of both the standard R1 and R1M. For technical details on these new flagship superbikes  from Yamaha, begin by looking at our article here. More than ever, Yamaha has placed its emphasis on track riding and racing in the development of these new models, testing prototypes against Yamaha’s M1 MotoGP machine, and even having Valentino Rossi and American Superbike star Josh Hayes test early prototypes in order to offer feedback.

We can’t currently think of another production superbike with more technology on offer, together with high spec components (including but not limited to the stock magnesium wheels). Ed reports Yamaha really sweat the details in the development of this new platform. Here is a snippet Ed forwarded to us before getting on the bike at Eastern Creek:

After tomorrow’s track ride of the R1 and R1M, we will report on the feel. For now we can report that Yamaha has made it stronger, faster and lighter. It’s a gear head’s dream. DLC coating here, Teflon coating there. Less weight but more strength here, because of a stronger structure. Using the centrifugal force inside the crank to draw oil to the bearings so the oil pump draws less power. Less friction, more power, a narrower engine and fracture-split rods possible because of better metallurgy.

All that and more before we even start on the stuff the computer does. The bike knows its attitude at all times because of a gyro. The list goes on … 

Report 2 follows.




  1. roy damron says:

    dave a……..know exactly what yer sayin

  2. Norm G. says:

    for any of you guys concerned about being overwhelmed by this bike’s power my advice is to “not fear the Reaper”. this thing’s going to be a pussycat, ie. very manageable. not because of the electronics or anything, but because the Crossplane is not an inherently “fire breathing” configuration.

    I’ve ridden the old MKI’s around the track at speed and it’s really a non-event compared to some others. the secret of Crossplanes is they really have to be ridden like 600’s to get anywhere, though improved, this new bike will be no different. see, it all comes down to the “ultimate truth detector”… the DYNO graph, and the ’09’s were always at the bottom in the power wars. this is not a bad thing, it just means it takes more than a “fanboys” education to value and appreciate.

    now the new BMW (hp) on the other hand…? or the new 1299 (tq)…? those are the 2 bikes looking to “rip the eyes out of your head and puke into your dead skull.” (Jack Nicholson voice). again, it’s all about knowing how what you see on a DYNO graph impacts you in the real world.

  3. todd says:

    Would Muhammad Ali have been remembered if he talked like Rodney King?

  4. brandon says:

    they state “We can’t currently think of another production superbike with more technology on offer, together with high spec components” yet bmw has offered similar tech on their s1000rr since 2010. plus the new 15 has even more features.

    • DaveA says:

      The BMW is a clear step behind the new R1 in the electronics department. That’s not to say that the S1000RR isn’t also a techno-juggernaut; it is. But that said, the level of sophistication present on this Yamaha surpasses that of factory World Superbikes of only a few seasons ago. In particular, the presence of the 6 axis IMU that measures lean angle, pitch and yaw is something that is otherwise unavailable unless you’re on a factory superbike.

  5. todd says:

    Does their sign above the bike in the top picture really say “We are one?” Lame. Yamaha is my favorite bike brand and all but I hope they’re not getting all gooey and one-worldly.

  6. Joe Bogusheimer says:

    Looks awesome, sounds like it will be an excellent performing bike. Number of people who need or can really make use of the performance offered by a bike like this on the road? Not too many. For that matter, the number of people who need or can really make use of this level of performance on a track, unless they’re professional (or maybe amateur) Superbike racers?

    • DaveA says:

      Every time there is a new article on a sport bike somebody trots out this old saw, and it is equally silly every time we see it.

      We don’t need this much power? A 1994 EX500 makes enough horsepower to easily beat traffic away from a light and even outpace even the most aggressive freeway nut-baggery. Does that mean that no motorcycle should have more horsepower than the old Ex provided?

      We can’t ride well enough to actually use this performance? It is possible to enjoy the performance a motorcycle offers without being able to match Tom Sykes’ lap times on the thing. I enjoyed the performance of my CBR1100XX every time I rode it, but I never went 170 on it. When I was racing bikes, I never came within 10 seconds of Josh Hayes’ times around Barber Motorsports park, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t enjoying the performance level my bike offered me.

