2009 Yamaha FZ6R combines sex appeal with practicality

Dailies -


2009_Yamaha_FZ6R_headlight.jpgThe 2009 Yamaha FZ6R is exactly the kind of motorcycle just about everyone should ride. Its 78bhp engine (based on the previous generation R6) is tuned for torque (although Yamaha has yet to quote a figure), meaning it’ll be easy to use; at 212kg (467lbs) wet, its relatively lightweight; at $7,000 its relatively cheap; and with an upright, comfortable riding position and protective fairing it’ll be versatile too. The problem with bikes like this (think Suzuki SV650 or Honda CBF600) is that they normally lack both sexy looks and headline grabbing performance figures, so buyers ignore them, especially in this country. By giving it up-to-date looks Yamaha is hoping the FZ6R will change that.
>2009_Yamaha_FZ6R_blue.jpgThe thinking goes, that with increasing fuel prices there’ll finally be
demand in the US for practical motorcycles. In addition to just being a
good, basic bike, Yamaha is hoping that features like a seat that
adjusts up and down by 20mm will attract riders intelligent enough not
to fall for the tempting looks of a supersport bike. Which they
shouldn’t, the FZ6R will be equally good at commuting and touring as it
will at weekend rides or as a first big bike. Consider this a test, if the FZ6R sells in decent
numbers, manufacturers will bring in more practical motorcycles, if it
doesn’t, they won’t. It’s up to you.


  • chris

    Figures the US will get the ugly plastic clad bike. A Naked bike like this should look like a naked bike with all the mechanical and engine detail exposed. Also if they want us to buy the smaller bikes, put inverted forks and better brakes on them. This bike is just boring, it is neither a sport bike or a naked bike. Yamaha should bring the FZ1 Fazer and its FZ6 equivalent from Europe.

    • JAKE


  • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes

    There is no naked version of the FZ6R, this is called the XJ6 Diversion in Europe and it’s an entirely new model.

    Inverted forks? Fancier brakes? They wouldn’t add any performance to a bike like this and would just raise the price.

    A naked option might be nice, but there’s no arguing that the fairing is more practical.

  • http://www.robotribe.com robotribe

    Yup. The European version of the FZ6R is the 2009 XJ6 Diversion, minus the mid/lower part of the FZ6R fairing. I like the Euro only XJ6 more, personally, especially their color choices. I’m glad to see this kind of bike added to the U.S. market. We really need more diversity and selection. Suzuki has the GSX650F which is comparably priced. Kawasaki has the Ninja 650R. Honda has… well, nothing in this category.

    That said, I don’t think most U.S. bike customers have practicality in mind when it comes to choosing a bike and “sensibility” is far down or absent from their requirements list.

    I’d be all over this bike as a commuter, but wish it lost at least 20 lbs first. I hope this bike is a success, but I doubt it will be until there are enough folks here in the U.S. who think of bikes as modes of transportation and not just toys, macho fashion accessories or tools for YouTube jackassery.

  • Kevin White

    Is there room for this AND the FZ6 in the lineup? Or is the FZ6 no more? From what I can tell of these two bikes, the riding position is quite similar, while the FZ6′s engine is tuned up for more power (closer to the R6S anyway). I guess I’m confused about its place in the showroom, considering its looks, riding position, and engine configuration.

  • James Meyer

    I would think the Kawasaki Ninja 650R is it’s closest competitor considering price, power, and intended users

  • Ryan Harris

    For a practical bike this is missing one major feature: ABS. Suzuki and now Honda both have it on their mid-level bikes. Not having ABS is fine for the expereinced and/or exceptionally talented rider, but most beginners aren’t those.

  • chili sv

    The bike looks decent alone, but once you get a rider on this, they’re going to look like a goon. The styling is very forward swept, but the riding position is very upright. They’re trying to disguise a practical bike as a sport bike. Give it up and create an appropriate aesthetic.

  • Rick Sanchez

    I am looking for my first bike and have found that true sport bikes are out of my price range. I like this bike because it is the only entry level bike that I have seen that makes an attempt to look sporty. Do we begginers have to settle for bland bikes on the first go round? Experienced riders please chime in!

    • d.fuller

      im an experienced rider and have had many models of bikes in my day. my latest was a ’93 cbr 900rr which was just a bad ass bike all the way around.
      i now have a ’09fz6r and have found that this bike although not neerly as fast or powerful as the cbr it is still infact one hell of a fun bike with some power to play with.
      this bike has no problem getting up to speed and can lift the front wheel of the ground very easily. the bike has a sexy look about it and is very comfortable to ride. if the bars feel like there to upright for you then lossen them and role them back just a little and your riding poss. will feel more like a crotch rocket.
      this is a nice bike for begginers and the experts..

