2018 Yamaha R1M review: first thoughts

How does the new R1M compare to its predecessor?

2018 Yamaha R1M review: first thoughts

YAMAHA has updated its revered R1M for 2018, adding a host of MotoGP-derived tech. 

Jon Pearson has been riding the new model at Portimao this week.

Here are his first thoughts, straight after riding:

‘Gone are the days when a manufacturer’s flagship bike was a sportsbike. The world has diversified to make practical road bikes king where once race-replica ruled. But there’s a place in the world still for litre sportsbikes and seemingly the more sophisticated, special and genuinely ‘race-replica’ that bike can be the more attractive it is to some who want that ultimate track bike.

‘Launched in 2015, Yamaha’s R1M is that bike. An expensive track bike but a very sophisticated one which looked and made you feel special. For 2018 that classy-looking bike is even more sophisticated and boasts genuine MotoGP hand-me-down electronics package.

‘Changes for 2018 are not immediately obvious: a bigger brain basically with the “next generation smart control unit” – the Smart EC 2 ERS. According to Ohlins it is the most advanced fitted on any production motorcycle and while we’ve heard ‘MotoGP developed’ or ‘race-bred technology’ so many times before it is fair to say this really is true.

‘The 2018 model has an improved quick shift system (QSS) also which adds a downshifter using what racers commonly call a blipper system. Simply that means you can ride without using the clutch and (within reason) change down when you want into a corner and the system will deal with it.

‘Yamaha has improved the model’s lift control (LIF), which is not to be confused with an anti-wheelie system. The bike will still wheelie under acceleration but LIF controls it more.

‘Credit must also go to the Bridgestone tyres. We tested the R1M on the Bridgestone V02 slick which is a remarkable tyre for grip feel and consistency on track.’

Now read the full review.