Engine---------------------Liquid-cooled, 4-valve,DOHC, in-line four-cylinder
Bore and Stroke---------62 x 49.6mm
Maximum Torque--------6.6kg-m (47.9 ft-lb)@ 9,500 rpm
Fuel Delivery-------------36mm Keihin CV downdraft x 4
Final Drive----------------O-ring chain
Suspension (Front)------Fully adjustable 41mm forks
Suspension (Rear)------Fully adjustable link-type Monocross
Brakes (Front)-----------Dual 298mm discs
Brakes (Rear)-----------245mm disc
Seat Height--------------805mm (31.7”)
Dry Weight--------------187kg (411 lb)
Fuel Capacity------------19 litres (4.2 imp. gallons)
Max HP: 87.7 @ 11,250RPM (sportrider.com)
Max Torque: 44.5Lb.ft @ 9,500RPM (sportrider.com)
Mileage: 52MPG (imp), 44MPG (USA), 18.4Km/L, 5.4L/100Km (on my daily commute averaging 60-70Km/h with a few lights).
Avg Tank Range: 270Km plus reserve (50-60Km without stoplights).
Higher numbers have been published by other publications (Cycle Canada stated 92.8HP @ 11,500 for instance).
Height: 6'4" (in socks)
Weight: ~195Lbs (~210Lbs in gear)
Boot Size: 11.5 USA
Training: Vancouver Island Safet Council Skills Course, VISC Traffic Course
Experience on Bike: 3 months (1990 Km)
Overall Riding Experience: 3 months
Having recently gone for a slide I can proved replacement costs for many right-side parts;
Front Turn Signal:-----$119.90
Crank Case Cover:--$132.32
All Stock. Will Update after arrival of Hindle Slip-on.
First incarnated as the YZF 600R2 in 1996 it was equipped with Yamaha's first ram-air induction system. While slight changes have been made to the design over the years, the engine is still it's '96 self -- with the exception of the fuel petcock being removed in 1997 and being replaced with a fuel-warning light which comes on with 3.1L. Despite reviews upon its release praising its capabilities it never sold very well. When the R6 was released in 1999 the future of the Thundercat (British denotation) was highly uncertained. Since then, however, it has continued to sell well; although being relegated to 'Sport Touring' class by some rags (sorry, I mean 'publications').
First impressions upon sitting on this bike are it's size. It feels and is much larger than other current 600cc supersport bikes, which is accomodating to larger riders, as well as offering protection from the elements. The pegs are slightly lower and further forward than cutting-edge race-rep bikes (under your balls more than your choad sort of thing), which nicely allow my 36" inseam legs to fold in.
Continuing from the bottom-up, in stock form I found the foot-levers slightly intrusive. The rear-brake lever is too high for my liking, requiring the foot to be almost off the peg in order to cover it without applying the rear-light (or rotated painfully at the ankle). Thankfully adjusting the height is very easy -- though the manual states that you should take it to a mechanic for such actions. The shift-lever feels too close to the peg for my personal preferences, getting under it requires accuracy as there is little space to fir between the lever and the peg. This results in careful movements once upshifting is done to get the foot out and back on the peg properly.
The cut-outs in the tank for knee-fitment are generously done with plenty of room for vertical movement. At the same time, the tank is wide enough to allow adequate grip with the thights for braking manouvers (so long as there's not too much wax...).
The seat is a 2-in-1 banana seat which is fairly wide and plush. It is comfortable for long trips, and I have never gotten a numb-bumb even after doing hours of city riding. Although the lack of a butt-stop at the back is noticeable at times, it is reported to be the most comfortable sportbike for passengers and sitting on it in the garage I can say that even I would be able to make trips on the passenger seat (although there is the usually close peg-to-seat relationship).
The clip-ons are higher than all the current 600cc front-runners, but not so high as to make it anti-intuitive in the twisties. As near as I can tell it is a perfect placement for a mix of commuting, as well as terrorizing the backroads in your off-time. The lower back does have to put some effort into it, but nothing like the modern track weapons. All the buttons and switches are in comfortable and easy-to-reach places with no reaching at all required for turn signals or the like.
The windscreen does as good a job as I should expect one on a sportbike to do. What more is there to say?
Mirrors are functionable, giving adequate viewing past your elbows leaving you with blind spots no worse than any car I've been in. They are fuzzy at idle, but as the revs come up they clear with the sweet-spot seeming around 5000 RPM, they then blur a bit again, then lcear again, etc.
Carbeuration is smooth with no 'snaps' to applying the power out of a turn, and through the whole range throttle response is positive and comforting. As seen in the graphic above, the 'cat has a strong midrange meaning that you can live in the low-revs and be happy about it. However, the action pics up sharply at 8000 RPM and above, offering as much power as you'd ever really need on the road. With quick acceleration of the start it is easy to zip through in-town traffic, though staying in the fuel-efficient revs of 4-5K RPM on the highway feels extremely sluggish. But a downshift or two and you're passing people happy as can be.
