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33bhp Yamaha XJ6 review

The £4,499 Yamaha XJ6 is Yamaha’s latest budget-middleweight bike, introduced earlier this year alongside its half-faired cousin the Yamaha Diversion.

As standard the street-focused XJ6 produces a claimed 77bhp, but if you buy a new Yamaha XJ6 from an official Yamaha dealer and your licence restricts you to 33bhp for two years, then Yamaha will fit the restrictor kit for free.

Pulling away for the first time on the XJ6 was easy.

Owning a V-twin I’m used to a slight lumpiness at car park speeds, but the XJ6 was as smooth as a billiard top and despite my best efforts the fuel delivery remained smooth - perfect for nervous beginners.

Out on the open road the XJ6 coped admirably, revving all the way up to 8000rpm before the restrictor started to object and the power noticeably tailed off.

Even with the restrictor cutting in the XJ6 easily managed an indicated 90mph, which could be held on motorways with no problem.

Steep hills saw the engine struggle slightly, but keeping with the flow of traffic was still easily done.

Only carrying a pillion did the XJ6 start to struggle. Acceleration in the first four gears is still fairly brisk, but the final two gears felt gutless.

Away from the endless boredom of motorways the XJ6 proved plenty of fun, prompting me to take the long way to and from work on several occasions.

The twin front discs are easily capable of scrubbing off speed quickly, without being overpowering or scary for novices.

The same goes for the handling. The XJ6 turns in well. Not too sharp, not too slow - just right for most riders, beginners especially.

Once in the corner the suspension copes admirably, only complaining on the bumpiest of back roads.

Before I rode the XJ6 I had never ridden an inline-four on the road, and after reading reports of restricted inline-fours being dull and gutless I had already convinced myself that the engine would be uninspiring.

But the little Yamaha was a pleasant surprise, offering comfort, a good engine and good handling and all for less than £5,000. For that money, you can’t go wrong. 

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