The early 1990s were a time of frenetic competition in the 600 class. The result? Ace supersports bikes like the FZR600R
Mid-’90s middleweight mischeif with Yamaha’s much underrated FZR600R
YOU CAN THANK Honda for pretty much every 600 supersports bike worth having, for the simple reason that if the CBR hadn’t been as good as it was, the other manufacturers wouldn’t have had to try as hard as they did.
When the FZR600R appeared at the start of 1994, it immediately catapulted-yamaha to the top of the 600 class. Of course in such a competitive arena, no one ever stayed top-dog for long. But it did mean we were spoilt for choice with bikes that were so brilliant, they’re still good now. So what made us so excited about the FZR600R?
The 1989-1993 FZR600 that preceded the FZR600R had been a strong seller and a racetrack success foryamaha but in those years the Honda CBR600 became the dominant supersports class bike.time for Yamaha to raise the game again and the FZR600R was the result.
Styling came straight from theyzf750 so good looks are a given.the tall fairing made it easy for larger riders to get tucked in. Round headlights on the FZR600 were replaced with something closer to a fox-eye shape on the FZR600R.
The frame might have looked to be formed in aluminium but like the FZR600 was pressed, painted steel although a good deal stiffer than the chassis of the earlier bike and because the 35-degree inclined engine was now a stressed member, the front cradle loops could be deleted taking a kilogram off the weight of the frame.
The dual-beam frame’s rigidity was complemented by a Deltabox swingarm similar to that seen on the FZR400RR SP.
The first year model offered preload adjustment at the front and preload and rebound damping tweaking at the rear. Second year models had compression and rebound damping front and rear.
Brake calipers were carried over from the FZR600 but the mastercylinder and hoses enjoyed a redesign for the new model. Wheels had been widened to 3.50-inch front and 5.00-inch rear rims for better tyre choice.
The engine had perhaps the biggest changes of all.where the FZR600’S liquidcooled engine had a bore and stroke of 59mm x 54.8mm to give a displacement of 599cc, the FZR600R massively over-squared the deal with dimensions of 62mm x 49.6mm to give 598cc. Peak power rose from a claimed 91bhp@10,500rpm to 98.6bhp a thousand revs higher; although the actual dyno figure for the new bike was 86.7bhp @10,500rpm.
Steel barrel liners were abandoned in favour of plated aluminium bores.this let the engine shed some weight while allowing tighter clearances. weight was also shed in the valve train to abet the higher revs. Carbs went up by 2mm; FZR600 had 32mm FZR600R 34mm on shorter inlets, fed by an increased flow airbox.a 4-2-1 exhaust system with 35mm headers was specified to help with midrange and top-end power.
There was little to complain about in power delivery terms. It took off just past 6000rpm and delivered strongly to just below an indicated 12,000rpm, with a 1000rpm over-rev in hand before the 13,000rpm redline was reached.
All good stuff and the FZR600R presented much to get excited about but just one short year later and theyamaha was down on power, torque and top speed compared to the Honda CBR600F and Kawasaki ZX-6R. New graphics and extra suspension adjustability plus the peerless smoothness of the engine went little way to compensate for those shortfalls in output with the performance-hungry buyers of the day.
We’re over all that nonsense now, of course. The FZR600R has much to recommend it. There’s plenty of space on board – a key consideration as none of us are getting any smaller, especially in girth.the engine remains a smooth and willing delight while the handling remains sublime, especially once a new, better shock has been fitted and the yokes dropped down the fork legs a little.
As well as being a feisty tool still, the FZR600R makes way more sense now than it did in 1994 at £6299.Yes.