2008 Yamaha YZF-R6 First Look

September 10, 2007
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

2008 Yamaha YZF-R6
For 2008 Yamaha has revamped is supersport screamer, the YZF-R6, with a number of internal changes, including a revised engine and new chassis.

As the mad scramble by the Big Four to unveil the popular 600 and 1000cc sportbikes begins, Yamaha jumps out of the gate with a revamped YZF-R6. Cosmetic changes to the new R6 are minimal, but the 2008 version features a number of internal changes, including a revised engine and new chassis.

The 599cc DOHC Inline-Four retains its 67 x 42.5mm bore and stroke, but compression ratio has been boosted from 12.8:1 to 13.1:1. Internal changes to the liquid-cooled mill include a compacted combustion chamber via new domed pistons with valve cutouts. The entire powerplant has been streamlined for efficiency, with Yamaha’s PR claiming that “over 50 friction-reducing strategies have been employed inside the engine, including the use of wider crank bearings.”

Twin-injection fuel injection is utilized to improve fueling at high rpm, with the new R6 also being fitted with last year’s headlining component on its larger R1 sibling – Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake (YCC-I). The YCC-I system uses the ECU to control variable-length intake trumpets in order to deliver optimal power dependant on RPM. This system teams with the fly-by-wire YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle) system, which was featured on last year’s model.

The 2008 R6 also holds onto one of our favorite components for a track-ready mount, a slipper clutch – the back torque-limiting design muffling the effects of abrupt downshifts on the unchanged 6-speed transmission.

2008 Yamaha YZF-R6
Yamaha’s AMA Supersport phenom, Josh Herrin, will be turning laps next year on an all-new R6, with the new machine gunning to regain its 600 titles.

The big news for the ’08 Yamaha is an all-new frame, swingarm and magnesium-alloy subframe. Yamaha has great things expected from the new chassis components, claiming the Deltabox aluminum frame “incorporates GP thinking in terms of engine positioning and rigidity for the ultimate in 600-class handling.” Internal ribs have been added to the new swingarm, with the new unit designed to pivot high in the new frame for improved cornering stability. The magnesium subframe lightens the rear and improves the new R6’s mass centralization.

The four-way adjustable suspension components, a 41mm inverted fork up front and single shock out back, still provide 4.7 inches of travel. The two units have been modified, however, with both featuring increased adjustability for ride height to accommodate more rider and tire combinations. Yamaha also claims front end feedback has been fine-tuned courtesy of “revised outer fork tubes, a new lower triple clamp, and increased fork offset.”

Riding position has been adjusted, with the rider and bars moved “forward and slightly lower” and the clip-on handlebars “also lower and re-angled.” Yamaha also maintains revised bodywork delivers “even greater aerodynamic efficiency.”

Although tweaking the chassis, the R6’s steering geometry, including the 24-degree rake, 3.8-inch trail and 54.3-inch wheelbase, remains unchanged from last year. Dimensions like the 33.5-inch seat height, as well as height (43.3 inch) and length (80.3 inch), are also unchanged. The claimed dry weight for 2008 is nine pounds greater, however, with the new R6 tipping the scales at 366 lbs.

2008 Yamaha YZF-R6
Already showcased on last year’s R1, the 2008 R6 utilizes the Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake (YCC-I) system, which features variable-length intake trumpets that fluctuate dependant on RPM

In the braking department, the R6’s strong stoppers retain dual 310mm rotors with radial-mount 4-piston calipers up front. The front rotors have increased in thickness, however, from 4.5mm to 5mm to improve cooling qualities. The 220mm rear disc with single-piston caliper setup remains the same.

The new and improved R6 doesn’t come without a cost, as the ’08 model (depending on color combination) increases MSRP from $9299 to $9599. The new R6 will be available in dealers this November in Liquid Silver, Raven and Team Yamaha Blue. A special Cadmium Yellow with Flames version will be available in December with an extra $200 tacked onto the MSRP.

2008 Yamaha YZF-R6 Specifications

Engine Type: 599cc liquid-cooled inline 4-cylinder; DOHC, 16 titanium valves
Bore x Stroke: 67.0 x 42.5mm
Compression Ratio: 13.1:1
Carburetion: Fuel Injection with YCC-T and YCC-I
Ignition: TCI
Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate slipper clutch
Final Drive: Chain

2008 Yamaha YZF-R6
Like its predecessor, the 2008 Yamaha YZF-R6 benefits from a slipper clutch.

Suspension/Front: 41mm inverted fork; 4-way adjustable, 4.7-in travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock; 4-way adjustable, 4.7-in travel
Brakes/Front: Dual 310mm floating disc; radial-mount 4-piston calipers
Brake/Rear: 220mm disc; single-piston caliper
Tire/Front: 120/70-ZR17
Tire/Rear: 180/55-ZR17
L x W x H: 80.3 x 27.6 x 43.3 in
Seat Height: 33.5 in
Wheelbase: 54.3 in
Rake (Caster Angle) : 24.0 degrees
Trail: 3.8 in
Fuel Capacity: 4.6 gal
Dry Weight: 366 lb
Color: Team Yamaha Blue/White; Raven; Liquid Silver ($9599); Cadmium Yellow w/Flames ($9799)

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