Up-Close with the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6

03/27/2017 @ 10:56 am, by Jensen Beeler75 COMMENTS

The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 is more than just “bold new plastics” as one A&R commenter said, with traction control, ABS, new suspension, and R1-esque bodywork being added to the supersport machine – among other changes.

Still very much “evolution” rather than “revolution” for the Japanese manufacturer, the Yamaha R6 however is a very striking machine, visually, and that’s what we wanted to share with you today.

Yamaha isn’t shy that the R6 gets its look from its older sibling, the YZF-R1, with both bikes sharing a number of visual elements: MotoGP-inspired air intake, koi fish headlights on the fairing, vented tail section, and sinister LED marker lights – just to name a few.

The effect though is perhaps the most dramatic change to the venerable supersport, as it takes the 12-year-old design for the YZF-R6 and gives it a modern look and feel.

Feel is important on a motorcycle, though I would argue it is something we talk about with unfortunate infrequency. How a motorcycle feels between your legs, and how you interact with it as a machine, are two attributes that are perhaps more important than what is on any spec-sheet.

A new motorcycle should make us lust after it, and entice unsuspecting enthusiasts to buy one right off the showroom floor. With that in mind, the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 does quite a good job of stoking our moto-lust.

It is subjectively one of the most beautiful machines in the 600cc supersport category, with some enjoyable visual details (especially in tasty matte black). You can see what we mean, in our gallery below.

Photos: © 2017 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • Sam Miller

    LOL “bold new plastics”, who would say such a thing!

  • Dustin Nisbet-Jones

    That is a really pretty bike. Yamaha did an awesome job restyling it

  • sigsegv

    Ahrahrahr ;)

  • sigsegv

    The old exhaust really sticks out like a sore thumb :/

  • ShotbyJake

    I feel like Japanese bikes put no design effort into the stock exhaust cans. Probably because they know that it (along with the under-tail license plate mount) will be replaced before it ever leaves the dealership 99% of the time. Haha

  • Who WOULD say such a thing, I wonder.

  • It’s been really growing on me visually over the weekend. I love the whole front fairing.There is a weird gap between the seat and the subframe, but that’s probably my only complaint.

  • It does, and there are some reasons for that.

  • sigsegv

    Old looks with new internals for EU bikes and just old exhaust for the rest of the world?

  • It probably all ends up being cost related. But homologation, design resources, and aftermarket concerns are certainly a factor.

  • Innis O’Rourke

    wow looking reallllly good . Like the others said, the exhaust looks bad- basically like a pool noodle sticking out. But otherwise.. DAMN


    The best part about watching 650ib’s vid was listening to your review lol. All that money & bikes and dude cant really ride that well outside of a SMACK DOWN. We need more vids/reviews from A&R!


    Read that’s nut protection, so you don’t slam on the gas tank?

  • gildasd

    I would take the central part of the can to my friendly neighbourhood anodiser to get it done in gun metal grey to fit the looks of the rest of the bike.

  • ObiWhiteKen00bi

    Great looking bike, put a nice aftermarket exhaust on it and you’re good to go. Only question is why they have made the line on the side above the r6 logo flat and not a bit more aggressive so it follows more the angle of the seat. Those are the only mini flaws I can see, but overall the prettiest 600 out there.

  • Alclab

    Don’t think I would buy one, but damm it looks good. It’s just so much more MotoGP M1 than the R1.

  • n/a

    With the ‘old’ model seat unit/subframe fitted, it could nearly be an M1 replica?

  • Pool noodle, lol. That one is going to sting in the design department, for sure.

    Hey, at the end of the day, most buyers are putting at least a slip-on on this bike, and I think Yamaha knows that.

  • zion

    Until you mentioned “650ib” in this thread, I had somehow never hear of him or knew of his Vlog.

    So like any good internet troll I checked him out and watched his video on the R6.


    At least I could FF to the reviews from Jensen, Waheed, et al.

  • n/a
  • Innis O’Rourke

    I dont understand the “koi fish headlights” reference, Jensen. What do you mean by that?

  • Superlight

    IMO not even close to the the “prettiest” 600. That accolade still goes to the MV Agusta F3 675. Oh, and you don’t have to change the muffler to make the MV look good.

  • Tony S

    He was being coy.

  • oh my cod, now you’re just fishing for puns

  • This is why I need therapy after every Two Enthusiasts Podcast episode.

  • mmm…the black is muuurdderrr

  • It looks even better in person. Yamaha crushed it when they came up with the color choices on the R6 this year.

  • fishstands up

  • saw the white/neon green combo at AIME, now keeping my eye out for the all black e’erthing

  • If you ever quote Kayne on here again, I’ll ban you.

  • When the revolution comes, it’ll come to your door first.

  • Alclab

    Wow! Totally true… They coul’ve/should’ve just to take the M1 for the street concept all the way

  • TB

    I really like the direction Yamaha’s design guys have taken with both the R1 and R6’s styling and have bought wholeheartedly into the “M1 DNA” story.
    My small monkey brain still prefers the R1 over the R6 as its front fairing feels as though the rake and width match the M1 closer than the R6. I’ve been lucky enough to get up close to an M1 a few times over the years at the cost of wearing orange overalls and this has been a stand-out memory of the bike. Just my opinion though..
    That matt black makes me fantasize about a Maverick paint scheme down the track with a few fighter plane decals…
    Also, awesome pics dude (28’s my favourite)!