  • Kevin White

    What about the Ninja 250R? 650R? SV650? GSX650F? Monster 620/695? If you’re not in the US, there are more options, and if you don’t have to buy new for your first, even more options…

  • contender

    When gas climbs into the permanently-$5 +/gal range I think bikes like these will sell like hotcakes. They just need to be advertised correctly – emphasize the fun a commute would be on a bike coupled with high mpg and a low price. A properly-advertised (and maybe lowered) 650 dual-sport could be old to tons of new-to-motorcycles commuters.

    I don’t know that this one is the home-run that the 650 ninja (and versys) is though. The swingarm looks seriously dated/cheap and the passenger pegs are kinda odd.

  • Paul

    I am curious as well to see what they’re going to do with the FZ6. Just adding a fairing doesn’t mean you should put an “R” at the end of the name and while 7x horsepower can easily put the bike in the 13x mpg range, the fairing really isn’t going to do that much. I have a Duc Monster and I get more of the wind gusts than my bike does, and it weights 390lbs. I do agree that this could be a great step towards a bigger market of motorcyclists, but like chili said, it needs the right aesthetic. Folks don’t buy motorcycles JUST because they’re practical.

  • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant

    Wow. The US gets a Euro bike that helps diversify the market, has comfortable ergonomics and caters to entry level. Why the bitching?

    And here’s a whopper of a thought, maybe those entry level riders moving over due to fuel and insurance costs have different needs and wants this bike might fulfill. Yeah, I’m talking about folks who are buying bikes JUST because they’re practical. Amazingly, there’s a bunch of those people walking into dealerships these days.

    This kind of bitching is the reason we never got all those cool Japanese 250cc and 400cc repli-racers in the late eighties and early nineties.

    • Melanie

      Fair Comment Grant. Well said!!!

  • David

    I cant wait for it to come out. This bike looks like a bike that is needed. I actually like its upright position yet sporty looks. Thats because I find the upright poistion more comfortable so I can just cruise but I can go fast and look cool if I feel like it. Most upright bikes that I have seen look like dirtbikes, but this one looks sportier. Plus Im sure the MPG is going to be good, and the price is decent. No more looking for parking at college.

  • erick von zipper

    I was all set to lay down for a new Suzuki GSX650F as soon as my Drifter sold. I had been hemming and hawing between the GSX and the FZ6, and had settled on the Suzuki.

    On the very day that I got a firm commitment to buy the Drifter, I get an email from Cycle World online, showing this new FZ6R. And I’m a big fan of yellow. That’s a message if I ever saw one.

    There are plenty of people who want a sporty-looking, competently performing bike such as the GSX650F or FZ6R, people who don’t need that 20 lbs shaved off or an aluminum swingarm. Anyone that picks at that stuff is most likely in the market for a supersport, anyway.

    So now I’m thinking I’m gonna have wait to see this new FZ6R in the flesh before making my purchase.

  • dave r

    For Chris — If your not a complete newbie it sound like you need a 2009 Ducati Monster 696 instead of FZ6R. It’s naked with Brembo brakes, inverted forks and even a slipper clutch and now requires half the mantainance. I’ve been shopping in this catagory like so many others that are fairly fresh to the sport and/or are being pushed to alternative commute vehicles to save on gas but don’t really want an old Toyota Paseo or corolla. The Ninja 650R and SV650SF look to be the best choice for beginners at 400lbs. This FZ6R and the GSXR650f are a little hefty for smaller or new riders. Overall the 650R seems to be the best choice but I’m not totally sold on the looks compared to other choices. This FZ6R looks great and I agree that Yellow is attractive, just don’t know if I want the extra weight. Any other suggestions?

  • David Levy

    I love the look of this bike and hope Yamaha see sense and launch it here in the UK.It’s about time the Diversion had an upgrade. I bought my Divvy straight after passing my test, intending to keep it a year to gain road sense and then buy an R6 or bigger but, 6 years later, I’m still using the Divvy. If they bring the faired version over I think it will sell like hot cakes and not only with new riders but older and more experianced riders to. Come on Yamaha, you know it’s the right thing to do (and make sure you bring it over in red, please)

  • John

    It looks fantastic, and it likely is going to be my second bike (learning on a ninja 250). Kawasaki’s 2009 challenge to this is going to be the ER-6N (redesigned and coming to the US). I’m very glad to see that bike makers are recognizing the growing demand for this kind of bike.

