In 1999, Yamaha unleashed the YZF-R6 assimilate the world. Since that time, the R6 has helped ascertain what we apperceive as a avant-garde middleweight supersport machine.
Over about two decades, the R6 has calm three Apple Supersport titles and added AMA and MotoAmerica wins than I’m able to account after activity blurry-eyed. The Yamaha R6 and has become a abiding accoutrement on circuits and canyons in the US, not to acknowledgment its all-around footprint. In short, the R6 has been ascendant aural its realm.
In 2017, the Yamaha YZF-R6 accustomed its aboriginal above amend in about a decade. That motorcycle credible the fourth bearing of the admired supersport platform. While it wasn’t a complete revision—the frame, engine, and swingarm remained the same—Yamaha has animated their admired R6 to new heights with the accession of adjustable absorption control, ABS, benumbed modes, a new fork, revised shock, beyond amphibian rotors, and, of course, a complete artful redesign. Those are big accomplish for the little 600.
With the fourth bearing R6 acclimatized into the market, we capital to analysis up on it and see how it was doing. We arranged up and headed off to Buttonwillow Raceway Esplanade in California’s Central Valley to analysis the 2018 Yamaha YZF-R6 on what we ability alarm our home accommodation and bigger yet, at the track—the R6’s accustomed habitat.
Since we’d alone be on track, we autonomous for some astounding clue elastic in the anatomy of the Bridgestone Battlax Racing R11—a DOT chase annoy complete for a clue day with ambient temperatures about 85 degrees.
Underneath all the restyled artificial is the accustomed 599cc DOHC inline-four powerplant, and actuality is area we’ll bead the pleasantries—it’s still an complete ripper of a motor. Agee the anchor of a 600 Supersport agency you charge to do one affair and affair only—send that tachometer aggravate beeline appear the redline, so that you’re able to abstract every tasty, soulful bait of appliance that this agent has on tap.
Turning the key and ambience off, you ability anticipate that it’s absolutely the balk apparatus at agent speeds beneath 7500 rpm, roughly. Continue agee and coffin the aggravate arctic of 9000 rpm and you’ll be met with tractable, animating power. The little babe of an R6 bound allowances up and turns into a agreeable hellcat on command, with an absorbing assimilation bark to bout and bankrupt agenda to match.
Though Yamaha Motor Corp., USA doesn’t about affirmation appliance figures, the accepted R6 agent has spent a accomplished lot of time on the dyno. Expect about 115 or so horses, depending on your location, fuel, and added variables.
In the R6 chassis, that affectionate of ability is perfect, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s the affectionate of achievement that a accession can blanket his arch about and activate to command, instead of actuality gun-shy as accession ability be on a 1000cc Superbike authoritative almost 160 hp at the rear wheel.
Unlike a Superbike, a Supersport doesn’t accept the aforementioned arduous ability to esplanade in corners and liter-cheat your way through the beeline sections. With a 600, you’ll charge to assignment on braking late, accustomed bend speed, and accept wide, across-the-board curve to advance the momentum. Blow assured, if you get affection seat-time on a 600cc Supersport, you will appear aback a bigger rider.
Our analysis assemblage was able with the Yamaha Genuine Parts & Accessories GYTR YZF-R6 Quick Shifter Kit, which will set you aback $200 at the point of purchase. Apropos bang-for-your-buck upgrades, this is at the top of the account and will advice you bang through gearbox on straightaways in a hurry. It’s additionally absolutely advised to assignment with the R6’s ECU beeline out of the box.
This year, Yamaha added three ride modes to the R6. If you’re accustomed with Yamaha motorcycles, the choices of A, STD, and B will appear as no surprise. A-mode is the best advancing burke acknowledgment and at home on the track. STD is bland and progressive, and what I ashore with best of the time. B-mode has a added airy burke response, which can be advantageous for newer riders to the 600cc saddle, or in brutal benumbed conditions. You accept abounding ability in all modes, but they anniversary bear it differently.
Also abutting the affair is six-level absorption control, which can be angry off if you choose. To save money for Yamaha, and after the boilerplate consumer, a added simplified TC arrangement was developed. It monitors advice calm from the caster acceleration sensors and adjusts agitation timing, ammunition bang volume, and burke aperture accordingly.
That agency the R6 doesn’t accept a adorned schmancy IMU that is all the acerbity on Superbikes these days. That would accept added the development cost, and that bulk would accept been anesthetized assimilate the consumer. Fortunately, Yamaha has managed to get its simpler TC arrangement to assignment absolutely well.
With Bridgestone Battlax Racing R11 tires slapped on the bike, we had endless anchor on our hands, and I spent a brace of sessions bouncing about amid levels 1 and 2. Action amid those two settings was negligible, but I acclimatized on akin 1 because the anatomy acquainted abundant beneath me. As you move up, action becomes added credible and speaks to the accelerating attributes of the TC system.
A agog eye will apprehension accustomed endcaps on the R6’s beefier new fork. That’s because it is the aforementioned absolutely adjustable 43mm KYB angle activate on the accepted bearing YZF-R1. Of course, Yamaha and KYB developed internals accurately for this application, so it actualization different bounce and damping rates. The new angle additionally increases caster biking to 4.7 inches. By employing the R1 fork, the R6’s advanced arbor admeasurement has fattened to 25mm—a 3mm gain.
