The new 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 was one of my favorite bikes to come out of this bike launch season. Why anyone is excited about the Kawasaki H2 when this thing exists is beyond me.
But, but, but — supercharger?!
Yes, I know, the Kawi has a supercharger and no, I don't care. It doesn't make any more power than the Yamaha, it tacks on an extra 82 pounds (525 versus 443), and it doesn't have a tech package nearly as advanced as the Yamaha's. Plainly put, it's a classic battle of brains versus brawn, only we already know the winner and the battle hasn't even begun yet.
This isn't to say people won't buy the H2. We all know that plenty of riders have bikes they have no business being on and who "ride" because they like the fashion accessory more than the experience. That's OK. Those guys buy motorcycles and that's good for the rest of us.
Before I dive into full-on soap-box mode (there's plenty of time for that later, when we get to play with these beasts) let's get to the video. This shows a Yamaha test rider doing a lap at the Sugo Circuit in Japan. While testing like this (and videos of testing like this) are becoming par for the course, and therefore a little on the boring side unless you have a deposit paid on one of these, Yamaha's inclusion of the telemetrics from the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) makes this one quite interesting indeed.
While the acceleration and lean angle measurements were kind of cool, it was watching the traction control, wheelie control, and slide control buttons light up that really did it for me. Sidenote: this is no parade lap.
The guys I know who have had the chance to get some seat time already are calling the new 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 a BMW HP4 killer, which is pretty big talk given the HP4 is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, track tools on the planet. It's an understatement to say I'm excitedly looking forward to getting some time on the new R1 to come up with my own opinions on what I expect to be the new king of the hill.