      Look, we buy motorcycles because they’re fun, they’re cool, and the performance is great. Criticizing a performance-centric model of motorcycle because its performance level is too high is absurd in a literal sense. It’s fun to go fast. It’s fun to own fast stuff. Technology is cool. If these things are alien to you, maybe a new hobby is in order.

    • todd says:

      Since the performance of a bike is defined (limited) by the best rider to ride it, then by definition, there is only one person who can get the most out of each new bike.

      I don’t agree with DaveA. Chances are, just about every rider on the planet will be no faster on this bike than on the EX500. Think about it, even racing through the canyons, hanging off around turns, you’re only doing 50 or so, not 170. A rider will only be able to go as fast as he or she dares to go. DaveA seems to think he’s tapped the full potential of his EX500. So there’s no one on earth that could ride that old Ninja faster than he?

      Just like SUVs and Adventure Bikes, people buy them for what it makes them look like. In the case of this bike, it makes people that see you think that you are a fast rider. And that’s enough for some people. I’d rather be the guy on the $1000 EX500 putting R1 riders to shame. It’s really not all that hard.

      • DaveA says:

        You have entirely missed my point. In fact, I think you misinterpreted every point I tried to make in there. I’ll try to do better next time. The general idea was that you can fully enjoy the performance of a motorcycle even if you aren’t Troy Bayliss.

        Youre Truly,

        A 6’3″ 280 pound guy who road raced an FZR400 and several SV650s (ie: not necessarily a champion of giant bikes)

        • todd says:

          Didn’t mean any disrespect. I’m just countering the notion I thought you implied that people appreciate and are able to exploit the greater performance potential of more powerful bikes. Like you, I can appreciate the potential of these bikes but, every time I’ve thrown a leg over a “newer faster” bike, I realize that I’m no better of a rider than I was on the old pieces of crap I currently own. In light of that I save my money and continue honing my skills on what I have, coming nowhere near the full potential of the bike but still outperforming riders on superior machines. I still need to break for turns not because of the 100mm tire on the front but because I’m afraid to go faster. There were people back in the ’70s and ’80s who could get much higher lap times on similar bikes while not even having the benefit of the superior tire technology we have today. Once I’m faster than those old guys I can upgrade.

          • DaveA says:

            Oh no worries…not only did I not infer disrespect, I’ve done nothing to earn your respect in the first place!

            But ya, to the point; I have two things to say about your idea that you need to improve before you’re going to allow yourself an upgrade.

            1. Don’t assume that you’d be no faster on a modern bike. Never before have bikes been easier to ride fast. Yes, it’s the carpenter and not the tools. However take the same carpenter and upgrade his tools, he might just have an easier time of things.

            2. Who cares how ‘fast’ or ‘good’ anyone is? There is no universal contest of moto-mettle going on here. It’s motorcycling. It’s fun. We all take from it something different in our own unique manner. I’m old and fat, but I might make a return to track riding at some point, and I’m not gonna do it on an 86 VF500F just because I might not be the reincarnation of Joey Dunlop.

          • todd says:

            Problem is, I’ve tried/owned more modern bikes and often found them more difficult to master. I’ve seen a similarity between the “latest” bikes and beer; people who have grown fond of them think theyre the best thing around. They also seemed to have forgotten that beer tastes god-awful.

  7. MGNorge says:

    Through the years I have often thought of what it would have been like to beam back to those high school years (actual years withheld by request) with a modern bike. The level of complexity, power and performance would be like placing some advanced alien craft on earth in the 50’s, or something. Crazy!
    If this R1 sets the bar now, just wait to see what’s around the corner!

  8. John says:

    Why build new bikes when you can just keep updating old ones?

    I guess it’s because R1 owners have update every time, like a dog flails his leg when scratched.

  9. Norm G. says:

    re: “a narrower engine and fracture-split rods”

    a narrower engine and fracture-split TITANIUM rods.


  10. Guy says:

    Wow all that technology but they cant route the clutch cable so it dosent obscure some of that fancy dash.

  11. DaddyKoolJim says:

    Of far more interest to the riders who frequent this forum should be the imminent arrival of the GSX-S1000. 90% of the speed and handling of the GSXR and without having to twist one’s body into the shape of a pretzel for, at most, a 45 minute Superbike sprint race.

