Yamaha shook up the 1000cc sportsbike class in 1998 with the launch of the R1 and its 600cc little brother, the R6, repeated the trick a year later by being the first 600 to top 100bhp and dominating the Supersport class, with the latest incarnation taking three world championships.
Since its introduction, the Yamaha R6 has defined the supersport class, and that tradition continues in 2019, with the introduction of the new model. If the £11,920 (OTR) price tag of the latest R6 is out of reach, why not consider a used example instead?
- Power: 108bhp
- First introduced: 1999
- This one: 1999 – 23,600 miles - £2250
A well-sorted R6 is very satisfying. Tatty ones can be cheap but prices are rising for clean examples.
What we said in 1999: 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.
- Power: 115bhp
- First introduced: 2004
- This one: 2005 – 15,639 miles - £3390
Launched in 2004 as a stop-gap while the factory prepared the ’06 hottie, it comes with radial brakes and upside-down forks.
What we said in 2004: For a supersports machine that’s as easy to ride to the shops as it is round Donington Park the 2004 Yamaha YZF-R6 comes close to spot-on.
- Power: 118bhp
- First introduced: 2006
- This one: 2007 - 23,836 miles - £5195
The 2006 R6 introduced ride-by-wire electronics and a boost in power over the outgoing model but is still capable, light, neutral and stable.
The 2006 Yamaha R6 is still phenomenally capable, relevant, and good looking, especially in the red and white colour scheme. Find a good used one and you'll have a sports classic that's still more than quick enough for most but for the price of a new budget bike. Seriously tempting.
- Power: 127bhp
- First introduced: 2008
- This one: 2008 – 11,687 miles - £5399
Yamaha added World Supersport chassis tech and variable length inlet trumpets to build on '06 model’s success and give it 127bhp.
What we said in 2008: Yamaha’s designers had one problem with superceding its 2006-07 R6, and that was how to improve a motorcycle that was very good in the first place. But improve it they have with clever attention to details borne from its World Supersport racing program.
- Power: 117bhp
- First introduced: 2017
- This one: 2017 – 1394 miles - £9295
M1 styling, R1 suspension and more make up for an engine slightly strangled by Euro4 emissions rules.
What we said in 2017: The breath-taking chassis outshines a rather breathless motor, but there are many positives. The updated styling looks stunning while the front end and brakes help make this a truly brilliant-handling middleweight.
Five ways to own a...