  • NewbikeGod

    I always think it is funny when I read that someone wants a commuter/sport standard type bike to be “20 lbs lighter” or wish it had “Inverted forks”, that shows they don’t know this price sensitive market very well, plus if you really rode it as a commuter you would see that most conventional forks offer a more supple ride than traditional inverted forks [of course except some higher end inverted's used on much higher end priced bikes], plus sometimes that extra “20 lbs” is a good thing to give the bike a more planted feel on the road and be less skidish that a superlight supersport bike feels sometimes on-road. Now I agree with the post that wishes for ABS option, that would be a great thing for most of the riders who use this for commuting in traffic or are new to the sport. Just 10 years ago we had very little “practical” bikes to choose from, was mostly cruisers or pure sportbikes, now we have dozens of real world bikes with more coming. This is good!!

  • NewbikeGod

    Oh, forgot to say “Honda, now please give us that CB1000R that you supply to Europe!!” “Please, pretty please”

  • Scott

    Wow. I walked into the Yam/Suz/Honda dealer in town for some 2-stroke oil for a Honda Elite 50 scooter (my daughter’s), and saw the Suzuki GSX650F. I wanted it. I was not looking for a bike, but my brother has a Ninja 650R. I had a Suzuki GS750 years ago and put 30k miles on it. Now I want a 650 mid-size “beginner” bike (at my age, I do not need a bigger ‘wand’, if you know what I mean). So I was sort of set on the Suzuki, but found the new 2009 Ninja 650R coming out in January, with a lot of improvements. Then I found this baby here, the Yamaha in the same class with about the same price.

    So now I have to decide… Suzi GSX650F, Kawi 650R, or the Yama FZ6R. I am kind of leaning toward the Kawi, as it is an improved 3rd year model, and the Suzi has that huge muffler out there on the right rear side (but as a plus it has the ABS). This Yamaha is a brand new model… though the engine and components are not new. Tad more power on this one as well.

    Decisions decisions…

  • Joel

    I have been looking for a while at a number of different options in the sport bike realm. Since I will be a first time rider, I have been torn between a super sport (gsxr-600 or R6) and a cafe racer style naked bike; used or new. FZ6R is the first bike to really capture the style of the supers (and honestly even surpass most with the way cool yet still subtle graphics) with a more daily-driver feel.

    Of course I can’t really say how it is going to ride since, again, I have no experience riding as of yet. Of course, no one does since the bike won’t be released until January. I guess we will really have to wait until more people have had a chance to saddle up on it.

    From the looks of it and the specs, however, this seems like its going to be a real head-turner with amazingly practical commutability. I’ll take mine in yellow, please! :-D

  • Todd

    Heck, as a second bike..this is exactly the PRACTICALITY I needed without a “boring” cruiser look…they all look the same for a practical rider/second bike person…..

    I put a down payment on it sight unseen Im so confident about it..should have in February!!!!!

    Sportbike looks, a little pep, Upright position…whats NOT to like about this bike…Its NOT a cruiser…..its a shoe in…But I know..its all about the looks and the power right…..

    bad me….

  • George Fernandez

    I can not believe all the talk about not having an aluminum frame and abs brakes,have you ever heard of “practicality” ? Peolple in the US are always whining…Who the heck is going to do 120 mph on their way to work? If you want a crotch rocket get an R1 and if money if no problem get a Ducati… but there is a lot of sensible riders that enjoy the mid levels entry bikes!!!
    The styling is forward swept because this way after a couple of hours of riding there is no need to go to a chiropractor.

  • Brian

    I bought a black FZ6R a couple of days ago. I chose it over the Ninja 650R because although the Ninja looked nice, it felt cheap and it sounds like a busted washing machine. The FZ6R is a little too quiet but the engine is smooth.

    I can tell you this is a very solid, well-balanced, quality bike. Super easy to ride – don’t even worry about the extra 20lbs. Lots of low end torque but I’m in the break-in period so I can’t go past the 5800rpm mark which sucks because this engine really wants to rev (redline@12500). Low-end torque is substantial enough that shifting while releasing the clutch smoothly at less that 4000rpms will throw your body forward a bit.

    I’m really liking this bike and I highly recommend it.

    If you want a crotch rocket, go buy a crotch rocket, STFU.

    • Brian

      To clarify, “shifting while releasing the clutch smoothly at less that 4000rpms will throw your body forward a bit.” I’m talking about up-shifting, not down-shifting.

