Officially Official: 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 Recall

12/29/2015 @ 8:17 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

2015-Yamaha-YZF-R1M-02

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.

Source: NHTSA

  • Don

    For what it’s worth, my 2013 KTM 1190 adventure was burning far too much oil from new, and when I expressed my disappointment at the offer to commit major surgery to a 2 month old engine, the dealer requested a new replacement engine from KTM Australia. None were available at the time, so KTM Oz stepped up and offered me a new bike. What’s more, it was a 2014 model with the fancy ABS. No cost to me (and for the record the new bike has done 10,000k with no issues whatsoever). So if I was a new R1 owner I would be less than impressed with this outcome. In Australia these bikes are no longer relatively cheap like they once were (A$26k, even more than my KTM), so an owner’s significant investment should be respected. Yamaha should be providing new bikes. My other road bike is a ZX10R. Not likely to trade it for a new R1 after this.

  • Terence Lam

    Please – inadequate gear strength on a couple of cogs does not call for an entire new bike. Your case was a one off due to unavailability of parts. Some people just feel so entitled….

  • Ordinarily, I’d agree with you. However, he has a very valid point. Having had the experiences I’ve had with various dealerships, the last thing I’d want is some service technician splitting the cases on my new R1. Before anyone gets bent out of shape, there are some good competent Yamaha service techs…but they certainly aren’t the norm. In the least, I’d like a new engine from Yamaha. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  • Terence Lam

    It is an absolute standard in the industry – faulty parts get replaced no matter how deep the issue may lie. I am a workshop foreman for an automobile dealership and the types of hotline fixes we deal with day to day involve replacing manufacture defects – they often exist in all manufacturers, in any number of vehicles (thus it is not a problem of any single manufacturer as many of the public/media would love to proclaim). In one example we open manual transmissions and replace shift hubs due to inadequate surface hardening leading to gear lock outs (inability to select 3rd/4th). If the customer feels unconfident with the dealership – then he or she is obliged to communicate this to the manufacture and approapriate action will be taken against the dealership. It is up to the dealership’s management to maintain a high level of competency amongst its staff – something I take much pride in. Getting new vehicles for every mundane defect will surely wring each manufacture dry of existence in our industry.

  • I appreciate your professionally worded response – it gives me hope that there ARE good techs out there. My father was a flat rate BMW/Porsche/VW mechanic back in the 70’s and 80’s. I wasn’t sure if we still had good techs based on experiences I’ve had.

    A few years ago, I had a new car that drank over 1 quart of oil per 500 miles. The manufacturer (eventually) took care of me, but it was after dozens of trips to the dealer to take measurements, report back to the mother ship, etc. They eventually REBUILT the engine (didn’t replace like I was hoping for). The car was in the shop for just under 30 days and when they returned it to me, there were oily hand prints all over the engine, smeared RTV on the intake manifold, and a coolant puddle under the car. Needless to say, I had very little confidence in their workmanship. This OEM took care of over the course of the next month, so I won’t fault them. Another trip to the same dealer for a new throw out bearing left me with a missing intercooler gasket and stripped threads on the turbo. Fool me twice, shame on me…

    I agree that replacing the bikes would be overkill. Still, given that moto transmissions are integrated into the engine and the cases need to be split, we’re talking about a very major service on a premium, nay, FLAGSHIP motorcycle. In the least, I’d like to see the engine replaced to minimize downtime and reduce the possibility of other issues. Send the engines back to Yamaha for rebuilding to leave it out of the dealer’s hands. Forget a safety critical failure – all Yamaha needs is one errant drip on a warrantied bike to lose that customer to BMW, Ducati, etc. for life.

  • Terence Lam

    I do indeed console with you on the bad experiences you have had with the repairs made to your vehicle. However if a manufacturer was to replace an entire engine/trans assembly when the issue could be easily rectified by replacing a single componnent within such assembly due to customer concern for lack of dealership/technician competency – it would set a precedent that all repairs must be carried in similar fashion. This is not solving the issue of technician incompetency but only serving as a band aid fix. It is in Yamahas best interest (and any other manufacturer for that matter) to have the staff that wear their polo’s be trained to a high level to maintain customer satisfaction. Rather than to have poorly trained techs replacing entire bikes/assemblies. It is common practice within our industry – even the most prestigious vehicles will have piston/oil rings replaced rather than have the entire engine replaced. This is the way the cookie crumbles my friend.