2009 Yamaha FZ6R - First Look

Yamaha’s all-new FZ6R is a feature-packed entry-level middleweight sportbike.

2009 Yamaha FZ6R - First Look

Responding to budget-minded riders, Yamaha introduced the all-new FZ6R in Las Vegas on September 8th. Although it has a superficial resemblance to the FZ6, it is completely different, with a reworked engine, tube-steel chassis, adjustable ergonomics and full fairing.

According to Motorcycle Industry Council data, new-unit sales are down in the industry as a whole, but sportbike sales as a percentage of total units sold continues to grow. One of the fastest-growing segments within the sportbike category is the 750cc and smaller category, with first-time buyers, women and more experienced riders all heavily represented.

To try and make them all happy, the FZ6R's motor is a blend of performance and beginner-friendly characteristics. Yamaha started with the basic engine from the prior-generation YZF-R6 (still available in 2009 as the YZF-R6S) and then reworked almost every component. The 600cc motor shares the R6S' 12.2:1 compression ratio and 66.5 x 44.5mm bore-and-stroke numbers, but the power delivery is tuned for a torqueier feel in the bottom and middle of the power range. That, combined with a new clutch and shifter, is designed to appeal to entry-level riders and commuters.

The rest of the bike is also all-new, despite its suspiciously FZ6-like appearance. It uses a cheaper-to-produce steel-tube chassis and box-section steel swingarm (the FZ6's parts are cast and extruded aluminum) that sports an exceedingly low and narrow seat for a 600cc sportbike that can be adjusted .8-inch higher than the 30.9-inch low setting. The tubular handlebar rotates forward .8-inch for more adjustability. Radial Bridgestone BT021 rubber, a 120/70-17 front and 160/60-17 rear are mounted on five-spoke alloy wheels. Two-piston calipers clamp the 298mm front discs, and a single-piston caliper handles the 245mm rotor in back.

With a 56.7-inch wheelbase and claimed 467-pound wet weight (Yamaha is following the lead of Honda and some other manufacturers by posting "ready-to-ride" weights for their bikes, including all fluids and a full tank of gas), the FZ6R isn't exactly a lightweight. Instead, it competes with full-sized, yet beginner-friendly rides like the $6999 2008 Suzuki GSX650F and $6499 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 650R. The bike will be in showrooms in January, priced at $6990 for the Raven Black model or $7090 for the Pearl White, Cadmium Yellow or Team Yamaha Blue/White versions.

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R

2009 Yamaha FZ6R