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Yamaha and Honda go head-to-head with track bikes

Yamaha and Honda go head-to-head with track bikes
Yamaha has unveiled its track-focused R1 and R1M, the latter featured here. Both bikes include such track-tested options as lap timers and professional level suspension systems. (Yamaha)

Yamaha and Honda have released images and specs on new track-focused bikes that will pose problems for anyone trying to decide which is better.

The announcements come in conjunction with the annual Milan motorcycle show known as EICMA, and in advance of the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach.

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Yamaha, in a splashy Hollywood unveiling Monday, ripped the covers off its new R1 and R1M. The company says the race-ready street machines — dramatic new installments of the now-16-year-old R1 line — have been track-tested by its sponsored MotoGP champions Josh Hayes and Valentino Rossi, and are track-ready.

As Yamaha's Aaron Bast put it: "Our first priority was to make a great road bike. Now, that's changed."

The emphasis for both street-legal bikes is now on race performance — especially on the R1M. Both racers feature all-new aluminum frames and aluminum fuel tanks, and an all-new 998cc inline four-cylinder engine.

The R1 also features track-friendly features like 1-position traction control and a 4-setting throttle response. It will be in stores in February 2015 and retail for $16,490.

Both bikes also include track-tested electronics that will record and store lap times.

The R1M turns up the gas by including all the R1 features and adding many carbon-fiber elements, Ohlins electronic racing suspension, high-tech lap-time recordings and a feature that will send data to a tablet or mobile device so the rider can map performance, turn by turn.

The R1M will be in dealerships in February with an MSRP of $21,990.

Honda didn't have a Hollywood rollout, but its middle-of-the-night email blast — timed to coincide with its EICMA unveiling in Milan — showed that the company isn't willing to let Yamaha have all the track glory.

Honda celebrated the end of the MotoGP season by showing off images and specs for its 2015 CBR1000RR, its Repsol-liveried race machine designed to replicate the ones ridden by Honda-sponsored MotoGP champions Danny Pedrosa and Marc Marquez.

The track-ready machines even come with an option of No. 93 and No. 25 number-plate graphics, for people who want to pretend to be Marquez or Pedrosa.

The bikes feature a lightweight, all-aluminum chassis, Showa forks, slipper clutch, ABS and Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa rubber. The Repsol-liveried SP version comes stock with Brembo brakes and Ohlins suspension front and rear.

The CRR1000RR retails at $13,999. The CBR1000RRSP will cost $14,599. Both will be in dealerships in January, 2015.

Yamaha also used some Hollywood hullabaloo to trumpet the unwrapping of its new FJ-09, a lightweight, 850cc touring motorcycle based on its very successful FZ-09 — which the company identifies as its current top-selling unit.

The affordably priced ($10,490) motorcycle comes standard with center stand, adjustable windscreen, ABS, traction control and LED headlight. Options include heated grips, hard-sided saddlebags and trunk bag.

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Honda, meanwhile, used the EICMA platform to promote two new prototype machines — a "road-going" version of its MotoGP-winning RC213V-S and a "True Adventure" motorcycle, designed to expand on the company's historic Paris-Dakar off-road successes and address the growth in the "adventure" segment of motorcycle riding currently dominated by BMW and KTM.

No word on when the two prototypes will be realities, or what they'll cost.

Follow me on Twitter: @misterfleming

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