  • paulus
  • Paul McM

    IMHO the styling is preditable and disappointingly derivative. In a couple years this will look old. There is really nothing distinctive about it. The R1-style small lights really are not a good idea on the street bikes. Nor is an all black finish. To me this bike is not attractive. It looks like a typical 600 cobbled together with eBay body panels painted with a black spray can. I guess some riders think black bikes are badass… hence the color (or lack of it).

    Q: Is this an example of the new review style for A&R? I hope not. This whole thing reads like a cheesy press release — “Moto-lust” etc. Count me disappointed.

  • Carmelo Marino III

    Horrible that you would think that way. MV just looks good but that is all

  • The MV is very attractive, in a very different way. Though, was the Panigale the first bike with a vented tail section?

  • Did I mention something like this in the new review format? We’ve been doing the “up-close” photo posts for quite some time, by the way.


    The goal is for this kind of story to be part design review, part moto-porn. I’m sorry you don’t like it.

  • zipp4

    Don’t worry, he has to somehow fit MV Agusta into 97% of posts or he doesnt hit his daily quota.

  • zipp4

    Someone didn’t read the intro article earlier this week… I dig the photos though, love seeing the detail shots.

  • Fivespeed 302

    They did steal the entire instrument panel from the older (’09-’14) R1 though.

  • Fivespeed 302

    I found your paint/sticker scheme. You’ll need to get out your pre-Curt Cobain wardrobe though. https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/My-1992-CBR-600-F2/i-zVMVJ2Q/0/L/cbr-L.jpg

  • Superlight

    Since the topic was Supersports bikes and their looks, why wouldn’t the MV mention be appropriate?

  • motoschmoto

    In ib’s defense, he’s just a vlogger (with a zillion subscribers) and has only recently started getting invited to launches. He’s more like the ‘average joe’ (with every current incredible bike in his garage) giving feedback on the bike rather than a pro journalist or racer. That alone would make me wary of pushing a bike I didn’t own. Combined with a rainy day and some nerves about being on track with a bunch of pro’s and some slack is probably worth cutting. His content overall is pretty positive and entertaining imo. That said, agree it was painful to watch.

  • motoschmoto

    Or the two other fairly in depth posts about the bike. Maybe more obvious links to the other posts for every bike in each successive post will ensure readers know there’s more about it nearby on the site?

  • Shinigami

    Matte black. Because we’re already far too visible…


    (Written while half drunk in a hotel room in Hamamatsu as a large group of Bosozoku just went past my hotel)

  • n/a

    Define ‘vented’?

    04-07 CBR1000RR had vents.

  • awwshucks

    keep it up, i think the vast majority of us like it. I’m never not going to look at more pictures of a new bike, and I dig the new review format. and it’s interesting that styling isn’t a bigger talking point, as I think its a huge factor for most folks when they actually pull the trigger on a new bike.

  • Timbo Baggins


  • Superlight

    You must think you’re clever. You are not.

  • Alclab

    Yeah… Sure looks dated and gives away the “main bike’s” age…

  • TheSeaward
  • Superlight

    I suspect you know very little about the MV. Have you actually ridden one or are you just spouting off on a subject you know very little about?

  • Dery Nyengateroez
  • MikeD

    Looks very “Honda CBR600RR” . . . but, i’ll allow it, lol. I hope these are the Yamaha R3 “new clothes”. The current fairings never were my cup of tea.

  • MikeD

    Probably not the prettiest 600 but somewhere very close to that position.
    If only it wasn’t so scarce to support and the company so FLAKY.

  • MikeD

    Thanks, didn’t have a friggin clue what you were talking about. (^_^)

  • MikeD

    Makes it look lighter . . . one of those “designer’s tricks” ?
    Maybe it’s a speed hole ? Gives you 10hp ?
    Personally i don’t care for the tail section and swing arm on this thing. Does nothing for my Motorcycle Pickle.

  • MikeD
  • paulus

    To put your baton to beat stray dogs and cagers (perhaps)

  • Dery Nyengateroez

    many thoughts so in here :D

  • Superlight

    No Mike, this is still the best looking 600-class machine, bar none.

  • Superlight

    Agreed. Why can’t Yamaha do a better job on the look of those headlamps?

  • Superlight

    Except the blue…

  • Dustin Nisbet-Jones

    I imagine that since the bike is now hamstrung by Euro4, most people are going to opt for a de-cat and a fart can to bring the power back to where it should be.

    Did Yamaha mention what the horsepower levels are in ‘WSS’ trim are? I gather that they are offering a kit with full exhaust & a race ECU of sorts. 130 bhp?

  • Ayabe

    Looks good but matte paint is a pain to take care of even though it’s gotten better in the last decade.

    I’d hate to see what 90% of those will look like in 5 years.

  • Euro4 isn’t an issue for bikes sold in the US, so there shouldn’t be any power loses because of that.

  • MikeD

    I’m not here to sway your opinion, just reinforce it.

  • t

    yep. I would have liked a underbelly exhaust like on some rc390s

  • coreyvwc

    slow clap

  • MikeD
  • paulus

    This is the 150cc R15. Already launched in Asia. It looks good in the flesh and fits the family looks