2011 Yamaha R1 and R6: the good, the bad and the ugly

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The Good: Both the ungainly 2011 Yamaha R1 and lithe, exotic 600cc sex machine come in a seriously classy gloss black/matte black color combination. No ridiculous logos, no hidden tribal graphics.

The Bad: Yamaha’s fluffed the blue/white color scheme this year; the colors are solid (as always), but the layout make the R1 look even more awkward and the font makes the 2011 Yamaha R6 look cheap.

The Ugly: Hey look, it’s a red version. Wait, are those tribal flames, ghost skulls and faux airbrushing? Why yes, I believe they are.

Other than the graphics, both bikes remain unaltered. That’s no bad thing, well, at least not in the R6’s case. It’s amazing that, after four years, this generation of the R6 is still the freshest, sexiest sportsbike design on the market. The only thing that’s ever held it back from making the European competition look outdated and fat has been the shell suit graphics which, this year, disappear on the black bike.

Normally, a 600 repli-racer entering its fifth year of production would be underpowered, under-spec’d and heavier than newer, hotter competition. Not this year, with the motorcycle industry’s inability to create a market for motorcycles in this country except as luxury goods, development on new models has been delayed and the R6 remains a scalpel in a drawer full of only very sharp knives. Power remains at 122bhp, torque is 48lb/ft and it still weighs just 189kg/417lbs (wet). All its components are still cutting edge too, fly-by-wire throttle, variable intake length, fully-adjustable (even high and low speed compression) USD forks holding radial brakes, there’s even a slipper clutch. Just don’t get the skulls. Please.

  • miles_prower

    Ghost skulls surrounded by hippie-chick colors?

  • jake

    dem skullz be matching my mad tattz yo!!

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    I don’t think the blue/white graphics on the 600 make it look cheap; I think it makes it look more recognizably Yamaha. Not as sexy as the black, though.

    My goodness, the red is horrible, though. In 5 years, I can see all the black bikes looking brand new, the blue bikes looking well-used and well-cared for, and all the red bikes covered in LEDs, bald stock tires, and road rash on either side of the fairing.

  • marshallhaas

    Technically this is the bikes fourth year in production and sixth year if you don’t count the minor update they did on 2008.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Have I got my math wrong? I though the R6 debuted as a 2006 model.

      • Dave H

        No, your math is right. 2011 is year 5 for the current design R6.

        • marshallhaas

          Maybe I have something wrong.

          Debut as 2006 model then build a 2007.
          Refresh in 2008.
          Built 2008, 2009, 2010, and now 2011.

          I count 4 for refresh and 6 total or is this calculated differently?

  • seanslides

    Looks like yamaha got the memo and realized that Adey’s bike is what people Really want.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

      Leave it to Yamaha marketing to still get it wrong..even with pics. More Flat less Gloss dummies.

  • robotribe

    Skulls, flames…

    You might as well include the Ed Hardy helmet with the bike to complete the package so we can at least pretend it’s parody.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

      They’re so street savvy…

    • seanslides

      It’s really doesn’t fit with the Ed Hardy brand well enough to really work.

      Now if it were an Affliction helmet, it’d be a whole ‘nother story. They would of course need matching riding gear; tank top printed with skulls and such, bedazzled jeans, and a smaller tank top with matching booty shorts for the lady.

      • robotribe

        Tank top?! This model is strictly no-shirt-only, bro!

  • danzero

    it’s too bad they won’t put the big bang cross plane crank shaft in the R6. I might be able to forgive the really bad “hot topic” graphics…

    • g.r.b

      NOOO!! please, i love the r6 engine, plus i kinda hate how the r1 now sound like a big touring bike instead of the characteristic high rev engine that i fell in love with, please no “cross wannabe motogp shaft” for the r6! i still want to listen to that sweet sound

  • g.r.b

    the black one is definitely really good. but we get the european colours, hope this black one comes from the european lineup, generally the public out side the usa has better taste so we usually get better colours, i want to see what we are getting!

  • mchale2020

    Yamaha’s blue scheme has had a nice progressive evolution over the past decade… until now.

    Why can’t Yamaha take some of its vintage schemes, class it up some more, and apply it to their current line of bikes? Or maybe go the Ducati route and just go with solid colors?

    Granted, I’m not too upset because the current generation R6 is irrelevant to me anyway.

    One thing is for sure though, the locals are going to squid their pants when they see that red scheme.


    I like the R6, I was a previous owner of a 2007 model.


    New graphics don’t make a new bike, sorry. This is what H-D does with thier products.

    How about a new design Yamaha? And how about a 750?

    I bet Honda and Suzuki pull this shit…..oh wait they already have.

  • Chuluun

    The other thing holding the R6 back is that if you’re a normal-sized European male — an increasingly large breed — you’re going to look like the proverbial gorilla-on-a-roller-skate riding it. It is a truly outstanding bike and exceptional value for money but I just couldn’t live with it day-in day-out, unfortunately.

  • voxveho

    Not sure if something is up with the color saturation in these photos but that is way more GSXR Blue than Yamaha Blue. Take a look at an 06 R6 and compare it to this one. Totally different color.

  • circuitsports

    I think they all look better than the homotron leyla garbage on my beloved cbr last year.

    I wonder if the ghost flames are stickers, might be easy to remove or repaint. Solid black looks teh win.