Yamaha R1 may not return to India

The company might choose to continue selling the R1 as a track-only model.

By Dinshaw Magol, Autocar India calendar 25 Feb 2024 Views icon4441 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Yamaha R1 may not return to India

The modern 1000cc superbike class is set to lose one of its original, founding  members as Yamaha most likely will not update the R1 lineup to meet the stricter Euro5+ emission norms coming into effect from 2025.

Why will the Yamaha R1 be discontinued?

The Euro5+ regulations which bring more longterm control over emissions over the life of a vehicle will come into effect for all motorcycles currently on sale from 2025. Reports from overseas which quote a company spokesperson suggest that Yamaha is unlikely to update the R1 range to meet the incoming norms. This means that selling an R1 for road use (in countries that follow the Euro regulations) will no longer be permissible once the deadline has passed.

There is a silver lining, however, in that Yamaha might choose to continue selling the R1 as a track-only model, much like it does with the R6 Race. While Yamaha has expressed interest in bringing limited units of some of its middleweight bikes to India in the coming months, this almost certainly means that the R1 and R1M won’t be returning to India, at least not in any official capacity. 

The superbike class has steadily been declining in recent years as people gravitate more towards adventure bikes, supernakeds, neo retro models and scramblers and away from these blazingly quick but extremely focused and not very usable rocketships. 

Yamaha is not the first manufacturer to go down this route and Suzuki has already discontinued its flagship superbike – the GSX-1000R – in most international markets. Suzuki doesn’t even sell the GSX-R as a track-only bike, which is something Yamaha will hopefully do so that it can continue racing in multiple championships worldwide. 

Yamaha YZF-R1: A brief history

The Yamaha R1 first broke cover in 1998 and was almost unanimously the superbike to have if you wanted the best of the best in those days. And of course, who can forget the 2009 big bang R1 with the unique crossplane crankshaft and that burbly grumble of an exhaust note (mimicking a V4’s noise). 

2015 was when the YZF-R1 entered its latest generation, with electronic aids galore for the first time and MotoGP-derived styling. The final update to Iwata’s finest superbike came in 2020 when the bike was updated to meet the Euro 5 emission standards while being updated with subtle styling and electronic updates. Three generations of the R1 were sold in India from 2009 up until the advent of the BS6 norms in 2020, which is when sales ended and even the limited edition, up-spec R1M found a handful of takers. 

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