The 600cc Yamaha R6 has undoubtedly been one of the best and most focused middleweight supersport bikes in the world. It’s also been the more popular option for thosewho like to indulge in a lot of track days.The bike, however, hadn’t received any changes for almost a decade. But nowYamaha has just taken the wraps off the 2017 R6, and it does look interesting!
Visually, it is more in line with the latestR1 and it’s difficult to tell them apart, considering that this R6 too gets recessed LED headlights and indicators integrated into the mirrors. Closer inspection, however, reveals a slimmer motorcycle like those in the middleweight class, as well as slightly sharper lines.Yamaha claims an 8-percent increase in efficiency thanks to the new fairing. But even though it might look so, this R6 isn’t actually an all-new motorcycle.
The frame remains unchanged from the outgoing R6 right down to the steering geometry, but the new magnesium subframe is a bit slimmer and allows for a flatter seat, which in turn should affect rider ergonomics. Yamaha says that this new riding position has been designed for better feel both on racetracks as well as the road. The bike also gets a new aluminium fuel tank that’s about 1.2kg lighter than the previous steel unit. However, overall wet weight of the bike has now gone up by about 0.9kg.
The R6’s 599cc inline-four motor has remained unchanged in this update and should make the same amount of horsepower and torque. Yamaha has been adamant about not revealing those figures (even on the earlier bike), but a fair estimate is somewhere on the lines of 120-odd horsepower at the crankshaft. However this bike does feature a new switchable six-level traction control system along with Yamaha’s D Mode system that gives riders three selectable modes – Standard, A and B. That being said, this isn’t an IMU-based system like its big brother (and other latest litre-class sportbikes) and will likely rely only on wheel speed sensors. As an accessory, Yamaha is also set to offer an upshift only quickshifter with this new R6.
There are a couple of other critical mechanical differences which include new 43mm KYB forks (2mm fatter than the previous model's) as well as a 25mm front axle that’s supposed to offer stability and better feel under braking and cornering.
Yamaha has no plans to get the R6 to India anytime in the near future, as currently homologating sub-800cc in the country isdifficult unless the company assembles the bikes here. With its primary manufacturing base for the R6 in Japan (as is the case for most of the Japanese middleweight supersport bikes), setting up an assembly unit in India for the small volumes that it will actually sell doesn’t make economic sense. But we can always dream, can’t we?