BY: Lawrence Schaffler, PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Lawrence Schaffler
'Learner-bike' and '600cc' shouldn’t really be used in the same sentence, but Yamaha’s sexy new FZ6R marries these words effortlessly. Comfortable, fast and super-agile, it’s a supremely friendly ride – perfect for those revisiting two-wheels after a long lay-off.
- Nippy performance, easy handling
- Excellent mirrors - easy to keep an eye on the action behind you
- A bike that a variety of riders and riding styles
- Ultra-quiet engine
- Ten out of 10 for ergonomics
The Yamaha FZ6R is light enough (217kg with a full tank of fuel) to be flicked around at whim, and low enough for shorties and females. The angular styling will complement your sharpest duds, yet the relaxed riding position is easy on a mature biker's back and wrists. A sensible commuter, but with enough zip to keep the speed demons howling...what's not to like?
Yamaha introduced the FZ6R to other parts of the world back in 2009, but it has only just arrived on our shores. Its DNA harks back to the company's legendary FZ6 (the engine's basically the same 600cc, six-speed, four-cylinder, fuel-injected, 16-valve beast, but with tweaks). So even though this new cousin wears a full fairing, it's an altogether more docile, lower-revving proposition.
Essentially, to broaden the bike's target market Yamaha has "de-tuned" the engine, giving it more punch in the mid-range (mainly achieved, it appears, by using more conservative profiles on the twin cams and smaller throttle valves in the Mikuni electronic fuel injection system).
You still need to explore the mid-to-upper sectors of the tacho to awaken the FZ6R's true spirit, but it's not nearly in the same wrist-wringing league as the FZ6. Where the FZ6 delivered its maximum 98hp @12,000rpm and maximum torque (63.1Nm) @ 10,000rpm, the FZ6R offers 78hp at 11,500rpm and 60Nm at 8500rpm.
Thanks to the electronic smarts (a 32-bit ECU and four-hole injectors) the engine responds flawlessly - a smooth delivery that's as comfortable trundling through city congestion as it is catapulting you through high-speed bends out in the country.
Perhaps my only niggle with the engine is that you tend to tap into its reserves of power more readily than you should - simply because you know it's there. And that means you find yourself (as I did) filling up the 17-litre fuel tank a bit more often than you'd expect.
It's also an ultra-quiet engine - courtesy of a stubby, four-into-two-into-one exhaust that exits under the bike. The exhaust will appeal to green-hued riders - its three-way catalytic converter reduces emissions. Others will argue the exhaust detracts from the bike's character - where you'd expect a snarl from a high-revving four, you get a muted burble.
The FZ6R gets 10 stars for ergonomics. The upright riding position is a treat - a function of easy-to-reach handlebars and well-placed footpegs. They're complemented by a fairly well-padded seat, and it's relatively narrow and low (768mm).
That seat can be raised 20mm for taller riders, while the handlebar position can be adjusted 20mm forward by rotating the handlebar clamps. Great options for fine-tuning the bike to your frame. You'll also enjoy the fairing and screen - good protection from weather and wind, and the mirrors offer clear views of the action behind.
Plenty of info's available on the dash panel - an easy-to-read digital speedo with an analog tachometer, odometer/tripmeter, fuel and temp gauges. I'd have liked a gear indicator.
A solid suspension configuration absorbed everything I could offer in terms of Auckland's never-ending road works. The front end's built around telescopic forks with no-nonsense, 41mm inner tubes (130mm of travel). At the rear is a monocross swingarm, also with 130mm of travel. Together, they make for a smooth, predictable ride, a confidence-inspirer for beginner/refresher riders.
The FZ6R's well-equipped in the braking department: twin 298mm diameter discs up front, with a single 245mm disc at the rear. They feel good and do an excellent job of bringing you to a controlled if wide-eyed stop.
The bike rolls along on twin, five-spoke 17" cast aluminium rims. They're clad with tubeless radial tires - a 120/70R17 in front and a 160/60/R17 at the back.
Yamaha describes the FZ6R as a multi-purpose middleweight with a "little bit extra". It fits this bill perfected - an attractive package of performance, comfort and style that will appeal to an eclectic diversity of riders and riding styles.
Talk to your nearest Yamaha dealer for more information.
Engine 600cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke,
four-cylinder, 16 valves, DOHC
Bore x stroke 65.5 x 44.5mm
Compression ratio 12.2:1
Lubrication system Wet Sump
Fuel management Fuel injection
Fuel tank capacity 17 litres
Final transmission Chain
Transmission Constant mesh, six-speed
Dimensions (LxWxH) 2120mm x 770mm x 1210mm
Seat height 785mm
Wet weight 217 kg with fuel
Frame type Steel diamond-shaped
Front suspension Telescopic fork, 130mm travel
Rear suspension Swingarm (monocross), 130mm travel
Brakes Front, dual 298mm discs; rear, single 245mm disc
Tyres Front (120/70 ZR17M/C (58W), rear 160/60 ZR17M/C (69W)
Colours Red or black
Price RRP $13,999