Posted: 02 Nov 2012
Yamaha’s R6 has long been seen as the purest middleweight replica despite its many incarnations since its appearance in 1991. Even today, despite every other Japanese bike manufacturer producing more rider-friendly middleweight sports bikes, the R6 is still the rev-happy, screamer of the pack.
Not that a high rev ceiling is a bad thing. To ride and hear an R6 at full chat is one of the most intense motorcycle related events ever. Every bike licence holder should ride one for the experience alone – and also to prove that a true supersport bike isn’t the ideal machine for a lot of riders and they’d be better off with something a little more accommodating and practical.
However, an R6 is a glorious bike to behold if you like riding bikes that demand ten-tenths of rider input. That engine needs to be kept on the boil to get the best from it, especially in the twists and turns. Constant use of the gearbox is a must even though it has electronically controlled variable length inlet tracts to help prop up the midrange power delivery.
The alternative to making use of the R6’s race-like chassis is to carry corner speed, which isn’t a problem because the R6 was built with rapid steering in mind. At 189kg fully fuelled its very responsive to shifts in body position and steering input. Built with a short wheelbase and steep geometry there is only ever going to be one safe place to make use of what the R6 has to offer…
As a trackday tool today’s R6 is going to be at the front of the pack with the right person on board – it was designed purely to capture global supersport racing titles. With this in mind you expect the chassis and its ancillaries to be spot on – you’d be right.
In standard trim there is nothing to fault component-wise; the standard suspension and brake pad material is good enough to go club racing from day one and turn in respectable results – it even has a slipper clutch as standard.
Yes, the R6 is small and compact in the seating area. High pegs and clip-on handlebars go hand in hand with a tall seat and low screen. Not that this should put you off because apart from the wind blast, the R6 is actually quite comfortable over distance –assuming you’re of average height and build.
+ points – every centimetre the perfect race replica
- points – needs 100% rider commitment to get the best from it, not as rider-friendly as its rivals
Power: 122bhp, 48.5ft lbs
Kerb weight: 189kg
Seat height: 850mm
Colours: White, grey, blue
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