This diagram gives an idea...
This diagram gives an idea of just how much 20mm of seat adjustment really means. Coupled with the adjustable handlebars, riders of all shapes and sizes should be able to find a comfortable position.
And that leads us to the heart of any motorcycle: the engine. For years now, the current crop of twin cylinder, low-horsepower engines has really been the only option available for new riders, and with most of today's supersports all being powered by inline four-cylinder engines, it's easy to associate engine configurations with presumed skillsets. The FZ6R debunks that myth. Yes, it's powered by what is essentially the same inline four that took the previous generation YZF-R6 (or what is currently the YZF-R6S) to multiple 600 Supersport championships, but Yamaha took great lengths to retune it. Throttle body size has been reduced to 32mm (from 36) compared to the FZ6. A new cylinder head with a narrowed intake port increases intake air flow speed, and revised valve timing coupled with reduced valve lift all make for a user-friendly engine with emphasis placed on low-end torque and drivability instead of peak horsepower lunacy.
Yeah, But Does It Work?
A steel frame cradles an engine...
A steel frame cradles an engine that was once a Supersport champion. Only now it’s softer and easier to harness than its racing descendent could ever be. Note also the underbelly exhaust, positioned for optimum weight centralization, and the 7-step, preload adjustable shock.
Though horsepower and torque figures weren't available to us, the butt dyno indeed confirmed that the FZ6R is in fact a gentle bike as we rode it through central California's scenic roads. Fuel injection was virtually seamless throughout the route, which included some slow-speed switchbacks—where part throttle applications are important. Keeping the engine in its sweet spot between 3,000 and 7,000 revolutions means quick, responsive propulsion, but much beyond that and it starts to lose steam. Rowing through the gears is also a snap as each component of the gearbox simply works without much fuss. From the clutch lever, which takes practically zero effort to pull, to the seamless operation of the shift lever from cog to cog, the FZ6R is just an easy bike to ride.
To accommodate a wide range...
To accommodate a wide range of riders the handlebars and seat are adjustable. Adjustment of the bars is as simple as removing the clamps, turning them 180-degrees and reinstalling. The eccentric location of the mounting bolt on the clamp provides 20mm of movement.
In fact, everything about the 6R is just easy. The moment you hop on board, the low seat height and compact rider triangle between the bars, seat and pegs instills confidence and makes for a bike that a new rider will think is anything but threatening. True, many of the other beginner bikes offer that too, but the difference here is that there's still enough performance to keep the bike interesting as a new rider's skillsets improve. When the road stops going straight, the leverage that the handlebars provide really help when turning the bike, especially since turn-in is a tad on the slow side, but that's only when the pace starts to get hot. Surprisingly, despite the budget suspension the 6R doesn't experience much of the "pogo" effect when cornering that is often a major concern with bottom-shelf components, though overall damping of the suspension leans on the soft side. The pin-slide calipers also don't provide earth-shattering stopping power, but they get the job done and feel at the lever is adequate. Then again, for right around seven grand there really isn't much to complain about.