2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 And YZF-R1M First Look

Evolutionary changes to Japan’s most exotic superbike.

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 in front of building.
Yamaha’s updating its YZF-R1 sportbike for the 2020 model year.Yamaha Motor USA

Yamaha's unique crossplane-crankshaft engine helps make the YZF-R1 stand apart from its superbike/supersport competition, and for 2020 the R1 and its high-end R1M sister receive evolutionary upgrades that will increase their appeal to sportbike consumers.

Visually, you’ll notice new LED headlights and bodywork that’s purported to be 5.3 percent more aerodynamic. Hidden beneath is a new cylinder head with a smaller and shorter intake tract, with new injectors spraying fuel directly against the intake valves for a claimed improvement in fuel atomization. Camshafts and finger-follower rocker arms are also new. Oddly, there is no mention of increased power.

Upgraded electronics are a key improvement for 2020, now using a ride-by-wire system built around the new Accelerator Position Sensor with Grip (APSG), which eliminates physical throttle cables and combines with the R1’s six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU).

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 races on track.
The 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 features a redesigned ride-by-wire throttle control system.Yamaha Motor USA

A lighter Bosch ABS unit enables a new two-level-adjustable Cornering-ABS capability, as well as a new Engine Brake Management system adjustable to three levels of engine-braking force. Traditional braking abilities are augmented by toothier brake pads to go along with stainless steel brake lines.

The KYB fork is new with updated shim-stack internals, while the fully adjustable KYB shock has revised settings. Bridgestone RS11 Battlax tires receive a new tread design.

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 riding on road.
Cornering ABS is now a standard feature on the 2020 YZF-R1.Yamaha Motor USA

All the good stuff that has made the R1 desirable remain, including its distinctive crossplane crank, titanium intake valves and connecting rods, aluminum fuel tank, cast-magnesium wheels, traction/slide control, up-and-down quickshifter, and vibrant TFT instrumentation.

The 2020 R1 will be available this September in blue or Raven colors, with an MSRP of $17,399. Interestingly, Yamaha claims the curb weight is now 448 pounds, an increase of 7 from 2019.

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 racing on track.
The 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 is $700 more expensive carrying an MSRP of $17,399.Yamaha Motor USA


The M variant is the pinnacle of R1 advancement, featuring Öhlins suspension, GPS-enabled datalogging, carbon-fiber bodywork, and a hand-polished aluminum fuel tank.

For 2020, the R1M is upgraded with a premium Öhlins fork, a pressurized NPX version that uses a gas cylinder built into the fork’s axle bracket. The Öhlins shock receives optimized settings to complement the new fork. The suspension settings can be tweaked via the TFT instrumentation or the YRC Setting app.

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1M suspension settings on dashboard.
The YZF-R1M gets semi-active and electronically adjustable suspension from Ohlins. Suspension settings can be modified via the TFT instrumentation or the YRC Setting app.Yamaha Motor USA

The R1M now features a carbon-fiber tail cowl to complement the existing M’s carbon passenger-seat cowl. It also receives all the upgrades of its 2020 R1 sibling, including engine, bodywork, electronics, and brake updates.

The R1M’s top-shelf componentry has always been premium-priced, and for 2020 its MSRP gets steeper. It now lists for $26,099, an increase of $3,100 from 2019. Its claimed curb weight also jumps 7 pounds like its sibling, now stated at 450 pounds. Order now to be in line to get yours when they hit dealers in September.

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 Specifications
PRICE $17,399–$26,099
ENGINE 998cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC inline-4; 16-valve
BORE x STROKE 79.0mm x 50.9mm
FUEL DELIVERY Fuel injection w/ YCC-T and Y-CCI
CLUTCH Wet multi-plate assist/slipper clutch; cable actuation
FRAME Twin-spar aluminum
FRONT SUSPENSION 43mm KYB inverted fork, three-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.7-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION KYB gas-charged shock, three-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.7-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Radial-mount 4-piston calipers, 320mm discs
REAR BRAKE 1-piston caliper, 220mm
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR Die-cast magnesium; 17 x 3.5 in. / 17 x 6.0 in.
TIRES, FRONT/REAR TBD; 120/70-17 / 200/55-17
RAKE/TRAIL 24.0°/4.0 in.
WHEELBASE 55.3 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 33.7 in. / R1M: 33.9 in.
CONTACT yamahamotorsports.com/motorcycle