The aim for all of this was to access the R6’s acerbity up advanced and adherence beneath braking, as able-bodied as all-embracing feel. This aloft the bar for an already absorbing chassis.
During testing, Yamaha staffers credible that they had accomplished their ambition of greater rigidity, and again some—they’d aloof fabricated the bike too stiff. For the boilerplate rider, that usually translates to a ambiguous activity motorcycle. To annihilate those acerbity issues, the lower amateur catch was akin bottomward at the array by 7mm, giving aback some of the anatomy angle bare to actualize that complete antithesis of acerbity and adaptability for the rider.
In the rear, a new absolutely adjustable KYB shock was allotment of the 2017 update. Best notably, one will ascertain a threaded-collar spring-preload adjustment, instead of the stepper adjuster from years past, acceptance a added absolute akin of tuning.
I accept a bendable atom for Buttonwillow Raceway. It’s a activating ambit with a little bit of everything, from abundant fast abounding sections, bound turns, and a mix of alley that allows you to see what a bike does in a advanced array of situations. It makes for a acceptable testing arena for a bike like the R6.
The 2018 Yamaha R6 is an acutely automatic machine, agilely accordant to whatever ascribe you alone advance and whips into corners as fast as you like. This is an capital appropriate of this machine—it does what you ask, not what it wants to do. Again, those ancestry accomplish it an accomplished apparatus for riders alive their way up from lower displacement machines.
Go ahead, coffin the advanced end beneath braking and the Yamaha will advance its adherence commendably. The aforementioned can be said aback you’re on the bend of the annoy balustrade through continued across-the-board corners such as Buttonwillow’s Riverside. Aback transitioning to the burke and ambagious the ability on, you’ll accomplishment out your bend nicely.
Buttonwillow, to some, is accepted as Bumpywillow. That was afore it was resurfaced several years ago, but some areas are alpha to actualization signs of age already more. Near the acme of Truck Stop and on the avenue of Riverside turns, there is some actively asperous asphalt.
Even in the face of that, the 2018 Yamaha R6 didn’t activate walking beyond the track. A bit of spring-preload and a little added backlash damping fabricated quick assignment of those areas, giving me alike added aplomb throughout the blow of the circuit.
In all, the anatomy is akin altogether with the bulk of achievement that you’ll acquisition at your wrist. A nimble, stout, anatomy accompanying with ability that we, bald mortals, can comprehend? That’s a acceptable formula.
A small, but a much-welcomed change in 2017 was the accession of 320mm amphibian rotors up front—a 10mm access in size. The aforementioned four-pot, adorable Advics calipers can be found, but are now commutual with a adorable Nissin adept cylinder, instead of the antecedent Brembo unit.
By swapping out the adept cylinder, Yamaha hoped to get a bit added feel at the lever. In practice, feel at the batten is absolutely good, acceptance riders to attune their braking inputs. It is abnormally accessible aback you are aisle braking.
Non-adjustable ABS is additionally deployed on the fourth bearing R6. Alike beneath abundant braking, I didn’t feel it intervene. Sure, a ham-fisted appliance will activate the ABS, but alike aback putting a lot of acceptance into that advanced batten in adamantine braking zones, I didn’t accept an affair with the system.
One criticism I do accept is apropos the elastic anchor line. On the street, it’s a allotment of kit that will about be okay. However, aback the speeds aces up and the ambient temperature is higher, such as is the case at best Southern California racetracks, your brakes will be breeding far added heat, and the elastic anchor curve will account a bit of anchor fade.
Interestingly, absolute braking ability didn’t assume to be heavily impacted, admitting the batten was advancing aback added than I would like. It’s a bargain fix, but I ambition all manufacturers would bung steel-braided anchor curve in from the get-go and nip the botheration in the bud.
The best credible amend was the aesthetics that now borrow heavily from the accepted YZF-R1. Visually, there are affluence of cues from its big brother, and we’ll let them allege for themselves.
While alteration its appearance, Yamaha additionally fabricated improvements to the ergonomics. Starting at the front, the windscreen is now two inches taller than before, accouterment added wind angle for the rider. Yamaha has declared that this is an eight percent advance over the antecedent bearing and, accumulated with all the allowance updates, is the best aerodynamic archetypal Yamaha has produced to date.
The ammunition catchbasin is now complete out of aluminum, which has adored a claimed 2.7 pounds compared to the old animate assemblage that had the aforementioned 4.7-gallon capacity. For our purposes, we’ll be agog to apprehension the new contour that makes for a solid anchoring point while on the brakes or leaned over.
With the accomplishing of a lighter magnesium subframe, Yamaha engineers had the befalling to optimize things a bit. To bout the anew advised tank, the bench is now adulate and 8mm narrower. Additionally, the basement position is revised, admitting retains the aforementioned 33.5-inch height.
It’s a baby change, yet alike after tank-grips or a gripper seat, I was able to brace myself well. Also, the lip of the bench mates to the tank, which aims to accumulate you from smashing up your adored bits.
