Updates Arrive for the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1

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Did you feel that? Updates have landed for the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 and 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1M motorcycles, with Yamaha debuting the bikes this weekend at the Laguna Seca round for the WorldSBK Championship.

As our bothan spies already reported, the updates are subtle ones, mostly geared towards refining the R1 to keep in touch with its competitors, and to provide the race team with the necessary changes they need under the homologation rules.

This makes the 2020 update very much an evolution, not revolution, for the Yamaha YZF-R1. As such, we see changes coming to the bike’s cylinder head, airbox, and bodywork, along with updates to the software and suspension.

The big change for the new R1 comes in the revised crossplane four-cylinder engine, which now features finger-follower rocker arms, new camshaft profiles, new fuel injectors, and a new cylinder head.

The engine is managed by a new ride-by-wire control, which completely eliminates the need for throttle cables, and thus saves weight. Yamaha says that this system creates a better throttle feel as well. The electronics also see a sizable upgrade, with a new engine braking control system coming as part of the package.

The cornering ABS package can be adjusted now as well. Yamaha says that R1 riders can now select a “BC1” setting for better upright, straight-line braking, or a “BC2” setting for improved braking into corners, where intervention timing increases with a deeper lean angles.

Both the YZF-R1 and YZR-R1M see new suspension components also, with the R1 getting KYB forks with a new internal shim stack design. Meanwhile, the R1M gets new Öhlins ERS front forks, which have an integrated gas cylinder. Lastly, both the R1 and R1M see their rear shock optimized with new stock settings.

Visually, there are changes as well. The bodywork on the new Yamaha YZF-R1 has been optimized, and is now 5% slipperier. This means subtle changes to the bikes’ overall shape, which is most noticeable in the face of the machine, with the headlights. For the R1M, a carbon fiber tail cowl has been added to the package as well.

There are new brake pads in the front calipers, and you will also find Bridgestone RS11 tires fitted as stock, which have a updated tread pattern design.

Overall, the changes made to the R1 and R1M are designed to keep the superbike competitive against the liter-bike offerings from the other manufacturers, while also providing racing teams the homologation changes need to help them stay at the pointy end of the race track.

Expect to see the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 lineup in dealers starting September 2019, with pricing set at $17,399 (R1) and $26,099 (R1M). As before, the Yamaha YZF-R1M will be available through online reservation only.

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1:

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1M:

Source: Yamaha USA

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.