When it comes to raw handling prowess, and going fast around paved bends, few motorcycles perform better than Yamaha's razor-sharp YZF-R6. For 20 years, the Tuning Fork brand has been stamping its middleweight 600cc supersport for riders who want to experience the thrill of sport riding.
Last updated for the 2017 model year, the more slippery YZF-R6 is powered by a high-revving inline-four engine that loves to scream—to the tune of nearly 16,000 rpm. Although the powertrain is 11 years old, the R6's I4 remains modern in terms of feel and performance courtesy its variable intake system (YCC-I) and adjustable D-Mode throttle mapping. It also benefits from Yamaha's 2012-gen YZF-R1 traction control system, a big plus for those who ride on the street, especially in inclement weather.
However its svelte, 420-pound curb weight and ability to eat up corners is where the R6 shines. More modern 2015-generation YZF-R1 suspension and more sturdy brake hardware make it a hoot to barrel into corners on. Factor in the MotoGP-derived body panels and full LED lighting, and it’s a motorcycle that looks as tasty as it performs.
Yes, its racy, yes, it’s not as forgiving nor as cozy to ride on the street as an MT-09, but if you desire a thrilling sportbike with a passable level of everyday street capability, you won’t be disappointed with the YZF-R6.