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2009 Yamaha YZF-R6 Comparison

Friday, March 20, 2009
2009 Yamaha R6 - Wallpaper
Yamaha YZF-R6
MSRP: $10,090
Horsepower: 100.00 hp @ 14,100 rpm
Torque: 40.77 lbs.-ft @ 10,850rpm
Weight: 409.1 lbs w/fuel, 383.8 lbs w/o fuel
Superpole Time: 1:20.34 (Atlas)
¼ Mile: 11.25 @ 134.11 mph
Top Speed: 164.49 mph
Overall Ranking: 4th-place
Razor-sharp. Knife-edged. Precise. All words commonly associated with the 2009 Yamaha YZF-R6. While Yamaha only did a few minor changes for this year – customary BNG plus a re-tuning of the engine for slightly more mid-range – it’s hard to argue that they really needed to change it much. At least on the racetrack.

Because of its radical chassis, the Yamaha has always been one of the tougher bikes to get set-up in stock trim. This was again the case both at Big Willow and Streets of Willow. By far taking the most time to set-up, it wasn’t an easy task, but the Yamaha team worked their tails off and got it right. Once we were able to get it dialed, it worked extremely well. So well that in outright Superpole Supremacy it only missed the top spot by a mere tenth of a second to the Kawasaki, posting a 1:20.34 to the Kawasaki’s 1:20.23. But, when both Sorenson’s (1:22.70) and my times (1:20.23) were averaged it leaped to the front of the pack, taking top honors with a blistering 1:21.52 average. Goes to show, once it's set up, you can ride the Yamaha really, really fast and it yearns to be pushed to its limits.

“Without a doubt the R6 is a scalpel on the track,” says VP Hutchy. “It feels like a bicycle out there; it’s simply awesome. The problem comes in the fact that the ease of which it turns-in and can be flicked side-to-side gives it a less stable feeling than the CBR or ZX. But that sacrifice mid-corner pays dividends in the transitions.”
The new Red White color scheme was a hit. It s like the  98 R1 was reborn in smaller  and better  from...

GP-style exhaust centralizes mass. Didn t Buell do that 10 years ago
Mass centralization GP-exhaust (bottom)and hot new Red and White graphics (top) are a big hit among our test riders.

“Turn-in on the Yamaha is effortless. Almost to a fault,” Sorensen explains. “I like how aggressive the chassis is for the racetrack, it is the most hyperactive of all the bikes. You just think about flicking the bike into the corner and it is there. But mid-corner stability is a tradeoff for the Yamaha. Because the chassis is so aggressive, this bike moves around a little more mid corner.”

After you finish reading about how much we dig this bike, make sure to watch the Yamaha R6 video review so you can experience the sound of that screaming engine for yourself. We can’t put you behind the bars in reality so this is as close as you can get.

Despite being at the back of the pack in terms of horsepower and torque on the dyno, it was praised by many for having ample real-world racetrack power. Yamaha claims to have tuned the bike for more mid-range and unfortunately somewhere in the process it lost some peak power, going from the highest horsepower Japanese bike of the bunch last year to the second-lowest this time around, producing only 100.00 hp @ 14,100rpm for 2009. But you would never guess that was the case after top-speed test data was revealed.

Strangely enough, when it came time to putting it to the test at HPCC, it walked away with the second-highest top speed, 164.49 mph, only slightly behind the much more powerful Ducati (165.41mph), yet edging out the higher horsepower Kawasaki, which recorded a 164.25 mph pass. This just goes to show outright horsepower on the dyno isn’t everything, and at 409.1 pounds its low weight and effective aerodynamics made it a missile. It was also one of the most stable at that speed, feeling as if you could relax and watch a movie while going 165 mph. On the other hand, their claimed “added mid-range” just wasn’t quite enough to produce improved performance in the quarter-mile. It had to be revved to 12,000 rpm and has a numb-feeling clutch which really hurt its launches. The best it could put down was an 11.24 @ 134.11 mph. That's still right there with the other bikes but it takes a lot more work to get it to produce those times.

The harder you push the R6 the more at home it is. Waheed says this is like sitting on the couch and watching a movie it s so easy
The new-and-improved Waheed shows off his fine form while at the controls of the razor-sharp 2009 Yamaha R6.
While on the track, about as low as anyone ever goes at speed is roughly 11,000 rpm for the most part, so when our faster testers refer to “mid-range,” it’s more akin to top-end on the streets. Either way, once you get the R6 revving she screams to life nearly effortlessly. The throttle twists with complete ease, response is excellent and power builds extremely fast.

