2018 Yamaha YZF-R6

Majorly manic middleweight

2018 Yamaha YZF-R6
2018 Yamaha YZF-R6CRS

With seven Daytona 200 wins, the YZF-R6 has serious supersport credentials. Even a cursory glance at engine data bears this out: On the dyno, the 599cc DOHC inline-four is a rage in a cage, slinging out 108.6 hp at a frenetic 13,890 rpm—and its redline is higher still at 16,500 rpm. The motor employs a computer-controlled variable intake system, twin fuel injectors per cylinder, selectable power modes and traction control, and even an exhaust power-valve system to fatten the powerband. Ready? The machine’s weight-to-power ratio is a zingy 3.9:1 better than a $1 million Porsche 918 supercar.

Since “modern” 600cc sportbikes debuted in the mid-1980s, engineers have had more than three decades to perfect their craft. As such, the R6 benefits from the following features: ram-air induction, which increases engine output at high speeds; a slipper clutch, which helps stabilize the chassis during rapid-fire downshifts; stacked gear shafts in the six-speed transmission, which shorten the engine for better mass centralization; and an available quickshifter, which allows clutchless shifting when, to paraphrase FedEx, “you absolutely, positively have to be there this instant.”

Likes: Superb proportions, track-ready performance, LED headlights

Dislikes: Expensive; sky-high power peak requires much shifting; too small for "big boys"

Verdict: Premium supersport performance, premium price

2018 Yamaha YZF-R6 Specs and Pricing

MSRP $12,199
DISPLACEMENT (CC) 599
SEAT HEIGHT (IN) 34
WET WEIGHT (LBS) 419