First Ride: 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6

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MCN Senior Road Tester, Adam Child, has packed his race leathers and is heading to Almeria, Spain to ride Yamaha’s new supersport YZF-R6. While the majority of other manufacturers have put their 600 supersport machines out to pasture, using derogation rules to allow them to keep selling non-Euro4 bikes for this year and next, Yamaha have injected a new lease of life into their track weapon.

The styling and bodywork mirrors their YZF-R1 and MotoGP bike. The similarities are obvious like the centrally-mounted air intake and LED lights. It’s not just for show but also improves the aerodynamics according to Yamaha an 8% improvement over the old bike.

The 2017 model features six-level traction control, which can be deactivated, plus a conventional quickshifter for up-changes. The fully adjustable fork is now boasts 43mm tubes – up from 41mm – and the brakes boast radial calipers biting onto 320mm discs (all derived from the latest R1).

The new aluminium fuel tank is sculpted to help the rider move around on the bike and stay stable on the brakes, is 1.2kg lighter than the previous item. Even with the addition of ABS, traction control and a quickshifter the new R6 only tips the scales at only 190kg wet, just 1kg more than the previous model.

Peak power of 116.8bhp arrives at a dizzy 14,500rpm and peak torque of 45.5lbft arrives at an equally teeth-jarring 10,500rpm. The price is well north of five figures, too at £10,999. The new model is expected to arrive in UK dealers in early May. Check back on Friday for Adam’s first impressions of how the new R6 rides.

YZF-R6 – The Rivals

Triumph Daytona 675 £9600

The inline-triple 675 is a gem, producing a claimed 126bhp. The Daytona is available in two options, standard or the Öhlins suspended £10,950 R model which also has a quickshifter as standard. The Triumph isn’t Euro4 homologated, which means it will need to be replaced shortly – or killed off.

 Suzuki GSX-R600 £8999

MCN’s current leading Japanese Supersport machine, but also not Euro4 homologated. It can remain on sale this year and next, but we then expect a revised model to arrive. The Suzuki features rider modes but no traction control, Suzuki claim 124bhp and 187kg.

Kawasaki ZX-6R £8999

Kawasaki’s ZX-6R re-introduced the 636 capacity in 2013 and tried to make the supersport machine more accessible added traction control as standard. Kawasaki claim 129bhp and 192kg – but again the ZX-6R isn’t Euro4 compatible.

Honda CBR600RR £8999

With a claimed 118bhp and 196kg the former king of this class is now lagging a long way behind the competition. ABS comes as standard, but it has no rider modes or traction control, and the CBR isn’t Euro4 compliant.

MV Agusta F3 £10,800

The stunning 675cc in-line triple powered MV features four rider modes and eight-level traction control. MV claim 173kg (dry) and 128bhp. The MV is the only other Euro4 compliant supersport model.

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Adam Child

By Adam Child

Former MCN Road Tester with 15 years road testing experience on all kinds of bikes