Yamaha R6 2017

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There was a time not so long ago when sportbike enthusiasts inked their calendar with an expectation of springtime bearing the fruit of an all-new middleweight supersport platform from one or more of the Japanese Big Four. Although the annual bumper crop of 600 class sportbikes has all but dried up, for 2017 the sky is Yamaha blue.

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Just as the draught ending watershed winter has transformed the Golden State green, in a sort of symbolic coincidence the first worldwide press ride of the new YZF-R6 took place at Thunderhill Raceway Park located in Northern California. Featuring a sprinkling of performance improvements and fresh styling, a day spent lapping the 15-turn, 3-mile track provided a good taste of the electronic, chassis, and aerodynamic treatment that have been applied to the fourth-generation R6.

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Yamaha R6

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The YZF-R6 was introduced in 1999 as the super sport version of YZF-R1 super bike, and as a companion to the more street-oriented YZF600R sport bike which continued to be sold alongside the R6. The motorcycle featured Yamaha’s completely new engine design capable of producing over 108 hp (81 kW) while stationary. The R6 was the world’s first 600cc production four-stroke motorcycle producing over 100 hp (75 kW) in stock form.

2006 YZF-R6

The YZF-R6 has been revised several times since its introduction. Starting with the 2003 model, when the R6 became fuel-injected. The 2006 model year was a significant upgrade with a new engine management system featuring the YCC-T ride by wire throttle and a multi-plate slipper clutch. The 2008 model incorporated the YCC-I variable-length intake system to optimize power at high engine rpm and an improved Deltabox frame design.

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2006 tachometer problem

In 2006, Yamaha advertised that the R6 had a redline of 17,500 rpm. This is 2,000 rpm higher than the previous R6 model and was the highest tachometer redline of any 2006 production four-stroke motorcycle engine. The true maximum engine speed was limited by the ECU to 15,800 RPM. In February 2006, Yamaha admitted the bike’s true engine redline was more than 1,000 rpm lower than what was indicated on the tachometer and had been advertised, and offered to buy back any R6 if the customer was unhappy.

Motorsport

Chaz Davies helped Yamaha to win both the riders and manufacturers title during the 2011 Motorsport World Championship season. The bike also won the supersport category at the 2008 North West 200 Races.

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Yamaha R1M

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At the centennial EICMA motorcycle show, Yamaha officially unveiled a new generation of R1. Yamaha claims a wet weight of 199 kg (439 lb) The new bike has an electronics package that includes a sophisticated Traction Control (TCS) and Slide Control System (SCS), antiwheelie Lift Control System (LIF), linked antilock brakes, Launch Control System (LCS), Quick Shift System (QSS), and selectable power modes. The Slide Control System on the Yamaha YZF-R1 is the first on a production motorcycle. Information is fed to the bike through a six-axis gyro (Inertial measurement unit) and other sensors over 100 times a second. Power delivery is tapered through manipulation of the throttle butterfly and retarded ignition and fuel cuts. Engine changes include shortened bore-to-stoke ratio , larger airbox, a finger-follower valve system, and fracture split titanium conrods. It comes standard with magnesium wheels. Information is presented to the rider through a user-customizable thin-film display.

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A second higher-spec, limited production model is also produced called the R1M, and is differentiated from the standard model by having more expensive components such as electronic semi-active Öhlins suspension, carbon fiber bodywork, Yamaha’s Communication Control Unit (CCU), Y-TRAC data logging system, and stickier Bridgestone tires with larger rear 200/55-size. A third model starting in 2016 is also offered a lower-spec R1S.

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Yamaha R1 (2009-2014)

In late 2008, Yamaha announced they would release an all new R1 for 2009. The new R1 takes engine technology from the M1 MotoGP bike with its cross plane crankshaft. Crossplane technology puts each connecting rod 90° from the next, with an uneven firing interval of 270°- 180°- 90°- 180°. The 2009 R1 was the first production sportbike to use a crossplane crankshaft and big-bang firing order. The power delivery is the same as a 90° V4 with a 180° crank, such as the Honda VFR800 and very similar to the Yamaha V-Max which has been lauded for its exhaust sound. Yamaha claims the bike would give the rider ‘two engines in one’, the low end torque of a twin and the pace of an inline four. As with previous incarnations of the R1, the 2009 model keeps its Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T).

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Another advancement included on the 2009 model was D-Mode Throttle Control Valve Mapping, which allows a rider to choose between three distinct maps depending on the rider’s environment. Each mode of operation controls YCC-T characteristics, changing how the R1 reacts to rider input. The first mode is Standard Mode, which delivers performance for a wide variety of driving conditions. The second mode is “A” mode which will give a rider more available power in the lower to mid RPM range. The third mode is “B” mode, which is a dial back of the previous mode, designed to soften throttle response in inclement weather and heavy traffic. D-Mode throttle control is controlled by the rider through a forward mode button near the throttle. The instrument panel is more comprehensive than previous models, and the 2009/2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 model had a gear indicator as standard.

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Overall handling of the R1 was improved through changes to frame and suspension. A new sub frame was designed for the 2009 R1, cast from magnesium giving lower weight aiding mass centralisation. The rear shock absorber on the 2009 offers variable speed damping, as well as an easy to tweak pre-load via a screw adjustment. The rear shock now connects underneath the swing arm through a different linkage; a change from previous years’ models. To improve overall handling and safety, Yamaha included an electronic steering damper.

The front has the same classic R1 shape, though the air intake location and headlamp design have been revamped on the 2009 model; using only projector lamps, and using the new-found design space within the nose cone to reroute ram air tubes next to the lights.

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Testing the 2010 model year in the confines of a tri-oval racetrack, Motorcyclist magazine reported a 14-mile (400 m) time of 10.02 seconds @ 144.23 mph (232.12 km/h), and fuel consumption of 25 miles per US gallon (9.4 L/100 km; 30 mpg‑imp). Motorcycle Consumer Newsreported a tested top speed of 176.7 mph (284.4 km/h).

In 2011, the R1 received a new front design and other minor changes.

In 2012 the Yamaha YZF-R1 received traction control and a special edition 50th Anniversary R1 was released. The special edition color is inspired from Assen TT-winning MotoGP bike. The special edition commemorates the participation of Yamaha in MotoGP.

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