But would the all-new FZ6R with it\' s full fairing be all show and no go? Well not exactly but I did feel the styling did somewhat outweigh the performance in the engine department at least. The FZ6R motor gets it\'s DNA from an earlier generation R6. It shares bore and stroke dimensions and compression ratio with the standard FZ6 but the cylinder head, crankcase, intake and exhaust system, clutch and shifter have been completely redesigned. Lightweight forged aluminum pistons are used creating a very smooth motor and The 32-bit ECU controls the four-hole, two-direction, high-dynamic-range type fuel injectors. The fuel injected, 600cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke engine engine seems to have quite a mild state of tune. The fuel injection is crisp and the FZ6R picks up the revs cleanly and quickly from the bottom, but there is a noticeable lack of kick from the Yamaha power plant. It will make a fine motor for commuting and zinging through town but it is not the most inspiring 600cc motor on the market even when compared to it\'s bargain priced competition. Seeing as how I had been riding a nearly 200HP V-max for the previous two weeks, I might need to cut the FZ6R motor some slack.
What the FZ6R motor lacks in beastly character it more than makes up for in the handling department. The Yamaha frame is made from high-tensile steel-tube and uses the engine as a stressed member for increased rigidity. The forks are non-adjustable 41mm Soqi units and the rear features a Soqi monoshock unit with preload adjustment. While these previous specs might not make your hair stand up, the simple combination of parts actually works well. The Yamaha feels thin, has a low seat height and its 470 pound wet weight is extremely nimble. While being sharp steering and easy to maneuver in town around tight corners, the FZ6R was also at home holding its line in faster sweepers and had no problem while adjusting its line at speed. There was a slightly springy feel in town but as speeds increased the suspension seemed to be well suited and overall I felt very confident in the way the FZ6R handled.
The FZ6R rolls on 120/70R 17-inch front and a 160/16R 17-inch rear tires. Traction was never a problem and the narrower rear tire profile likely helped with the sharp, quick steering.
Seating position on the Yamaha is comfortable and roomy and allows the rider to move around and get aggressive when the road calls for it. The seat has separate front and rear sections, and the rider’s seat features a height adjustment mechanism. The seat can be set 3/4 of an inch higher for taller riders. Heavier riders may want to opt for a firmer seat however as the seat felt a tad soft even for my spindly figure. If you are looking to do multiple hours on the open road the FZ6R should be perfectly comfortable for most riders. The handlebars and footpegs stretch you out enough to keep you from locking up at the appendages. The footpegs were a bit on the buzzy side but everything felt nice and smooth at the handlebars; much appreciated by my numbness-prone hands.
The 6-speed transmission on the FZ6R never gave me a very positive feeling. While not actually causing me to miss shifts it always seemed like it was tough to feel the positive engagement when going into each gear. On some bikes you can feel 100% when the bike goes and locks into gear . . .this transmission felt slightly looser, like you were almost floating between gears. It would also actually grind somewhat on engagement. This was more of a feeling than anything, as I never had the bike jump out of gear, but it always had me being extra careful to make sure I was engaging each gear.
The FZ6R uses twin piston Akebono brake calipers with dual 298mm front rotors and a 245mm disc in the rear. The feel is quite good at the lever but stopping power is about average. While you will not be mistaking these for race quality brakes, overall performance front and rear is more than enough to get things slowed down when needed.
Clutch feel and engagement was excellent on the FZ6R with an extremely light lever pull; something you will surely be grateful for when negotiating rush hour traffic.
The gauge cluster on the new Yamaha was a good looking piece, providing just the right amount of information to the rider. Digital speedometer, analog tachometer, odometer/tripmeter, fuel gauge, water coolant gauge and clock have you feeling like you\'re in the cockpit with Tom Cruise ready to go Mach 2 with your hair on fire.
So to answer the question that inevitably comes while riding the FZ6R . . . is this a good entry level bike? The answer is easy, the Yamaha is indeed a great bike for the beginner due to its excellent handling in and around town and it\'s a breeze to ride with its relatively tame but electric feeling motor. But the Yamaha also offers more than just beginner level appeal. If you are a rider who doesn\'t need a spec sheet raving about MotoGP led development but are searching for a motorcycle that won\'t break the bank while still offering style and performance, the new FZ6R may be just what you\'re looking for.