“When this bike was released last year it blew us away with how much power it had on the low end and yet still pulls all the way through the top,” adds AMA champion Chuckie. “This technology has set a new standard for power delivery in the 600 class.”

“The Yamaha felt almost as fast as the Kawasaki,” confirms fast-photog JC Dhien. “It has plenty of go and revved up the same way: very quickly.”

Not everyone came to grips with the R6 power though; it ended up ranking right in the middle of the pack for engine scoring on the track.

“Yamaha went backwards this year with their motor package in my opinion,” points out Garcia. “I have no idea what they did with their top end? The R6 was great coming out of hot-pit and good in the tight stuff, but never really got moving. I was really surprised with the difference between the ‘08 and ’09.” 

Brakes, brakes, brakes. They are always an area of mystery. Everyone has their own idea of how they should work, how many pistons they need, how big of rotors are required. What this boils down to though is personal preference. It was yet another area the Yamaha got mixed reviews – some loving the binders and some putting them further down the list, much of this due to their unique braking feel. They are not your typical Nissin or Brembo units as found on most machines either. They are Sumitomo four-piston monobloc calipers. Monobloc? Doesn't that mean the brakes have to be awesome? Usually they are - think Brembo 1198 brakes - but without aggressive enough compound pads the outcome can be less than amazing.

“The Yamaha brakes were good, just in this group they need to be great to stand out,” Waheed says. “It still doesn’t have as aggressive of pads as I think it needs. That initial bite isn't there and on several occasions I had to use all four fingers to get it stopped which is very rare these days.”

Dhien didn't quite see eye-to-eye with Waheed: “Yamaha had good brakes," he said. "It was a bit harsher than the Honda and unsettled the bike under heavy stopping power.”

“The Yamaha’s brakes worked well, medium initial bite, smooth progressive power, but for the track I would want a harder bite,” sums up Sorensen.

But what really put the nail in the coffin and moved the Yamaha back in the pack were once again quite unfavorable street scores across the board. Its aggressive ergonomics and racetrack-built engine made for a tough machine to get along with in the real-world. 

Hang on and take a ride with Atlas on the R6!
Atlas threw down on the Yamaha, putting it in the Number 2 spot in the Superpole session with a 1:20.34, only a tenth of a second off the top spot.
“Least favorite by far,” says Kennedy of his Yamaha street experience. “Maybe it's because I'm tall but the seat ramps up towards the back so it's constantly pushing your family jewels into the tank, which is not my style. The bike is pretty dead in the low rpm's but shows a totally different face in the higher rpms, which means at that point you're probably going way too fast on the street. A good thing about it not being jumpy at lower rpms, though, is that it's really friendly getting around town. No threat of sneezing then accidently twisting the throttle and the bike jumping into oncoming traffic.”

Simon agrees, saying, “The Yamaha was definitely my least favorite bike of the day. Talk about not being comfortable on a bike. The whole time I was riding I felt as if I was going to fly over the front. Especially braking coming into corners before I would lean over. The rear end of the motorcycle sat so much higher than the rest, causing me to transfer the majority of my body weight too far forward. And at over six feet tall that’s a lot!”

When all roads lead to the racetrack, the Yamaha R6 is a clear-cut amazing machine. But when those roads are on the street, it scored at or near the back of the pack in nearly every catagory. The only saving grace of the R6 on the roads? Everyone was a fan of the new colors and sharp styling. But its appearance wasn’t enough to make up for the Yamaha’s street scores, holding it back greatly and coming home fourth overall in this Shootout.

2009 YZF-R6 Suspension Settings
(measured from stock)

(+clockwise, -counterclockwise)

Compression (high-speed): -1 turn
Compression (low-speed): stock
Rebound: -10 clicks
Preload: Stock
Fork Height: -2.5mm

Compression (high-speed): Stock
Compression (low-speed): Stock
Rebound: -1/2 turn
Preload: -1 line

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2009 Yamaha R6 Video
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2009 Yamaha YZF-R6 Shootout Gallery
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Yamaha R6 Dealer Locator
Highs & Lows
  • Knife-Edge Handling
  • Light Wright
  • Box-Stock Racer
  • Rough Street Ride
  • Low Dyno Numbers
  • Stubborn at The Strip

