2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 First Look | MotoGP-Inspired Makeover

2015 Yamaha YZF-R1

When released in 1998, the Yamaha YZF-R1 began the liter-bike craze in the world of Japanese inline fours. The Suzuki GSX-R1000 followed in 2001, followed by the Honda CBR1000RR and Kawasaki ZX-10R, the latter two arriving in 2004.

Constantly taking input from its efforts in professional motorcycle racing, the YZF-R1 constantly improved through 2009. That year, Yamaha introduced the cross plane crankshaft, which derived from Yamaha’s efforts in MotoGP with the YZR-M1 prototype.

From then, the R1 remained relatively unchanged except for minor engine upgrades, styling updates, and the introduction of traction control in 2012.

Considering the YZF-R1 earned the past-past consecutive AMA SuperBike titles, were changes really needed? Some would think no, but Yamaha didn’t want fall behind as the others progressed – especially in electronics.

Enter the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 – the first updated model since 2009. The new machine receives an upgraded engine, the latest in Yamaha electronics, and styling that drastically departs from the traditional YZF-R1 styling.

Yamaha revised the 2015 R1’s crossplane-concept 998cc engine, which now features “titanium fracture split connecting rods delivering extremely high horsepower and a strong pulse of linear torque for outstanding performance” – a first-ever for a production motorcycle. The new R1 makes “approximately 200 horsepower” at the crank.

The R1 is also loaded with MotoGP-inspired electronics. Part of this is the new six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU).

This IMU features a gyro sensor that measures “pitch, roll, and yaw, as well as an accelerometer, or G-sensor, that measures acceleration in the fore-aft, up-down, and right-left directions…all at a rate of 125 calculations per second. By calculating each signal, the IMU finds the precise vehicle position and movement, and communicates it to the ECU, enabling it to control the bike’s systems.”

This allows for precise Variable Traction Control System (TCS) with lean angle calculating, Slide Control and Anti-Wheelie Control. The 2015 YZF-R1 also arrives with a Quickshifter, Launch Control, ABS, and a Unified Braking System.

Yamaha’s iconic Deltabox frame, which uses the engine as a stress member, has been redesigned for 2015 for optimal longitudinal, lateral and torsional rigidity balance.

Centralized mass was also enhanced due to an all-new titanium exhaust system with the mufflers positioned low and in the middle of the chassis.

Yamaha says the styling arrives from the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1 that Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi currently pilot in GP racing.

Yamaha also compliments the YZF-R1 with the bold YZF-R1M, a limited-edition model that arrives with tasteful, MotoGP-inspired upgrades such as Ohlins suspension and carbon Fiber.

The 2015 Yamaha R1 is available in three colors – Team Yamaha Blue/White, Rapid Red/Pearl White and Raven. The new R1 carries an MSRP of $16,490.

Following are the highlights and specs of the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1.

2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 Highlights:



  • The all-new 998cc in-line 4-cylinder, crossplane crankshaft engine features titanium fracture-split connecting rods, which are an industry first for a production motorcycle. The specific titanium alloy used to manufacture the new connecting rods is around 60% lighter than steel, and this major reduction in weight gives the new R1 engine a responsive and potent character at high rpm. This all-new engine delivers extremely high horsepower and a strong pulse of linear torque.

  • A new 6-speed transmission has also been adopted to match the new engine. The transmission “stacks” the input/output shafts to centralize mass and to keep the overall engine size shorter front to back, which optimizes engine placement in the frame for outstanding weight balance. The new transmission brings out more of the low- to mid-speed torque and excellent response characteristics while reducing the need for frequent shifts.

  • Lightweight magnesium engine covers are used to further reduce weight while rocker-arm valve actuation allows for larger valve lift further boosting horsepower.



  • All-new Aluminum Deltabox frame and magnesium subframe contribute to a light weight and compact chassis design. The aluminum frame is both strong and flexible, with rigid engine mounts, making the engine a stressed member of the frame for optimal rigidity balance and great cornering performance on the race track.

  • The R1 features an all-new inverted KYB front fork with 43mm inner tubes and a 4.7 inch stroke with full adjustability, for incredible front end feel on the track.

  • The fully adjustable KYB shock has a new rear bottom link pivot position that is optimally placed to provide exceptional handling, and excellent transmission of engine torque to the track surface.

