Common Tread

Yamaha, send us this motorcycle

Sep 21, 2015

History and heritage, the use of eye-catching colors without garishness, a look that's classic but still works well with modern lines — what's not to like about Yamaha's "bumblebee" paint scheme?

The idea of dressing the advanced, new YZF-R1 in the yellow-and-black livery made famous by great racers such as Kenny Roberts on the tarmac and Bob Hannah on the dirt has been percolating for a while, now. Yamaha Europe has confirmed that a limited-edition 60th anniversary 2016 YZF-R1 will be available in the yellow-and-black paint scheme on that side of the Atlantic.

And now... what about us?

Yamaha R1 and YZR500
While the paint scheme is most often linked to Kenny Roberts and his YZR500 grand prix bike, Yamaha has also used the yellow and black on race bikes in other disciplines. A dirt-only rider could see a YZF-R1 and wonder why Yamaha built a Bob Hannah tribute sport bike. Yamaha photo.

Come on, Yamaha, give us a bumblebee R1 in the states! We promise to feed it and give it lots of exercise and take real good care of it.

Yamaha has been teasing us with this for a while, now. There were rumors. Then, at the final round of the MotoAmerica series at New Jersey Motorsports Park, the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha bikes ridden by new champ Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes got the yellow-and-black treatment for Sunday only. This weekend, two Yamaha teams sported the look at the Bol d'Or endurance race in France. 

I did my part to start lobbying for a street bike in the 60th anniversary design as soon as I saw them at NJMP by immediately tweeting this:

I'm sure Yamaha will send this bike stateside. They did the same thing with the R1 in 2006 for the company's 50th anniversary. How could they not do the same for the 60th?

2016 Yamaha YZF-R1
The limited-edition 60th anniversary YZF-R1 to be available in Europe. Yamaha photo.

But just in case there's any doubt, I'm asking nicely. Yamaha, send us this motorcycle.