This is the story of the 2020 Yamaha R1 and R1M - the Japanese firm's sportsbike pairing aimed at taking on the likes of the Ducati Panigale V4S, BMW S1000RR and Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory.
Boasting more efficient aerodynamics, an improved electronics package and reworked engine internals for greater performance, the standard bike will cost £16,799, with the limited-run M model priced at £21,999.
Tell me more about the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1...
The R1 gets a more MotoGP-inspired styling makeover with new screen and fairing that integrates straight into the tank, promising a 5.3% increase in aerodynamic efficiency and greater comfort for a broader range of riders.
Alongside improved aero, there is also greater fairing rigidity, thanks to an aluminium air duct behind the front section, as well as titanium lower panelling covering the exhaust. This is coupled with new LED headlights which help give the bike a more aggressive stance. Both the R1 and R1M will also feature an aluminium fuel tank and aluminium wheels, too.
Meanwhile, the now Euro5-compliant 998cc crossplane crank engine has been reworked to include a new intake system, complete with new 10-hole Bosch fuel injectors for a wider spray angle giving a more efficient burn.
Although power remains unchanged at a claimed 197bhp, the bike receives updated finger-follower rocker arms and new cam lobes, that deliver more stable valve operation at high rpm. Extracting this top-end rush is made easier by a lighter ride-by-wire throttle, which is said to give a more natural feel.
To help pass emissions regulations, the reworked exhaust system now also features four catalysers, with one pair in front of the exhaust chamber and the other set at the rear. Both the silencer itself and the bike's engine heat protectors also feature noise reduction measures.
Keeping all of that performance under control is an updated 43mm Kayaba fork with a new damping set up, alongside a revised steering damper and reworked rear shock settings.
Helping improve feel further are new Bridgestone Battlax RS11 tyres and a whopping seven electronic control systems, including a new Brake Control (cornering ABS), which works in tandem with the bike's six-axis IMU.
Featuring two modes (one fixed and one self-adjusting), it assesses data like lean angle and hydraulic brake pressure, to prevent lock-ups. Additional braking power is delivered by new high-friction front pads.
Available in blue or black, the bike also gets a new three-mode Engine Braking Management unit, that allows riders to adjust the severity of engine braking (high, medium or low).
Designed for greater deceleration performance, the system uses data including gear position, engine rpm, throttle position and throttle valve position, before the bike's ECU alters throttle opening, ignition timing and fuel injection to suit.
The latest R1 also gets an updated launch control system, which has now been modified to activate at 9000rpm, at a throttle opening of 41 degrees, producing faster race starts. What's more, all of these system indicators will be visible through an improved TFT dash.
Enter the Yamaha R1M
The limited-run R1M will feature the same electronic improvements as the base bike and sheds extra weight thanks to a set of carbon fibre front fairings, mudguard and tail section, alongside magnesium wheels and rear subframe. A titanium lower fairing cover completes the look.
Alongside weight-shedding, the Kayaba suspension is replaced with the latest in Öhlins finery, with a new electronic anti-cavitator NPX gas fork, to reduce negative pressure on the rebound stroke. The electronic rear shock also gains modified preload settings.
Finished in an updated sliver, blue and carbon livery, Yamaha have also produced a number of apps to go with the new bike, allowing riders to produce their own ideal settings with ease.
The YRC Setting app allows users to control the seven electronic systems to ensure they provide the preferred level of interference. Some controls can be switched off completely.
Meanwhile, the new Y-TRAC app allows customers to access the bike's Communication Control Unit (CCU) to download a range of data to your mobile. This can be viewed on a Google Maps rendering of a track, displaying information including acceleration and G-forces.
For some added individuality, every R1M will also have an engraved plaque with a unique production number, too.
Keep an eye out for the full 2020 Yamaha R1 review coming soon on MCN.
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