Yamaha XJ6 - Research and Development Paid Off for the Japanese Giant
The Yamaha XJ6 is the result of many years of research and development in Yamaha. It was the hard work of the team that they could come up with the best version of this design and got very far. It is the comeback of one of Yamaha’s most celebrated motorcycles to the mainstream.
They managed to have a great engine in a light bike and put together a powerful combo. I liked some things about the Yamaha XJ6, and some things I didn´t. The full review will allow you to make your judgments. Also, you can read the specs, the story and even some insights about the wonders of this model. Finally, I will add a couple of accessories I came across recently and absolutely loved. Read on and understand why research and development paid off for Yamaha with a great bike.
Yamaha XJ6, A Little History
The first predecessor of the Yamaha XJ6 is the Yamaha XJ600 which the company manufactured between 1984 and 1991. After that model was discontinued, the XJ600s known as Diversion came along. The low and midrange power of the original engine got a significant improvement at the cost of sacrificing the higher peak. This motorcycle got a great reception by both specialised media and riders.
This early version of the Yamaha XJ6 already featured the straighter position than most other sports bikes at the moment. Furthermore, Yamaha made a difference between this model and the different brands, and it was the go-to solution for commuters, obviously. The XJ6 cost moderate money, had average fuel consumption and reliability, as well as longevity, were attributes too. The naked version named XJ600N also made it great in terms of sales and response.
By the year 2009, Yamaha launched the XJ6 in an entire line consisting of these three motorcycles. The Yamaha XJ6N, Yamaha XJ6 Diversion, and Yamaha XJ6 Diversion F saw the light to great reception. This new line got an upgrade to a liquid-cooled 16 valve, four-stroke, with four-cylinder parallel forward-inclined parallel. Furthermore, This new version could generate 78 horsepower with a kept displacement of 600cc for the entire Diversion line.
It has been a long ride for the Yamaha XJ6 from the 1980s till today, and it just got better. Read on and see which my impressions at the first ride were.
Yamaha XJ6 Review
The Yamaha XJ6 bike excels at short distances. The main features of the motorcycle and changes Yamaha did to other model structures to fit the bike´s goal paid off. For a regular commuter, this bike is a great choice. The Yamaha XJ6 offers the rider a smooth vehicle that doesn´t consume much, is fast, light and also very durable. Moreover, the reliability of these motorcycles is a complete legend. Yamaha´s triumphant return to the mainstream on middle-weight motorbikes was a success.
With its 600cc engine, the Yamaha XJ6 integrates a very thick piece of the motorbike market. Almost every big brand has a motorbike right around 500 and 700cc that is the regular »powerful commuter«. So, in this complicated terrain and mostly because of its price tag versus its performance, the Yamaha XJ6 is one of the best options.
Affordable, however limited
Those in the look for a bike to do some weekend touring without breaking the bank will love the Yamaha XJ6, without a doubt. If you want to do some more extreme things with it and get into some full-touring territory, it´s not going to be enough. This is mostly a bike-oriented motorcycle with some features like the added torque and acceleration and the big HP count. Obviously, they have prepared it to go through the traffic lights like a breeze, leaving some vehicles behind. Although this is entirely true, the company has stated that the high peak of the performance is no longer there.
This bike is not an R6 which is almost a track bike out into the wild and with no collar. The engine is tamed down a little, and the driving position differs drastically. Also, for example, the Naked version (Yamaha XJ6N) is the perfect city bike. So, you can expect to ride light, powerful and comfortable bike with no mufflers which make it even lighter.
Yamaha set out to build the ultimate city, commuting machine, and it is very close to achieving it. From the first model in 1984 until today, the evolution has been full steam, non-stop and paid off very well. Read on to have an idea of my impressions on the first day of riding it.
Yamaha XJ6 Test
I walked down an alley that leads to a parking lot that had a green sign with the name I was looking for. The sun at 10 AM made everything almost too pretty to be real. As I entered this place, I saw that parking right at the end of the road was a gleaming new Yamaha XJ6. This sight in broad daylight made me want to get on this machine and drive it. The colour of the testing bike was furious red, and it was entirely accurate for what was about to happen. I tested the Naked version, which doesn´t come with any mufflers and is slightly lighter. It is menacing and stunning at the same time and makes you scared and attracted equally.
Early in the morning, with chilly air around me, I approached the bike with the leather jacket on. I sat on it and proved that the seat is very comfortable. The design is flawless, and you feel like you fit perfectly into the bike with your legs around the gas tank. The riding position with your back straight is also very comfortable; you think you can go for hours.
I started the bike with the electrical ignition, and the roar I got from the exhaust was at least accelerating for the heart. This bike has a non-standard exhaust, and it is a great asset. Furthermore, the engine is a lowered version from the R6, which is a massive speed machine that went on to turn into an MT-7. The Yamaha XJ6 has a four-cylinder engine with lots of mid and low-range power at 600cc. In favour of these areas, Yamaha XJ6 top speed is not as high as that of the R6, obviously, but it is more fun to ride on the streets.
I gently rolled off to the street and took the right with a gentle push on the throttle. This motorcycle is light and easy to use which makes, obviously, turning is smooth as silk. My first part of the test was the city because it was best to test the low-speed where Yamaha claims this bike is very good at. I kept the bike downtown in between cars and traffic lights. I have to say that every time I opened the throttle, I shot the motorcycle forward. The torque and power at hand are massive. Although I began loving the Yamaha XJ6 exhaust, when you accelerate repeated times, you begin to feel it a little throaty.
