The slow demise of the supersport segment is a sad thing for us motorcyclists. We are still recovering from the discontinuation of the Triumph Daytona 675 and now, Yamaha has announced that it is going to discontinue the legendary R6 and the 600cc screamer isn’t going to get updated for 2021. This is certainly sad news because when we think about it, the Yamaha R6 is one of the most iconic machines to ever grace our planet. However, Yamaha has also announced that it will continue to sell the bike as a non-homologated, track-only model. Sad news, nonetheless.
The reasons behind the discontinuation
It might be disappointing but isn’t surprising, given the dwindling sales and popularity of supersport machines across the globe.
There are many reasons behind the slow death of supersport segment. First and foremost, when it comes to pricing, 600cc machines come very close to litre-class machines and motorcyclists, therefore, prefer shelling out a few more bucks to get themselves a full-blown litre-class crouch rocket. Another reason might be the manufacturers themselves, who are blurring the line between a supersport and a litre-class machine. Take Ducati for an example. Ducati’s ‘supersport’ offering is called Panigale V2 and it displaces 955cc. Very very close to being called a litre-class machine.
Another reason which has constituted in the discontinuation of 600cc machines in recent times is the growing popularity of Adventure-tourers. Most of the 600cc supersport machines that have existed till date have been super-aggressive in their approach. They are developed for the track and sometimes, prove to be a little bothersome if you take them out on the streets. Adventure-tourers on the other hand, reek of practicality. Their ‘Go-anywhere’ attitude is now appealing more to the riders than a Supersport’s track-focused intent.
The track-only 2021 Yamaha R6 will be available as a stock bike, that track day riders, racing teams and privateers can upgrade as they see fit. Yamaha will also be offering a GYTR Stage 1 kit that turns the machine into a track-ready machine thanks to some bolt-on accessories. Both the new Yamaha R6 Race and the GYTR conversion will be available from January 2021 onwards.
The outgoing iteration of the Yamaha R6 is powered by a compact and lightweight 599cc DOHC liquid-cooled four-cylinder engine which produces 117bhp at 14,500rpm and weighs 190kg. The electronics package comprises of a ride-by-wire throttle, six stages of traction control system, three riding modes and an LCD instrument cluster. The YZF-R6 Deltabox aluminium frame incorporates years of GP development in terms of geometry, engine positioning, and rigidity which garners it the status of one of the best handling motorcycles there is. To ensure class-leading front-end feel and confidence, the YZF-R6 features KYB 43mm fork found on the R1, tuned specifically for the R6. When it comes to braking as well, the YZF-R6 uses the same components found on the R1, including 320mm front rotors, gripped by four-piston radial-mount callipers, and actuated by a Nissin radial-pump master cylinder.