Niall's Spin: 2004 Yamaha FZ6

The Yamaha FZ6 may possess that attractive look but, coming up closer, may end up as a disappointment.

Click to read: Yamaha FZ6 owners reviews, Yamaha FZ6 specs and to see the Yamaha FZ6 image gallery.

I'M NOT SO sure about the fuel tank, but from every other angle I love the Yamaha FZ6's looks. It has fresh, clean lines, a modern looking frame and engine on show and the underseat exhaust is a neat touch - although they mean there's nowhere to stash your sandwiches.

But while the FZ6 appeals to me, I'm not so sure the naked Yam is so right for the masses, especially those relatively new to biking, because the revvy motor and firm suspension encourage - and reward - hard riding at all times. The fuel-injected R6 powerplant was never designed for midrange torque so, while it's always smooth, once I had felt that spine tingling top end acceleration I couldn't stop going back for more. And more. Great if you're up for it, not so good if you're not.

This bike is also very flickable, thanks to its relatively high centre of gravity and, combined with competent suspension and a stiff, modern chassis, seems equally happy both in town or carving through the country lanes. The only place it really loses out is on the motorway, where the total lack of wind protection soon becomes a pain in the neck if you stray above 85mph or so for any length of time.

As Japanese bikes go the FZ has quite a notchy gearbox and the clutch can be grabby in town, especially when it gets hot after a few lightning starts in the traffic light GP. That said, I never missed gears at any time.  

The FZ6 would also be happy at any track day, but for the brakes. Although I never experienced any fade the twin disc set-up seems to lack initial bite and has a slightly wooden feel. A different choice of pads may well be the cure, but it's not so much of an issue on the road, where most of these willl no doubt be spending most of their time.

All round then, a good-looking, bang up-to-date bike - but maybe not everyone's cup of tea.