At long last a “new” 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 is here! And in case you don’t know already, the rumors are true: Yamaha’s R6 shares the same inline-Four as the last generation R6 – but you know what, who cares? I sure didn’t as I was flogging the R6 near 16,000 revs before tapping the quickshift-enabled shifter to engage the next gear.
Yamaha calls the fourth-generation R6 a new bike based on the fact it has traction control, ABS, a revised front end, upgraded brakes, and new bodywork inspired by the R1 which Yamaha says makes the R6 the most aerodynamic production motorcycle it has ever created. Be sure to check out my First Ride Review of the 2017 Yamaha R6 to catch all the details.
While, like many of you, I would have welcomed an all-new engine inside the new R6 (say, a three-cylinder?), the four-banger Yamaha’s stuck with is no slouch around a racetrack – which is the playground the R6 is meant for. It screams up top, and even has moderate power in the midrange for a 599cc Four. Combined with the same frame as before, the pairing made a great companion to slice through the twists and turns of one of my favorite racetracks, Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California. The front end gave plenty of confidence, which was nice on this day filled with sketchy weather.
Going fast is obviously fun, but slowing down and stopping is even more important. An upgraded braking system sees bigger brakes and a new master cylinder, providing much better feel than before. When all is said and done, Yamaha has definitely made the R6 an even sharper weapon. But is it that much better than the old bike, especially considering its $12,199 price tag? Read my review and watch the video above to find out.