With so many impressive bikes hitting the market this year this would have been a tough call
The awe-inspiring features and benefits of the 2015 YZF-R1M made it the top contender in this years MOTY awards. Competing with some of the finest and fastest motorcycles the word has seen including the likes of the BMW S1000RRandthe Kawasaki H2, there’s a few features the all new R1 boasts which won the judges over.
Yes, the R1 is one of the most advanced motorcycles ever created, with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) measuring six axes of movement, using lean-angle and acceleration data to control traction, brake pressure, lateral slides, and wheelies. But it’s how smoothly those systems interact with each other, and with the geometry of the motorcycle, that is unprecedented. TheR1 is so calm and stable at speed it almost feels like time slows down. You feel like you can focus on exactly what matters in performance riding because the steering is superb, traction is perfectly controlled leaving corners, and your wheelie is always an exact height. It makes you feel like a better rider piloting a less powerful machine.
To show that European brands shouldn’t soak up the entire superbike spotlight, Yamaha took the R1 a step further with the up-spec “M” version, which wears semi-active, electronic Öhlins suspension (also informed by IMU data) and carbon bodywork. The $22,000 R1M does one other trick, too, one that catalyzes the entire 2015 R1 experience. A GPS unit mounted in the tail along with a Communication Control Unit (CCU) records all ride data (street or track) and allows the rider to download everything to a mobile device. This means all CCU data, from throttle input and brake pressure to lean angle and TC intervention, is viewable on a tablet. Making you feel like a better rider is one thing, but the R1 actually allows you to study your own riding in order to learn what you can do better next time.
That the 2015 YZF-R1 manages to set itself apart from, and above, a competitive class of motorcycles is notable, but the fact that it has a base price of $16,490 brings us back to expectations.