2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 0-60 mph 3.1 Seconds
It is amazing to think Yamaha’s YZF-R6 has been with us since 1999 and 20 plus years. While this little banzai Yamaha has seen many changes throughout the course of its life, it has remained as deathly focused as ever and racking up 8 World Supersport Championships since 1999 with the latest one coming about via Andrea Locatelli as of this week and time of writing.
The first generation YZF-R6 had the first production normally aspirated engine to hit the magic 200 hp per litre mark, a number only F1 cars could match and beat. The import Japan only 250 cc pocket rockets such as the CBR2500RR were close, making a wild 45 horsepower from only 249 cc but they made around 180 hp per litre.
As motorcyclists we are used to high revving high output engines but the original Yamaha YZF-R6 took it to the extreme and was able to rev to an astonishing 15500 rpm plus. This was only possible via an impressively compact and very over-square short-stroke motor with a bore and stroke of 65.5 mm × 44.5 mm. Most other bikes in the class at the time topped out at around 13,500 rpm which by any standard is still very impressive.
As a result of the R6’s extra ability to rev so astronomically high and it made more peak horsepower at around (5-10 at the wheels) more-than its closest competitors such as Honda’s CBR600RR.
Roll on to today, and we have the fourth generation of the YZF-R6. Now though like most current Supersport and Superbikes the latest R6 has an array of electronic rider aids and very up-to date modern styling that the 2020 Yamaha R1 took much of its inspiration from.
Amazingly though while the Gen 4 R6 has seen many tweaks to the engine over the original 1999 model – including an even more over-square motor at 67.0 mm x 42.5 mm, it only makes a claimed 3 hp more at the crank over the original.
Gen 3 R6’s are actually a little more powerful than the latest model but much of the latest bikes’ diminishing power can be attributed to the very stringent noise and emissions regulations that were not so strict for previous generations.
So what can it do?
Yamaha YZF-R6 DynoYamaha YZF-R6 Dyno CUrve
Arguably the latest Yamaha YZF-R6 has a 10 advantage hp at wheels over the original, a number that could be higher if it were not for stringent noise and emissions regulations already mentioned.
The original R6 was probably the most gutless of the 600s due its (at the time) highest peak output and massive rev ceiling of 155oo rpm. And the like the original, to make rapid progress you really must keep the motor singing in its sweet spot above 9000 rpm where it really howls and gets a move on quite nicely and with impressive drive.
The R6 will power wheelie in most as the revs crest over 8000 rpm much like its bigger brother the R1.
If you want a more flexible and usable motor from a 600 there are better options especially any generation of Kawasaki’s cheater bike, the ZX-6R (636) which had a sneaky 36 cc advantage. That doesn’t sound like much, but it really made for a grunty by ‘600’ standards’ motor.
Additionally you could go for the softer and more comfortable CBR650R from Honda which due to its lower state of tune and 50 cc extra is a more flexible engine but it does sacrifice the R6’s insane top-end pull which is very intoxicating.
If you need more torque lower down, I am happy to report that like most motorcycles the latest R6 really does benefit hugely from a 3/4 system that junks the restrictive catalytic converter. If you compliment it with an ECU flash, you’ll see some very impressive gains right through the rev range, as well as a healthy increase at the top. Both are a must do modification.
It is not unheard of for gen 4’s making 120 horsepower plus at the wheels after these simple bolt-on mods.
Like all high revving 600s the R6 motor is hugely rewarding, and really begs you to thrash it and chase the redline to eek out every bit of performance, something that you can’t really do on a modern litrebike on the road due to the sheer reach in speed in any gear that they have. Not to mention their mind-bending acceleration that will have you doing big speeds with very little twist of the throttle.
Yamaha YZF-R6 Acceleration ReviewYamaha YZF-R6 Acceleration and quater mile
The R6 has consistently and arguably been the fastest accelerating 600 in class from day dot. Probably a ZX-636R would have the legs on it but as its name suggests it has a 36 cc advantage.
Modern 600s can hang with and beat even literbike L-twins of the late 90s and early thousands and beat some litre 4s bikes from late 90s too.
Even if you owned any model of the GSX-R750 of the last 20 years, you’d need to have your wits about you if you challenge an R6 for a straight-line duel. R6’s are really very impressively fast, at the top and punch way above their weight.
All R6’s are very quick regardless of year, but due to the nature of their very peaky engines to effectively launch you really need a lot of clutch slip, and you need to keep the motor spinning above 9000 rpm but ideally around 11000 rpm until the clutch is fully engaged. Otherwise, you’ll bog the motor and kill your times.
For best timed results, despite power tailing off at around 14900 rpm, you really have to draw out each gear a smidgen before the limiter and bang the next gear as you’ll lose time. Our R6 on test managed to accelerate from 0-60 mph in a partly 3.19 seconds, a time in the ballpark of any litrebike.
0-100 mph for the Yamaha YZF-R6 is achieved in only 6.08 seconds! That is faster than a Mclaren F1, which hits 100 mph in 6.3 seconds. The R6 does not run out of puff and can consistently – if perfectly launching and shifting do the standing quarter mile in a wild 10.89 seconds with a terminal of 133 mph.
The same Mclaren F1 does it in 11.1 albeit at 138 mph.
Before we get carried away, just after the quarter mile the F1 would reel the little Yamaha in and pass it quite easily, though still the R6 will be charging hard by 600 standards as it hits 150 mph in 16.12 seconds versus the Mclaren’s 12.8.
Above 150 mph the R6 kind of runs out of puff comparatively to bigger bikes or mega power Hypercars, though it makes its way to its peak of 160.3 mph which is very respectable.
Your results may vary depending on your size/weight and the weather conditions, as a headwind can really kill a 600s performance. The famous Dragy 60 to 130 mph time is dispatched in a very respectable 6.86 seconds and not far behind the original 1998 R1 tested HERE.
You may wonder ‘why’ the McLaren F1 comparison? I only compare the R6 to the McLaren to illustrate the amazing performance that can be had from a what is a cheap 600 cc mass produced motorcycle, as at any speed under 130 mph and you can live with many mega buck Supercars past and present.
It is hugely impressive and why we love motorcycles.
|2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 Acceleration|
|Top Speed||161.3 mph|
Yamaha YZF-R6 Specifications
|Engine type:||liquid-cooled DOHC inline 4-cylinder; 16 titanium valves|
|Bore x stroke:||67.0mm x 42.5mm|
|Frame type:||Aluminium alloy|
|Front Suspension||43mm KYB® inverted fork, 3-way adjustable; 4.7-in travel|
|Rear suspension:||KYKYB® piggyback shock, 4-way adjustable; 4.7-in travel|
|Front brakes:||Double disc|
|Rear brakes:||Single disc|
|Weights and Measurements|
|Wet weight:||190 KG|
|Seat height:||850 mm|
|Overall height:||1150 mm|
|Overall length:||2040 mm|
|Overall width:||695 mm|
|Fuel capacity:||17 L|