A wheelie machine this is not, as given its lower HP (in todays world), and heavier weight, it simply does nothing but pull nicely unless you dump the clutch at very high revs. This is not a stunt bike, it is a bike with properties that make it applicable to the real world.
And for the record, if there was one thing that I could smite mightily in this world, I would make it 1st gear. I hate 1st. It is buzzy as hell, with the engine revving only 4500 RPM or so it sounds and feels as though you are redlining it. All the other gears are smooth and calm, making a short-shift into second a way of life (especially given the 'cats aversion to making the 1->2 shift at high revs; track day prep is suggested to include gearing it so as to avoid ever having to use 1st while on the track).
The clutch is stiffer than others I have tried, requiring four fingers to work most comfortably (but I'm a sportbike newb). The friction zoon is quite small with very little variation in it; it feels as though you have the option of enganed, friction-zone, or disengaged with little play in the f-zone to actually modulate a whole bunch.
Shifts are positive, requiring an adequate stab to get past neutral, although I have only mis-shifted once when my foot slipped (I hadn't gotten my toes far enough under the shifter). Banging up and down through the gears is a breeze until you have the 2 -> 1 shift. This shift takes much practise for me due to the completely different sound and feel of 1st gear, however it is physically the same in terms of throttle-blip required etc.
Overall the engine is strong and delivers the power you need in realistic riding without fuss.
I've no experience with other sportbikes, but the brakes are all I could want really; they stop me with little fuss and are responsive.
The suspension is quite nice, although I have yet to get around to putting preload on. However even in showroom trim the bike handles very nicely, with the suspension making quick trips through twisty roads fun and non-dramatic -- T.W.O. put it best when they stated "Tank-slapping is not a feature of these bikes." The chassis and suspension work wonderfully together, allowing tards like me to hit wet manholes, mud, and a small rock while leaned over with nothing more than a quick wobble or two.
The instrument cluster is nicely placed and lit, the spedometer going up to an indicated 290Km/h, and the tach goes well past the 13,250 redline (where there is also a rev-limiter). The temerature gague is somewhat hidden by the front-brake resevoir but for someone with my height at least, this is a non-issue when in normal riding semi-crouch as it can be seen over the resevoir. The warning lights can be confusing at times with the sun lighting the back of the light briefly making you wonder if you're almost oil, or you have to find a gas station in the next 60Km.
For me as a beginner, requiring commuting potential as well as weekend fun, I don't feel that I could have made a better decision. This bike, when ridden well, has the potential to keep within sight of current 600cc bikes while still allowing you to go farther and longer than said new bikes. It's strong mid-range allows a rider to stay out of the 'fun-zone' and still get around quickly, but with a good 5000 RPM range to play with should you feel like a bit more pep.
Can not recommend this bike enough.
UPDATE 15-OCT-04: I intended to include comments on the under-seat storage in my original review, but forgot. Please excuse my error, I include this information now.
The under-seat storage is simply phenominal for a modern sport-bike. This is aided by the seat being one large piece; I have carried with ease a cell phone, garage remote, OEM tool-kit, and a PC game box (5.25"x7.5"x1.25") with room to spare. Unfortunately I feel the vertical element of the storage is missing, as Yamaha opted to mould the plastic so as to accomodate a U-lock. As such there is a curved, 1.5" high mould in the plastic, with a curve. I am looking at hacking that out to provide myself even more space should I want it. Even as is, however, it can carry more than you'd realistically need on a quick twistie rip.
UPDATE 19-APR-05: I will now finally give my impressions of this bike with the new pipe. First, in terms of looks I would say that the 20" Titanium Oval Hindle Stealth pipe fits the looks quite nice. I had nothing against the black stock pipe, but to be honest I wouldn't go back -- the Ti just looks that good. The sound is also very nice, being the "Stealth" model, the old folks who live in the neighbourhood haven't lynched me yet. However that doesn't stop it from having a nice exhaust note, defenitely a noticeable change from the stock sound.
I can't say much in terms of power, never had it Dyno'd stock, and haven't had it Dyno'd with the Hindle. It's still a civilized bike, the new pipe doesn't seem to have changed anything about how it acts, but remember that this is a newbie talking. A seasoned vet may declare differently. The carbs did not require re-jetting or any tweaking when swapping pipes, it runs just fine as it was. Unfortunately, I can't say how the gas mileage has changed, as I no longer have the same commuting routine that I did before. That will change on Monday, though, so perhaps in another month or so I will be able to compare the numbers from before and after the operation.
The uselessness of the stock tires has also become more apparent. Before I had these tires, I figured that you didn't need good sticky tires unless you went top-gear through the twisties. Oh how wrong I was. Even in 12deg weather, with no moisture their performance under braking is questionable. These seem to be sunny-summer-days-only tires, and I highly advise to either get better tires should you buy a YZF 600R or avoid riding in wet or cool circumstances. These have been a true lesson in how much tires can suck, and that just because its on a sportbike doesn't mean that it's at all suitable for hard riding.
Regardless of the tires, the bike is still fine and enjoyable, and I still can not find a reason not to recommend it to others.