The first snowfall came and went, sent a Chinook through the Province and a whole lot of riders choosing helmets instead of toques for that one last hurrah before winter. Bike manufacturers are hitting the bike show circuit that kicks off in Toronto in a few short weeks and makes its way to Abbotsford mid-January. I barely got to enjoy the 2011 models and here come the 2012’s. With the middleweight entry level commuter, the Yamaha FZ6R, the only thing changing in 2012 is the colour.
Here’s a bike designed for comfort and stability – no matter what your height. Let’s face it, there are many bikes out there specific to a certain body type but the FZ6R invites all sized riders to get behind the bars.
Originally looking for some excitement that only a super sport ride delivers, I lasted about two blocks on the super sport Yamaha R6 before surrendering it for the standard sport ride of the FZ6R.
I feel like a pretzel on the R6. That is a hard ride for a tall girl. My body is too big, my legs are too long and the wrist angle is too sharp. I bet I look like a horse jockey trying to ride that.
Comparable power and style was the FZ6R and its appearance looked equally inviting with its super sport looks, low lines, a mere 5.5 inches of ground clearance and full front fairing wrapping the single jewel cut headlight, accented by fork mounted, eyelet style running/signal lights both front and rear and a complete windscreen.
Despite it’s supersport looks, grab the handlebars from the rider’s seat and realize that it’s actually a standard sport ride with a whole lot more room.
With a separated front and rear seat, the rider’s seat is height adjustable by ¾ of an inch. With a base of 30.9”, three quarters up or down can mean the difference of dancing on your tip toes or both feet flat meeting the pavement and in total control.
Sitting more upright than leaned over, the handlebars are adjustable to keep those elbows tight against the body but not wrapped around the tank. A rider has 20mm of rotation for adjustment with the handlebars allowing perfection of comfort for the size of the rider. The angles of the digital display provide the rider a clear view of the speedometer, odometer/trip, fuel and coolant guages, nestled next to the analog tach, by barely taking your eyes off the road.
The added perk of a dropped rider seat is if you happen to have a bit of a heavy throttled wrist, you won’t be going far before you get the opportunity to correct it. The bike may be a 600 cc liquid cooled 4 stroke engine but it packs a punch and delivers the power when you need it.
I punched it a bit as I began an ascent uphill and I surprised myself how quickly my backside met that back seat.
The bike is light and agile and with a mere 470 lb wet weight, can be tossed around pretty easily as you make your way through the six speed transmission paired with a multi-plate wet clutch.
The bike is so low that it handles like a super sport and hugs the curves as such. You can’t help but want to crouch.
The super sport comparison continues with its sound. The FZ6R and the R6 share the same exhaust – a 4 into 2 into 1 with a 3-way catalytic converter to reduce exhaust emissions.
Your legs will hug the 4.6 gallon fuel tank and you can easily lower your upper body without changing control of the bike. Fuel economy is estimated at 43 mpg making this bike a perfect choice for commuting to work.
Seventy inch tubeless radial front and rear tires between a 41 mm inner tube telescopic front fork and single shock rear with 5.1 inches of travel provide an agile and smoother than super sport ride. The radials are stopped by hydraulic dual 298 mm front discs and 245 single rear.
2011 offered Raven (black) and two tone copper/black. 2012 substitutes Pearl White for the two tone of 2011 in addition to Raven.
MSRP for 2012 starts at $7,590.