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Yamaha showcases 2020 R1 and R1M
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Yamaha showcases 2020 R1 and R1M

The new superbikes from Yamaha feature updated engine internals, suspension and electronics

Aatish Mishra

Yamaha took the covers off the 2020 versions of their litre-class superbikes, the Yamaha R1 and the more hardcore R1M at the Laguna Seca round of the FIM World Superbike championship last week. The MY2020 R1 is not an all-new motorcycle, but features updates to the engine, fairing and electronics to keep it up to date with the ever-evolving competition in the form of the Honda Fireblade, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, Aprilia RSV4 RF and the Ducati Panigale V4.

The big changes are to the internals of the engine. The R1 runs the same 998cc crossplane crank engine, but gets new finger-follower rocker arms, fuel injectors, cam profiles and an entirely new cylinder head. The R1 also gets a new generation ride-by-wire throttle, with what they call Accelerator Position Sensor Grip (APSG) which supposedly increases throttle feel. There’s a new exhaust system with four catalysers too. These changes allow the R1 to make its full 197bhp at 13,500rpm and still meet the latest Euro 5 emission regulations. The electronics that handle braking duties have been given an upgrade as well. Riders can now select two ABS modes on the R1 – BC1, that improves how the effectively the R1 brakes in a straight line and BC2 that changes how the ABS intervenes depending on lean angles.

Suspension components have been upgraded. The R1 gets updated Kayaba forks, with a better damping, a new steering damper and new settings for the rear shocks. The visual changes to the R1 obviously have an aerodynamic benefit. The motorcycle now gets a taller central cowl and a tweaked side fairing that allows for a 5.3 per cent increase in aero efficiency. The rigidity of the fairing has been improved too, courtesy an aluminium air duct behind the front section and titanium panels covering the exhaust.

The 2019 Yamaha R1 is on sale in India and costs Rs 20.4 lakh (ex-showroom). Expect the 2020 version to cost a little more when it is launched in India, after the international deliveries start in September.