2018 Yamaha YZF-R1/M/S

Yamaha’s tower of power

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1M
2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCRS

Like a good political scandal, the fight for literbike supremacy never ages. One might argue that Brough started it with the 1924 Superior SS 100, or that Vincent did with the 1948 Black Shadow. Regardless, today’s superbike wars are light-years more potent. Yamaha’s entry is the YZF-R1, and there are three flavors from which to choose this year. First is the standard-issue R1, which packs a crossplane-crankshaft 998cc DOHC inline-four engine with titanium con-rods, magnesium outer covers and wheels, and a mean arsenal of electronics, including a six-axis inertial measurement unit that processes boatloads of gyro and accelerometer data, which an ECU then utilizes to help the rider manage power and braking forces.

Yamaha touts the top-flight YZF-R1M as “the closest thing ever to the Yamaha factory racing M1.” Carrying an MSRP 38 percent higher than the standard R1, the R1M adds Öhlins electronic racing suspension and polished aluminum and carbon-fiber components. Cognizant that many riders want the command that superbikes offer but don’t have quite the bread, Yamaha additionally offers the YZF-R1S at an MSRP 10 percent below that of the R1 and minus goodies like the magnesium wheels.

Likes: Mind-warping power and handling; Hogwarts-level electronic wizardry

Dislikes: Uncomfortable in traffic; a MotoGP YZR-M1 graphics option, please!

Verdict: Race-bred and ready to prove it

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1/M/S Specs and Pricing

MSRP $22,999

2018 Yamaha YZF-R1/M/S Reviews and Comparisons