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RECALL: Yamaha 2015 YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M

Published: 18 December 2015

Updated: 18 December 2015

Yamaha is recalling every single 2015 YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M sold so far to replace the gearbox following a number of failures on the new model.

News of a recall affecting bikes in North America and Canada emerged a few weeks ago but this is the first time it’s been confirmed UK bikes are also involved. This is the second recall affecting the higher specification R1M version as a fault with the electronically controlled Ohlins rear shock saw these bikes taken off the road earlier this year. American owners are being advised not to ride their bikes yet there is no such instruction for UK owners.

Yamaha UK has started the process of contacting owners to explain their bikes are in need of work to replace the gearbox. MCN understands there have been a small number of second gear ratio failures on racing and trackbikes under extreme load and with mistimed gearchanges. These failures have lead to the gearboxes seizing.

MCN understands the work to replace the gearboxes of the affected bike is extremely in-depth and will need the entire engine removed from the frame, the engine cases split apart and the gearbox replaced before being reinstalled. Yamaha UKL hasn’t explained what is happening in detail but Yamaha USA has sent out letters with a lot more detail of the problem and the work to be done to the bikes. The US letter states: “In affected motorcycles, both second gear wheel and pinion gears in the transmission may break as a result of extremely high stress and/or improper shifting. This is due to inadequate component strength and stress concentration at the gear teeth bottom land. In addition, the third and fourth wheel gears may be deformed or break as a result of excessive stress caused by hard usage. This is due to inadequate component strength. If gears fail, the transmission could lock up, causing loss of control that could result in a crash with injury or death.

What Yamaha and your dealer will do:

To correct this defect, your authorized Yamaha dealer will replace the transmission assembly with one that includes gears of a different design. The procedure takes almost 16 hours to do but be aware that your Yamaha dealer may need to keep your motorcycle longer depending upon their current service schedule. There will be no charge to you for this procedure.”

Assuming workshop costs are estimated to be a conservative and low £60 per hour this equates to almost £1000 in labour costs per bike. That doesn’t take into account the cost of the new gearbox and all of the consumables like engine oil, coolant and gaskets that will be needed to complete the job.

Yamaha’s letter to UK owners states:



Our records indicate that you are the owner of an YZF-R1 or YZF-R1M, the details of which are given on the attached sheet.

As part of Yamaha’s policy of constantly monitoring the quality and performance of its products, we regret to announce that the factory has identified a potential defect with your machine whereby under extreme conditions, certain gearbox components may break or deform causing the transmission to fail.

We would therefore advise you to contact your authorised Yamaha dealer at your earliest convenience, quoting your machine’s Chassis Number and current mileage, to arrange a mutually convenient appointment for them to replace the transmission assembly, including modified component parts.

The work will of course be carried out free of charge.

We apologise for any inconvenience this recall may cause. However, we are sure that you will understand it is essential to ensure the safety of our customers and the safe operation of your machine.

In the event this machine is no longer in your possession, may we kindly ask that you tick the appropriate box on the attached Response Form and return this to ourselves in the enclosed pre-paid envelope, as soon as possible.

Please Note: This recall is being conducted in accordance with the Code of Practice on action concerning motorcycle safety defects, as agreed between the Department for Transport and the

Motorcycle Industry Association and the response rate is being monitored by the Driver & Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA) under its terms.

Should you have any questions on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01932 358026 or 358042, during office hours (9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Mon – Fri). Please note that these lines should not be used for any other purpose.

Once again, please accept our sincere apologies for this situation and we thank you in advance for your understanding in this very important matter, which we believe further demonstrates our long term commitment to customer care.

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