Motorcycle Reviews Yamaha

Review: Yamaha YZF-600R (Thundercat)

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.

Yamaha YZF600R 01  3
Photo Courtesy Yamaha Motor

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.

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Photo Courtesy Yamaha Motor

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.

Photo Courtesy Yamaha Motor

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.

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    1. I just bought a 1998 model yzf 600, and i must say, its a very nice bike and very light on fuel. Do not have any complaints so far, performance is really good, its not an R6, but good. Really stable on the road at high speeds, very little wind disturbence on the road, so yes, very nice bike.

  1. I am a proud owner of a 2006 yzf600R that I bought brand spanking new in ’06 in Connecticut. I have clocked over 25,000 miles and have never had a single complain or mechanical issue. Before that, I owned a ’82 Yamaha Maxim for almost 10 years, and have ridden several models on and off since then. I am also the proud owner of a 2013 BMW K1600GTL, so I have some idea of what a sport cruiser should be. Although (bar none) the K1600GTL is rated in many quarters as the best luxury cruiser ever built (to which I agree 100%), I would NEVER trade my YZF600 for all the K1600s and Gold wings in the world.Its a workhorse that never complains. I am still clueless as to why Yamaha made the decision to discontinue this bike, because to date, I have seen nothing (including their R6, FJR, whatever) that comes close to being a TRUE sports cruiser that can double as a “around town” motorcycle. Its a very sleek and sexy machine and I plan on keeping my YZ for the next generation.

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