    • Kim

      You hit the nail on the head Brian, people want to bash this bike but those of us that are interested in this style don’t want to lie down on our tanks.

  • JL

    I think this is a good bike for me. I am a beginner rider and have already rode mine through the santa cruz mountains a couple of times. Unfortunately though I have not obeyed the RPM break in period and have already revved the bike to 11.5k a couple of times and the bike only has 350miles. I hope this does not kill it. Question- do bikes have an engine cutoff switch to not allow you to over rev???

  • Mal

    Word from Oz (that’s Australia not Austria …)
    I have GS 500F and I’m 68 years old. Been riding for about 2 years. About to move up to a GSX650F. Have looked a the SV650S (too sporty of my needs), FZ6 2008 model (again too sporty for my needs)) the VFR800 (too touro for my needs) and not interested in any Kawi’s The GSX seemed just right especially the instrument panel with the gear indicator. Can’t mount crash knobs though. Its my age …. but balance is getting better …! Self cancelling indicators would be nice ….. just joking! Then saw FZ6 Div (half fairing) due hear in March. Can’t get fully faired FX6R in Oz. Well not yet anyway.
    I think the Div comes with crash knobs? But really like what I see. However need to sit on the real thing which may direct me back to the GSX. Bit like when I first sat on the 2008 FZ6S ….. no …. not for me.

  • Mike

    I have been trying to locate videos on this bike. Not much on YouTube yet but when I searched for the European model the XJ6 came up (the naked version). I have not liked the naked look at all until I saw this bike perform. It’s really quite nice. – I’m in love with the FZ6R (wont have mine till spring) and I’m so confident that the U.S. market is going to embrace this. Hopefully in the future we’ll have access to the naked version as well because the XJ6 has so much character (like a Ducati Monster). – I’m a soon to be new rider and cant wait to accept the FZ6R as my first bike.

  • Mark

    the FZ6 s2 is MORE powerfull and fast!!!
    This motor is for rookie drivers..
    In fact in Italy and Europe it’s called FJ6 Diversion, yamaha in USA called it FZ6R..
    but what has about R?! nothing.. 78HP vs 98HP of FZ6 s2..

    • Brian

      “Its 78bhp engine (based on the previous generation R6) is tuned for torque (although Yamaha has yet to quote a figure)”

      Maybe you should read the article above Mark.

      From what I understand from this and other sources is that the motor is a redesigned R6 motor with a more balanced torque/hp ratio.

      Also, the Yamaha people I talked to said this motor is quite a bit better than the current FZ6. However, I’m sure you know more than them.

  • Dianne

    Being a lady with short legs, it has been difficult to find a sport bike I could be comfortable on, and at least touch the ground with one toe!
    I have a cruiser, and I just recently bought a Ninja 250 so I could have a small sport bike to ride too…. the reason being it was the ONLY sport bike that I could keep both toes on the ground when I stopped.
    I was pleasantly surprised when I went to my dealer yesterday, and sat on the new FZ6R.
    I love the styling… because of its differences. I don’t like laying so far over a bike and the FZ6R offers a more upright seating position than most…plus, I can comfortably touch my toes to the ground on starts and stops.
    My husband has a Suzuki VStrom, which my feet dangle about 3-4 inches above the ground with no hope of ever touching the ground >grin<.
    My son has an 08 FZ6 that he is very happy with. I have ridden it several times, and really like the bike itself, but can never touch both feet to the ground at the same time.
    The FZ6R will be my next bike … no contest.

    • Natasha

      Hi! lol you sound like me! im kinda short lol.. but im 15 and a half. im 5’4, and i really cant wait to find a bike.. i REALLY LIKE THIS ONE! for the design and everything looks awesome :) :) lol. do you think i could touch the ground?

  • Jerry

    I got my FZ6R in Apr 09. I am a new rider and this is my first bike. My only bike time was in the MSF course. I rode a 04 Ninja 250R for about 8 hours and did feel the bike was under powered for my 6 foot 230 pound body frame. I love the styling on this bike as it does look sporty and Yamaha states it as a beginner bike. Well see how it goes when I get on it.

  • Stu

    put some hard bags on the back and you will have a small touring bike many would be interested in.

  • Caleb Roberts

    I bought my 09 FZ6R and after putting a power commander on it and the dual two brothers exhaust my bike will out run R6′s and keep up with stock R1′s its a great bike easy to ride. everybody ragged me for having a sport bike instead of a crouch rocket but hey when they are lookin at my tail light they dont say anything else.