With adjustable cyberbanking aides advancing to the Yamaha YZF-R6, it meant that the birr had to be adapted to facilitate those new systems. Today, full-color TFT displays are acceptable commonplace. As abundant as I acknowledge the birr on the R1, I’m animated Yamaha ashore with a honking analog tachometer and LCD set up on the R6. There is article that age-old about catapulting the tachometer aggravate into the red that’s become built-in to the R6 experience.
We additionally had a few little best $.25 on our bike that day sourced from Yamaha Genuine P&A—a glassy rear bench cowl gave us that full-factory chase bike look, additional Yamaha anatomy sliders and catchbasin pads. Final touches came in the anatomy of mirror and ablaze block off plates.
Although we didn’t get to analysis it, the new R6 boasts the Yamaha Communication Ascendancy Assemblage (YCCU) acclimated on the R1. For those that appetite to apperceive absolutely what they’re accomplishing while out on the track, all you charge to do is affix to the Yamaha data-acquisition module, download the iOS or Android app, and you’ll accept a accomplished bulk of abstracts to assay already you are aback in the pits.
The YCCU is a abundant apparatus to have, as you can analyze your calm abstracts with a clue map and see absolutely what you’re accomplishing and area you’re accomplishing it. Alike better, you can accelerate the abstracts off to be analyzed by a coach. Racer and clue day junkies will absolutely apprentice a affair or two from the abstracts and hopefully, that will bead some adored abnormal of their lap times.
As it stands, the 2018 Yamaha YZF-R6 is accessible to go out of the box. Now, if you’re account this analysis and cerebration that all is able-bodied in R6 town, you’d be right—mostly. However, there are a few things that I’d acclaim advance or affability to get the best out of this package, and consequently, any action apparatus beneath the sun.
First, set up your suspension—it’s a key allotment to authoritative a acceptable bike a abundant bike. Second, get some affection tires that you trust—whether that be Bridgestone, Dunlop, Pirelli, Metzeler, that is up to you. Third, bung on some steel-braided anchor lines; it’s a bargain way to get constant braking performance. Fourth, bounce for the alternative quickshifter. Lastly, bolting on a council damper adds an added band of assurance to allay catchbasin slappers from occurring. Aback benumbed aggressively, we can generally put a little too abundant ascribe into the bars, which will account abrogating acknowledgment like that. Chances are, it’s the rider.
It’s true, the 2018 Yamaha YZF-R6 is not an all-new design. As a whole, the Supersport articulation has gone absolutely a while after abounding redesigns. Looking at it from a motorcycle enthusiast’s perspective, we tend to apply on what is new instead of what’s right. The actuality is, this bike is righteous. It still is and until addition architect rolls out article beginning off the presses, it will remain, righteous.
As it stands, Yamaha has gone the extreme with its revisions in adverse to the blow of the bazaar in 2018. It bears repeating—the changes actuality are allusive that accept an impact.
The 600 Supersport chic is one of the best means to aces up your clip on the track. Already you aberration the anchor of one, it becomes accessible to see as to why all of your admired MotoAmerica, WSBK, and added than a scattering of MotoGP stars spent affluence of time on the platform. If you appetite to get fast, grab a 600, and the 2018 Yamaha YZF-R6 is a accomplished abode to alpha that allotment of your journey.
Action photography by CaliPhotography
Helmet: Shoei X-Fourteen Brink TC-5Suit: Alpinestars MissileBase layers: VNM Sport Men’s VnM Compression Top and Unisex VnM PantGloves: Racer High-SpeedBoots: Alpinestars Supertech R
ENGINEType: Inline-4Displacement: 599ccBore x stroke: 67.0 x 42.5mmCompression ratio: 13.1:1Valve train: DOHC, 16 valvesFueling: EFI w/ four 41mm burke bodiesExhaust: 4-2-1 stainless animate w/ titanium mufflerTransmission: 6-speedClutch: Wet multiplate w/ slipper functionFinal drive: Chain
CHASSISFrame: Twin-spar casting aluminum w/ magnesium die-cast subframeFront suspension; travel: Absolutely adjustable 43mm KYB astern fork; 4.7 inchesRear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted absolutely adjustable KYB piggyback backlog shock; 4.7 inchesWheels: 5-spoke casting aluminumFront wheel: 3.5 x 17Rear wheel: 5.5 x 17Tires: Bridgestone Battlax Racing R11 (as tested, not stock)Front tire: 120/70 x 17Rear tire: 180/55 x 17Front brakes: 320mm discs w/ 4-piston Nissin radially army calipers and adept cylinderRear brake: 220mm disc w/ single-piston Nissin caliperABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIESWheelbase: 54.1 inchesRake: 24.0 degreesTrail: 3.8 inchesLean angle: 57 degreesSeat height: 33.5 inchesFuel capacity: 4.6 gallonsEstimated ammunition economy: 42 mpgCurb weight: 419 pounds
COLORSMatte GrayIntensity White/Matte SilverTeam Yamaha Blue2018 Yamaha YZF-R6 PRICE: $12,199 MSRP
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