YAMAHA R6 (1998 - 2003) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£100|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
There is something very satisfying about riding a bike as analogue as the R6. If you want a cheap track hack, a cosmetically tatty carbed R6 would fit the bill perfectly, while those wanting a budget supersport bike with a bit of spirit should also give one a go.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Light, rapid steering and hard to fault on the track – ultimately the Yamaha YZF-R6's pegs will touch down but that takes some doing. The bars will waggle under power but the Yamaha YZF-R6 is a fast steering track bike so that’s to be expected. It can’t quite match the composition and easy turn in of the latest supersport 600s but it’s a small difference – chassis wear will be more significant on most machines.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Yamaha YZF-R6 loves to rev – a 15,500 rpm redline was high for the time. As with a two-stroke you need to be heavy on the revs and clutch at low rpm to get going. Hit 6000rpm and the R6 wakes up, driving strongly as long as you are hard on the gasbefore the next kick in power at 10,000rpm where it really takes off towards its 15,500rpm redline.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The Yamaha YZF-R6's finish is a mixed bag. Plenty of major parts resist the rigors of rain and salt well. But a few smaller parts let the Yamaha YZF-R6 down. Bolts, brackets and fasteners plus a handful of bigger components fur or rust up far too easily. Major Yamaha YZF-R6 reliability problems are extremely rare. Check for heavy oil consumption and any form of gearbox fault.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
This is a popular, but value for money, class and it’s hard fought on price. The Yamaha YZF-R6 is not only the best bike from late 1998 to the end of 2000 it’s the best looking too so prices hold up quite well. Suzuki’s GSX-R is track capable but poor on the road, Honda’s CBR is a sound machine but revvy and the Kawaski’s more road focused. Find a Yamaha R6 for sale
Sports bikes don’t have to be crippling and impractical. And the Yamaha YZF-R6 is neither. The riding position’s pretty reasonable – touring’s possible although the seat could benefit from a gel insert. The Yamaha YZF-R6's instruments are comprehensive for the era and include an extra trip meter triggered by the fuel reserve. Above average underseat storgage, good headlights, passable mirrors.
|Engine type||16v in-line four, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||17 litres|
|Front suspension||Preload, rebound, compression|
|Rear suspension||Preload, rebound, compression|
|Front brake||Twin 298mm discs|
|Rear brake||220mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/60 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||43 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£73|
|Annual service cost||£100|
|Used price||£2,000 - £4,800|
14 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||108 bhp|
|Max torque||55 ft-lb|
|Top speed||160 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||11.2 secs|
|Tank range||160 miles|
Model history & versions
1998: Original Yamaha YZF-R6 launched.
2001: Updated Yamaha YZF-R6 includes quick release number plate hanger and most obviously LED tail lights.
2003: Yamaha YZF-R6 gets new swingarm, fuel injection replaces carbs, revised frame, five-spoke wheels.
MCN Long term test reports
MCN Fleet: Yamaha R6 one month away!
I’m still one month away from R6 ownership as Yamaha’s all-new YZF-R6 was only launched to the world two weeks ago.However, I was lucky enough to spend a day testing the new R6 in Almeria, Spain so I’ve already got an idea of what to expect, at least on track anyway. Related: Find Yamaha R6 bikes …
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA R6 (1998 - 2003)
51 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA R6 (1998 - 2003) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£100|
Annual servicing cost: £150
Best features. It’s cheap to buy, light, the brakes are fantastic, fuel economy is decent, insurance was cheap. 0 no claims on classic insurance was £150 year at 26
Brakes where amazing to be honest, very strong never any issues whatsoever. I could go maybe 2 hours at most then needing a break due to the wrist pain
Fast bike but it’s a r6 slow below 10,000rpm get it over that and it absolutely goes
Bought mine for £1700 from a private seller in feb 2018, 17k miles on the clock, great sports bike, comming from a cbr600f 1997 model this was in a different league, very sluggish around town you can tell it absolutely hates just short rides I know it’s obviously not for that, it loves just screaming to the redline and it went pretty well to be fair, I managed to get a indicated 167mph. Probably more realistically 158-159. Never really had any issues with it other than battery and battery rectifier. Nice and lightweight too. Would I buy another? Yes but a modern fuel injected one, it was my second big bike, I’ve now moved onto a 2008 675 Daytona now
Serviced and maintained myself everything pretty easy
It’s a sports bike nowhere to put anything
Buying experience: Bike was priced up at £2000 managed to get to 1700 with no history , had no issues in my 2 years of ownership sold for 1800.
