While Yamaha's biggest sportbike release for the year is undoubtedly the 2009 R1, the tuning fork crew didn't leave out the smaller-bore machines either. For the last few years, Yamaha's race-ready 600cc efforts have sent the powerband further and further into the stratosphere, optimizing it for the racetrack. Don't expect that to change much for '09. In fact, don't expect much at all in the way of changes to the range-topping R6, as Yamaha cites only a revised ECU that has remapped YCC-T settings. Plus, Honda's not the only Japanese manufacturer with some crazy colors for '09, as the new Yamaha is available in a Halloween-esque orange and black scheme.
Considering that the R6 is such a narrow-minded machine, though, Yamaha has two other fully-faired middleweights to consider for a more streetable package, including the all-new FZ6R. Featuring an engine yanked from the past-generation R6, but revised for more lower-end performance, the FZ6R is not actually based on the naked FZ6 that's been around for the last few years and from which it inherits its nomenclature. One unique bit that is sure to win over some buyers is the low seat height and adjustable riding position, which allows the rider to move the controls both side-to-side and up-and-down. While the '09 R6 retails for around $10,000, the lower-level FZ6R goes for just under $7K, making it much more manageable for entry-level riders. As before, the R6S is still available and bridges the gap between the FZ6R and the high-end R6 coming in at a buck under $8,500.