Living with a 2008 Yamaha YZF-R6

It took me a few kms to break out on to open roads. But by then, it was too late, I was smitten.
The 2008 Yamaha YZF-R6 is a brilliant sport bike that blends performance with mind boggling handling. Any one who rides one and doesn’t instantly want to own one should really get a full physical for they might be dead.

Since it’s debut in 1999, the YZF-R6 has smashed lap records on racetracks and set the heart racing on twisty mountain roads.

Touring on a 2008 Yamaha YZF R6 in India

How does it ride ?
This motorcycle truly comes alive beyond 9000rpm. However compared to its predecessors the 2008 R6 sports a more “usable mid-range” translating to good behaviour on the street and canyon roads.

The low-end is pretty dismal 😦

What’s impressive is the “best-in-the-class” handling courtesy a stellar chassis – it’s a “point-and-shoot” devil that hunts down apexes and inhales corners at a ludicrous pace.

2008 Yamaha R6 ownership experience in India

City Commute:
The R6 is a very docile motorcycle below 4000rpm, while it can survive in stop-go traffic, pot-holed roads and the massive drone of dust – its happy place is an open road or a racetrack.
These low speeds manifest as enormous heat, blasted towards the rider’s legs and the delta box frame – not at a pleasant place to be.
How to avoid heat from the motorcycle at a traffic light – do not sit on the motorcycle while waiting for the green light, instead put the side-stand and stand next to the motorcycle.

Pillion comfort: doesn’t exist – the rear seat is put out to make it road-worthy.

Ride review of 2008 Yamaha YZF R6 in India

Touring:
The riding position on the R6 is somehow naturally comfortable and I found it much comfortable/relaxed over my Triumph Daytona 675R.
The seat isn’t well cushioned for touring, but then this wasn’t designed to munch miles in comfort.

Tank range: expect a full-tank range of 200-230kms on the highway

Luggage:
Best bet is a tail-bag, tank-bag or a combination of both. Kriega’s US-series of luggage would be my choice to strap on the R6.
Underneath the rear seat of the R6 are in-built loops to strap the Kriega luggage.

Suspension:
The front fork has separate high and low speed compression damping, rebound damping(both non-adjustable), only preload can be adjusted.

2008 Yamaha YZF R6 In India

Ride height adjustment:
Yamaha offers mechanical shims that allow one to change the rear ride height.
Even the front ride height can be altered by purchasing longer fork tubes from Yamaha

Cost of service: Avg of INR 8000 – INR 10,000 per service (includes engine oil and oil-filter replacement)

What I like about the Yamaha R6:

  • Razor-sharp and crisp handling: the chassis of the 2008 R6 is designed to reduce braking effect through the frame. The motorcycle is super agile, yet stable , oozes confidence to turn fast. It’s the best-handling 600 PERIOD
  • Engine: It’s an absolute screamer that revs all the way till 15,800rpm (although the tachometer shows 18,000 rpm :p) – it’s a such a phenomenal engine that Yamaha retained the same engine all the way till the 2020 model.
    • For the 2008 model, the engine was updated with better intervals and a higher compression ratio of 13.1:1 over its predecessors (12.8:1)
  • Mechanical ride height adjustment: Yamaha offers OEM parts to alter the ride height at the front and rear of the motorcycle – super cool !!
  • Build quality: The quality of the switches, the fit and finish of the body-panels and the quality of paint are supreme.
  • Access to service the motorcycle: It is so easy to take off the body panels and access the internals for a quick oil change or to clean them – kudos Yamaha !!

What I don’t like:

  • Limp Low-end power: it’s a complete lack-lustre. over the years the R6 has become very track-focused, sacrificing a bit of street ability in the quest for better lap times.
  • No braided brake lines: our Indian temperature isn’t kind on the OE rubber brake lines which tend to make the brakes spongy. Switch to steel braided brake lines for better brake feel and performance
  • No fuel gauge: considering this motorcycle will be used on the street and highway, a fuel gauge is needed
Living with a 2008 Yamaha YZF R6 in India

The R6 casts a powerful spell. It left me aching to own it. Never before have I wanted a motorcycle to be mine so badly

So persuasive is its appeal and promise that I’m sold. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. If only I could.

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