The Yamaha YZF-R6 loves to rev – a 15,500 rpm redline was high for the time. And it’s powerful. 160mph fast doesn’t sound amazing in these days of 180+mph bikes but unleashing the Yamaha YZF-R6's 108bhp certainly feels pretty special. The midrange is surprisingly meaty too although the top end rush hides it. The gearbox isn’t the smoothest but it’s at least a match for most Hondas.
Ride and HandlingMCN rating
Light, rapid steering and hard to fault on the track – ultimately the Yamaha YZF-R6's pegs will touch down but that takes some doing. The bars will waggle under power but the Yamaha YZF-R6 is a fast steering track bike so that’s to be expected. It can’t quite match the composition and easy turn in of the latest supersport 600s but it’s a small difference – chassis wear will be more significant on most machines.
Sports bikes don’t have to be crippling and impractical. And the Yamaha YZF-R6 is neither. The riding position’s pretty reasonable – touring’s possible although the seat could benefit from a gel insert. The Yamaha YZF-R6's instruments are comprehensive for the era and include an extra trip meter triggered by the fuel reserve. Above average underseat storgage, good headlights, passable mirrors.
Quality and ReliabilityMCN rating
The Yamaha YZF-R6's finish is a mixed bag. Plenty of major parts resist the rigors of rain and salt well. But a few smaller parts let the Yamaha YZF-R6 down. Bolts, brackets and fasteners plus a handful of bigger components fur or rust up far too easily. Major Yamaha YZF-R6 reliability problems are extremely rare. Check for heavy oil consumption and any form of gearbox fault.
This is a popular, but value for money, class and it’s hard fought on price. The Yamaha YZF-R6 is not only the best bike from late 1998 to the end of 2000 it’s the best looking too so prices hold up quite well. Suzuki’s GSX-R is track capable but poor on the road, Honda’s CBR is a sound machine but revvy and the Kawaski’s more road focused. Find a Yamaha R6 for sale
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1998: Original Yamaha YZF-R6 launched.
2001: Updated Yamaha YZF-R6 includes quick release number plate hanger and most obviously LED tail lights.
2003: Yamaha YZF-R6 gets new swingarm, fuel injection replaces carbs, revised frame, five-spoke wheels.