After 21 years, Yamaha has announced the venerable YZF-R6 will be discontinued after the 2020 model year. This coming on the news today of the V Star 250, Bolt R-Spec, XSR700 and XSR900, Super Ténéré ES, FJR1300ES, Star Venture, and XMAX all continuing on for 2021 with what basically amounts to, as we say in the moto-journo biz – Bold New Graphics (BNG).
However, the shock announcement of the R6 coming to an end may not be such a shock after all considering looming Euro5 regulations and the languishing state of sportbike sales, especially in the 600cc supersport category. It appears as though Yamaha brass didn’t see it worthwhile to update and/or upgrade the Euro4 R6 in order to meet the more stringent Euro5 requirements.
Such a move is not entirely new, as Honda went through a similar phase already, discontinuing the CBR600RR for much of the world circa 2017 (although remaining stock is still being sold in North America) primarily due to emissions regulations. And even though Honda has released an updated CBR600RR, it will only be sold in Japan and Australia and still doesn’t meet Euro5 regulations anyway.
Ever since its introduction in 1999, the YZF-R6 has been a formidable force in supersport racing, even winning for the first time in only the second race of the 1999 World Supersport season. Since then, the R6 has racked up more wins and championships around the globe than we can count – so should racers and race teams be worried about the R6’s discontinuation?
Not exactly. Nevermind the fact that used R6s are a dime a dozen, Yamaha is respecting the bike’s racing heritage and will still be making new versions going forward. Now the bike we know as the R6 will be called the Yamaha R6 Race – a non-homologated, track-only motorcycle Yamaha will be happy to sell you – as long as you’re in Europe. Here in the US, you can expect dealers to slash prices on R6s until the inventory is gone. Even still, Yamaha’s literature was unclear on whether the R6 Race will ostensibly be the current R6, complete with lights, mirrors, and turn indicators, even if none of those things are necessary for a track-only vehicle.
Sweetening the pot for European customers anyway, opt for Yamaha’s R6 GYTR kit and you’ll get all the usual bits one would do to their R6 to get it truly track-worthy, including:
What’s more, additional GYTR and Öhlins bits are still available if the above isn’t enough.
There’s another legendary Yamaha name approaching its final curtain call. The outlandish Yamaha VMAX, first introduced as the V-Max in 1985 before getting a big overhaul in 2009 that made it so bombastic its name changed to ALL CAPS, is finally seeing the end of the line.
Arguably the original power cruiser, the VMAX’s anime-like styling was an eye-turner in 1985, and its 1197cc V4 engine – and later the 1679cc redesigned version – was revered for its ability to rip your arms off. Though it never came with a turbo, the original V-Max came with a feature called V-Boost that imitates turbo boost by opening butterfly valves at high rpm to send a rush of fresh air to the combustion chambers.
It’s surprising that from its start in 1985 until 2008 the V-Max was essentially the same motorcycle. The 2009 VMAX makeover was clearly long overdue, and though it was thoroughly modernized, there was no denying its status as a VMAX. The inspiration was the same, but everything about the VMAX was bigger – the engine, the bodywork, everything.
Like the R6 though, the VMAX simply didn’t make sense for Yamaha to update to meet Euro5. So, away it goes, marking the end of a very legendary lineage. In fact, the VMAX wasn’t Euro4 compliant either and was only sold in North America for the last few years. This truly is the end of the road.
Other Yamaha models getting the axe for 2021 include the WR250R – “probably the most performance-focused model out of the plated 250 class,” says a mildly dejected Ryan Adams, and the urban-friendly SMAX scooter. The full press release is below.
Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, today announced several 2021 Sport Heritage, Adventure Touring, Sport Touring, Transcontinental Touring and scooter models to join the recently released full line of Hyper Naked MT motorcycles.
