The Bottom Line
- Addictively raucous exhaust note
- Crisp handling, even crisper throttle response
- Track-ready focus in a sub-$10,000 package
- Fierce ergonomics can get tiresome on the wrists and neck
- Maximizing performance requires lots of revs, and more low-end grunt would be handy around town
- Tall-ish seat for some riders
- MSRP: $9,599 ($9,799 for flame graphics)
- 599cc, DOHC 16-valve, liquid-cooled titanium-valved inline-4
- Transmission: 6-speed with multiplate slipper clutch
- Front suspension: 41mm inverted fork; 4-way adjustable, 4.7 inch travel
- Rear suspension: Single shock; 4-way adjustable, 4.7 inch travel
- Brakes: Dual 310mm floating disc radial-mount 4-piston front calipers, 220mm disc, single-piston rear caliper
- Fuel capacity: 4.6 gallons
- Dry weight: 366 lbs
- Seat height: 33.5 inches
Guide Review - 2008 Yamaha R6 Review
Yamaha's R6 might not get as much attention as the top dog R1 model, but it's inherited the R1's variable length intake tract system, as well as some serious upgrades for 2008. The R6 was already the first bike to feature a throttle-by-wire system, and the '08 bike also gets an all-new frame, more aerodynamic bodywork, and lots of revisions to the titanium-valved, 599cc inline-4.
Reworked ergonomics move the rider and bars forward and slightly lower, which you'll feel the moment you climb aboard and reach for the grips; the posture is extreme, the seat thin, and the view from the cockpit puts a big tachometer in your face, right where it belongs. The engine cranks to life with a snarl, and the nearly instantaneous throttle response sends the tach shooting up dramatically- though with 16,500 rpm to play with, it takes quite a bit of pavement to reach redline. The R6 feels like everything you'd expect a hardcore sportbike to feel like: it's powerful, quick to turn, and its brakes stops on a dime with great lever feel.
Canyon carving reveals decent low-end power, but an incredible amount of thrust at higher rpms- if you've got the gumption to go there. Screaming along at around 8,000 rpm is where power really picks up, and the exhaust note becomes especially sweet; its tasty snarl puts many premium sportbikes to shame. The six-speed shifts with light effort, and the slipper clutch works well enough— though I did manage to lockup the rear tire during one aggressive downshift.
With its committed riding position and track-ready performance, the Yamaha R6 is rather overqualified for road use—and a bit uncomfortable for daily use. But if you crave speed and don't want to spend more than ten grand, the $9,599 R6 is one heck of a performance bargain.