  • Ronnie Rogers

    i can admit caleb i ragged you about your bike and when you first got it i left you in the dust and now after doing two small things to that thing everytime i look back you are always there and people i ride a built 2007 GSX1000 and that little pink pin striped bike of his will keep up

  • Grayson

    Hey Caleb, you can stop telling tales any time. You are not going to outrun an R6, and will certainly not keep up with an R1 on that. An R6 has nearly double the wheel horsepower, and don’t even get me started on the R1. Stop being a moron telling tales like that.

  • Randall

    The only issue I have with my FZ6R is the position of the footpegs. I have short legs and the first day on the bike I had a car pull out in front of me in a parking lot and had to quickly slam the breaks and put the feet down…my feet hit the pegs since they are almost directly underneath and had to gently lower the bike to the pavement…first scratch, but no fairing damage. Since that, I have added sliders just in case and am more careful about avoiding the pegs when I stop, but they are still in the way. Need to be 20mm or so forward or back to clear room. Anyone else had this issue? I am looking for adj. vario pegs, but haven’t found any yet to fit.

    • Heather

      I found the pegs to be a huge hinderance. They are right where my legs naturally want to go…I am extremely disappointed and probably wont be buying the bike. If you find a solution, please share!

  • Anne

    Just bought one.. I don’t like it. I LOVE IT. I’m a beginner rider, this is my first bike, I rode a borrowed Harley 883 Sportster which felt like a dumptruck.. this bike is so responsive, maneuverable, has a nice easy clutch, looks great, goes slow, goes fast, well behaved!

    Thank you Yamaha for recognizing that GIRLS RIDE TOO and we don’t all want to ride those boring cruisers!

  • Johnny

    This is a great looking bike. I am 55 and have been riding for 30 yrs. I currently am on my 10th or 11th bike I lost count. I now ride a Harley Street Glide. I love it for long distance riding and commuting to work. I like to listen to npr on the way to work. Some times I would love to own a lighter bike to have a little fun with. I use to own a 93 zx6 E model. It was a blast. I saw the FZ6R and sat on it. I almost bought it right on the spot. It felt great and I have been checking it out on the net for some time now. I am 5’6″ with a 27′ inseam. I seem to want a little more power than this bike delivers. I know that this bike was designed for the beginners but us short legged people would love to have bike like this with a little more umph.

  • http://wpacouncil.org/user/4492 Baird

    Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck!

  • GhostRider

    Looks like there’s too much bitching at what this bike isn’t or doesn’t have (compared to a supersport bike), but I think people have overlooked what the intent of this bike is. It not an alternative or competitor to, say an R6. It’s just a good looking average street bike that can do everything very well, that you can live with everyday, and won’t cost an arm & a leg to purchase or insure. Which is why I will be buying the FZ6R.
    I’ve ridden all sorts of bikes over the years and I currently own a GSXR1K. I’ll be buying the FZ6R because of it’s looks, abilities as a street bike and it’s price.
    I will have to replace those handlebars with highrise clipons, take off that rear mud flap and do some cheap muffler mods in order to get a nice sound, but that’s about it.
    I applaude Yamaha for creating this bike. Well done!

  • http://survivalskills.wordpress.com Spin Doctor

    I’ve just bought the half-faired XJ6 Diversion as it’s called in the UK.

    Coming from a background of 750 sports bikes, yes it lacks a little top end power but for real riding in the 40-80mph zone 78 ponies are enough power for all bar dragracers and at the lean angles that are sensible on the potholed trails that we laughingly call roads, the basic suspension feels anything but budget.

    It feels lighter than the spec sheet’s 450lbs which makes me think that perhaps other manufacturers are a bit less than honest about their products’ weight.

    The US-spec FZ6R does get a funky looking split rider/passenger dual seat, while us Brits have to make do with a comfy but less eye-candy single part seat. I guess they are compatible because it’s a mod I’d make for the looks!

  • Bubba in SF

    I have been wanting to get another bike. It’s been 20 years since I had my 500 Yamaha. I had been thinking of the Suzuki SV650 but, it’s gone.
    After sitting on sport bikes (too forward) and cruisers (I thought about the Vulcan 500 LTD but, it’s gone) pegs too forward. I’m 6ft 205 lbs. The Yamaha was a perfect fit. The seat adjustment is
    plus. 78 horsepower is plenty. The cruisers have a lot of weight and lower horsepower ratings. As long as a bike has sufficient power and is light enough to manuever in traffic that is all most people need. Motorcycles are transportation 1st and foremost. At my age I’m not trying to impress someone with what I ride. If that is why someone is buying a bike, the hospitals are full of organ donors trying to impress someone.