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Yamaha XJ6 Naked Motorbike Review

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Yamaha XJ6 - mini stretfighter looks
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MCN overall verdict rating is 5

This is the naked version of the half-faired Yamaha XJ6 Diversion. Aside from the lack of fairing, it is exactly the same spec, but somehow it has transformed the Yamaha from sensible budget middleweight to exciting mini streetfighter. With its ‘baby Yamaha FZ-1’ looks and sit-up-and-beg riding position this is a very cheap way to get your rocks off. On top of all the fun it’ll dish out, it’s also easy to get on with, comfy and well-built too. Watch the Yamaha XJ6 video road test.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

This is a retuned version of the engine you’ll find in the current Yamaha FZ6, which in turn is an old-school Yamaha R6 lump. It gets a new cylinder head, softer-performance camshafts, reshaped inlet ports, new forged pistons and a one-piece crankcase and cylinder block. The motor breathes through a new fuel-injection system with smaller diameter (down 32mm from 36mm) throttle bodies and a neat underslung exhaust, featuring a three-way catalytic converter. A new clutch and gearshift design make changing gear smoother and easier than the Yamaha FZ6. All this fettling is designed to make the Yamaha XJ6 flexible and friendly to ride. Claimed power and torque is less than the FZ6 (by 20bhp and 2ftlb), but usefully delivered much lower down the rev-range (2000rpm and 1500rpm).
There’s less need to stir the six-speed gearbox to keep up with traffic than the FZ6, making town riding nice and easy. At very low speeds the throttle response is snatchy when getting on and off the gas, but as speeds increase and the engine is spinning more it’s less of a problem. Overall the motor is very smooth, friendly and has lots of power (77bhp) if you’re prepared to rev it; enough for decent wheelies.
Despite the fettling to make the engine gruntier, you can still feel its supersports DNA and it never really relaxes, it’s always busy, buzzing and you often find yourself searching for another gear when you’re already in sixth. It’s not as bad as the Yamaha FZ6’s motor and you soon get used to it, but more grunt and less revs would make the Yamaha XJ6 even better. As it is, the engine is still impressive and the new, smoother-action clutch and gearbox help the job along.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Yamaha XJ6 has a new tubular steel diamond type chassis, using the engine as a stressed member, to save weight and add strength.  Bodywork and steel box-section steel swingarm is new and the forks are down 2mm in diameter compared with the Yamaha FZ6 to 41mm.

With its low seat and narrow fuel tank, the Yamaha XJ6 is very easy to get on and ride, short or tall, on your own or with a pillion. On the move there’s zero vibration felt from the engine and around town the XJ6 is agile and easy to navigate through traffic. The steering lock is pretty handy too.   
 

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

It’s not overloaded with toys, but for the price, the Yamaha XJ6 comes with a decent level of equipment. There’s a multi-function LCD dash and preload adjustment for the rear shock. Handlebars are adjustable back and forward by 20mm and Yamaha offer an ABS version for an extra £300. Accessories from the official Yamaha catalogue include crash bobbins, a centre stand, a backrest, panniers and top box, an engine guard, tank pad, tank bag and rack. Compare and buy products for the Yamaha XJ6 in the MCN Shop.

Yamaha XJ6 (2009-current)

Detail Value
New price £6,099
Dealer used prices
£3,770 (2009) - £5,290 (2014)
Private used prices
£2,920 (2009) - £4,760 (2014)
  View full used price info
Engine size 600 cc
Power 77 bhp
Top speed 135 mph
Insurance group 12 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 4 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

For a budget machine, the Yamaha XJ6 is well-designed, well thought-out and well-built. The paint finish is excellent and it’s solidly screwed together, although there’s a huge gap between the back of the engine and the rear shock, which you could fit a lunchbox in, which is a bit odd. Costing just £4500, it’s a lot of bike for the money and right in the budget middleweight ballpark.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Yamaha XJ6 is a superb machine, comfy, practical and lots of fun too. It’s a lot of funky middleweight fun for little money. Find a Yamaha XJ6 for sale

Insurance

Insurance group: 12 of 17

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Model History

2009 – Yamaha XJ6 launched.

