The litre class Superbikes have always been designed to go best on racetracks. Their aerodynamic bodywork, aggressive riding dynamics, engine power and suspension setup – everything has been developed to extract the maximum performance out of them. In essence, they are the most performance-oriented production motorcycles on the planet.
For this reason, alone, riders who are regular on track, highly experienced with setup and performance changes for track riding, often end up upgrading their Superbikes with better suspension, tyres and few other performance modifications to improve their motorcycle’s track performance. If you want the best out of your sportbike, changes required do not really come cheap. It requires investment and deep understanding of how stuff works. Also, you need time.
But not everyone is knowledgeable enough about modifications and perhaps, not everyone would want to invest in aftermarket parts as there’s a risk of messing things up.
In comes the race-spec or the higher-spec versions of Superbikes that are made specifically to extract that extra ounce of performance and these motorcycles come right out of the factory floor. For some years now, motorcycle manufacturers have been offering these “upgraded” versions of base Superbikes as production motorcycles. These are usually not limited production motorcycles. And of course, these come at a premium. But they do prevent the effort required to turn your sportbike into a better weapon on the track using aftermarket parts.
Today, we have one of the best race-spec versions of one of the best Superbikes available on the market. We are talking about the YZF-R1 and the YZF-R1M (the one intended to make you feel like Rossi more than ever).
When the current generation YZF-R1 was launched, it was considered closest to a MotoGP race bike, especially the YZR-M1 out of which it is derived from. Then Yamaha also launched the M version of the R1 called the YZF-R1M which is even closer to the M1. Manufacturers are literally going crazy with technology now.
Now, the R1 is equipped with various cutting edge technologies like Front Lift control, Launch control, Slide control, cornering or lean-sensitive Traction control and Unified ABS. There’s also the Inertia Measurement Unit (IMU) which gathers information regarding motorcycle’s lean, front dive, front and rear lift and every possible force that the motorcycle goes through while in motion and then helps all the other electronics to work and intervene as precisely as possible. Front and rear suspensions are fully adjustable and it’s from KYB.
The R1M goes even further and gets Ohlins Electronic Racing Suspension which, like other electronics, works with IMU and electronically adapts itself according to the surface. Then there’s the Communication Control Unit (CCU) which has data logging functions and records information like lap times, the position of the throttle, speed, GPS tracking and lean angle. When downloading or changing all this data, CCU can also be used to communicate with Yamaha Ride Control system. Lastly, it also gets carbon fibre bodywork for overall reduced weight.
The engine is unchanged and so is the power and torque. However, with several other improvements over the standard R1, the R1M performs better and with a wider 200mm rear tyre (R1 gets 190mm), the motorcycle can be leaned even more.
All these hardware and software systems work in harmony to provide the best possible performance out of the motorcycle. For example, the Slide Control system allows the rear tyre to slide just enough so that the rider can go through a corner as quickly as possible. If you see MotoGP, then you’d notice, especially slow motions, all riders are literally drifting through corners. This is racing technology at its best.
These motorcycles don’t come cheap and the R1M retails at around 35 Lakhs in Delhi. This is far from gettable for many people out there. However, one can always try his or her luck on OLX and who knows, you might get a great second-hand deal.
We would also like to thank Mr. Sandesh Sandy for allowing us to experience this absolutely amazing Superbike up close.