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R6 Motorcycle Fairings

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The 2008-onward model of the famous Yamaha YZF R6 has had many upgrades to blast in into the top spot of the 600cc class. Indeed, the development team under project leader Kouchi Amano has implemented knowledge from Moto-GP. The focus for the 2008 model year was an refined balance between handling and rigidity. In other words, Yamaha targeted to make the R6 handle better on twisty tracks or small country roads and at the same time to improve stability at higher speed. To reach this target, the team modified the bike’s backbone, the die cast aluminum frame. It was not changed completely and you would have to look close to notice the differences to the previous model, and is not visible by looking at the R6 fairings, but the changes are very influential on the rigidity of the bike. 

The cross member between the to main spars was removed. This needed a countermeasure, so the thickness of the steering head and the swing arm pivot was been increased, as well as the frame’s wall thickness; and the internal ribbing was changed. Consequently they needed to create a different rigidity of the swing arm. It looks pretty much the same, but in fact it is a totally different part. 

Yamaha added ribs to the inside of the cast portion and the end portion and used forged aluminium instead of extruded material. If you look closer to the front fork you might spot the changes there. Yamaha redesigned the under bracket and the fork outer tube strength has been changed. These fundamental changes make the YZF-R6 handle more sharply and make the bike more exciting to ride.

Unusually, they made the rear sub frame from Magnesium. It is a rare case to use such a delicate material on a major structural part of a regular production bike. But the Yamaha are not about compromising. Yamaha simply go for the best. The rear frame holds the redesigned R6 fairings and seat. Again not a totally different looks, but fine adjustments were made to it. 

The rider position has changed slightly forwards as well as handle bar position was moved forwards and a little lowered. The rider will be sitting more “in the machine” with centre of gravity moved a little forward. Riders with race experience know that this improves handling and grip on the front end. As the R6 is a high-rpm engine, YCC-I makes the power delivery even more dramatic, improving power feel from mid-range to 14,500 rpm. This effect is particularly noticeable at high rpm when the secondary injectors kick in. Based on rpm and the degree of throttle opening, YCC-I instantly switches the air funnel length from long to short. This changes the intake pulse frequency, results in improved cylinder filling and higher power output.

As a result, the new R6 has a wider, more linear power band. Or, what riders will call a wider high rpm fun zone! To work with the new YCC-I, also the exhaust camshaft timing as well as ignition timing was modified and the exhaust pipe joints have increased diameter. To make sure that this high performance engine will run in a reliable way for tens of thousands of kilometres in daily use, several engine parts have been strengthened, such as connecting rod bearing, plain bearings, cam chain and tensioner and so on. With all these many technical improvements, lets not forget the new styling, this reminds of the modifications to upper R6 fairings and body parts. The YZF-R6 from 2008 has kept the same identity, but it just looks more neat and sharper then before.