The 2016 AIMExpo kicked off on Thursday from Orlando, Florida's Orange County Convention Center, featuring a day filled with introductions from many of the industry's most prominent brands and manufacturers, highlighted by both global and North American debuts.
Last year, Kawasaki was the motorcycle manufacturer to roll out new models in the early pre-show hours. This year, Yamaha hosted the official global debut of its brand new Yamaha YZF-R6 sport bike.
‘With over 150,000 units sold in the USA , three World Supersport Championships over the last seven years, and 21 AMA Professional Road Racing Championships over the last 13 years, the YZF-R6 is on the record as being one of the most popular and winningest supersport motorcycles ever built, explains Yamaha. ’Light, agile and fast, this iconic 600cc supersport model is the number one choice with today's racers who are looking to progress quickly through the competition ranks.’
What is without doubt, since its debut in 1999, it has remained one of the most dynamic looking motorcycles in its class, and has attracted an intensely loyal and dedicated following.
For 2017 Yamaha has completely restyled this respected middleweight supersport motorcycle, while incorporating refinements to the electronics and chassis that they feel will contribute to continued class dominance.
2017 YZF-R6 at AIMExpo - Source Yamaha
What’s new for 2017
Sleek new fairings immediately signal the serious intent of the 2017 YZF-R6 while boosting aerodynamic efficiency. All-LED lighting is meant to create a sinister new front face, while integrated front turn signals, a new aluminum fuel tank, and R1-style tail section with stepped seat finish off the profile perfectly.
The suite of electronic features found on many performance motorcycles are also seen on the 2017 YZF-R6. The ride-by-wire Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) integrates a range of electronic rider aids to give the rider even more control, including selectable D-Mode engine response, a multi-mode traction control system and an accessory quick shifter.
Adding to improved performance, the new R6 features the same KYB 43mm inverted front fork as the YZFR1, tuned to suit the unique characteristics of the R6. A new KYB rear shock provides a massive range of adjustment as well.
For 2017, the YZF-R6 now features larger 320mm front disc brakes, matched to radial-mount four-piston calipers and a Nissin radial mount master cylinder, all right off the R1, for exceptional braking power. ABS is also new for 2017, to ensure braking control across less than ideal road conditions.
Yamaha's supersport design team continually work to achieve higher levels of performance in every area, and the 2017 YZF-R6 is equipped with new bodywork that provides what is being described as ‘the most efficient aerodynamics ever featured on a production Yamaha motorcycle’.
The low-drag front fairing has been developed using some of the key elements from the YZFR1, resulting in a significant improvement of 8% in aerodynamic efficiency. In addition to the redesigned front cowl and windscreen, the YZF-R6’s new LED turn signals are incorporated within the rear view mirrors to reduce turbulence and drag.
Along with a central forced air intake and recessed LED twin headlights, the YZF-R6’s aggressive looks make it instantly recognizable as a member of the R World family.
2017 YZF-R6 at AIMExpo - Source Yamaha
A closer look
The R6 is powered by a compact and lightweight 599cc DOHC liquid-cooled four-cylinder engine featuring the latest manufacturing technology. Sixteen titanium valves, a high 13.1:1 compression ratio and lightweight forged pistons allow for smooth high-revving power. Linerless, direct-plated ceramic-composite cylinder bores provide excellent heat dissipation and reduced friction while the magnesium engine covers minimize engine weight.
Mentioned earlier, the YZF-R6 features Yamaha’s Chip Controlled Intake which electronically changes the effective intake tract length to give the benefits of both shorter and taller intake stacks in a single engine, allowing for a broader, more tractable powerband. The twin injector intake system also uses shower-style fuel injectors above the intakes to provide optimum fuel atomization at high rpm.
