'08 Yamaha YZF-R6
MSRP: $9599 ($9799 for Cadmium Yellow w/Flames)
Type: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, transverse-four, 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x stroke: 67 x 42.5mm
Compression ratio: 13.1:1
Induction: Mikuni EFI with YCC-T, YCC-I, 41mm throttle bodies, 2 injectors/cyl.
Front suspension: 41mm Showa inverted fork, 4.7 in. travel; adjustments for spring preload, rebound damping, high- and low-speed compression damping
Rear suspension: Single Soqi shock absorber, 5.1 in. travel; adjustments for spring preload, rebound damping, high- and low-speed compression damping
Front wheel: 3.50 x 17 in., cast aluminum alloy
Rear wheel: 5.50 x 17 in., cast aluminum alloy
Front tire: Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier PTM, 120/70ZR-17
Rear tire: Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier PTM, 180/55ZR-17
Rake/trail: 24 deg./3.8 in. (97mm)
Wheelbase: 54.3 in. (1380mm)
Seat height: 33.5 in. (850mm)
Fuel capacity: 4.6 gal. (17.4L)
Weight: 428 lb. (194kg) wet; 420 lb. (191kg) dry
Instruments: Analog tachometer, LCD display panel for digital speedometer, coolant temp, clock, odometer/dual tripmeter, lap time; warning lights for oil pressure, neutral, high beam, EFI malfunction, turn signals, shift point
Roll-ons: 60-80 mph: 4.00 sec.; 80-100 mph: 4.51 sec.
Quarter-mile: 10.75 sec. @ 132.3 mph
Top speed: 159.9 mph
Fuel consumption: 28-39 mpg, 35 mpg avg.
Wondering why the R6 doesn't have ape-hangers and a sissy bar
After riding the Hayabusa and ZX-14 for most of the past month, it was quite a shock to jump on the R6. It's so tiny and calls to be ridden in an entirely different way from the big bikes, even just around town. As I found out at the R6's intro, it's a seriously fun track toy. On the street the extra midrange power is a definite improvement over the last model and something last year's R6 was in dire need of. My gut feeling at this point is that the Yamaha has the advantage at the track over the CBR600RR, our last year's middleweight comparison test winner, and the R6 would be at the top of my list for a track-day bike or to race.
That incredible track performance still comes at the expense of streetability-even with the increased midrange power-but I could easily see myself putting up with that if it meant experiencing the R6 on the track every once in a while. It's that good, and that much fun.
Wondering where all the hot air is coming from
I must admit that I was a little skeptical when Trevitt came back after riding the R6 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca talking about its improved midrange power. I found it difficult to believe that Yamaha could instill any midrange in such a screaming, top-end-oriented engine. But the first few miles convinced me that the '08 version finally does have the missing link necessary to compete with the Honda. That said, the stiffer spring rates in the suspension do feel firmer than the figures indicate; you really have to push the new R6 before the suspension really feels comfortable, and that may be off-putting for some riders. But that's one of the compromises that comes with having a bike tailor-made for the racetrack.
Of course we still need to wait for the new GSX-R600 to make its debut. But rest assured this year's 600 comparo is going to be one serious dogfight on the racetrack.