I had a fz600 in my 20s and always wanted the logical upgrade, then I got one, a 2000 r6, and man, what a world of difference, this thing is a beast, shift around 12-15k and, if it had wings, you would be FLYING.
Annual servicing cost: £50
Overall very average for a used 600cc. Amazing motor but everything else is poor. Stunning looks. Prone to gear box and electrical issues. No low range or mid range power.
Feel like Rossi in a corner on this bad boy. Extreme riding position. Weight is over handle bars. To most people they find this uncomfortable but I prefer this riding position. What type of douce buys a sports bike and wants comfort? Go fast or go home.
Amazing motors these Yamaha engineers make. Firecracker top end that makes you feel like you're in warp speed. No power at all under 7k rpm. Hit 8k this thing wakes up. Hit 10k you're like holy s**t! Hit 12k-16k you better be holding on because this thing is a rocket.
I may have had a lemon but reliability on these first generation Yamaha R6 are no good. I had massive electrical issues that I could never get sorted out. Battery was never being charged. I replaced to a oem Yamaha battery, stator and rectifier. Checked all connections and I continue to burn out electrical components. Mitsubishi supplies the electrical components and that's all you should know about that. This electrical system is no good.
Average Japanese parts price
It's a sports bike bro.
Buying experience: Honestly DON'T Buy this generation.
cracking bike rev manic rocket, but lacks tractability around town have, to change gear, a little often, favour zx6r for town.
Nice wee bikes, I've owned most late 90's bikes and this is the fastest but personally I enjoyed my GSXR 600 SRAD more, I enjoyed both of them more. The R6 build quality is shabby, thin low quality fairing (yes as standard). My Verdict is the Honda CBR600 F3 98 model is comfier a tad slower but not much, makes every day riding easy, if your wanting this R6 as an everyday bike go for it, I'm only 5ft6 and I didn't find it cramped in any way. Infact this is more comfy to ride than a SRAD. Very quick for a pre-injection 600! below 6k there is nothing what so ever, but but twist the throttle, be committed to every corner and you'll be trying to have fun and not lose your license at the same time haha! Oh and lets face it the 5EB is the best looking pre 2000 600cc supersports.
The voice of reason
The bike is probably best when it is stationery. My bike was horribly unstable at speed and refused to hold a line in corners. This was with new Pilot 2cts at the correct pressures. No doubt it would have benefitted from a suspension fettle but I was so underwhelmed by the engine I decided to just sell the bike.
Definite powerband starting around 8.5k revs, which makes road riding a pain in the butt at times as the midrange is really poor. It's not just me that thinks this, check online reviews elsewhere.
I was very impressed with the build quality of this bike I have to say, although the rectifier packed up. (but I only had the bike for four months)
It has everything a sportbike needs and nothing more. Digital dash is clear and well thought out.
Buying experience: Bought privately for 1900 in red. Average mileage but overall a very clean bike.
My first big bike. Excellent choice. Handles well, deliveres all the power when you need it. Pure fun.
I was still on my restricted (33bhp) licence when I purchased this, and the acceleration was good, and overtaking was easy. However, once the restrictor was off this thing turned into a missile! The acceleration is fantastic, and just keeps going and sounds amazing. The seat and bars are comfortable enough for a few hours riding. I keep looking at other bikes, but everytime I look at my R6 I can't think of anything better looking (in my price range) that I'd rather have.