Other Versions

Yamaha XJ6 Diversion (half-faired)

2011: XJ6 ABS model [£6399]

Specifications

Top speed 135 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 77 bhp
Max torque 44 ft-lb
Weight 205 kg
Seat height 785 mm
Fuel capacity 17.3 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 12 of 17
Engine size 600 cc
Engine specification In-Line Four
Frame Steel tubular diamond-type
Front suspension adjustment none
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes 2 x 298mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 17 in
Rear tyre size 160/60 17 in

See all Yamaha XJ6 motorcycles for sale

Yamaha
XJ6

9408 miles

£2,900

Yamaha
XJ6

5700 miles

£3,200

Yamaha
XJ6

1 miles

£4,999

Yamaha
XJ6

10600 miles

£3,850

Yamaha
XJ6

miles

£5,599

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(23 reviews)

  • Superb!

    KingWasp

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    What a truly awesome bike. I would recomend it to anyone stepping up to this class of bike. I've had my XJ6 since late September '09 and have clocked up 2000 miles since. It's my first 'big' bike. I chose the XJ6 over the Hornet, the ER6,the Gladius and even looked at the GSR. I rode all the others and chose the XJ6. The others are good bikes too but the XJ's a great bike. Great looks, smooth and very willing engine and quality (at the price I paid) are just outstanding.It doesn't look like a cheap bike to most people. It's also just got loads of character compared to the others. There are too many great points about this bike to mention here. I'm glad it doesn't have a center stand as I don't want the extra weight.The gearbox gets better after about 1500 miles. The weird sound mentioned by another reviewer is the air traveling through the front mudguard and can easily be sorted. During the week I'm a commuter and then at the weekend it's a swift 60\70 miles through Berks, Surrey and Sussex. Loves the twisty stuff but has enough to boot along at(ahem) 70/77 on the motorways. There is a lot of choice in this sector. Buy this bike you will not be disappointed!

    17 January 2010

  • Yuck

    SteveC72

    Average rating rating is 2

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    Engine

    I've been using one as a courtesy bike whilst having work done on my other bikes (GSXR 600 and Bandit 1200). It's horrible. It's like riding a sponge cake, all wobbly and squidgy. Looks like a turnip as well. What's with the weird noise created by air flowing over the mutant headlight.

    25 September 2009

  • Love It!

    BassGod

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    I've had my XJ6 since the 1st August and I don't have a bad thing to say about it's performance. It is my first "big" bike so I can only compare to my old YBR 125 and the ER-5 I passed my test on. I'm really pleased and feel I made the right decision. My bike's just had it's 600 mile service so I can now make more use of the power it has to offer. The only things I'd change, if possible, would be the inclusion of a gear position indicator; a centre stand as on the Diversion and, at a push, I'd change the 'golf club' like mirrors for some sleeker Rizoma's. If you've done your home work and are thinking of buying one - DO IT! 0% finance, you can't go wrong!

    07 September 2009

  • Blown away

    gpnutta

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Engine

    I was planning to pass my Bike test and was ploughing through all the different bikes i could ride when i'd passed. the 2 that stood out were the Honda Hornet & the Yamaha XJ6 (Naked of course). I bought the Yamaha because it was the better looking of the 2 & the dealer made me a great offer & knocked almost £500 off it!!! ive only done a few miles on the bike but it's surpassed all my expectations it gets off the line very sharpish, takes almost no time whatsoever to get upto 90mph (not gone faster than that on it yet) it's incredibly predictable and gives me the confidence to really relax, safe that it wont surprise me in any way. it's visually stunning, wherever i go people look at me (it helps because it's a 59 plate and there's not many around during the first few days of sept. but i think mainly because it has 'presence' people are amazed by the apparent lack of exhaust which they then go looking for! all in all im VERY glad i got this bike, it's a joy to ridemoves like a scalded cat and the engine is so quiet you'd hardly notice it's running. if you are thinking about getting this bike, stop thinking.... just go get one.

