Yamaha YZF-R1 and Yamaha YZF-R1 M to be Dropped

The Yamaha YZF-R1 and Yamaha YZF-R1 M will be dropped from production.

Its pending demise was confirmed in the Yamaha UK official website:

“Yamaha Motor Group, have taken the decision not to develop an EU5+ version of the R1 or R1M instead focussing on other mid-term business and product strategies that will provide future opportunities.”

It means Yamaha follows Suzuki’s decision to axe their own 1,000cc GSX-R1000R sportbike. While shocking, it is not completely surprising as manufacturers shift toward producing more accessible and affordable motorcycles. Yamaha themselves have done so when they debuted the YZF-R7 based on the MT-07 and are launching the YZF-R9 based on the MT-09.

There are several factors that we can think of:

  • Developing an engine to meet the ultra-tough Euro 5+ emission standard will require huge resources for what may be diminishing returns. Yamaha may continue sell their existing Euro 5 compliant R1 and R1-M until 2025, though.
  • The R1 has had a great run since its inception in 1998, being the Yamaha superbike that broke the Honda CBR900’s dominance. However, it did not enjoy the sales volume as other superbikes such as the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R/ZX-10RR, BMW S 1000 RR (being a BMW), and Ducati Panigale in recent years.

  • The majority of riders have shifted to the more accessible and versatile sport-touring, dual-sport, adventure motorcycles. These bikes can go anywhere, carry the rider and passenger in comfort, move luggage, and can be mounted with all sorts of accessories.

  • The current and upcoming crop of superbikes are getting to a stage where riders need superhuman abilities to unlock their full potential. They are not only more powerful and faster, but have handling abilities well beyond the skills of at least 80% of motorcycle riders out there.
  • Road conditions the world over are not getting much better and the majority will never match the condition of dedicated race tracks. Trying to ride a sportbike on public roads as if they were racetracks will only prove disastrous.
  • And of course, the price. ‘Nuff said.

However, who knows if it returns as the Euro 6 compliant Yamaha YZF-R1 and Yamaha YZF-R1 M later in the decade.

Wahid's lust for motorcycles was spurred on by his late-Dad's love for his Lambretta on which he courted, married his mother, and took baby Wahid riding on it. He has since worked in the motorcycle and automotive industry for many years, before taking up riding courses and testing many, many motorcycles since becoming a motojournalist. Wahid likes to see things differently. What can you say about a guy who sees a road safety message in AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."

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