To provide an even higher degree of controllability in a wide range of conditions, the YZF-R6 is equipped with an advanced Traction Control System (TCS) that is adjusted by a switch on the handlebars and features 6 levels of selectable intervention, as well as an OFF function. The TCS's intelligent software is designed to ensure that there is no unnatural feeling when it intervenes, and the system also compensates for rear tire wear to give consistent performance. This Traction Control System assists the rider in managing traction on various road conditions by quickly modulating throttle opening, ignition timing and fuel volume. On the R6, the advanced system is designed to operate and intervene extremely smoothly, for minimal disruption to forward drive, and unlike many TC systems, is capable of adapting to changing tire diameter and grip caused by tire wear. The YZF-R6 TCS includes six modes (plus off) to suit various road conditions and rider preferences.
Yamaha’s D-Mode system, found on several of the company’s other motorcycle models, is now a feature of the YZF-R6. The system allows the rider to choose the optimum engine character for their riding situation and preferences from three throttle valve control maps; Standard Mode, ‘A’ Mode, and ‘B’ Mode, all for different throttle response characteristics at the push of a button.
Available as an accessory, a new Quick Shift System (QSS) allows for faster gear changing and provides YZF-R6 owners with an additional performance option. The QSS instantly cancels drive torque when an upshift is detected, enabling full-throttle clutchless upshifts for outstanding acceleration through the close ratio 6-speed transmission.
2017 YZF-R6 - Source Yamaha
While not trying to stereotype, many riders finding themselves in the saddle of the YZF-R6 either enjoy performance or are lucky enough to attend a few track days. Not surprising then to think would-be buyers are drawn by the technology found on the track and used by professional riders.
The YZF-R6 Deltabox aluminum frame incorporates years of GP development in terms of geometry, engine positioning and rigidity, resulting in the gold standard in 600-class handling. The R6 combines lightning-fast handling agility with confidence-inspiring mid-corner stability.
An all-new magnesium subframe removes weight from the rear of the motorcycle for increased mass centralization, while the redesigned seat—now flatter and 20mm narrower at the front—makes it easier to reach the ground and gives riders more room to maneuver during aggressive racetrack riding.
The lightweight swingarm pivots high in the frame, for increased antisquat effect and mid-corner stability. A new piggyback shock design features four-way preload and damping adjustability for effective wheel control across a wide variety of conditions.
A new instrument display features an analog-style tachometer and digital speedometer, while incorporating TCS and ABS status indicators.
The 2017 YZF-R6 is equipped with new KYB upside down forks that feature large diameter 43mm tubes, compared to 41mm on the previous model to give a more planted feel, particularly during braking and cornering. These forks, along with a 25mm front axle, mirror the exact components used on the YZF-R1, with the exception of settings tuned for the YZF-R6.
Together with the newly-designed adjustable KYB rear shock, the 43mm KYB forks offer a full range of adjustability that allows the rider to dial in their suspension and chassis set up to achieve precise and responsive handling performance to match road and track conditions.
2017 YZF-R6 - Source Yamaha
The new YZF-R6 also benefits from the use of an Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), a new feature for the model, that incorporates dual 320mm discs and aluminum 4-pot opposed piston calipers as part of a complete radial brake system that provides outstanding feel together with remarkable stopping power.
Manufactured from aluminum and weighing 1.2kg less than the steel equivalent, a new streamlined aluminum fuel tank features deep knee recesses that enable the rider to grip the motorcycle firmly and find an ideal position to match their physique and riding style.
The combination of the new fuel tank together with the new slimmer subframe and flatter seat have created a shorter reach to the ground when stopped, and an improved riding position that is designed to give riders a greater feeling of control on the street and track.
The 2017 YZF-R6 will be offered in three different colors, Intensity White/Matte Silver, Matte Raven Black, and Team Yamaha Blue, and will retail for $12,199 with availability in dealerships beginning in March 2017.
Riders who just can’t wait and want one of the first 2017 YZF-R6 to appear on showroom floors, Yamaha Dealers have started taking deposits as part of a Priority Delivery Program. As further incentive, a free accessory Quick Shift System will be given to the first 500 buyers with a $500 deposit, but buyers should note, installation not included.
2017 YZF-R6 - Source Yamaha