Over the past weekend, the World Superbike Championship made a pit stop in Laguna Seca, California for the series’ only American race. Aside from the main event, the special weekend was also the occasion for a number of companies to celebrated. For instance, it was a chance for Ducati to highlight the 916’s 25th Anniversary. As for Yamaha, the manufacturer casually strolled in with a new-generation YZF-R1 and R1M. No biggie. Here’s a look at what’s new for 2020.
The choice of setting to unveil the fully-faired flagship was perfectly appropriate, if only completely unexpected. After all, a wide number of SBK teams compete on an R1, so there was bound to be a lot of interest for the showstopper. So what’s new with the R1 Quite a bit actually!
At first glance, the new generation of the model looks almost identical to the previous one. The design has been slightly altered to create curvier lines, including new indentations at the nose, framing the opening at the tip and curving around the slit-like headlights. The side panel now also follows the shape of the motorcycle more organically. The lines and angles have been smoothed out, which gives the R1 a more refined, finished appearance. This is what Yamaha refers to at the next-generation R-Series design. The gas tank can now accommodate 34 gallons, compared to 33 on the previous generation. The result, however, is a slightly heavier bike, now tipping the scale at 448lb—a 7lb weight gain.
Gallery: 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 And R1M: Everything We Know
The updated fairing is mounted on an aluminum Deltabox frame with magnesium subframe and an aluminum swingarm. Despite the modesty of the changes, Yamaha claims the new bodywork helps improve the bike aerodynamics by 5.3 percent while reducing wind noise and pressure. Talk about doing more with less.
The engine is described as a new generation of the well-known 998cc inline four. Features including the titanium fracture-split connecting rods and offset cylinders are carried over with the addition of new cylinder heads, intake and titanium exhaust systems, fuel injectors, rockers arms, and camshaft profiles. The six-gear transmission is carried over and teamed with an assist and slipper clutch. The new Accelerator Position Sensor ride-by-wire system paired up with Grip with chip-controlled throttle eliminate the cables which is meant to reduce the weight and make the throttle twist smoother.
The R1 is now supported by a set of new KYB inverted fork with internal shim stack and a revised KYB rear shock set up. The adjustments are meant to improve the feel of the ride while providing smooth dampening. The brake system remains unchanged with 320-mm discs pinched by four-piston calipers up front and a 220-mm circle at the back, teamed with a new Bosch ABS hydraulic system. Only the front brake pads are different from the previous generation, swapped for units made from a different (undisclosed) material to improve control during braking.
The R1 now also features a new Brake Control technology to choose between two braking intensity settings as well as a new Engine Brake Management system that allows the rider to select between three levels of engine braking strength. The 17-inch magnesium wheels are wrapped in redesigned Bridgestone RS11 Battlax Racing Street tires.
Alongside the new, standard production YZF-R1, Yamaha also unveiled a new limited-edition R1M. The M adds a new Öhlins ERS NPX pressurized front fork with integrated gas cylinder, adjustable Öhlins Electronic Racing Suspension single shock at the back, carbon fiber components, and standard GPS data logging.
The new 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 is now offered at $17,399, a $400 premium over the previous generation, while the YZF-R1M ramps the price up by almost $10k, at $26,099.