No, this is not a Yamaha R6 and I know it’s a discontinued motorcycle, but there are a few still around for purchase as second hand and it is a great alternative to the Suzuki GS500F as a starter bike or a daily city rider.
Performance – While this is geared towards riders looking for a comfortable daily bike, it still has some sport bike DNA in it. The engine may be lower revving than other Yamaha sport bikes, it does have a lot more torque and power is still respectable at 89hp to the wheel. Acceleration feels linear unlike other bikes which starts slow, and then once the revs build, pick up with higher engine revs. One criticism I have of this bike is that it’s heavy and it gives me an uneasy feeling when riding at slower speeds. Anytime I was going slower than 30km/h, I always felt like the bike wanted to fall over but with the GS500F I never had this feeling.
Comfort – Although this is based on a superbike, you don’t ride it as though you’re on one. The bars are raised and the seat is of a one piece design and much more comfortable than the R6. The suspension is the same as an R6 but the front forks are not inverted and because of the sport touring nature of this bike, the suspension is set up to be softer and more comfortable. This makes it a very nice bike to ride on for hours on end with very little back and neck pain. As I’ve stated before this is a heavy bike (approximately 200kg) and you can feel it a lot at slower speeds. If you’re a big person like myself, then this will not be a huge problem, but if you’re a smaller person then you may have some difficulty when coming to a stop and balancing the bike.
Odds and Ends – This bike was first introduced in 1994 and discontinued in 2007 but over the years Yamaha has done very little with the styling. The 2007 model looked like it belonged in the 1990’s. Another thing that I like about this bike is the simplicity of it. If you’re a backyard mechanic, taking it apart, fixing it, and putting it back together is a walk in the park.
If you can overlook the extra weight that it carries, then this is another great bike for “brave” beginners of riding or as a daily commuter for those that want a little bit more oomph than a 250 or even a 500cc bike can offer.