Three years after its introduction, minor changes have made the Yamaha R1M faster, easier to ride and simpler to set up. It’s still the booming, intoxicating track weapon it was before, but new semi-active suspension, more sophisticated anti-wheelie and an auto-blipper allow it to keep pace with rivals from Honda and Kawasaki.
Former MCN Senior Editor, Matt Wildee had the opportunity to ride the 2018 R1M at its launch in February 2018 on track and soon after Chief Road Tester, Michael Neeves took it around the toughest route in the UK, the 'MCN 250' mile test.
Speaking about his experience Matt said: "The host of small updates enhance the R1M experience. All the good points of the old bike remain: the same nimble handling, partly afforded by the lightest wheels in the class (the R1M’s the only one with magnesium as standard).
And there’s still the same gloriously fluid crossplane-cranked motor sniffing out exit grip before droning to a heady, screaming top end down the next straight.
"Cosmetically, the R1M is virtually identical to before, save a different colour bellypan. This is no bad thing – it’s a unique, carbon-clad demonstration of cutting-edge tech. But does it feel different enough to justify jacking in your old bike?
"If you already own an R1M, the answer’s probably not. But if you’re trading in at the end of your finance package you will feel the benefit. And if you’re buying for the first time you’ll be picking up the keys to a true piece of exotica."
While Michael added: "There are golden moments where the R1M is the most perfect, magical motorcycle ever. Its speed and stability into fast, sweeping corners defies belief and its crushing, MotoGP acceleration is ably contained by some of the best electronics in the business.
"Not only is it other-worldly rapid, this M version, with its carbon and Öhlins, is knee-tremblingly sexy, too. For the rest of the time the R1M is brutally uncomfortable and its limit is so far removed from the real world, there’s little impression of speed. However, even with it's limit, at most we imagine the R1M could hit about 186mph.
"That’s a modern-day superbike in a nutshell; epic in small doses and I hate to say it, slightly pointless the rest of the time."