We have known that Yamaha USA is recalling all of the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 superbikes it sold this year, for quite some time, and hopefully today we can end our coverage of that situation, as NHTSA has finally published the recall for the R1 on its website.
As expected, the recall touches roughly 3,000 units (2,921 to be precise), and will involve Yamaha dealers dropping the four-cylinder engine from the motorcycle, and replacing the entire gearbox – a roughly 16-hour job for the service technician.
The recall affects all 2015 YZF-R1, YFZ-R1C, YZF-R1MF, and YZF-R1MFC models, which were made between August 1, 2014 and June 1, 2015. This recall of course does not affect any 2016 models, which will have the issue address while still at the factory.
In its filings with NHTSA, Yamaha USA says it found out about the issue on November 13th, 2015 – after learning about the defect from the Yamaha Motor Corporation in Japan. Symptoms of the faulty gearbox include increased miss-shifts, difficulty shifting, and abnormal noises from the transmission.
The documents do not state how many cases were found in the wild though, nor how Yamaha Motor Corporation initially discovered the defect in the gearbox.
Regardless, the recall centers around the second-gear wheel and pinions, which might break under extremely high stress and/or improper shifting. This is due to inadequate component strength and stress concentration at the bottom land for the gear teeth.
The third and fourth-gear wheels may also be deformed or break, again as a result of hard usage, and again due to inadequate component strength.
If any of these parts should break, it would lock the rear tire of the motorcycle and cause a dangerous situation for the rider – hence the need for the recall, which began already on December 3rd, 2015.
Concerned 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M owners can contact Yamaha Motor USA about this issue at 1-800-962-7926. Yamaha’s number for this recall is 99100. As always, the NHTSA is also available at 1-888-327-4236 and safercar.gov.