2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 and R1M Review Video

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

A breakdown of the new R1, in video form

Videos by Yamaha, Sean Matic

It’s an interesting time in sportbike land, as displacement limits have gone up, technologies are ever-improving, and in general, motorcycles are getting better and better. But one fact of life no manufacturer can escape is the looming Euro5 emission regulations. The toughest standards to date, Euro5 rules are said to be significantly more stringent than the Euro4 rules that preceded it. To meet the new standards, some OEMs have simply added displacement to engines to offset the increase in the number (or size) of catalyzers.

Yamaha didn’t have that option with the 2020 YZF-R1 and R1M. In order to remain legal for racing, the 998cc crossplane crankshaft four-cylinder was staying put. Instead of relying on a size increase to offset the pollution nannies, Yamaha chose to pass the sniff test by making combustion as clean and efficient as possible (and they also added more catalyzers, too).

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That’s where I find myself in this video, attending the launch of the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 and R1M at the iconic Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain, to see how the efficiency changes affect the new motorcycle. Of course, if you’ve already read my First Ride Review, then you know how impressed I am with the job Yamaha did making the R1 burn cleaner without taking away any of its charm. But if you’re the weird type that prefers to hear me talk about a motorcycle, this video is for you. There are a host of little changes, primarily to the cylinder head, that I note, but other tweaks throughout the bikes also get a mention. From there, the focus goes to the R1M and its updated Öhlins electronic suspension, carbon fiber bodywork, and sophisticated electronics package that includes GPS data-logging with information you can access from a phone or tablet.

It all really is next-level stuff. But next-level means nothing if the machine is boring to ride. Luckily, as you can see in the video, the new R1 and R1M are anything but boring.

Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at Motorcycle.com in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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  • Mad4TheCrest Mad4TheCrest on Oct 07, 2019

    Nice video review, Troy. I agree with you the extra $9k for the R1M over the standard model is a big ask. The M is sweet but probably should be a 21 or 22k bike not nearly 27.