Ten Seconds on a 600

Recently we ran a story on the “9 second street bike“, a quick look at getting a Hayabusa down a dragstrip. In that story we made note of the fact that it was a big horsepower motorcycle, and that other candidates for the drag strip would include the monsters in the 1000cc sportsbike range. But what about the other bikes, the less horsepower endowed?  Like…an R6?

Image Well, a little while ago we ventured out to a dragstrip a few times with an unlikely candidate,  Yamaha’s circuit racing weapon for the road..the R6. The bike in question was a 2004 model, fuel injected YZF-R6. Totally stock, with around 3000kms showing on the clock, this bike had never seen a tune-up – let alone a dyno – it still ran its Japanese speaking spark plugs.

A couple of points to mention here: If you are a “normal” size man,  your results may vary from ours, our rider Rebecca, weighs less than most 13 year old boys. Secondly, as a former A Grade road racer, it is possible her skill level is higher than yours. Having said that, we believe the results obtained are repeatable with a heavier rider with some practice, as drag racing a bike is a skill all on its own. However, if you’ve been pushing in front at the “All You Can Eat” , this perhaps isn’t the bike for you.

First up, the bike was run as it had been ridden on the street, with the forks dropped through the triples about an inch, and a 180/55 Pirelli Supercorsa on the rear. Standard gearing, standard pipe, and half a tank of non premium unleaded.

It soon became obvious that with its racetrack oriented chassis, and its 1370 mm wheelbase (some 110mm shorter than a Hayabusa for example) each pass would be a fine line between wheelie, or bog.

Image First full run returned an 11.20, followed by a few more 11.00s. A change in launch style – more rpm, and more clutch slip – saw the little rocket drop into the 10s, with a 10.80 recorded. As the evening drew to an end, on a near empty fuel tank, a warm track, and cool air, the little 600 popped out its fastest run, a 10.69. All the runs were between 128-130 mph, revealing it was making just under 100hp at the rear wheel.

We returned to the track a few weeks later, a Wednesday night street meet, one of the good things about this bike was, you were never going to worry about traction. So far not one run had needed a burnout, so the tyre bill was low! This time however, we were looking for some “more than street” performance, and had done the most productive thing you can to a bike for drag racing. Lowered it!.

A longer rear suspension link dropped the rear by around 3″, and the front forks were strapped down with a Fork Tiedown Strap. Its worth mentioning here, caution is required when altering the ride height of a sports bike. Too much at the front can reduce rake and trail sufficiently to induce high speed handling issues that may leave you red and sore. As always, if in doubt, please consult a professional.

Image The first run returned a 10 immediately, a 10.84. Then a 10.78, Bec reporting the bike much easier to launch than before. Then  a 10.69 again, equalling its best, but (anyone sensing a pattern here?) at that point the oil cap parted company from the bike and accelerated into the darkness, never to return. With no spare on hand, game over.

A few weeks later, around came the next Streetbike Shootout at Willowbank, so after checking our racing fund, we decided to lash out on a new front sprocket, 1 tooth down on standard. This model R6 comes standard with a handy shift light on the dash, this was reset a little higher as well. Oil cap replaced, we headed out on a warm Saturday afternoon.

First few runs and we are back in the high tens!  Without a data logger on the bike, its hard to get a clear picture of what is going wrong, as often the rider will have an opinion that varies from reality. In this case Bec reported that the bike launched well – a fact backed with the 1.7 60ft time, but felt flat and powerless down track.  A quick check revealed nothing obviously wrong. One more run, still off pace, and the gearing change was looking suspect.

Image Further interrogation of the test pilot however, revealed the comment that the engine revs seemed low thru the gears. A quick check of the shift light setting revealed the problem.  RTFM!  The shift light had been inadvertently set below 12,000 rpm! On a bike with a indicated 15,500 rpm red line, an obvious issue. Reset back at a higher level, the next run would tell all.

A 10.60 beat the previous best, followed by a 10.58. One more 500 rpm bump on the shift light, saw a best ever 10.41 @ 129.80 mph time light up, at which point the fun stopped, as the track at that time enforced a 10.50 minimum without appropriate licensing.*

Total modifications: Lowered link, tiedown strap for forks, and a front sprocket change.



Rear Lowering Link



Fork Tie Down Strap



15T sprocket


Further improvement would be easily obtained, a lightweight pipe, Power Commander and mapping can see these bikes pick up 10- 15 hp. Another inch lower, a non O-ring 520 chain conversion kit, and lots of practice, would see you the envy of your 1000cc riding buddies.

2007 yzf-r6 drag One can only guess at the potential in a 2007 model R6!

Other Drag racing stories are Here

* ANDRA (Australian National Drag Racing Association) enforce an Australia wide rule that any motorcycle that is quicker than 10.00 on a drag strip, can only be ridden by an ANDRA licensed rider, which requires a medical check, and the payment of some funds. Your bike would have to be inspected by an ANDRA Tech person as well as complying with any safety rules that may apply. Prior to September 2006 this cut-off time was 10.50 seconds, as mentioned in our story.


Bec Rebecca R6





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