This morning, Yamaha published a new “R World” teaser video on its website and social media channels. The company’s official press release says it’s “alluding to an upcoming new motorcycle introduction.” Read between the lines – watch the video – and it seems pretty clear to us: this is the new YZF-R6.
That’s the only line of significance in Yamaha’s press release, other than mentioning another video will be released October 4th. Without much to work with, here’s what we can gather so far.
First and foremost, the video is dominated by the distinct sound of a high-revving inline four-cylinder engine, leading us to believe this is in fact the next R6. Unless Yamaha is pulling a fast one on everybody, that alone squashes the rumor (hope?) that the long-awaited, all-new R6 will be powered by a three-cylinder engine. Also interesting is the engine note clearly does not mimic that of the crossplane crank-equipped R1, indicating Yamaha is sticking to the screamer 180-degree firing intervals for this middleweight.
From there, we see a rider on a racetrack (a few, actually; Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, Thunderhill Raceway Park, and Barber Motorsports Park) tucked beneath the bike’s windscreen, which appears rounder and more bulbous than the broad, flat screen of the current R6.
At approximately the 12-second mark in the video the rider moves to the side, revealing a completely digital gauge cluster. The shot is only on screen for a fraction of a second, but it appears similar in shape to – but not a copy of – the unit seen on Yamaha’s FZ (MT for the Euros) line.
There’s not much else to see after that, as the following riding sequence shows the rider again in a tuck, but with only the track surface reflecting off his faceshield – not any instrumentation. Despite learning little from this video, we can make some educated guesses about what to expect. The current R6 has its roots stretching all the way back to 2006, which then received a revamp for 2008. So it’s essentially 11 years old now, and its engine was designed long before Euro 4 emission regulations were on the table.
So we expect a thorough overhaul of the entire engine and drivetrain to meet modern global standards. Unlike the literbike world, however, the middleweight category has been stagnant for a number of years, so a horsepower war isn’t one Yamaha has to fight particularly hard to win. Somewhere between 110-115 hp to the wheel would be impressive for a “true” 600 (not a 636 or 675), especially considering modern noise emissions regulations.
We can also expect to see ABS since it’ll be required on all motorcycles above 125cc in Europe starting in 2017, along with traction control and other rider aids, as has become de rigeur in the sportbike world. Time will tell if the R6 borrows the IMU from its R1 sibling and incorporates slide, launch, and wheelie control as well.
A key part of the equation for new 600cc supersports is balancing prices, as it costs nearly as much to manufacture a 600 as it does a literbike. The current R6 has an MSRP of $10,990, so it’ll be reasonable to expect the price tag of a new R6 will be inflated.
The next video is set to be released October 4th, which, coincidentally, is also media day at the Intermot show in Germany. We’ll learn a lot more then, so stay tuned.