THERE’S a great song by American hard rockers Motley Crue called Kickstart My Heart. That song is the first thing you think of when you straddle the 2019 Yamaha YZF–R6 and twist the throttle. As the sports bike accelerates, we realise, we’re high on speed.
And no, not the drug, but rather the exceptional acceleration offered by the the all-conquering Yamaha YZF–R1’s smaller sibling. For the record, the R6 is also a great ride that delivers excellent performance and handling to the rider.
Boasting a 599cc liquid cooled 4-stroke, 4-valve, forward inclined parallel 4-cylinder motor, the R6 is a serious weapon on the road or the track, and it has the pedigree to prove it, with three SuperSport world titles in recent years.
Mated to a constant mesh 6-speed transmission that utilises Yamaha’s QSS quick shift system, similar to that found on the R1, the package offers faster full throttle clutch-less gear changes and instantly cancels dive torque during up-shift.
The R6 isn’t short on tech either, and features the Japanese bike maker’s chip controlled throttle and intake, delivering a greater level of grip, while a new advanced traction control system adds to your ability to stay upright.
It’s all very impressive and translates into a bike that feels like a real stallion, with beautiful note changes as you push through the rev range. We did find the R6 slightly labored at low revs, but twist the throttle and that note becomes orchestral.
Rev it to 6,000rpm and the YZF-R6 springs to life and feels like it truly wants to launch. Wind that out to 10 grand and you might as well be aboard a MotoGP bike as the bike screams its way to its next performance range. At this point, it’s time to hang on.
There is no point having this sensational motor though if there’s no way to utilise it, but a new lower drag front fairing gives a significant improvement of some 8 per cent in aerodynamic efficiency.
The bike’s LED flashers are now incorporated within the rear-view mirrors too, to further reduce drag and turbulence. The 2019 Yamaha YZF-R6 is also fitted with a newly designed seat and rear sub-frame that allow the rider to shift their body weight more efficiently.
Pushing it through the twisty section of a quiet country road, we found ourselves thoroughly enjoying the lightweight maneuverability of the R6. Not only was the throttle response excellent, but under braking the bike dipped nicely at the nose and flicked into the corners beautifully.
Braking is handled by dual 320mm discs that are equipped with aluminum 4–pot opposed piston calipers that give the rider great feel and outstanding stopping power. The new design benefits from one of the most advanced systems fitted to any production bike.
KYB upside down 43mm forks are now standard on the 2019 YZF-R6, matching the setup used on the YZF-R1 and allowing the rider the ability to dial in their suspension. The rear suspension gets the treatment as well, featuring a newly designed adjustable KYB shock.
What you get in the R6 is a great entry into the Super Sport market. It offers outright performance, handling and braking, in a user friendly package that’s great fun for weekend warriors and track riders alike.
Available in traditional Yamaha Blue (our test bike) or Matt Grey, it offers loads of versatility and is a solid everyday ride as well. You can jump on board a 2019 Yamaha YZF–R6 from $19,594.
It’s a little dearer than its main rivals in the Kawasaki ZX-6R and Suzuki GSX-R600 though, but definitely worth considering.
Our test bike was provided by Yamaha Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Yamaha YZF-R6, contact your local Yamaha dealer.