First sports 600, definitely made the right choice!
Hey, I bought my 99 R6 in july 2010 and since then i cant get enough, it was my first 600 and the bike is bullet proof, all i can say is amazing!
Shocked at the speed this bike accelerates it’s a brilliant bike and well worth the money. Picked mine up for £2500 with only 7500 miles on the clock. Complete bargain. If you want a fast bike with excellent handling you can’t go wrong with an R6.
I Love this bike! I can’t imagine ever wanting to sell it, a definite future classic. The exhaust sound is amazing and it accelerates so hard it can easily keep up with bigger more modern sports bikes so long as you keep up the revs. The R6 handles like a dream and the brakes are good too. The riding position is good for its class defiantly more comfortable than the latest 600’s. If you’re thinking of buying a 600 super sport you can’t go wrong with this bike.
I bought my '03 R6 a year ago in 2007 with only 5,000 miles on it for $5200 - what a great value! I simply cannot believe how much power is available above 10,000 rpms for a 600cc bike. I did level 3 and 4 with Keith Code at Mid-Ohio with my R6, and can't be happier with the performance, especially for what I paid for it. It feels very light and steers quickly and precisely. I can't imagine a better track day bike for $5,000!
I passed my test 6weeks back,first bike is an R6 and i have to say i love it with a passion, i was looking in the Honda direction as i was always a massive Honda car nut but something about the R6 appealed and god am i glad i got it.Mine however has been modified and i do have to be aware that im not on my moto-cross bike at times...but overall id say this bike is perfect for a first bike if given the respect it deserves.
My first bike was an 1999 R6, I fell in love when I got it and loved it for a number of years b4 selling her and buying an '02 Honda f4i. Im not sure why I find the f4i has better handling but it just seems to be a smoother ride. I wouldnt give the yami a bad review cause it was a great bike for the 3 years that I had it! www.UsedMotorcycleDealers.info
i'M 5'8'' SHORT ARSE AND THE 1998 BIKE HAD ME ON ONE FOOT. GREAT ON THE ROAD SOME UN RELIABILITY ISSUES LIKE THE GEAR BOX REMINES ME OF THE FZR600. YAMS SEEM TO HAVE A CLUNKY BOX AWKWARD CHANGE AND NOT BULLET PROOF GEAR BOX. PUTS A SMILE ON YOUR FACE THOUGH BUT THEN I'VE ALWAYS LIKED THE YAM'S.
i love the R6,its the best 600 i couldve ever chosen as a first bike! Its reliable and very comfortable. Small and girly i think too. well worth the money i paid out for her. Shesw very nippy and just love the way it sounds. a very fun bike to start of with!
after a gap of 10yrs i got back into biking ,first with an 01 zx6r nice machine but i didnt get on with the handling,then got the r6 ,cant fault it put on a damper ,new pair of bt014s .handlings superb .theres more than enough power and if ya wind it up goes into warp drive .ive had it a year always starts on the button .all in all for some one looking at getting a user freindly sports bike i would highly recormend one of these.
Great steering, easy handling Over all a fun ride. Bit nicer on the track than on a dirt road though! Taking it off the track I'd recommend a new seat or you could wind up with a very sore bum
the reson i learnt to ride was cause i had seen the r6 so the day i passed i brought one every one seid IT' THOUGH YOU OFF IN A HEART BEAT (even the man i had it off cheers mate!!!!) i'v taken it realy easy with iv found it comfortable for me and my pillion it got all the power i need and handles great fast and responsive so im two weeks in to rideing now heres hopeing it doesnt spit me off in a heart beat from what iv can see if it happens its my fault not the bike they go slow as well as fast the bike does'nt decide i do so over all im happy i lisened to my self and didnt get put off
I'm 5'6" tall and found the R6 quite comfortable. It feels like the fastest 600 out there although I haven't ridden the 2003 zx636. I think that the tank is fairly short so I don't get the usual; back pain. I owned a gsxr 600 k1 and it was awful. It didn't handle had no low down guts and was like a torture rack for my back. Could have been the set up by previous owner that made the handling and power so bad. Much faster and lighter than a pre 2002 zx6r and much more exciting than a older cbr. The handling is excellent it feels light and flick-able. Mine has loads of low down grunt. Not sure if the gearing (front rear sprockets) has been down geared. The gearbox is terrible between 1st and second. If buying get a test ride and if it jumps out of second while being revved go find another one to look at. Can bump about a bit over bumps around corners but I've got used to it. Low speed turns ie u turns on mini roundabouts can find you banging your thumbs against the side of the tank. Strengths: Power, light weight, handling. Weaknesses: Gearbox between 1st and second can be iffy. Low speed tight turns need care.
