Liter bikes are awesome and all, but if you’re not a big guy with good skills, they’re going to be hell to handle. If you like bikes with sporty performance while being a whole lot easier to tame, there’s a good chance the Yamaha YZF-R6 will be a better fit.
That’s right, the most dominant 600cc sport bike is back with an all-new 2017 model. And, yes, it’s still every bit the beast that took home the MotoAmerica Championships two years in a row, albeit with performance refinements that make the whole thing even better.
The Yamaha YZF-R6 is powered by a 599cc liquid-cooled four-cylinder engine that boasts 16 titanium valves and lightweight forged pistons for smooth, high-revving power. That powerplant is mated to a close-ratio six-speed transmission that delivers seamless power in a compact size, with a racing-derived slipper clutch and a midship titanium muffler. Aesthetically, it gets new cross-layered fairings that look even more aggressive than previous generations, along with all-LED lighting out front, a new aluminum fuel tank, and an R1-style tail section.
The bike retains its legendary handling, which now comes reinforced with an updated suspension and even better cornering stability, along with a new suit of electronic riding aids like a D-Mode engine response, multi-mode traction control system, and a quick shifter. Other features include improved aerodynamics (8 percent less drag), larger 320mm disc brakes, R1-derived KYB suspension, and an all-new rear subframe cut in magnesium.
Slated for availability next year, pricing for the Yamaha YZF-R6 starts at $12,199.