The Goods: FZ6-Derived
The powerplant mates to a 6-speed transmission, and a small mid-mounted 4-2-1 exhaust looks similar to the unit found on the R6. The engine acts as a stressed member, and is rigid mounted in a new steel frame. The front fork is a non-adjustable 41 mm SOQI unit, and the rear is a preload-adjustable SOQI. Brembo master cylinders grace the dual disc front and single disc rear brakes.
Compared to the FZ6, the FZ6R’s handlebar position is 12 mm rearward and 12 mm lower, while the seat is 4 mm forward and 2 mm lower; these changes shrink the rider triangle, making the bike feel smaller. The 30.9 inch tall seat can be moved up as much as 20 mm. Instrumentation features both analog and digital readouts.
Throw a Leg Over: Comfort is King
The Ride - Smooth Sailin'
The clutch engages and releases with light lever effort, and the six-speed gearbox’s shift action feels precise. Acceleration is smooth and linear, with a powerband that feels flat and predictable. There’s a touch of vibration at around 6,000 rpm, but that doesn’t get in the way of leisurely riding all the way up to the nearly 12,000 rpm redline. Rolling on the throttle at around 1/3 of maximum revs reveals a bit of jerky acceleration, but again that quality is not significant enough to deter potential buyers. While cruising at 60 mph the engine rpms measured about 5,000 rpm-- a bit high for long distance rides.
Since it’s aimed at newer riders, the FZ6R’s front brakes aren’t too grabby (which can make it easier to lock the front wheel), but a little more initial bite would have been welcome.
Acceleration gets strong when you rev high enough, and though the engine is tuned for improved low and midrange torque, its 600 cc displacement prevents it from pulling too strongly. Handling is relatively nimble and stability is excellent, though more aggressive riders will want to dial in preload in the rear for crisper response. Unfortunately, the front shocks are not adjustable.
The Bottom Line
It may not have the edge of Yamaha's ubiquitous R6, but that's exactly the point of the FZ6R: it's a kinder, gentler take on the sportbike for those who want sporty looks without the wrist strain or the extreme performance. Given those parameters, the FZ6R is a satisfying ride for beginners and more experienced riders alike.