What's new
Let's Talk Discussion forum

General discussion forum, covering subjects as diverse as politics, religion, TV, sport, Jobs, Pastimes and much more.

2021 Yamaha YZF-R1M MC Commute Review

FeedBot

Member
Yamaha was the first Japanese sportbike to go head to head against its European rivals in the realm of high-end carbon fiber-clad limited-edition superbikes with its original YZF-R1M. Fast-forward to today and the Tuning Fork brand continues to offer something special with its 2021 YZF-R1M ($26,099).

Yamaha’s 2021 YZF-R1M ($26,099) continues to be pure excellence. We love the function and versatility of its Öhlins semi-active suspension.

Yamaha’s 2021 YZF-R1M ($26,099) continues to be pure excellence. We love the function and versatility of its Öhlins semi-active suspension. (Jeff Allen/)
Editor’s note: We test rode last year’s YZF-R1M during the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1M Review MC Commute. Peruse the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 And YZF-R1M First Look article for added technical details on this model. Also read the 2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 MC Commute Review to learn more about the previous version and base-model R1.

It’s no secret Yamaha went in a racy direction with its current YZF-R1. The seat is tall, the clip-on-style bars low, and the rider’s rearsets are tucked up high. But with the addition of the R1M’s Öhlins semi-active suspension it becomes a surprisingly versatile literbike. With a few swipes of a button, the R1 goes from mild (pleasingly cushy for a sportbike) to wild (firm damping with loads of feel). However, it does have a cost, tacking on another $8,700.

Draped in full carbon fiber bodywork (including the tail section), Yamaha’s YZF-R1M looks like a bespoke piece of hardware for cruising around the street—or setting fast lap times at the circuit.

Draped in full carbon fiber bodywork (including the tail section), Yamaha’s YZF-R1M looks like a bespoke piece of hardware for cruising around the street—or setting fast lap times at the circuit. (Jeff Allen/)
For that extra cash you also get full carbon fiber bodywork (including tailsection) and Yamaha’s GPS-powered telemetry system that sits atop the passenger tail cowl. Yamaha also includes a traditional passenger seat. Because the telemetry system is 6 years old, the user interface is a tad clunky when used on an iOS-enabled smartphone (the Y-TRAC and YRC Setting apps are Android compatible too). Another gripe is you have to physically remove the rear cowl (with a T30 Torx head) to access the unit’s Wi-Fi password.

The YZF-R1M stands out with its polished aluminum swingarm versus the standard model’s painted piece.

The YZF-R1M stands out with its polished aluminum swingarm versus the standard model’s painted piece. (Jeff Allen/)
But hold the throttle wide open for a few moments and these gripes fade away and are replaced with a euphoric burst of adrenaline. The R1′s 998cc CP4 inline-four is a thing of mechanical beauty. It delivers huge power, to the tune of 165 hp at the business end of the 200-series Bridgestone Battlax RS11 rubber.

The ‘21 YZF-R1M employs Öhlins latest and greatest semi-active electronic suspension with a gas-charged fork. The suspension offers versatile performance with a few pushes of a button.

The ‘21 YZF-R1M employs Öhlins latest and greatest semi-active electronic suspension with a gas-charged fork. The suspension offers versatile performance with a few pushes of a button. (Jeff Allen/)
Even better is the engine’s sound, delivering a unique guttural roar that sounds like no other motorcycle made…aside from Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1 MotoGP prototype. An electric up-and-down quickshifter makes for immediate gear exchanges between each of the six transmission cogs.

The 998cc CP4 engine offers a growling exhaust note that sounds unlike any other inline-four engine.

The 998cc CP4 engine offers a growling exhaust note that sounds unlike any other inline-four engine. (Jeff Allen/)
A tour de force in the electronics department, this YZF comes with all the bells and whistles. But our favorite feature is the enhanced throttle response courtesy of Yamaha’s tweaked ride-by-wire throttle. This boosts the usability of Power Mode 1 (the highest power setting), even in a casual street setting as compared to the original R1M.

The Tuning Fork brand pairs exclusivity with performance, and function with its ‘’21 YZF-R1M superbike.

The Tuning Fork brand pairs exclusivity with performance, and function with its ‘’21 YZF-R1M superbike. (Jeff Allen/)
Adjustable engine-brake control is another pleasing upgrade. However the electronics perform so well that the added momentum in EBM 2 or 3 during corner entry can tax the stopping capability of the triple-disc hydraulic brakes at an elevated track pace. This creates dreaded front brake fade. Thankfully this condition can be mitigated by selecting the standard engine-brake setting (EBM 1).

Introduced for the 2015 model year, the YZF-R1M is the pinnacle of Yamaha’s production sportbike technology.

Introduced for the 2015 model year, the YZF-R1M is the pinnacle of Yamaha’s production sportbike technology. (Jeff Allen/)
Aside from the occasionally fade-prone front brakes, clunky telemetry UI, and the now-too-small iPhone 5-sized color dash display (it was awesome in 2015!) there’s still a lot to love about the ’21 YZF-R1M. It accelerates like a bat out of hell with a polished character and charisma typical of European superbikes. And with the addition of the R1M’s fantastic Öhlins semi-active suspension, the R1 becomes a more friendly streetbike versus the base model.

Gear Box

Helmet: Shoei RF-SR

Jacket: Alpinestars Oscar Charlie

Gloves: Alpinestars T-SP W Drystar

Pant: Alpinestars Copper V2

Boot: Alpinestars CR-X Drystar

Yamaha’s YZF-R1M is a hoot to ride, especially at the racetrack where its advanced rider aids and 165 hp I4 engine make for the ultimate play date.

Yamaha’s YZF-R1M is a hoot to ride, especially at the racetrack where its advanced rider aids and 165 hp I4 engine make for the ultimate play date. (Jeff Allen/)
2021 Yamaha YZF-R1M Technical Specifications and Price

PRICE$26,099
ENGINE998cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-4; 16-valve
BORE x STROKE79.0 x 50.9mm
COMPRESSION RATIO13.0:1
FUEL DELIVERYFuel injection w/ YCC-T and Y-CCI
CLUTCHWet multiplate assist/slipper clutch; cable actuation
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE6-speed/chain
FRAMETwin-spar aluminum
FRONT SUSPENSION43mm Öhlins NPX inverted fork, fully adjustable; 4.7-in.travel
REAR SUSPENSIONÖhlins gas-charged shock, fully adjustable; 4.7-in.travel
FRONT BRAKERadial-mount 4-piston calipers, 320mm discs w/ ABS
REAR BRAKE1-piston floating caliper, 220mm disc w/ ABS
WHEELS, FRONT/REARDie-cast magnesium; 17 x 3.5 in. / 17 x 6.0 in.
TIRES, FRONT/REARBridgestone Battlax RS11; 120/70-17 / 200/55-17
RAKE/TRAIL24.0°/4.0 in.
WHEELBASE55.3 in.
SEAT HEIGHT33.9 in.
FUEL CAPACITY4.5 gal.
CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT450 lb.
WARRANTY1 year
AVAILABLEApril 2021
CONTACTyamahamotorsports.com/motorcycle
 
Top