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2009 Yamaha FZ6R First Impressions


by Marc Cantin ,

The all-new 2009 Yamaha FZ6R, whose fairing and all new chassis hide a major evolution of the R6-sourced engine, is designed for riders looking for a sport-type machine that remains comfortable and easy to ride both during short city stints and long highway cruises.

The FZ6R's versatility makes it almost a do-it-all sport bike, equally suited for beginners seeking their first mid-size motorcycle, and seasoned riders looking for a lightweight, capable machine delivering great handling and performance about town, and enough juice and power for solo/two-up riding on the highway. All that with attractive pricing! Way to go, Yamaha!

The Canadian version of the 2009 Yamaha FZ6R features full length fairings for improved protection against the elements, as well as a definitely sportbike look in an excellent entry-level middleweight bike.

We also rode the French version of the FZ6R, which features a shorter top fairing, which projects the locally-preferred Street Fighter look in a country where protection from the elements is not as critical as in our Great White North.


Derived from the R6, the 600-cc engine of the Yamaha FZ6R gets a completely-revamped cylinder head, a compression ratio suited for North American fuels, smaller valves and intake/exhaust manifolds than on the R6 (favoring low-end torque instead of redline-tickling power), softened cam profiles as well as revised ignition and injection mapping.

While 78 horsepower at 10,000 rpm and 44 pounds-feet of torque at 8,500 rpm fail to impress at first, you can feel from the get-go that Yamaha engineers have endowed the machine with some real torque from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm -- the rev range most often used in urban conditions.

Gear ratios are spaced wider apart than on the R6, stating with a shorter first gear, which also makes city riding easier while taking advantage of the fat part of the torque curve (3,500 to 7,500 rpm) to toy with traffic. Keeping pace with everyone on boulevards and byroads poses no problem. Plus, like every other model featuring this same powertrain, the smooth clutch and light gearbox internals make for jolt-free and effortless gear changes.
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