    • Joe Bogusheimer says:

      You’re right, that will probably be a great bike, and way more suitable for 99.9 % of street riders than an R1. It’s not exactly a looker, though, IMO. Looks like it got rear ended by a truck and bent the subframe. Stupid look on a streetfighter, really stupid look on a sportsbike. Having said that, I wouldn’t let the looks scare me off – it’s not a lot worse than a lot of modern bikes. My Fazer 8 suffers from a slightly less severe case of the same problem. It’ll be good competition for the Ninja 1000, and the FZ-1 which could use an update. Honda doesn’t really have anything in this vein.

    • DaveA says:

      What does this have to do with the new R1? This isn’t an article about that bike, it’s about the R1. I’m pretty sure that anybody looking to learn more about the new R1 would find this article of far more interest than one about a different bike…? I mean, there are pieces on the site about racing, and dual sport bikes, and cruisers, and all sorts of stuff. Maybe you should only read stuff at .

      I can see it now. When the new ZX-10R is released, the article here will read “We were going to review this bike, but someone pointed out that it isn’t a comfortable, practical commuter so here is a link to our 1992 Honda Pacific Coast review. Again.”


  12. Vrooom says:

    Cause, you know, the one thing I always say about modern sportbikes is they aren’t fast enough for my deep well of skills (cough, cough).

    • Bocker says:

      Honestly, this is the one liter class bike I would consider actually riding. The rider aids packaged with this make it possible for those of us who haven’t dragged elbow to actually use some of what the machine has to offer. Most of these are just a quick throttle twist away from a hospital visit. I would love to do a couple laps on this, and I’ve never said that about a liter bike before. Middleweights are definitely more my speed (pun intended).

      • Dave says:

        The rider still has to decide when to brake and how fast to enter a corner. Get either of those wrong and the ABS will prevent you from losing the front wheel before hitting the guardrail or canyon wall. More horsepower makes it easier to get both of those wrong.

        • Bocker says:

          That’s true of a 250 just as much as a liter bike. My point is that the aids make it possible for mere humans to have some hope of reining in the power of a modern superbike. Also, I’ve long been of the opinion that a pure sportbike on public roads is just ludicrous. A closed course with no traffic, guardrails, or canyon walls is where this bike is meant to live.

  13. Hot Dog says:

    This thing is beautiful! I’m too old, too phat, too broke yet I still dream…

  14. Jeremy in TX says:

    I know everyone is programmed to fall all over the Italian machinery when it comes to looks, but this new R1 is the bee’s knees to my eyes.

    • Joe Bogusheimer says:

      I agree. And it has “Race Blu” (DPBM – deep purplish blue metallic) wheels just like my bike, lol.

  15. Sentinel says:

    I suspect this will be the new king of Superbikes.

  16. Vince says:

    Looking forward to your report on how the bike feels as I have ordered a blue one. Thanks MD for being first *anywhere* to report on the launch!!!

  17. North of Missoula says:

    Looking forward to the shootouts this year between the R1, H2, S1000RR and the Panigale S.

    • xlayn says:

      +1, I think the S1000RR it’s the current benchmark for any bike, let’s see if the R1 price it’s worth it (for the average joe, I’m not sure how much money the “take it to the track” buyer would spend on after market parts).
      And of course we want to see the brutal H2 against everything else.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I’m not sure how much money the “take it to the track” buyer would spend on after market parts).”

        no worries, he’s already spending scores of time and energy on the net and in the forums trying to figure out how to save $20 bucks on the “full Akrapovic exhaust” that Akrapovic themselves haven’t even made yet.

        • Bocker says:

          As a “take it to the track” buyer, the aftermarket is where I keep my bike running, safe, and make it more reliable. I’ve spent far more on parts than I paid for my track bike itself. Granted, almost none of that is performance since my primary concern is handling and durability.

  18. Matt Gustafson says:

    I was talking with the Yamaha rep at the Minneapolis bike show. After swinging a leg over it and feeling every joint in my body scream in protest he made the observation that the less comfortable they made the bike, the faster it went. I can only figure that they push it past the limit so they can finish the lap and get off of it before their body takes a permanent set.

  19. HLRembe says:

    Ho Hum just another day and the R1 simply keeps getting better

  20. Scotty says:

    Nice pic of the city I was born in.