Originally released for the 1998 model year, the Yamaha YZF-R1 established a new standard in terms of open-class sportbike design and performance. Externally the Yamaha R1 featured an aggressive insect-like shape that had yet to be seen on a production motorcycle. Internally the R1 was graced with, at the time, the most powerful and compact 998cc liquid-cooled engine ever produced for the motorcycling public. The R1’s slim and trim chassis was equally as impressive and set a new standard for handling both on the street and racetrack.
Over the years the Yamaha R1 has received numerous updates and complete redesigns. But the updates have always remained true to the YZF-R1’s original expression of style and mind-bending performance. For 2009, the R1 received a complete revamp and now benefits directly from Valentino Rossi’s success aboard the Yamaha M1 in the MotoGP World Championship. Most notably is the new Yamaha R1’s use of a unique engine firing order courtesy of its cross-plane crankshaft. This design radically changes the character of the engine when riding and is aimed at a more rider-friendly experience. Other changes include an entirely new chassis featuring a new frame, swingarm, fork and shock. Also new is the sleek new bodywork that retains the signature R1 front fascia as well as the Yamaha sportbike’s undertail exhaust pipes.
The 2015 Yamaha R1 featured a comprehensive ground-up redesign. While maintaining the crossplane crankshaft Inline Four, the engine internals featured significant updates. The chassis was completely overhauled as well, with the new R1 benefiting from a host of electronic upgrades. The changes led to the R1’s victory in the track portion of MotoUSA’s 2015 Superbike Shootout.