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Hiren -.  September 26, 2010 02:24 PM
I recently bought 09 R6, and loved it. I want to know what grade fuel should use?
MAJ -OVERALL  May 27, 2010 06:01 PM
The best 600cc in its class. Its actually the lower-end, i feel, is lazy but when it reaches 8000rpm that's when its starts leaping. Brilliant top-end and needless to say - the best looking 600 around. Pretty satisfied with my Black&Gold edition. Only draw back? Big guys make the bike look small :) By the way.. i couldn't understand your street scores.. How did u rank them? Dunno about you.. but i blaze the 1-litres on the streets..
Devin09_R6 -great bike  December 21, 2009 07:10 PM
I dont see why everybody is arguing about this bike. I own an 09 r6 and its absolutely the sickest bike ever. As of now i have it dropped 1 tooth in the front for faster acceleration, partly to to the fact that i will never get it up to top speed unless im at the track. But even from bone stock the bike was scary fast off the line. I have a full akropovic exhaust on it and a power commander for a little extra umph. As of now im putting down 128bhp to the rear wheel, which is plenty for a 600cc bike. Screw the haters, the r6 is the sickest bike known to man. Period. Yamaha did a great job.
mby -?!  September 24, 2009 08:24 PM
kapan yamaha r6 di luncurkan di indonesia ? jangan cuma foto doang di pajang,udah pengen naikin ne !!!
Chachi -2009 YZF R6  July 31, 2009 12:59 AM
Who wrote this stuff? Your horsepower quote is way off and well?? Your idiots. People stopped free basing years ago. You should too!
Paul -LOL  July 14, 2009 02:47 PM
anyone who thinks they need a 1000 to do wheelies is either 300 lbs or doesnt know how to load the rear springs up near the high hp ranges on the tach... if you want your bike to power wheelie thats a different story but really if your burning up your clutch to do wheelies your doing it wrong...
KC -HP  May 26, 2009 12:20 PM
I was watching the speed channnel last night and I saw a program that said the hp was rate @ 130. So I guess I will just have to dyno mine to get the true.
batman -r6 2008 limited edition  April 22, 2009 06:59 PM
Micheal, the reason you can't keep up with a GSX-R600 at top speed is because you dropped a tooth! Less teeth on the font = faster acceleration at the cost of top speed. If you want to do wheelies, get a 1000...or leave your bike stock and f-your clutch, your choice.
Help kd -comparisons yzf & r6  April 14, 2009 06:11 AM
Can someone enlighten me as a fairly new rider, i need some assist; i've been looking at the 2005 yzf6 and the 2005 r6 which would be the better bike?
Micheal -R6 2008 limited edition  April 9, 2009 02:34 PM
I have the R6 2008 limited edition and it's fuel injected so it's very hard to walk awheelie on, I'd had to drop a tooth just to get the power to walk a wheelie on the thing and I also you guys need tyo warranty the clutches on the first year. I had to re-place my cluthches within three months of owning a new bike and had to pay for it out of my pocket.So what does your warranty really cover; batteries and light bulbs? I think you guys need to step up I had a 2003 R1 and it rode like a champ even competing with the GSXR-1000 noe my R6 is having trouble keeping up at top speed with the GSX-R600 this isn't fun guys...step your game up!!!
Marc -Re: ???  April 7, 2009 01:56 AM
tyler: dyno figures are never consistant. It's hard to compare a figure taken in 08 with a figure taken in 09. Read what Vtownmac said, that's exactly the problem with Dynanometer tests. If you take the latest V-Max, with a claimed 200hp, to several Dynos around town, you'd be amazed at the different figues that comes out for the same unmodified motorcycle. One will tell you 185hp, the other will read 165hp, and another will show you 199hp.
Dustin -08 r6 exhaust valve  March 29, 2009 04:56 PM
Um the r6 has had the exhaust valve since 06. So whats the point in getting an 08 when its the exact same.
Know it all -HP  March 25, 2009 06:26 AM
Read on other sites, the Honda and Yamaha have exhaust valves to meet the strict noise regulations that kill noise and power at high rpms. Basically don't waste your money on an 09, get the 08 for either bike.
Vtownmac -hp  March 24, 2009 10:02 PM
check and see if they used the same dyno. Dyno numbers are only really vslid for comparisons if the runs are made on the same dyno, same day.
tyler -???  March 23, 2009 02:24 PM
um ya i was just wondering why you always change the horse power on the bikes,like last year you said the r6 had 109 hp and now its 100???