PRN Goes For a Ride on Yamaha’s New Screamer
When Yamaha first introduced the R6 in 1998 they introduced the public to a turn key 600cc race bike that was rideable on the streets. In 2009, we are glad to announce that aspect hasn’t changed. During its evolution, the mighty R6 has seen some incredible technological advancements, some that were big hits right away, and some that took a little time to smooth out, however the end result is astonishing.
The Power Plant
The engine in the R6 has to be one of the most high tech 600cc engines ever produced. Starting with the 16 titanium valves in the dual overhead cam cylinder head, then moving down through Yamaha’s ceramic composite plated “liner less” cylinder bores, and down to the lightweight tuned and balanced crankshaft. The features list for this engine reads like an engineering text book!
With all these trick components the R6 engine got to a point (2006-7) where it was no longer suited for the street, and was seen as a track only machine. This was mostly due to the fact that Yamaha had packed so much horsepower into the little engine that the resulting power wouldn’t even begin until over 10,000RPM. This made it quite unforgiving while touring around town as the transition from the under powered low and mid range to the rocket-ship like top end was quite abrupt.
It didn’t take long for Yamaha to realize that this attribute was not only hurting unit sales, but was hurting the on-track performance as well. In 2008 with a laundry list of changes, the new gen R6 once again emerged at the front of the pack with an insanely powerful, yet usable engine package that was refined ever further for ’09.
Utilizing the YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle) and YCC-I (Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake) with the proven EXUP system, Yamaha was able to take all the rider inputs and process them along with many other sensor inputs to produce the most amount of horsepower possible at any given time. What does this mean? Well, although the R6 still does not have the low-end grunt of some of its competitors, it has significantly increased without sacrificing that scream up to 16,000RPM that we love so much. And for that reason, Yamaha leads the class in engine performance.
The ’09 R6 features a light weight aluminum Deltabox frame, inspired by a Moto GP innovation called the ‘straight frame concept’. Basically this means the main frame rails are as close as possible to being in-line with the head pipe and swingarm pivot point. By positioning the frame in this manner the R6 has become even more precise with better rider feedback required for pushing the limits on the racetrack.
To compliment the chassis design, an aluminum ‘gull wing’ swingarm is used and the pivot points have been revised to reduce the squat tendencies under hard acceleration. Furthering the race ready package is the fully adjustable piggy-back shock and 41mm inverted forks.
Yamaha has continued the trend and has spared no expense in getting the R6 wooed up. Yamaha went with dual 310mm rotors up front with radial mounted 4-piston calipers. Giving the squeeze to these impressive brakes is a Brembo radial pump master cylinder with a 16mm piston. This package gives the rider incredible stopping power while the radial master allows the rider absolute control over braking modulation.
With all the good stuff up front Yamaha didn’t neglect the rear. A single light weight 220mm rotor with single piston caliper supplies the power out back.
With any ‘street’ bike, the overall pleasure of ownership doesn’t just come with numbers, it come with the feeling of quality, and Yamaha has plenty of that. Starting with the ultra modern bodywork that screams just as wicked as the engine – while just sitting there and continuing on with the dual ‘cat eye’ headlights, LED tail lights and separate rider and passenger seats allowing for a race cowl to be installed when going for those solo rides.
The R6 is also equipped with a very trick, compact analog and digital dash featuring an analog tach (reaching up to 19,000RPM!), digital Speedo, adjustable shift light and lap timer.
To ensure that warm and fuzzy feeling of being a Yamaha owner, the R6 is equipped with an immobilizer ignition that prevents ride away thefts. Using a coded key, the bike will not start unless it recognizes the code. If a thief attempts to ‘jimmy’ or break the ignition switch the ignition system and starter will not start.
What Yamaha has achieved with the development of the R6 is nothing short of incredible. The brilliant hybrid of track-bred technology with a smooth and solid street ride proves the R6 has reached the top of the pecking order in small bore super sports.