Goes like stink
Fixing the R6’s wheezy power is a just an exhaust (and several angry hippies) away
YAMAHA WERE desperate to prove their claims that the R6’s severe lack of top-end power is not their fault, so they produced this: a ‘kitted’ R6, which really only amounts to an exhaust and ECU. They assured PB that the suspension, gearing and engine internals were completely standard and untouched.
There are two different ECUs available in the race kit. One is Supersport-spec, which means no traction control or ABS, and the other has full adjustability for those two features. Both ECUs have a full range of other features, but in reality a race pipe and re-flashing the stock ECU would be all you need to effectively bin the Euro 4 junk, let the engine breath and pour much more fuel into it. That said, the other features on the kit ECU are trick. There is an autoblipper, engine braking maps, pitlane speed limiter and a brand new ‘anti-jerk’ feature makes its world debut on the R6. It’s a set of ignition and fuel maps that become active on a closed throttle, measuring wheel and gearbox speeds. The ECU matches the two by cutting ignition or adding fuel, so that a smoother transition from off-throttle to on-throttle occurs. It’s clever stuff, and I expect we’ll see more of it as a solution to the common problem of snatchy throttle pick-up.
The difference is day and night in terms of how the bike feels – and how much faster it is. It is barely recognisable as the same bike. If I had to take an educated guess, I would estimate at least 10bhp throughout the entire rev range from probably 105-110bhp at the rear wheel as standard, and dramatic weight loss without the road parts. The combination of the two changes makes the R6 a proper tool. The engine pulls so much harder that on parts of the lap I’m short-shifting because I’m on the limit of the tyres’ grip, where previously I was just letting the standard bike rev right through. On the back straight, I’m getting into sixth, where on the standard bike, I was flat out in fourth. The difference is so dramatic that I challenge the Yamaha mechanics: surely the bike must have different gearing? They laugh, hand me a torch and some tools, and invite me to count the teeth of the two sprockets...
Instead, I used the time to go and datalog some laps on the kitted bike. Looking at the data traces, it is clear that the lack of traction control and ABS on the Supersport-spec bike contributes a little to the faster lap time, as well as some of the other features. But it is obvious where the lion’s share of the three-second gain is coming from... lots more power. I loved the ‘anti-jerk’, and it took a while to associate it with the misfiring sound coming from the race exhaust mid-corner. There is no doubt that the throttle response of the kit bike was bang on the money.
The resulting three-second gain from basically a race pipe and fuel map shines a light on just how unkind the added Euro 4 hardware and electronics have been to the R6. It also takes the R6 to within one second of a slick-shod 1299 Panigale S that I rode here last year, and whichever way you cut it, that’s impressive. The downside is the kit ECU is track-only – it doesn’t support road functions like lights, speedo, etc. But we’ll wager that most, if not all, the same benefit can be found with a full system, mapping and plugging up emissions controls.
This is the bike we all wanted the stock R6 to be
Race system is combined with a new ECU