Yamaha's R1 1,000cc-class sportbike has been our favorite literbike since it received a massive overhaul for the 2015 model year. But that doesn't mean Yamaha is resting on its laurels, instead revising the R1 and R1M with just a few minor tweaks that will bring about big improvements for 2018.

The superbike field has become incredibly competitive, with most every company releasing big platform updates in the past few years. We saw a new Kawasaki ZX-10R last year and new Honda CBR1000RR and Suzuki GSX-R1000 this year, and the Yamaha bested all of them in both our 2016 and 2017 Superbike Shootouts.

Yamaha R1
2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha

The 2018 Yamaha R1 and R1M now have clutchless auto-blip downshifts in addition to the quickshift system already included for upshifts, and the R1M also gets Öhlins Electronic Racing Suspension (ERS), which uses data from the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) to adjust the fork and shock settings and can be fine-tuned through the YRC Setting smartphone or tablet app.

Yamaha has also updated the bikes’ LIF lift control system for better control under acceleration.

This is going to sound like a really obnoxious complaint—and, to be honest, it comes in part from being a spoiled motorcycle journalist—but the lack of an auto-blip downshift on the bike really was a negative for us during testing. Partly because it’s more noticeable when riding the R1 back to back with other bikes that have it, but also partly because the rest of the bike is so polished that it feels like it should get it.

Either way, I admit I was only partially joking when I thought to myself, “What do you mean I have to downshift the bike myself?”—because that’s a thing modern sportbikes can do. And because there is both added proficiency and an internal joy that comes from dropping down through gears via a well-devised auto-blip system as the exhaust spurts out sounds of glory.

Yamaha R1M
2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha

The R1 and R1M will be on dealer floors come March for $16,699 and $22,999, respectively. We’re excited to test out Yamaha’s new systems on both the R1 and R1M. Stay tuned for more.

Don't forget to check out the rest of our coverage of all the new motorcycles released at EICMA this year!

Yamaha R1
2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
Yamaha R1
2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1Courtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha
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2018 Yamaha YZF-R1MCourtesy of Yamaha