Get the gears turning, because the rumor mill is starting to churn away on speculation for the next generation Yamaha YZF-R1.
This particular rumor looks towards the 2021 model year, when the Euro5 regulations for motorcycles take effect. Of course to that, we say “well of course there is.”
We will get to all that in a minute, but first, the buzz from Europe on what we can expect to see from Yamaha in two years’ time.
The rumors suggest that we will see a new inline-four engine, again with a crossplane crank, on the new Yamaha YZF-R1. The rumor mill then pulls from what reads like a “greatest hits album” from motorcycle industry feature list buzzwords.
Variable valve timing is quoted to be on the cards, as well as a counter-rotating crankshaft. A seamless gearbox is also said to be in the mix, straight from the MotoGP paddock, though it will be interesting to see how Iwata has adapted this tech to production-level use.
More power is expected to be on tap, and the YZF-R1’s peak power figure is likely to cross beyond the 200hp threshold, as has become the fashion in the superbike space. The question though: will Yamaha follow brands like Ducati and Aprilia in using an engine size beyond 1,000cc?
Electronics are also said to get upgraded, though to what new level this will be is a bit of a conundrum, as the R1 already has a robust electronics suite, and misses no critical features.
Aerodynamic aids and winglets are assumed to debut as well, which rounds out the superbike list of “must have” items.
All of this sounds reasonable and plausible of course, as the current generation of Yamaha YZF-R1 has been unchanged since the 2015 model year, and the bike is due for an update.
That update is most likely going to come when the Euro5 regulations come into effect, which makes the news of this rumor one of the more obvious pieces of gossip in the motorcycle industry.
As long as Yamaha remains committed to making superbikes, a new R1 is surely in the pipe, and if that is the case, it makes sense that Yamaha is building it with Euro5 in mind.
We know when Euro5 comes into effect, and we know what features a superbike needs right now in order to be competitive in the marketplace….everything else is just connecting the dots.
The real question will be, who else in the superbike space will have a new bike out in 2021…and which of those will be the new King of Superbikes? That remains to be seen.