2016 Yamaha and Star Anniversary Lineup

Text: Alfonse Palaima • Photography: Brian Nelson, Tom Nelson

In October of last year, Yamaha Motor Company unveiled more of its 2016 
offerings at the Marconi Automotive 
Museum in Tustin, CA. Having already 
released a few models months prior—60th anniversary edition dirt bikes, the YZ250F, and YZ450F—it was high time to get the news out about the on-road lineup.

New models decked out in bright yellow limited-edition paint schemes take center stage, while several all-new machines with attractive price tags turn heads, too. Many models return for 2016 with 2015 prices, like the Star models VMAX, Raider, Stryker, and Bolt, to name a few.

Model Refinements and Upgrades

The V Star 950 and V Star 1300 models return with their associated Touring editions, which include key-matched lockable luggage, a quick release windscreen, and backrest packages all for the same 2015 price. That’s a double upgrade!

In the adventure department, the Super Ténéré is back in black, for both the electronic suspension and non-ES models, and there’s also a 60th anniversary paint scheme only available on the standard model. The special paint commands a $ 500 premium over the stock machine, bringing the MSRP to $ 15,590.

The FJ-09, FZ6R, SR400, YZF-R6, and YZF-R1 variations all return, with only updates to the color schemes, including the special 60th anniversary paint on the R6 (available since October 2015) and the R1 (February 2016).

But a few new colors and odds and ends wasn’t what all the fuss was about—Yamaha had one more model under wraps. The company knows very well, from market research of current owners, that even the most sporting only ride their machines on the track 8 percent of the time, meaning they ride on the open street 92 percent of the time. This opens the door for a more economical mount in the lineup. Something not quite as fast or light as the YZF-R1 or as ethereal as the R1M, but not too skimpy on specs, either. Enter the R1S.

The R1S: A Hybrid Bike for Sport and Street

Bringing the joy of riding a top-shelf sportbike down from the stratosphere to the street, the R1S is more of the bike and less of the price.

Basically, it has the same cross-plane power plant, titanium muffler, KYB suspension, and chassis as the R1, along with most of the GP-derived electronics. This includes the six-axis IMU, slide control, traction control, wheelie control, launch control, ABS, and UBS. It’s almost easier to pinpoint the differences between the R1 and the R1S instead.

Titanium rods are replaced with steel ones, the valve springs lose their internal cup, all the magnesium covers are now aluminum, and more importantly, it’s lighter where it matters most—the price. The exhaust header has been changed from titanium to stainless steel, and the wheels are now five-spoke aluminum jobs instead of that “spendy” magnesium.

The tires change as well, from ultra-sticky to something a little more long lasting. The quick shifter is also gone but can be found in the parts catalog as an accessory.

So is it a dial-downed R1? No, not at all. Even with the minor lowering of peak rpm, the bike still has essentially the same power and torque as the R1—should be a ripper—especially at $ 14,990. 

The WR450F: A Road Legal Enduro 

In addition to the R1S and the 2016 street bike lineup, Yamaha strides off-piste as well. With the introduction of the company’s aggressive YZ450F (outselling the competition four to one) earlier in the year, they unveil a less aggressive, road legal enduro modeled after the new YZ, the WR450F.

The new WR is based on the recently introduced 2016 YZ450F engine, with the same internal parts, head, fork, titanium valves, cam timing, compression ratio, 44mm throttle body, and some special enhancements like a five-speed wide ratio transmission, electric starter, larger radiator with standard cooling fan, off-road spec clutch, and mechanical baffle muffler with spark arrestor for making it green sticker legal in California. Toss on an enduro computer, a skid plate, a sidestand, head and tail lights, and an MSRP of just $ 8,990, the WR is destined to sell very well. 

Marking a banner year for Yamaha and Star, the 2016 lineup is sure to please any buyer—with a model for everyone.