Living with a 2001 Yamaha YZF-R6

Warren Pole was a product of the Superbike generation. Warren was Wozza to many and a pole to all

August 2001

Slithering down the road in my paddock jacket and jeans (new, once dead smart, now just dead), I was thankful I had at least bothered to wear my gloves as the R6 skittering along next to me was in fact on top of my flailing right hand at the time. I'd like to say this was a selfless gesture on my part, designed to protect Yamaha's previously pristine test bike, but it wasn't. Having fallen off the bike, I was in no control whatsoever of the situation and all I could do was wait for the whole sorry mess to come to halt. And come to a halt it did, rather messily as it turned out, with the R6 nestled underneath a parked car. Oh dear.

And so it came to pass that my longterm R6 suddenly became somewhat more of a project bike than originally planned. After all, the only sensible course of action now is to comprehensively go to town on it and resurrect the wreckage as a full-on Jamie Whitham World Supersport replica.

Knowing how useless I am with spanners, I have entrusted the guardianship of this little project to my mates Dave and Nick at Manx Cat motorcycles (0208 682 2992). Not only are they near the office, they're also top spannermen with all the facilities to do a quality special such as the one I have in mind.

We're talking …hlins suspension, Akrapovic exhaust, PFM discs, quickshifter, race bodywork, clip-ons. In short, we're going to town on it to turn the already manic R6 roadbike into a true work of Supersports art.

If you're into the R6, let me make all the cock-ups before you do.

September 2001

Judging from this pic of me and the R6 enjoying quality time together, you may be forgiven for thinking the rebuild after last month's R6-in-a-car fiasco was complete.

Is it bollocks. Nope, this shot is from happier days when the Yam was in one piece. Right now Race

Products are toiling like demons to fit full race bodywork, while working in a svelte Pyramid undertray and a weeny Malaguti headlight. All this should lend the bike a trick endurance racer look. I hope.

Before this, the frame and forks were expertly straightened by Martin at Bike-Align (0208) 771 4917 , and the spanked motor rebuilt by Dave at Manx Cat motorcycles (0208) 682 2992 (thanks to Dan at Yamaha for sorting the parts). Dave also fitted the Akrapovic system (replaces the knackered original, saves weight and sounds loads better too) and Bridgestone 010s - essential as the Michelin Pilots gracing the bike previously were soaked in oil and coolant in the spill.

All that's left are a load more trick bits, and the Whitham paintjob. Bring it on.

October 2001

Check it out. No, not me displaying over Cadwell Park's Mountain leap, I mean the bodywork. Mark and Tony at Race Products have made the R6 look so trick!

They managed to build in the single Malaguti scoot light to the front fairing while at the back, the sleek lines are even better with the lights and indicators nicely faired in. This puppy looks hot, and she's gonna look even better with a coat of paint next month.

To ensure it wasn't all show and no go, I took the R6 down to Cadwell for a trackday. She was marvellous. The Akrapovic system means she now howls a bit harder (and makes 104bhp at the back wheel on Manx Cat's dyno (0208) 692 2992) while Bike-Align's frame straightening (0208) 771 4917 means the handling is back to its old sharp-steering self, while the Sprint damper sorted the headshaking problem at the track. Next month, I've got the painters in.