Yamaha-R1S-07 Yamaha has finally released first images of the third version of the current YZF-R1, designated the 2016 Yamaha YZF-R1S. The R1S is positioned just below the standard R1, introduced last year as a current year variant.

Yamaha made no qualms about saying that the current YZF-R1 was a track bike first, a street bike second. Now replacing some of the more exotic parts on the R1, the R1S keeps much of the R1’s track-oriented DNA, but offers it with a price that is US$2,000 less than the standard R1, on a bike that is directed at more price-conscious street riders.

The end result is a machine that loses many of its magnesium parts for aluminum ones – oil pan, engine covers, wheels, and the titanium ones for steel ones such as the connecting rods and exhaust headers, which cause the YZF-R1S to gain 4.5kg over the YZF-R1. Also, the Yamaha R1S loses some power too, thanks in part to the steel con-rods, as well as a revised valve design.

These changes mean that the four-cylinder cross-plane engine has a lower redline, which obviously makes less power as well. The last change to make the metamorphosis from track bike to street bike comes via the tires, as Yamaha has shod the YZF-R1S with Bridgestone S20 rubber, instead of the track-focused Bridgestone Battlax RS10 tyre, which is a DOT slick-type race tyre.

For the superbike class, Yamaha is facing stiff competition for 2016, particularly with Kawasaki set to launch an update to its popular Ninja ZX-10R soon, and with Suzuki planning to revamp its GSX-R1000 by middle of 2016. Other features missing from the R1S as compared to the R1 are the magnesium wheels and the reduction in top-end power, but these are items that have no bearing for riders not taking their bikes to the race track.

To be available from February 2016, along with the rest of the R1 line, the 2016 Yamaha YZF-R1S comes in two colors: the matte grey it shares with the R1, and the exclusive “Intensity White/Raven/Rapid Red” color scheme.

Yamaha-R1S   Yamaha-R1S_3   2016_YZF-R1S_2   2016_YZF-R1S_3   2016_YZF-R1SYamaha-R1S instrument cluster

Text and images: Philip Chong