Low speeds are a playground for this motorcycle, without a doubt, and you can easily see everything in the rearview mirror. In this area, the power delivery is entirely silky because they correctly tune the fuel injection. Also, the dashboard is straightforward to read, fuel, speed, revs, everything is plain and simple to see.
Yamaha XJ6 equipped with amazing STS accessories
My test bike had an accessory that is not one of the Yamaha XJ6 factory accessories but an aftermarket one. This excellent addition called STS and stands for Smart Turn System. What it does is very simple and significant; it will disengage your directional indicators for you after you´ve finished the turn. For someone like me, who also drives a car around with the family is great because I keep forgetting them on. My car does that for me, of course. It pleased me a lot, and I ended up installing it in some of my other bikes too.
Would you like to check if it fits your motorcycle? Submit your motorcycle details in the form below:
My first part of the test was over, and the Yamaha XJ6 was, without a doubt, a flawless victory over the streets of my city´s crowded downtown. I felt I had to take it to the open road and test some other speeds and turning needs. I took the exit to the highway and opening up the throttle to 90km/h was a very nice experience. The Yamaha XJ6 has no vibrations through the pegs, although it is torquey; you can feel the power. By the time I reached the highway, the temperature on the bike had gone up, and this surprised me. Don´t worry about it. The fan kicks in when needed. Also, the gearbox is pure bliss to operate and going up or down is a delight. So, with all the huge power and the exhaust, lowering the gears is a lot of fun.
Upgraded brake light system
I sped up and left some cars behind me quickly, but I have to say the suspension is a little stiff. It is excellent for everyday commuting and touring now and then, but if you push the bike, it behaves strangely. You can feel it a little stiff, especially on your back. The testing bike had another great accessory I hadn´t realised so far. It was another called SBM, which stands for Smart Brake Module, it does something very simple and amazing that is to engage your brake light when you lose speed. This is awesome for riders like me who like doing transitions losing up on the throttle. This way, if you don´t touch your brakes, you can still tell other vehicles you are lowering your speed.
The bike behaved flawlessly on the highway, and at legal speeds, you can have, without a doubt, some serious fun. Furthermore, it is agile, quick, comfortable and very light, it takes turns beautifully, and there is a lot of power at hand. The Yamaha XJ6 that I tested, had another interesting gadget installed, which tracked my ride, as well as my speed, accelerations etc. The Vigo Smart Track, which also comes with an app, recoded my ride and even scored it.
But this isn’t the best feature it offers. Primary the Vigo Smart Track is a tracker, that prevents motorcycle theft (it comes with an anti-theft notification) and features the fully automated SOS notification in case of an accident. To point out, this is the essential motorcycle gadget for every motorcycle rider out there!
After leaving it back where I had to, I turned around and looked at it once more. It was almost dusk, and the sun´s slightly orange light was caressing the pavement. The bike stood at the parking lot in its furious red, and I thought to myself “what a fun bike to ride”. Next, I went home with a smile on.
Yamaha XJ6 Specs
- Body Type: Naked/sports/street
- Available colours: Furious red, Race Blu, Competition White
- Engine Description: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valves, 4-cylinder, forward-inclined parallel
- Fuel System: Electronic Fuel Injection
- Cooling System: Liquid Cooling
- Displacement: 600cc
- Maximum Power: 76.4BHP @10000rpm
- Maximum Torque: 59.7NM @8000rpm
- Ignition: TCI
- Lubrication: Wet sump
- Compression Ratio: 12.2:1
- Number of Gears: 6
- Gearbox Type: Constant Mesh
- Clutch: Wet, Multiple Disc
- Final transmission: Chain
- Front Brake: ABS, 298mm hydraulic dual-disc
- Rear Brake: ABS, 245mm hydraulic single disc
- Front Tire: Tubeless 120/70 ZR17M/C (58W)
- Rear Tire: Tubeless 160/60 ZR17M/C (69W)
- Wheel Type: Alloy
- Front Suspension: Telescopic forks
- Rear Suspension: Linked mono-shock with spring preload adjustment
- Frame: Diamond
- Overall Length: 2,120mm
- Width: 770mm
- Overall Height: 1,210 mm
- Seat Height: 78.5cm
- Wheelbase: 1,440mm
- Wet Weight: 211 kg
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 17 litres
- Oil tank capacity: 3.4 litres
- Digital Speedometer
- Analog Tachometer
- Digital Fuel Gauge
- Electric Start
- Pillion Footrest
- Pass Light
- Step-up Seat/Split Seat
- Halogen Head Light
Nevertheless, the Yamaha XJ6 is a powerful combo, especially for those who commute to work. It is a street bike, not a tourer. Yamaha sacrificed the high-speed peak of the engine in favour of a torque machine. You can have a lot of fun on the road with the Yamaha XJ6, but I can´t imagine riding more than 3 to 4 hours on it. I loved the fact that the Yamaha XJ6 is light, comfortable, powerful and pretty. I didn´t like the suspension that much when you push the bike or the fact that weight slows you down. Other than that, it is an amazing vehicle to check out in this power range. If you can get a Yamaha XJ6 2018, it will make you a happy person, no doubts about it.
What do you think about my take on the bike, do you have something to add to it? Feel free to share this with fellow riders and comment if you like to; we love hearing from you.