Yamaha unveiled a few new models yesterday afternoon in Irvine, California, and told us to stand by, there may be another new street model yet to come later this year. We were kind of expecting the XSR700 that Yamaha teased back in July, so maybe that will be the missing model?
The YZF-R1S, in the lead photo, is one of the new models it did reveal. The R1 and R1M were so well-received, says Yamaha, that it wanted to extend the reach of those highly track-focussed machines to riders who are a bit less track focussed. Substituting less expensive metals in a bunch of places means the weight of the S model goes up a bit, but the price goes down: Instead of titanium con rods it get steel ones, instead of Ti headers it gets stainless steel ones, instead of magnesium wheels it gets aluminum ones, etc. – and winds up nine pounds heavier than the standard R1, says Yamaha. It does get the six-way IMU and all the electronic aids of the R1 except the quickshifter (QSS in Yamalingo), which is available as an option. (We’d have definitely gone for some higher clip-ons on our S version, but that would’ve required a whole new fairing, so the riding position remains the same.)
The steel rods don’t let the S engine rev quite as far as the Ti-rodded engine, but peak power is supposed to be very similar anyway. Those extra nine pounds save you $2k; the S model will sell for $14,990, and only the discriminating Yamaha spotter will know you cheaped out, since there’s no S on the bike to identify it – especially if you go for the Matt Gray version, a paint scheme it shares with the regular R1.
Other returning models include FZ6R, FJ-09, and SR400.
New V Star 950 Tourer and V Star 1300 Tourer models take those proven platforms and add quick-release windshields and backrests, which enable them to convert from cruiser to tourer in seconds. One key fits those accessories, along with the saddlebags and ignition.
Returning cruisers include the Vmax, Raider, Stryker (and Bullet Cowl), the V Star 1300 Deluxe bagger, Bolt C-Spec and V Stars 650 and 250.
The new WR450F is for aggressive off-road and enduro riders. Using the YZ450F titanium-valved Single, it adds an electric starter, a wide-ratio 5-speed gearbox, radiator fan, head and taillights, an enduro computer, sidestand, skidplate, etc.
Last year, Yamaha’s YZ250FX was such a resounding success (says Yamaha), it decided to give its 450 the same treatment. The new YZ450FX engine and KYB suspension are tuned for serious GNCC competition, adding all the WR components to the big 450 thumper except the lights and computer.
Unfortunately, what none of Yamaha’s off-road bikes come with is a license plate, a thing that’s a very big deal to many riders, and a feature we can’t help thinking sells a lot of KTM EXC500s and things. It’s all about the EPA, says a Yamaha spokesman, who claims he doesn’t have a clue how the Europeans do it: Yamaha’s big 450 passes the emissions tests no problem when new, but at the 10,000-mile recheck specified by the EPA, he says it’s a no-go every time.
He adds it’s a self-policing test. Everybody’s on the honor system. Kudos to Yamaha and the other Japanese factories for keeping things honorable, but we’d love to get our hands on a street-going WR450F. In the wake of Volkswagen, we wonder how the Euros do it, too?