  • The wheelbase is 10mm shorter than the previous R1 adding to cornering performance, however the ratio of swing arm length to wheelbase is 40.5%, the same as the current R1 for excellent linear stability.

  • Also featured is an aluminum 4.5 gallon fuel tank, weighing in at a full 3.5 pounds less than a comparable steel tank.

  • The track developed and tested racing ABS and Unified Braking System provide maximum braking performance. UBS inhibits unwanted rear end motion during braking by activating the rear brake when the front brake is applied, with force distribution based on the bike’s attitude and lean angle.

  • All-new Nissin 4-piston radial mounted front calipers ride on big 320mm rotors for excellent stopping power.

  • The 2015 R1 is equipped with a newly designed exhaust system manufactured mainly from titanium. Plus, a compact, midship muffler contributes towards the mass centralization that is a key feature on the R1.

  • 10-spoke cast magnesium wheels that reduce rotational mass by 1.9 pounds over the previous model reduces unsprung weight for quick direction changes and improved handling.

  • The R1 features a thin-film transistor LCD meter, with brilliant color for precise monitoring of all vehicle systems, including front brake pressure and fore/aft G-force making it easier than ever to take the bike to its limits. It features a “street mode” and a “race mode” that focuses on information that’s more important on the track, such as YRC settings, a zoomed in view of the tachometer in the upper rpm range, a lap timer with best lap and last lap feature, gear position indicator and speed, just to name a few.


Additional Features:

  • All-new dynamic “M1” inspired styling that creates a more compact profile with improved aerodynamics.

  • All-new LED headlights are both lightweight and compact allowing for a more streamlined design and layout of the front face.

  • All-new LED front turn signals are integrated into the mirrors for improved aerodynamics.

  • Available as an option is the Yamaha-exclusive Communication Control Unit. The CCU allows riders to communicate with the vehicle via Wi-Fi through Yamaha’s exclusive Y-TRAC smartphone and tablet app. The system is comprised of the CCU and GPS antenna, running data can be recorded via a data logger, with course mapping and automatic lap timing managed by GPS. This data can then be wirelessly downloaded to the Android or Apple iOS app where it can be analyzed. Changes to settings can then be made via the Yamaha “YRC” app to later upload to the R1.



  • Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) is the first on production motorcycle featuring six axis of measurement: It consists of a gyro sensor that measures pitch, roll, and yaw, as well as an accelerometer, or G-sensor, that measures acceleration in the fore-aft, up-down, and right-left directions…all at a rate of 125 calculations per second. The IMU communicates with the Yamaha Ride Control (YRC) Yamaha’s most advanced electronics package ever offered on a production motorcycle. Includes Power Delivery Mode, Traction Control System, Slide Control System, Lift Control System, Launch Control System and Quick Shift System. All these systems are adjustable and can be saved within four presets.

  • 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 andthe 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).

  • Assist and slipper clutch is used to give the rider more confident downshifts when entering corners aggressively.

  • The R1 uses YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle), fly-by-wire technology providing optimum power delivery. YCC-I is Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake which is a variable intake system that broadens the spread of power in both low and high rpm.


2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 Specs:

  • Engine: 998cc, liquid-cooled inline 4 cylinder DOHC 16 valves 79.00 x 50.9mm
  • Compression Ratio: 13.0:1
  • Fuel System: Fuel Injection with YCC-T and YCC-I
  • Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
  • Transmission: 6-speed multi-plate slipper clutch
  • Final Drive: Chain
  • Front Suspension: 43mm KYB inverted fork; fully adjustable; 4.7-in travel
  • Rear Suspension: KYB Single shock w/piggyback reservoir, 4-way adjustable; 4.7- in travel
  • Front Brakes; Dual 320mm hydraulic disc; 4-piston caliper, UBS ABS
  • Rear Brake: 220mm disc; UBS ABS
  • Tires: 120/70ZR17M/C front; 190/55ZR17M/C rear
  • L x W x H: 80.9 x 27.2 x 45.3 in
  • Seat Height: 33.7 in
  • Ground Clearance: 5.1 in
  • Wheelbase: 55.9 in
  • Rake (Caster Angle)24°
  • Trail: 4.0
  • Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal
  • Fuel Economy: N/A
  • Wet Weight: 439 lb/ CAL 441 lb
  • Colors: Team Yamaha Blue/White; Rapid Red/Pearl White; Raven
  • MSRP: $16,490