All the conjecture can finally be put aside, as Yamaha has finally pulled back the curtain on its rumored third variant of the current YZF-R1 – we simply know it as the 2016 Yamaha YZF-R1S.
As was rumored, the Yamaha YZF-R1S sits below what we used to call the “base model” R1, offering an even more affordable option for riders who couldn’t quite afford the current R1’s hefty $16,490 price tag.
Yamaha made no qualms about saying that the current YZF-R1 was a track bike first, a street bike second. Now replacing some of the more exotic parts on the R1, the R1S keeps much of the R1’s track-oriented DNA, but offers it in a more paltry $14,990 price tag, on a bike that is directed at more price-conscious street riders.
The end result is a machine that loses many of its magnesium parts for aluminum ones (oil pan, engine covers, wheels), as well as its titanium ones for steel ones (connecting rods and exhaust headers), which cause the YZF-R1S to gain 9 lbs over the YZF-R1.
Furthering the watering-down trend, the Yamaha R1S loses some power too, thanks in part to the steel con-rods, as well as a revised valve design.
These changes mean that the four-cylinder crossplane engine has a lower redline (Yamaha won’t say by how much), which obvisouly makes less power as well (again, Yamaha won’t say by how much). The chart below is our only insight into the power differences between the R1 and R1S.
The last change to make the metamorphosis from track bike to street bike comes via the tires, as Yamaha has shod the YZF-R1S with Bridgestone S20 rubber, instead of the track-focused Bridgestone Battlax RS10 tire, which is a DOT race tire.
The proof will be in the pudding as to whether the R1S is resting on the laurels of its higher-spec siblings, or if this budget-friendly model retains much of the character that has made the YZF-R1 such a hot seller during the 2015 model year.
It will be especially interesting to see how the model does at the dealers, though we expect overall it will mean good things for Yamaha and the company’s bottom line.
Considering that the suspension, chassis, and electronics package are all intact (sans the quickshifter, which is now an optional item on the R1S), we think it’s a good bet that the Yamaha YZF-R1S isn’t too blunted, and should be a formidable option for enthusiasts. Time will tell of course.
Street riders might notice the loss of the magnesium wheels, and the reduction in top-end power, but those items have a large diminishing return when you’re not on the race track, and could be worth the $1,500 price difference.
Of course, track riders will want that extra edge, and the price increase the $16,490 is easily worth the benefit for those items while on the race course.
Available in February 2016, along with the rest of the R1 line, the 2016 Yamaha YZF-R1S comes in two colors: the matte grey it shares with the R1, and the exclusive “Intensity White/Raven/Rapid Red” color scheme, shown on the top photos and immediately below.