Passed my Direct Access in 2000 Jumped straight on an R6 everyone said "It'll spit you off" but it can be the most forgiving bike or a right bastard depends on your right wrist. 5 years later still going strong love it, fast, manic and still whoops the new 600's. Strengths: Reliable, Fast, Comfortable. Weaknesses: Clunky gearbox.
After much deliberation between a CBR/GSXR/ZX6R/R6, the latter fitted almost every criteria within my £3500-4000 price range and is a bike I've always wanted to own since it was launched. The R6 is utterley gorgeous, unlike the gixxers it looks totally unique. When I bought the bike the handling was a bit nervous to say the least, I think the previous owner had been 'fiddling'. However, a few adjustments to the suspension (thanks to an MCN supplement I had kept from a couple of years ago) and it's now absolutely spot-on (well done MCN). So far I've had no major head shakes and don't consider a steering damper necessary. The only changes from standard are a road-legal Micron Delta+ exhaust to enhance the sound and some clear indicator lenses. Nothing else is required - just get on and ride it. Can't wait to take it round Brands Indy circuit to properly compare the handling to my old NC30. Strengths: Looks, performance, handling, the size (it's tiny!), and it?s relatively comfy for a sportsbike. Weaknesses: Low-speed handling (but that's not what I bought it for!!).... oh, and the standard exhaust looks too big.
As a relatively new rider I had always fancied an R6, but decided to play it safe and serve a years apprenticeship on a 600 Hornet. Safe to say that I was overjoyed when I purchased a mint condition R6 at the end of year one. With a few cosmetic mods the bike looks the tits, however I made the classic decision of ignoring the reviewers comments, 'that this bike was made for the track'. The R6 is scorching at high revs, however cornering on B roads is hard work and you always seem to be between gears. I love the build quality, styling and top end power, however I would have prefered more low revs power. If only Yamaha still manufacturered a 750cc sports! Strengths: Top End - Captain Kirk, Scotty and Spock will be joining you as you reach the red line and enter Warp Speed. Good looking too! Weaknesses: The only weaknesses of the R6 is low down grunt! Whilst this is not a V-Twin, the power at low revs is virtually non-existent.
The handling of this bike is fantastic as you can carry alot more corner speed than a big thou, meaning u can mix it with the big boys, until the straights that is, the engine is great too especially at 10+ which sounds lovely when a race can is fitted. Strengths: Brakes, engine, hadling, build quality. Weaknesses: Clunkiness in the gearbox between first and second.
Used every day for 2 years (through the winter also) absolutely 100% reliable and bullet proof ? The best sports bike I have ridden so far, a true 'one on one' experience.
The bike is great, really fun above 10k rpm. Did trip to france 1700 miles in 5 days, not that uncomfortable and had loads of fun. Don't like the head shakes.
I have had bike since new and had micron fitted and the sound is awesome, the metzler tyre has added a new demension to the bike bike soften the dampening at the front one can corner with greater confidence and speed. Check out these tyres you wont be disapointed. Looking forward to sept 2003 new f/inj model.
