Click on the image above for more high-res images of the 2008 R6
The last time that the Yamaha R6 was redesigned in 2006, the focus was purely on the racetrack, with street riding a distant thought in the backs of engineers minds. We're not suggesting that the R6 isn't a capable bike to ride on the street, but there are certainly far better choices if your main goal were to commute back and forth to work. On the track, however, the R6 shines with its high-RPM power band and razor-sharp handling traits. This year, the R6 got a few tweaks in an effort to add midrange power while still retaining its class-leading high-RPM punch, including a higher compression ratio, Yamaha's Chip Controlled Intake (YCC-I) and Yamaha's Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T). These changes have allowed the R6 to break the 170 mile-per-hour barrier, a first for a 600cc machine. Fortunately, Yamaha saw fit to increase chassis stability by reinforcing the steering head, engine mounting points and rear swingarm pivot, among other subtle tweaks. Suspension tuning is slightly different too, with a 41mm inverted fork and a more adjustable rear shock.
We are quite impressed by the speed and power that Yamaha has wrangled from its middleweight racer, which makes up more than half its total sportbike sales.