2015 Yamaha YZF-R1M | FIRST LOOK

EICMA REVEAL: The R1M, where “M” means “Mmmm, Öhlins!”

Yamaha introduced two versions of its new R1 today, the base bike and this beauty, the YZF-R1M. Fitted with carbon-fiber bits and pieces—the front and side fairings plus the front fender—along with a polished finish for the aluminum fuel tank and swingarm, the M version isn’t just a shined-up pretender. Latest-tech hardware from Öhlins makes sure that’s so. You see, the R1M features the Swedish version of semi-active suspension, called ERS, for Electronic Racing Suspension.

Yamaha’s implementation allows for six total modes, three automatic and three manual. The three automatic modes use information from the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) to skew rebound and compression damping in the fork and shock based on chassis motions. The IMU looks at engine speed, throttle angle, vehicle speed, fuel consumption, brake pressure, and a host of other parameters to predict what the chassis might do next. For example, if the bike is in hard acceleration mode, it will stiffen the shock’s compression damping and the fork’s rebound damping to keep chassis pitch to a minimum; hard braking will increase fork compression and shock rebound to achieve the same results. All skews are informed by the lean-angle sensors so that the reaction straight up and down is different from the reaction when the bike is leaned over. Plus, you can skew the skews, as it were, making the system stiffer or softer in both directions, at both ends, than it would be on the baseline settings. Smart stuff.

Spring preload is still manually adjustable and in the manual modes of ERS the rider determines fixed damping rates that are held regardless of chassis movement, brake application, or acceleration.

Along with ERS, the M model gets Yamaha’s Telemetry Recording & Analysis Controller (Y-TRAC) that includes GPS-enabled track mapping and data acquisition accessible through a smart phone. You can not only look at your lap data on Y-TRAC, but you can also set ERS adjustments through the phone and have the bike accept these changes wirelessly. This technology is standard on the R1M but will be optional on the base R1.

What would you pay for all this additional technology and some gold-colored suspension bits? How about $21,990, and that comes with an R1 in the deal. That makes electronic semi-active suspension a rather hefty $5,000 premium over the basic R1.