This is my first sports bike after riding a GPX 250 for a few years and all I can say is wow. The bike handles,moves and stops incredibly. Maybe I will think differently after a couple of years but I really dont think I will feel the need for a litre sports bike. But as they say NEVER SAY NEVER. If you are in the market for a 600 an R6 will not disappoint. I am anxiously waiting for the arrival of the all new 2003 model, because if it is as good as reports suggest then I will be at the front of the queue.
Quicker than zx6r cramped twitchy front end when accelerating hard. Drops into bends easily. Lovely engine. Looks the bollocks. Wrists getting used to weight on them. Couldnt be arsed to run it in any more than 200 miles. Takes getting used to after zx6r.
Love it to bits. Thought about moving to an R1, test rode one for a day, but was glad to get on my R6.
Love the bike so quick and responsive.
Great bike, I sold my '00 GSXR750 for it. Bike is near as fast and handles much better for me. Best bike I have ridden, better than an R1.
This is my second R6. The first was a 99 model which I had in the UK. The first time I rode it quick was to mallory and found the light front and slight head shake a bit unsettling from my previuos 98 ZX6RG1. I also found it difficult to steer slowly (u turns etc) particularly right compared to the Kwak however I've never tired of it's looks. The light front and head shake is now an attraction and after a couple of track days I now feel very confident with the whole set up. My new R6 has endured the crap bumpy roads of Sydney commuting to work and will see it's first visit to Eastern Creek race track in May. Bring it on.
Not as mad as last bike an R1 but just as much fun as slightly lower speeds.
Love this bike, best sports bike I have owned. It is very easy to ride and lovely to look at.
Bike very quick to turn. Dropped the forks 10mm and changed standard suspension to stop head shakes.
I was not happy with the bike until I changed the suspension to the PB settings mentioned in the R6 talk bike section. This transformed the bike. The bike is now much more planted during hard acceleration and holds a sweet predictable line through corners (If you are running wide, it is not you bottling it, it's the bike, trust me!).
WHO SAYS THEY'RE UNCOMFY ? I'M 6FT AND 15 STONE AND I CAN RIDE IT ALL DAY LONG, IF ONLY I CAN GET THE FRONT WHEEL TO STAY ON THE ROAD.
Love it. Build quality seems good. Kills my wrists. Looks mean. Goes fast. Roll on summer ffs!!!!!!!!!!
What can be said that hasn't already, best bike I have ever bought. The only bad thing is it plays havoc with your wrists.
Swapped it for an R1 two weeks ago, for more low down power/ midrange and got it! But... the R6 has better brakes (maybe still bedding in the R1`s), and can definitely change direction mid corner faster than anything I`ve ever ridden (except my FS1E). The R6 did seem less stable at high speed than the R1. If you're thinking of buying one ....just do it. Mine will be missed!
Great sports bike one up not for the steady rider need a rest after 40 miles or so but great fun.
The worst thing about my bike is the gearbox shifting from first to second gear nearly rips my toes from my foot and the noise from doing so is like a bag of spanners in a blender! apart from that its brilliant!
This bike has been ok. I am on my 2nd R6 as with the first one I broke 2 crankshafts within 3000 miles. so I am wary of reliability with this one. I feel that corrosion is bad on footrests, brackets etc but that may be due to me living in north Scotland.
I like the fact that this bike looks so good, handles so well, and has so much power.
I love the look of it and the screaming banshee howl when I ring its neck. The response is still awesome when the revs are high but I think I need more low down grunt now so I may trade for an RSV or a Blade [ if Honda can sort the colour scheme ]. 100% reliable, its a joy.
Love the bike to bits, awesome. Came with the rubber around the left wingmirror loose, as was the black plastic above the left ram air feed. At first service pointed these faults out twice to Carnell and still they weren't fixed. Took them an hour to adjust the front headlights. Passenger footpegs and end can already starting to corrode, despite regular cleaning.
The R6 is an excellent bike. Although I would consider myself a steady rider, the bike has never given me any dodgy moments. The power is excellent above 8000 rpm and the steering is quite quick, which I like. The weight is also a great advantage, only 165 Kgs ish.