BEST of the BEST 2015: Yamaha YZF-R1M
Yamaha’s overhaul of the YZF-R1M (and the base-model YZF-R1) added innovations from the brand’s YZR-M1 race bike. Among them is a slide-control system that is the first of its kind for a Yamaha production motorcycle. The system works in conjunction with another novel feature, an Inertial Measurement Unit. The IMU is essentially a six-axis gyrometer that makes 125 readings per second to monitor the bike’s lean angle, yaw angle, front-to-rear pitch, and tire slide.
If the IMU detects a slide while the bike is accelerating quickly or leaning sharply, it will control the 998 cc engine’s output to help keep the bike upright. Similarly, the IMU works with the launch-control system and limits engine revs to reduce lift when the bike accelerates in a straight line. Working with the traction-control system, the IMU tailors the engine output so that the rider can complete a corner as fast as possible without losing control. Together these systems confer a sense of security and confidence that enables riders to explore the limits of this nearly $22,000 bike.
The YZF-R1M is visually distinguished from the bike’s base model by a carbon-fiber front fender, carbon-fiber upper and side fairings, an aluminum fuel tank that is hand polished and clear-coated, a polished aluminum swing arm, and a liquid-metal paint scheme.
Also unique to the M model are Yamaha’s Electronic Racing Suspension system by Öhlins, which actively adjusts damping levels, and the Communication Control Unit. The unit, which was inherited from MotoGP, records track data such as the bike’s speed, lean angle, throttling, and braking. Riders can then use a mobile-phone app supplied by Yamaha to download the data, overlay it onto a Google map of the course, and see where they can improve their time. The app can also be used to make changes to the bike’s various ride settings.