For a couple months now, we’ve had some indications that Yamaha was getting ready to release a new sport bike. With the Yamaha YZF-R1 coming up on two-years-old, the timing suggested that Yamaha was ready for a follow-up to that hit. That is to say, it is time for a new Yamaha YZF-R6.
Yamaha seems to agree, today posting a teaser video to its website and social media accounts. The video is sanitized from giving away too much information, with us only seeing a rider going around a race track. The sound though, is a strong giveaway.
The video’s soundtrack is filled with the screaming of a multi-cylinder machine. Our ear hears a four-cylinder engine, with a flat-plane crankshaft, that is revving to the stratosphere.
This give us a strong indication that a supersport bike is just around the corner, and the video ends with the promise of showing more on October 4th, the first press day of the INTERMOT trade show in Cologne, Germany.
If our assumptions are correct, it is of note then that Yamaha didn’t give the new R6 a crossplane crank, like on the R1. This is because Yamaha has been touting the benefits of the crossplane firing order for some time now.
The Japanese brand has even going as far as to call its three-cylinder and two-cylinder designs, for the FZ-09 and FZ-07 motorcycles, “crossplane engines” in its marketing materials – which is technically true…technically.
The likely explanation for a lack of a crossplane configuration on the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 would be to make a design differentiation between it and the YZF-R1.
Manufacturers are struggling to sell 600cc supersports when their 1,000cc superbike offerings are only slightly more expensive, and yet offer much more power and technology.
Because of this, there is a growing need for the supersport class to be more than a watered-down version of a company’s liter-bike offering. Time will tell whether Yamaha has walked that thin line successfully.