One of the most iconic sportbikes of the modern era gets a facelift with the Tuning Fork brand unveiling its 2017 YZF-R6. It’s the first time Yamaha has made any updates to the platform after a nine year production run. Yeah, the 2008-2016 bike was that good.
Yamaha claims the ’17 bike is the most aerodynamic motorcycle its ever produced, resulting in a 8% reduction in measured drag coefficient. The body panels mimic that of the YZR-M1 prototype with an enlarged ram air intake at the front, and are replete with LED lighting and an new mixed digital/analog instrument display.
The intake feeds the same ultra compact water-cooled 599cc Inline Four that revs to nearly 16,000 rpm and is capable of almost 110 horsepower at the back tire. The rest of the powertrain, including the six-speed gearbox, final drive gearing, and adjustable slipper clutch all carry over. An electronic quickshifter is available as an OE accessory.
The ’08-spec R6 was an early adopter of electronics in the form of Yamaha’s Chip Control Throttle (YCC-T) and electronically adjustable intake funnels (YCC-I). The new R6 adds to its array of electronics with D-Mode throttle/engine map adjustment, along with six-way traction control that appears to be based off the 2012-generation YZF-R1 (no IMU).
R6’s have been renowned for its handling and the updated version looks to continue that trait. KYB’s latest-spec inverted fork replaces what was, at the time, the YZF’s class-leading 41mm unit. It’s also larger too, wearing a 2mm larger diameter. A thicker front axle and radial-mount four-piston Advic calipers compete the package. Always on ABS is also standard. Curiously, the new R6 rolls on Dunlop’s more budget-oriented Sportmax D214 tires.
The way the rider interacts with the bike has also been enhanced. Still stamped from magnesium, the subframe is narrower and the seat itself is flatter (just like the R1). Complementing the change is a 2.64-pound lighter aluminum fuel tank (instead of steel) with deeper cutouts for the rider’s knees.
Available in three colors (Intensity White/Matte Silver; Matte Raven Black; Team Yamaha Blue), the R6 will arrive inside U.S. dealers next March at a price of $12,199.