Saturday, October 20, 2007

2008 Yamaha YZF R6: Can it win this time around?

The 2008 Yamaha R6. The hottest supersport machine around? You bet!

With its sharp styling, track-oriented performance and high-tech bits like fly-by-wire throttle, the 2006-07 Yamaha R6 was generally seen as the most ‘cutting edge’ 600cc supersports machine around. And yet, in terms of both real-world usability and the ability to put in fast laps on the track, the Yamaha took a proper beating from the Honda CBR600RR and the Triumph 675 Daytona.

So of course, Yamaha have given a comprehensive makeover to their middleweight challenger. While we had posted the first pics of the 2008 Yamaha R6 last month, more details are available now and it seems that while the ‘new’ R6 looks pretty much the same as the old one, a lot may have changed under the skin.

To begin with, the 2008 R6 gets an electronically controlled variable-length air-intake system (YCC-I), which Yamaha first implemented on the 2007 R1. The Yamaha Chip-Controlled Intake system uses a set of ‘extension funnels’ which vary the length of the air intake tracts according to the engine rpm, for better throttle response and optimized power delivery throughout the rev range.

The R6’s fly-by-wire computer-controlled throttle system has also been reworked, and it now works in tandem with the YCC-I system to deliver better, more crisp throttle response. The four-cylinder engine runs a compression ratio of 13.1:1, which is the highest Yamaha have ever used on a streetbike. This does make the use of high-octane fuel an absolute must, but you get a robust 135bhp in return. And yes, the R6 gets a slipper clutch to deal with back-torque / wheel hopping issues under hard braking.

The R6’s aluminium ‘Deltabox’ chassis has been revised and by reducing the thickness of the main spars, a bit more flex has been built into it for better feedback. The rear sub-frame is now made of magnesium, the redesigned swingarm is a bit longer, and the suspension at both ends is independently adjustable for high- and low-speed compression damping. Brake discs are slightly thicker (by 0.5mm) on the new bike, for better heat dissipation and more braking consistency.

Ergonomics are even more race-oriented on the 2008 model. Aching wrists...

One change which will certainly elicit mixed response is the ergonomics, which are now even more extreme, more track-oriented than before. The bars and lower and further forward, so be prepared for aching wrists while commuting at low speeds through heavy traffic. Of course, if you live for Sunday morning blasts through the local twisties, or if you’re buying your bike primarily as a track-day tool, we’re sure you wouldn’t be disappointed!

How will the 2008 Yamaha R6 fare against competition from Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki and Triumph? We’ll certainly find out over the next few weeks…!

Also see:
MotoGP: 600cc four-strokes to replace 250cc two-strokes by 2010?
Fast past: Suzuki GSX-R1100 vs Bimota SB6!
Face off: 1989 Yamaha OW-01 vs 2008 Yamaha R1...
Rizla Suzuki: The BEST pit girls in MotoGP!!!
Future ready: High-tech Yamaha, Honda and Ducati racers...
First pics and details: 2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600
2008 KTM 690 sportsbike range...
First pics and details: 2008 Kawasaki ZX-6R!

External links:
Can Harley-Davidsons be really sexy? Jesus Christ, yes, yes, yes!!!
Strange four-wheeled scooter from Taiwan...

Memorable: The 1999 Yamaha YZR500! More pics of the YZR500 here

Faster and Faster! Huge collection of hi-res MotoGP wallpaper here
Face off: Audi S1 Quattro (one of the most awesome rally cars ever made) vs Hayabusa-powered buggy
Video: Motoblog

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