    05 September 2009

  • XJ6 Naked fun

    ash23osy

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Engine

    I've just returned to biking after a 12 year break and decided to go for a 2009 XJ6N after doing a bit of research. I know bikes have moved on a bit from then but I have been seriously impressed with my £4500 investment. It's just had its 600 mile service and I'm only now starting to push further to see what it can do - the ride is comfy and very smooth with great handling and decent brakes and a featherlight clutch. The engine is a peach happily revving right up to the redline (not that I do this much!) and with plenty of usable low-end torque. My only gripes are the somewhat clonky gearbox (which is improving I think)and the slow speed 'shunting' of the fuel injection as you roll on and off the gas - you get used to this though. All in all a fantastic package for the money and ticks all the boxes for someone like me. Oh,and I think it looks fantastic in all black. Brilliant!

    21 July 2009

  • great naked fun

    JTceltic

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    I was never a fan of the 'transformer' styling trend that has been the feature of Jap bikes in the last couple of years and was planning to keep well clear. A test ride on this bike changed my mind. Not only does it actually look pretty badass in the flesh (you can tell yamaha spent a lot of money on the styling here), it rides like a dream. The engine revs so incerdibly smoothly throughout the range, the power is enough to put a smile on your face, and the handling is spot on - this bike is perfectly balanced. For me it gives the perfect balance of weekend fun and commuter practicality - a willing, if revvy, engine when you need it but up to 70 mpg on my commute if ridden conservatively (I'm a bit stingy when it comes to commuting). All in all, a fantastic bike for the money, topping the class of the budget 600s.

    03 July 2009

  • XJ6 Naked

    mario63

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Just got my New XJ6 Naked,and what a bike. its comfy to ride, good suspension, super-smooth gear box, great clocksand a style to die for. The only bad comment if you wanted to call bad is the engine is a bit revvy, and you have to push it hard to get it going, but oh boy if have the guts to do it it will put a big smille in you face. Very happy owner, and i can tell you its better then Susuki Gladius (female bike) and better then the Kawasaki ER-6N.

    29 June 2009

  • Glenn's XJ6 Review

    GFRobertson

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Engine

    Just returned to biking after a 25-year absence. After reading and watching the MCN road test in Australia, I thought I would take the plunge on the XJ6. I have had the bake three days and already put 400 miles on the clock. The handling and balance are superb, although I agree the gearbox is very clunky. The bike has very good low down torque, although the engine is very busy, and feels like it needs a seventh gear, overall though superb.

    01 June 2009

  • Little Hooligan

    markinnormy

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Engine

    Just over a 1100 miles in and I am loving this bike. This user friendly all rounder is actually a bit of a hooligan. Yes the engine is revvy, but it suits the nature of the bike. Gearbox is slick and positive. Levels of grip from the Sportmax tyres are excellent, makes it very easy for kneedown fun. Looks lovely in the flesh and the quality of finish far higher than the price tag would suggest. Did 180 mile trip recently without any discomfort. Would like a little more wind protection for the longer trips(come on Yamaha, give us a flyscreen) Other than that, its perfect.

    30 May 2009

  • XJ6

    bagwafu

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Had mine for 3 weeks now but not been able to ride it much due to work committments - however when I get the chance I love it - very responsive engine with a nice amount of low down torque - couple this with extemely responsive and forgiving handling it is a perfect vehicle for someone like me coming back to biking who can only just remember past times screaming around on 2 stroke twins in the late 80's - Yamahas of course :-) The comment about the clunky gearbox is valid, although I'm hoping that once the bike gets through the 600 mile service and loosens up a bit this very minor issue will sort itself out. I am 6'2" and have no problems with the seat height or ride position. Buy one - you wont be disappointed and bring on the sunny weather !!

    16 May 2009

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