From riding around town to long-distance touring, the Super Ténéré ES, FJR1300ES, Star Venture and XMAX scooter will continue their reign of Yamaha’s legendary performance. Returning to the 2021 motorcycle lineup, the Sport Heritage bikes including the Bolt R-Spec, V Star 250, XSR700 and XSR900 return with a mix of old-school classic looks and modern technological features.
2021 V Star 250
The light and nimble 2021 V Star 250 is the only V-Twin in its class. Coupled with a seat that is just 27 inches from the pavement, the V Star 250 is the perfect choice for riders who want fun in a small package.
The 2021 V Star 250 will be available in Raven for an MSRP of $4,499 and will be available at authorized Yamaha dealers beginning in December.
2021 Bolt R-Spec
With its electronic fuel injection and Transistor Controlled Ignition (TCI), the 2021 Bolt R-Spec delivers class-leading performance. The compact, stable chassis and the unique Bolt persona round out the Bolt R-Spec’s urban performance and style.
The 2021 Bolt R-Spec will be available in Raven for an MSRP of $8,499 and will be available at authorized Yamaha dealers beginning in December.
2021 XSR700 and XSR900
With timeless neo-retro style and performance-driven technology, the 2021 XSR700 and XSR900 are modern classics. The XSR700’s standout style and compact twin-cylinder engine not only give the bike unique power characteristics but a unique look while the XSR900 blends world-class engineering, a thrilling triple-cylinder engine and cutting-edge electronics with retro-influenced bodywork for a nostalgic yet modern ride.
The 2021 XSR700 will be available in Radical White/Rapid Red for an MSRP of $8,499 and the 2021 XSR900 will also be available in Radical White/Rapid Red for an MSRP of $9,499. Both models will begin arriving at authorized Yamaha dealers in December.
2021 Super Ténéré ES
Rugged, durable and built for superior long-distance adventure touring, the 2021 Super Ténéré ES is made for exploring beyond the pavement. With its exceptionally compact 1199cc engine and electronically adjusted suspension, the Super Ténéré ES’s features are designed for riding across town or for riding across the continent.
The 2021 Super Ténéré ES will be available in Matte Raven Black for an MSRP of $16,299 and will be available at authorized Yamaha dealers beginning in December.
The 2021 FJR1300ES puts the “sport” in Supersport touring. The 1298cc, DOHC, 16 valve, liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder engine delivers superb, smooth-running power and torque for unequaled muscular acceleration across the rpm range.
The 2021 FJR1300ES will be available in Liquid Graphite for an MSRP of $17,999 and will be available at authorized Yamaha dealers beginning in January 2021.
2021 Star Venture
The “top-of-the-line” transcontinental tourer, the 2021 Star Venture features a high torque, 1854cc V-Twin engine. Combined with cutting-edge comfort- and technology-focused rider aides, the Star Venture features GPS navigation, SiriusXM®, additional speakers and Yamaha’s exclusive Dual Zone audio control as well as standard LED fog lights, additional onboard storage and a security alarm.
The 2021 Star Venture will be available in Intensity White or Impact Blue for an MSRP of $26,999. The Venture will be available at authorized Yamaha dealers beginning in December.
The 2021 XMAX is the ultimate sport scooter with its fuel efficient and performance-proven engine, convenience and technology and the luxurious, comfortable yet practical features.
The 2021 XMAX will be available in Matte Midnight Blue for an MSRP of $5,699 and will begin arriving at authorized Yamaha dealers in April 2021.
With deep consideration of evolving global market trends and regulations that limit production volumes on certain models, the following Yamaha models will be discontinued after model year 2020: YZF-R6, VMAX, WR250R and SMAX.
Yamaha understands the iconic history of these models. Regarding the future, Yamaha is continuously looking at new ideas and concepts to support and expand the market, as well as enhance our customers’ experiences.
Consumers can contact their local Yamaha dealer on the remaining model year 2020 availability of these discontinued models.
To learn more about these models, as well as Yamaha’s complete lineup of 2021 motorcycles, visit https://www.