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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) - £5,300 (2014)
Private used prices
£2,920 (2009) - £4,770 (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

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£2,900

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£3,995

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8629 miles

£4,199

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£3,999

Yamaha
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2996 miles

£3,499

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(23 reviews)

  • Cannot beat it .

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I bought my bike new , September 2009 . It was my first big bike ( also own a Street Triple now ) and whether a new rider or not this bike offers good fun , great looks , reasonable fuel economy and fantastic reliability . Mine has now covered 33,000 miles with the only fault being the need for the brake switch at the lever to be replaced twice . Cheap manufacturing to blame according to dealer and Suzuki's can also suffer . The fact i use it all year round with all sorts of road grime hitting the bike i will happily to forgive the bike for the dicky switches as the rest of it is so reliable . . How many BMW owners do you think are doing over 30,000 with the only fault being £7 brake switch . I even get 10,000 miles plus from a set of Bridgestone and Avon tyres . My mates have sports bikes , (R1 , Gsxr ) and they have both ridden XJ6 and rate them highly, ok they do not have the power of R1 , GSXR or even my Street Triple but they rate the easy ridding position , good handling and revvy engine . I was thinking about replacing the XJ for another commuter bike, but looking around I kept comming back to a XJ . As mine is so reliable and the new bike mechanically the same there was no point giving mine up . Therefore we are about to head into another winter's riding together . So , thumbs up for the XJ6 . Highly recommended .

    29 September 2013

  • Don't need a sportsbike to have fun!

    thrash6

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Before I bought my xj6, i test rode a fairly new frantic R6 and soon realised a modern sports bike wasn't for me. Traded in my trusty Thundercat which i loved the perfomance of on country blasts. It took me a few weeks to adjust to a naked bike again but still find i can have a hoot on fast flowing country roads. The power is more progressive(smoother) than the cat but its the bikes nimble handling that stopped me asking for my old bike back. I have to plan my overtakes more carefully because it has 20 bhp less than my previous ride. Like the styling, comfort and equipment. Dislike the engine braking and wind-blast on longer journey's. Also notchy gear-change in town. Still good fun & great value! (owned for 3 mths)

    12 August 2013

  • 3 years long term review

    JTceltic

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I've been riding my XJ6N for 3 years and 6700 miles now so here's a long term review. Firstly, it's worth mentioning I've never had even the slightest hiccup - reliability has been top notch. Secondly, what a great handling bike, this really does handle well and inspires confidence in doing so - tiny chicken strips on my tyres! Thirdly, the engine is super smooth all the way through the revs. Power peaks above 6k rpm so you do need to use the gears for quick overtaking, as you'd expect for an 80 bhp 600cc bike. The exhaust tone is a quiet grunty one, courtesy of the unusual box silencer and side exit exhaust. Fourthly, the styling - it's a good looking, actually great looking bike, Yamaha got the styling spot on. Fuel consumption: returns between 50-60 mpg, only dropping to the lower end of that when given a good thrashing. Comfort is the only real issue I've had; long 2hr plus journeys will result in a sore arse for both rider and pillion, but nothing a gel seat won't sort out. Wind blast hasn't been too bad, never had a sore neck even after long rides. I've been thinking about upgrading recently for something with a little more power (around the 100 bhp area), but having test ridden both a Street Triple 675 and a Bandit 1250, I just can't justify forking out the extra cash; the Street Triple was fun and the extra power was just about noticeable but was more uncomfortable and quite frankly the handling wasn't as good as the XJ6's - seriously. The bandit 1250 was great, better comfort for both rider and pillion and a monster torquey engine, but worth an extra £1800 on part ex? Nah, the XJ6N lives on and it will take one hell of a bike to make me let it go

    04 August 2012

  • 1 week and im in love

    mrgeorge094

    Average rating rating is 5

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    rode this bike for just over a week now my first 'bigbike'last bike was a YBR125 easy swapping over and the smile still ahsn't gone is an awesome bike on the back roads to college! RideOn!

    20 November 2011

  • Brilliant bike for new rider

    chapmc3

    Average rating rating is 4

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    hi people, passed my test recently and have bought an xj6n 3 weeks ago and i love it. I have one question to any xj6 owner out there. I get some kind of rattling sound from the chain or sprocket when at low revs or slowing down. Not sure if its something i should be worrying about? Checked the chain tension and all is good on that side. Any replies will be appreciated. Many thanks.

