2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 Preview

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Yamaha revealed a new YZF-R6, adding new engine modes, traction control, ABS and a front suspension system derived from the YZF-R1. The most successful 600cc supersport in AMA Road Racing history also receives new styling including an aerodynamic fairing, lighter aluminum fuel tank and all-LED lighting.

The engine remains a 599cc inline-Four with sixteen valves and a 13.1:1 compression ratio. The Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) system manages the fueling with three selectable maps. The new traction control system offers six levels of intervention (plus off). The system manages traction by balancing throttle opening, ignition timing, and fuel volume. Yamaha says the TC is designed to minimize disruption of forward drive while also adapting to changing tire diameter and grip. Yamaha has not released any power numbers but did claim a wet weight of 419 pounds. That’s a two-pound increase over the outgoing model, but that’s also factoring in the new standard ABS.

MotoAmerica Supersport Champion Garrett Gerloff brought the new R6 on stage for its debut in Orlando at AIMExpo, saying the updates will help him in the 2017 season.

Power is delivered through a six-speed transmission matched to a slipper clutch. European models come standard with a quick shifter but it will be sold as an accessory for American models. But if you really want a quick shifter, Yamaha says the first 500 customers in the U.S. to place an early deposit will get it for free.

YZF600 YZF-R6 Feature YZF USA CAN 2017

The new R6’s deltabox aluminum frame is paired to a new magnesium subframe Yamaha says reduces overall weight while improving mass centralization. The seat height remains at the same 33.5 inches as the outgoing model but the seat is flatter and narrower at the front. Combined with the reshaped fuel tank, Yamaha says the new R6 makes it easier for a rider to shift around and quickly transfer weight for aggressive race track maneuvering. As an added bonus, the tank is aluminum, shaving off 2.6 pounds from the previous steel tank.

The R6 inherits the fully-adjustable 43mm KYB fork from the R1 and the superbike’s 25mm axle shaft, but with revised tuning specific for the R6. KYB also supplies a new piggyback rear shock offering four-way preload and damping adjustability. The braking system is also derived from the R1, with four-piston radial-mount calipers gripping the twin 320mm front rotors.

Yamaha engineers redesigned the R6’s aerodynamics, claiming an 8% reduction in drag. The front face is inspired by the R1 with a central air intake similar to Yamaha’s M1 MotoGP racer. The intake is surrounded by a pair of recessed LED headlights creating an aggressive, squinty scowl. The R6 also uses LEDs in the mirror-integrated turn signals and rear taillight.

American consumers will have a choice of three color schemes: Matt Black, Team Yamaha Blue or Intensity White/Matte Silver. The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 arrives in U.S. showrooms in March with pricing set at $12,199.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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  • John phyyt John phyyt on Oct 13, 2016

    Ducati's Super-sport class bike is now nearly 1000cc. Because ! They have special needs ? Go figure.
    It seems unrealistic to expect innovation in a class which is so unequal. If you want to know one reason why 600cc bikes died it is because Dorna or whoever allowed Ducati to have different rules.

    • Born to Ride Born to Ride on Oct 16, 2016

      Uh, Ducati doesn't race in world super sport. And if you are referring to the new SS939, your confusing the super sport racing class with a specific model that Ducati produced for years in various engine displacements, ranging from 620cc to 992cc. It was built to offer customers a lower cost and performance alternative to their race-homologated super bikes such as the 998 or 748, which did conform to the strict displacement rules.

  • JoMeyer JoMeyer on Oct 15, 2016

    Personal view, no critisicm on the 600 class, but I'm wondering if this is not a huge missed opportunity. This bike with the triple from the FZ09, tuned for higher end performance like Triumph does with the Daytona... I'd be sleeping in front of the store to get mine. Suzuki has great success year after year with the 750, Ducati has had some success with the 899 - who cares if the thing conforms to some "class"?