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First ride: The return of the Yamaha XJ6 Diversion

Published: 17 January 2009

Senior Road Tester, Michael Neeves is in Sydney, at the world launch of Yamaha’s new XJ6 Diversion and the naked XJ6, here are his first impressions:

“The new XJ6 Diversion slots in under the Fazer as Yamaha’s entry level, new-rider-friendly all-rounder. Although it carries an old name, it’s a new bike from the ground-up, featuring a tubular steel frame, a snazzy underslung exhaust and a detuned version (by 20bhp) of the in-line-four-cylinder engine you’ll find in the current FZ6 Fazer, which in turn is an old-school R6 lump.

“Riding it through the busy city streets of Sydney and ridden hard out on twisty outback roads inland, the Diversion is superb mix of practicality and fun. It’s comfy, has good wind protection, is agile and will turn in a serious turn of speed when you fancy it. It’s less peaky and buzzy than the FZ6 Fazer and there’s more power at lower revs, which makes it just as fast in all but the most extreme conditions.

“Chassis and suspension are basic, but the XJ6 Diversion stays composed no matter what you throw at it and Bridgestone BT-021 tyres offer loads of grip and warm up nice and fast too.

“There’s little to complain about here, except for the fuelling at very low revs, which is jerky as you roll off the throttle, it was better on some of the bikes on test than others. Also, the supersport-derived engine is still on the ‘busy’ side, like it is on the FZ6 Fazer and you’re searching for higher gears even when you’re in sixth.

“We also rode the naked XJ6, which has a completely different character than the XJ6 Diversion, despite being exactly the same spec. Stripped of its fairing it turns from sensible commuter to baby streetfighter. It’s only 6kg lighter, but it feels like more and you can have some serious fun on it. It’s still friendly and easy to ride, but positively encourages you to act the fool when the Aussie police aren’t looking. Priced at £4499 (£4849 with ABS), it’s a brilliant little bike for the money.

“In many ways both the XJ6 Diversion and naked XJ6 are better than the more powerful, better handling Fazer family (which is going to be phased out over time) as they’re easier to get the most from and have slightly more flexible engines.

“In short, both bikes offer fun and practicality, but out of the two the naked XJ6 is my favourite; it’s a lot of bike for a very small amount of money”.

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