    10 November 2011

  • Such Value

    Arthur45

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I have owned my XJ6 for 6 months and have found it to be a totally enjoyable bike. I am not someone who likes to get his knee down so perhaps this bike is limited but for putting a smile on my face when out on the B roads its great. See Yamaha are asking £5999 now! One thing I see some previous reviews talk about a strange noise from the headlight or air through the front mudguard......anyone have any ideas what this is about?

    14 May 2011

  • Fast and fun!

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I've now had my XJ6 N for some 8 months now and bar a gear indicator and an absolutely essential centre stand, it's a near perfect bike. It'll drop to 2,000 (25mph) in top and still pull away gently without downshifting. For those who would putter along at 2,500 (30 mph) in top to secure something near 70 mpg - sort yourself out?! This is a sports bike after all and cries out to be opened up every now and again! I did get some 60 mpg when I was running it in, but have never got below 52 mpg in normal commute mode. Give her a proper thrashing (!) and she'll drop to the low 40's fuel-wise I'd imagine. Be aware that the first three 6,000 mile services will set you back around £200 each at today's rates and the full valve clearance check at 24,000 miles will set you back £500. The price you pay for Yamaha high-precision engineering! I'm going to see if they'll fit a centre stand at the first service without adding on an extra hour of labour that they've quoted me for fitting one on it's own (wish me well!). Why do you need a centre stand? Well apart from assisting in chain lubrication, you need to get the back centred to check oil and fluid levels? More importantly, it's less likely to be blown off a centre-stand by strong winds?!

    06 March 2011

  • XJ6N for all!

    tamlin23

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    This is in the budget bike sector of the market, but the look and ride is anything but. After reading numerous reviews and obviously knowing who this bike is pitched at, you know it's mostly a beginners bike. I can say with all confidence, having ridden a good few mid-sized bikes, budget and non-budget, that this is the best beginners bike I have found to date... and by a long way! What I wanted to add, having ridden 125cc through to 1800cc bikes, this bike is really good fun to ride for anyone. When you wring the neck of this bike (which being a 4 pot engine, it seems to be hungry for revs) it rewards with an even spread of torque bottom to top and a nice predictable build in power, to a screaming 4 cylinder crescendo! I think this is better than buying a sports bike, ok it's not as quick, but on the road sports bikes demand focus and constant 'risk assessment', which for some is the fun of it, for me it can sap the fun out of road riding. The XJ6N IS real world fun, you can hit the red line and enjoy the sound and feel of acceleration, without fearing you life and license (well not like a sporty number anyway), which takes away the stress of stretching your bikes legs. It can also be ridden sedately, returning ridiculously good fuel economy. It's cheap and easy to service with wear and tear items being cheap too. The styling is bang up to date, there are no bad angles to this bike, exposing it's R6 derived engine for all to admire, with a simply genius stubby side exit exhaust. Mine was yellow, and the metallic paint has a deep quality look, and was truly stunning in the sun. The brakes are strong with predictable feel and defy the 'budget' tag it's given, the clutch is light with perfect metered feel, the gears are slick, easy and accurate to use too. Ok, it's not as fast as a ZX6R, but I would choose this over a Ninja on the road, I truly would. It just does EVERYTHING so well, as opposed to doing a couple of this well and compromising on the rest. This is one of my all time favourite bikes for this reason, and I could not recommend it enough. In short - Cheap, fun, quality, stunning...

    20 February 2011

  • Perfect first big bike.

    Chris132

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I passed my test in January and the next day traded in my YZF-R125 for an XJ6. Once I'd run the engine I found this bike to be perfect for what I need, bit of town riding, some twisty roads and some long straights and it handles them all superbly. Enough power to overtake with ease and to raise a smile. Very easy to ride and already got me through the worst weather I've ever driven a car in never mind a bike, 4.5 hours in the snow, SCARY!!! Go and buy one you won't regret it.

    30 March 2010

  • for a starter GOOD

    jack1987

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    i did my test on a XJ6 and liked it so much i went and got one, iv riden other bikes but this seems to cover all basses fast on the moterways, good in trafick, fun at the weekend.

    05 March 2010

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