The 2020 model year marks the first significant update of Yamaha’s flagship, the YZF-R1M, since its 2015 debut. The bike is already a technological tour de force, but the big news is the arrival of the electronically controlled, gas-charged Öhlins NPX-EC fork—a first for any production motorcycle—and TTX36 shock. The new gas-pressurized fork reduces oil cavitation, leading to a more controlled performance.
The motor—nestled in a svelte race-inspired chassis and cloaked in carbon-fiber bodywork—gets subtle tweaks that include a new cylinder head, camshafts and throttle bodies. The enhancements are not aimed at increasing output as much as smoothing out what the 998 cc in-line four-cylinder already produces, and that’s, unofficially, around 200 hp. Already fine-tuned are the traction control and wheelie and slide algorithms, all managed by the Inertial Measurement Unit and giving more predictability at the throttle, which, by the way, is now fully electronic (bye-bye, cables).
The bike has always been bewilderingly fast, and this is still the case, but the rider aids, superb electronic suspension and race-spec chassis work together seamlessly to carve corners so easily that it flatters the rider. Sure, there’s more power here than most will ever need, but its supremely controlled delivery makes the $26,099 YZF-R1M one of the finest sportbikes ever built.
Check out more photos of the motorcycle below: