The Yamaha YZF-R6 was already commercialized as an unbeatable combination of power and handling in the middleweight super sport class and the 2009 model year shows how things can be pushed even further after receiving the proper feedback from the previous model year. So Yamaha optimizes the engine’s power output in a quest for better lap times, adds some new color schemes and here is the 2009 Yamaha R6.
Year after year we find ourselves wondering how much further can the amazing middleweight powerplants be improved or how much better can these things end up looking and it would seem that the possibilities are endless. They actually are, but Yamaha claims their R6 as the best. Only time will tell if that is true so all we can do is take you through the one-off features and help you form an impression that not even time will change.
The engine is the already consecrated 599cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder; DOHC, 16 titanium valves. Fuel injection is what counts and with their Chip Controlled Intake and Chip Controlled Throttle, Yamaha achieve the engine performance that is so hard to vie with. While the YCC-I system ensures excellent cylinder filling and broader powerband, the YCC-T dual-injector system complements for the 13.1:1 compression ratio and implicit greater throttle response.
2009 Yamaha YZF-R6
With a six-speed transmission ensuring excellent gear ratios, your really can’t argue about R6’s potential, but there’s more. What counts a lot in the lap times fight is also the clutch. In this case, a slipper-type back torque-limiting unit helps at fast braking and downshifting so that can be done as late as possible before a corner.
The Deltabox frame ensures outstanding handling and the fully-adjustable fork and rear shock are suitable both for street and track use. As expected, the brakes are among the most advanced you get (310mm floating disc; radial-mount four-piston calipers up front and 220mm disc, single-piston caliper at the rear) and they also prove high efficiency both on and off the track.
Weight is also very important when speed is the goal and at a 414 lbs wet weight, Yamaha seems to have sorted that problem out (if they ever had it) pretty well. This also makes for faster braking and sharper cornering.
Following the footsteps of the R1, Yamaha introduced the first R6 in 1999. In was a light (429.9 lbs wet weight) and powerful (120 hp at 13,000 rpm) middleweight super sport motorcycle which could do 155.3 mph if you’d dare challenge it. The carbureted 599 cc liquid-cooled, inline four-cylinder; DOHC, 16-valves engine was a real revver, but still managed 68 Nm at 11,500 rpm so the immense potential of this bike was soon spotted by riders who had seen enough of the Honda CBR600F, Kawasaki ZX-6R and Suzuki GSX-R600.
The updated 2001 Yamaha YZF-R6 featured a quick-release number plate hanger and LED taillights. Yamaha didn’t intervene at performance figures so the 2001 model year was just a cooler, but not angrier R6.
But 2003 was the year of changes for the notorious model and the fuel-injection system, swingarm, five-spoke wheels and a revised frame surely suited it well. Still, horsepower and torque didn’t increase with much, but how easy the power was obtained and put on the track was the most important advantage.
In 2006, Yamaha launched an all-new R6 which wasn’t just a race replica, but a true racing bike with headlights, mirrors and street rubber. They aimed towards perfection and the sharp new bike looked like nothing ever seen before. This is when the R6 got the Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle systems and the 600cc engine’s performance went above the 130 hp psychological limit (131 hp at 14,500 rpm) while torque was still 68 Nm but at 6,930.
The 2008 model year was only left to feature the Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake as a new, cool system and it did, making the Yamaha R6 the most sophisticated middleweight super sport bike out there.
2009 Honda CBR600RR
But Honda is coming strong and not necessarily from behind as the 2009 CBR600RR benefits of Combined Anti-Lock Braking, the first ABS system of this class. I suppose this surely qualifies the CBR for the title if the 599cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder; DOHC, four valves per cylinder engine doesn’t. This one if fed through a Dual Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI) with 40mm throttle bodies, Denso 12-hole injectors so it is hard to believe that the gap between Yamaha and Honda is big.
Among the Japanese crowd, the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R600 is one threatening opponent. No wonder as it is powered by a 599cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder; DOHC, 16-valves per cylinder engine and weighs only 432 lbs wet. The fuel injection system features Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) system with dual fuel injectors per cylinder and new compact eight-hole, fine spray injectors so there is plenty to expect there.
2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R
Kawasaki super sport models may be getting uglier with each year that passes, but the performance is there, no doubt about it. The fuel-injected 599cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke; DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four engine is also race-derived so the track is this bike’s middle name.
Undoubtedly, the 2009 Yamaha YZF-R6 qualifies for the meanest looking 600 out there. In fact, this bike is a trendsetter as it as the first to feature such an aggressive riding position as well as an under engine exhaust. Overall, the bike is compact and has a very aggressive appearance (quite frankly, it looks like it wants to eat every single flying creature that passes in its way). If the front end doesn’t convince you, try looking at the rider seat’s positioning angle and if that too looks normal, the passenger riding position will definitely have you going “you’ve got to be kidding me” especially if you actually have to sit there. Ouch!
The gas tank is low mounted into the Deltabox frame allowing the rider enough room to squat under the windscreen in those high-speed rounds. The headlights clearly distinguish this bike as being a Yamaha even though, compared to the first model year, the 2009 looks like a two-wheeled arrow.
The full fairing enhances the compactness impression and improves aerodynamics. Furthermore, the front signal lights are positioned at the half of the side fairing and not as close to the headlights as you would expect.
In the style created three years ago, the R6 features a short silencer that is positioned as low as possible. The five-spoke 17-inch wheels are the appropriate design choice for this bike and so are the 2009 color schemes available: Vivid Orange/Raven,Pearl White,Team Yamaha Blue/White and Raven.
The color scheme elected also has an influence on the base MSRP of the latest R6 model year. So the cheapest is the Raven ($9,990), the middle price is the one for the Team Yamaha Blue/White and the most expensive are the ones painted Pearl White and Vivid Orange/Raven.
Strangely, there is no 10 years anniversary model although that would have been very nice to see. It is also worth mentioning that the Yamaha R6 is the most expensive bike in its class, no matter the color scheme.
With only some remapped YCC-T settings for more power out of corners and new color schemes, Yamaha marks the 10th model year of the R6 and leaves us wondering once again how much better can they make it. What do you think?