2009 Yamaha XJ6 & XJ6 Diversion Review

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2009 Yamaha XJ6 & XJ6 Diversion Review

Post by ganahsokmo on Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:54 am

While we were flogging Yamaha’s
latest
R1 around Australia’s Eastern Creek race circuit, the Europeans
were sampling a new all-rounder naked bike around Sydney. The XJ6 is a
Euro version of the fully
faired
FZ6R
which we’ll be seeing in the North American market this Spring. Both
are based on the existing FZ6 but have lower specification engines and
chassis. We think the XJ6 looks a bit cooler than our FZ6R, but
Americans have a propensity for ignoring naked sporty bikes, so we get
the mechanically similar faired version we’ll be testing in
mid-February. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at the platform from
our European correspondent.
KD



The Diversion is like the VMax, a Ghost from the ’80s brought
back to life by Yamaha in 2009. After years of the FZ6 acting as
Yamaha’s entry-level model into multi-cylinder motorcycles, the XJ6 is
back. Its aims to be easier to ride slow, with less power but more
torque in lower revs, and above all - to be even more affordable.

Nothing
about the XJ6 is intimidating even in the slightest sense, apart from
the aggressive looking headlight.
The XJ6
Diversion differs from its XJ6 sibling by having a half fairing.

After Honda proved there is a market for friendly middleweights with
the CBF600, Yamaha has decided to do the same in the new XJ6 series. The
concept is pretty much identical to the original Diversion of the 1980s
and ’90s, but in all new trim. The XJ6 and XJ6 Diversion are made to be
an attractive entry-level model. To achieve that, there was a need to
be less sharp and edgy than the R6-derived FZ6. The current FZ6 sports
around 100 hp, and everything from the engine to the chassis can be
traced back to the pre-2006 R6 model.


The XJ6 differs in several key areas, such as the detuned FZ6 600cc
inline-Four engine, new and simpler chassis and different ergonomics.
It’s all done to make the XJ6 as easy to get along with as possible.


First gear
easily allows for some air underneath that front tire.
And easy it is to ride, indeed. As I first set off, the engine buzzes
silently and the XJ6 obediently pushes away from the traffic lights in
the city centre of Sydney. The engine specs are almost identical to
Honda’s CBF600, which results in 78 hp at 10,000 rpm with almost 44
ft-lbs of torque at a relatively low 8,500 rpm. Relatively because these
small 600cc inline Fours like revs by nature, but the maximum torque
figure is reached more than 1,500 rpm earlier than on the more highly
strung FZ6.


This also means that the XJ6 is easier to launch and few revs are
needed for decisive stop-and-go city riding. The Yamaha XJ6 also feels
more powerful in the lower gears than the Honda. True, it’s been a while
since I rode the CBF600, but I do remember that it feels both heavier
and softer than my experience on the 2009 Yamaha XJ6. Spec sheets tell
us that the curb weight is nearly 18 lbs lower than the CBF.

It took me about a minute to get used to the short-rider-biased
ergonomics and controls, and then all I had to do was to enjoy the view
of the famous Australian city and its beautiful surroundings. Everything
from the clutch response to the gearbox feels as smooth as butter.
Nothing about the XJ6 is intimidating even in the slightest sense, apart
from the aggressive looking headlight. This is essential for someone
just getting into bikes or for the more subtle personalities out there.

For me, the XJ6 only appeals in the scenario where I couldn’t afford
riding anything else. The level of finish and design adds value to what
essentially is a budget entry-level motorcycle. I wouldn’t have to even
test the XJ6 to see that it offers great value for money. But if I were
looking, I would have been happy that I tested first because the XJ6
isn’t all that comfy for the touring part.

It took a while to get out of the Sydney city limits and onto some
beautiful roads through the bush where we finally rode the Pacific
Highway. In the really tight stuff, the suspension and bulk of the
452-lb XJ6 isn’t ideal. It has a tendency to jumps up and down a bit on
the budget-minded suspension. The steel tubular frame chassis suits this
bike perfectly, but is not quite as light as the aluminum perimeter
frame on the FZ6. You lack some of the fine feedback that expert riders
are looking for, but that feedback you can’t really utilize fully as a
new rider, so why pay extra for it? The XJ6 and XJ6 Diversion have got
what it takes to be mildly entertaining out on the open roads but not
more, and that fits snugly into the concept I think.


One thing worth mentioning about the tires is the fact that Yamaha
have opted for a very agile 160-section rear tire. This narrow rear tire
(the FZ6 has a 180) makes the bike quicker tipping into corners despite
the weight, and easier to make quick maneuvers in the city.




The XJ6 Diversion differs from its XJ6 sibling by having a half
fairing. That fairing is a well designed and attractive option for those
planning to do more touring than city riding. The only major difference
riding the two (apart from some extra wind protection) is that the
mirrors stick out further. This is good for touring, but I also felt
that the mirrors on the naked XJ6 were very good. Contributing to that
is the fact that there’s very little vibration from the quiet engine.
There’s some high frequency vibration that can be felt both in the
handlebars and footpegs, which didn’t bother me much and only appeared
after riding many miles.

What did start bothering me after a few miles however, was the thinly
padded seat. After far too few miles, my bottom started aching. The low
seat height made me feel quite big on the bike, and with footpegs
touching the ground fairly early you can’t really lower those either. So
I found myself trying to push my bottom backwards whilst riding to find
some more padding towards the pillion seat to no avail. I can see a
great opportunity for aftermarket gel seat makers here.


Riding back into Sydney, we were treated to a great photo location in
front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, popularly called the Coat Hanger.
Wheelies allowed, it would have been rude not to! Besides, first gear
easily allows for some air underneath that front tire. The XJ6 is a
great city bike or commuter, and I’d say that this is budget with style.
All
moto-journalists visiting Sydney are legally required to take a picture
of the Opera House for publication.

The instruments are easy to read and identical on both XJ6 models.
There’s a digital speedo on the left console and an analog rev counter
to the right.

The XJ6 and XJ6 Diversion are also available with ABS at £350 extra.
The XJ6 starts at £4,499 and the XJ6 Diversion at £4,949. Colors for the
XJ6 are white, yellow and black, whilst the Diversion is available in
red, blue and graphite.

Conclusion
Yamaha has now filled a gap in its model range, and overall I think
the XJ6 and XJ6 Diversion offer great value for the money. The high
level of finish makes the bikes look more expensive than they are, which
should be well received in the market. Should you grow tired of it
after a year or two, the XJ6 will be easy to shift on the second-hand
market too. The only downside for me, were the thinly padded seats, but
everything else was what you would expect for a model in this market
segment. Diversion is back and it complements Yamaha’s increasing
middleweight range nicely.
Our writer
tries to take the XJ6 back to the briny deep from whence he came.

Highs: Sighs:


  • Good Value for money
  • Easy to get along with engine and ergonomics
  • The XJ6 is a very good city bike alternative


  • Thinly padded seat
  • Not enough to help you stay excited after the honeymoon
Related Reading
2009
Yamaha FZ6R Preview
2004
Yamaha FZ6 Review

ganahsokmo

Join date : 16/01/2010
Age : 35

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