After we looked at the standard Yamaha YZF-R1 just over a month ago, we got the chance to look up-close to the upmarket, limited-edition derivative, the Yamaha YZF-R1M, which combines the same engine with a chassis featuring carbon-fiber bodywork and Öhlins semi-active suspension, also linked to the motorcycle's IMU nerve center. The Swedish firm's Electronic Racing Suspension is very similar to the system used by the Ducati 1299 Panigale, and is every bit as impressive, as well as easier to fine-tune via the Yamaha's simple but effective push-button display.
The benefit of a semi-active suspension system is that it allows the suspension to be firm when it's needed (typically the front under braking, the rear under acceleration) and compliant when it's not. This was well illustrated in the long, super-fast and pretty bumpy first turn, where you brake from high speed. The Yamaha YZF-R1M was firm on the brakes yet floated over the bumps noticeably better than the standard Yamaha YZF-R1. Öhlins say the system, which provides three automatic pre-sets as well as three for conventional electronic adjustment, makes roughly 40 significant suspension adjustments during a typical lap of a circuit. And it's easy to fine-tune, too. When I wanted a bit of extra compression damping, it took only a few seconds' pressing of buttons to dial in a bit more.
The Yamaha YZF-R1M also comes with a polished aluminum tank and swing-arm, a slightly fatter, 200-section rear tire (of the same RS10 as the regular version), and GPS-enabled data-logger. But before you get your hopes up, it is being produced in a strictly limited number and is already sold out in many markets despite being over 20 percent more expensive than the regular Yamaha YZF-R1. So be quick, the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1M will cost 1,199,000 THB.