2008 Yamaha YZF-R6 - First Ride

Fly-By-Wire Throttle,Variable-Length Intake Tracts And Other Electronic Trickery Make The '08 R6 The Most Potent Yet

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Yamaha, Fran Kuhn

As mentioned previously, the bodywork was reshaped in subtle ways to freshen up the look without abandoning the familiar (and popular) styling. The ram-air inlet is enlarged slightly and the mirrors are relocated to the upper mounting stay to improve airflow over the fairing. A lower fairing vent was removed and some mounting hardware was hidden to clean up the aerodynamics on the bottom half, while the tailsection was re-shaped to make the passenger pad look more "wing-like." The licenseplate hanger is a quick-detach assembly to simplify track-day or racing prep, and other track-ready touches include a built-in lap timer controlled by the right handlebar switches and a programmable shift light.

These latter points will undoubtedly be appreciated by core R6 enthusiasts who increasingly expect race-ready performance from Yamaha's premier 600cc-class offering. Our initial track test suggests these riders will be rewarded, as we were during our most recent visit to Laguna Seca. Dj vu, it turns out, isn't always as we remember it.

Tech Spec
An even more aggressive, track-focused version of last year's already uncompromising R6.

The usual suspects: Honda CBR, Kawasaki ZX-6R, Suzuki gSX-R and Triumph's Daytona 675 triple.

Price: $9599-$9799
Engine type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, 16v
Displacement: 599cc
Bore x stroke: 67.0 x 42.5mm
Compression: 13.1:1
Fuel system: Mikuni EFI w/YCC-T and YCC-I
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate slipper
Transmission: 6-speed
Claimed hp: na
Claimed torque: na
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension: 41mm Soqi fork with adj. preload, high/low compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Soqi shock with adj. preload, high/low compression and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Sumitomo four-piston radial calipers, 310mm discs
Rear brake: Single Nissin one-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier
Rear tire: 180/55-ZR17 Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier
Rake/trail: 24.0/3.8 in.
Seat height: 33.5 in.
Wheelbase: 54.3 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.6 gal.
Claimed dry weight: 366 lbs.
Color: Team Yamaha Blue/White, Raven, Liquid Silver, Cadmium Yellow w/Flames
Available: Now
Warranty: 12 mo., unlimited mi.

A clear improvement over last year's somewhat wheezy, slightly nervous-handling R6.

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