September 2009

Renthal Rear SprocketsAfter riding your Yamaha R6 on the track and street for a few weeks, months, or years you may be asking yourself eventually “how do I get more power from my R6?”  The answer is easy and relatively cheap in comparison to other modifications that can be done for 1 horespower here or there.

Upgrading to a 520 Chain conversion with an X-Ring type chain can be  easy on the wallet and mechanically straight forward. It is a basic mod for all ranges of skill in the garage.  With a torque wrench, chain splitter, and a basic set of tools you should be able to swap the stock setup for the new gear in about 30 minutes (depending on your skill level, some can turn this into a four hour job).  You will also need to purchase a speedohealer in order compensate for the change in gearing.

What does the 520 chain conversion and new X-Ring chain do for you?  It does give you a significant increase in torque.  More importantly the lighter sprockets weigh less and the X-Ring chain has lower friction which gives you two things.

  • You decreasing the amount of unsprung weight on the motorcycle WikiPedia Definition of Unsprung Weight
  • You reduce the amount of HP that’s lost between the engine and the wheels due to drivetrain loss
  • You will increase available torque at low RPMs (wheelies anyone?)

The new combination of chain and sprocket will increase rear wheel available torque but not produce more engine/crank HP.  If you change the gearing down then you will get more bottom end drive from low speed and vice versa if you gear up you get more top speed.  By using the Gearing Commander you can figure out exactly the combination you desire for your particular riding.  If you need more power out of the corners or need that extra MPH on the top end this is the mod you have been looking for.  Not exactly a 30 Hp increase but it sure can feel like it if you gear it down a couple sprocket teeth!

Tools needed for the job:

$150 for both sprockets & chain
$100 for speedohealer
$50 for chain breaker / riveter

Good luck and ride safe!

Our first Reader Ride feature is Jay Bowman’s Raven 2008 R6. Jay  has spent quite a bit of time perfecting his pride and joy. There have been many mods preformed. Current mods are HID Headlights, flush mount front signals, rear fender delete, candy red bake painted rims, and custom painted fairings, Vortex Rearsets, Vortex Rear sprocket, Vortex Clip-ons, Pazzo Shorty Levers, K&N Filter, Two Brothers full Exhaust (headers, mid, and muffler, 4-2-1 system) and Two Brothers Juice Box.

Jay spends a lot of time at the track. He frequents Mid Ohio Raceway, Putnam Raceway, Grattan Raceway, and soon BLUEGRASS

The two pics below are his track and street set ups. The pic on the track is at Putnam Park in Indiana, and the flames are his street setup.

Remember, to submit your bike for Bike of the Week and compete for Bike of the Month just email lots of details, pictures, and videos to



Jay’s favorite mod is certainly the complete exhaust system. Between the weight savings and  power gains it really woke the bike up. The exhaust gave it that good midrange punch while leaving the high end intact. Of course Jay loves to hear his baby scream.

Jay lives by the ATTGATT philosophy on the track and street. Your bike can be repaired but you cannot be replaced.

Jay also submitted a video of his bike on the dyno. That is not him in the video, it’s one of the technicians. Since we have not seen his face we can only speculate on his ruggedness. Some say he was born with knee pucks and that his helmet is airtight. All we know is his bike rocks! Good job Jay!

I have a 2006 Yamaha R6 which supposedly has very bad low end torque and is therfore (according to some wannabe pundits) unsuitable for street use. I’m not quite convinced.5891_100995262780_584412780_2152261_7866925_n

When I read the official motorcycle reviews and the unofficial opinions on Yahoo Answers it seemed there was a general consensus that the low end torque was debilitating to street use. They often cite a unreachable power band, unusable power, and inevitably how a GSXR or CBR is a better bike for the street.

I ride my Yamaha R6 every day, every where and couldn’t disagree more. I’ve put almost 7,000 miles on it this year even with the reduced riding season here in Idaho. I know that isn’t as much as some others put on in a year but at least you can believe me when I say I’ve spent some time on the bike.

Here are some quick numbers. The R6 is supposedly capable of a zero to sixty in 3.7 seconds. I can’t claim this number as I value the life of my clutch and drivetrain but 3.7 seconds is a good place to start to debunk this fantasy that the Yamaha R6 is hard to ride on the street.

My 2006 R6 puts out 50.2 ft lbs at 6930 RPM. Anyone who thinks that isn’t enough to get around town doesn’t understand the overwhelming maths that represents. My supposedly unstreetable R6 has a 4.4 lbs per HP ratio with me on it (578 lbs/131 BHP=4.4 lbs/BHP). That’s better than a Corvette ZR-1 which has a ratio of 5.2 lbs/1 BHP! Just in case you were wondering that is also better than a Ferrari 599, Porshe GT2, and Lamborghini Gallardo.

I will admit that the low end power isn’t unbelievable and hi RPMs are essential to tapping the inline engine’s full potential of fury but not to the length that some so-call experts claim.

Another component of this debate is the skill required to make these bikes fast. Undoubtedly all modern 600cc sportbikes are fast but I make the claim the the R6 requires just a little more out of it’s rider to maximize performance. The snappy handling and high RPM torque curve make the bike a challenge and very fast when ridden well.

If you are considering buy one of these bikes don’t let the low end torque scare you away. It’s not the big deal some make it out to be and the strengths of the bikes more than make up for it.

 And just for laughs.


I’ve got some more pictures here. Enjoy! It looks like this is going to be another great bike.


I am building this list of top ten instructional sportbike racing books with the acknowledgement that some people are going to have different opinions. Thus, I am going to create a nomination list from comments after this is published.

My criteria for a great instructional guide is fairly simple. The author must have credible racing experience and the instruction must be clearly explained in a way that makes application easier to visualize and execute.valentino-rossi-autobiography

Of course, it is very tempting to put such greats as What If I Had Never Tried It: The Autobiography of Valentin Rossi and Ragged Edge: A Raw and Intimate Portrait of Road Racing. But I shall refrain.

1. Sport Riding Techniques: How To Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track

2. The Soft Science of Roadracing Motorcycles: The Technical Procedures and Workbook for Roadracing Motorcycles

3. Performance Riding Techniques Second Edition: The MotoGP Manual of Track Riding Skills (Moto Gp)

4. Motorcycle Track Day Handbook

5. Twist of the Wrist: The Motorcycle Roadracers Handbook (Vol 1)

6. A Twist of the Wrist 2: The Basics of High-Performance Motorcycle Riding

7. Total Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques

8. Smooth Riding the Pridmore Way

9. Art and Science of Motorcycle Road Racing

One thing to keep in mind is there are a lot of great riders that use different techniques. There is no one perfect way. You have to do what is comfortable for you.

And now a moment of truth. As an avid street rider as well I consider my racing skill to transition to the street to help keep me alive. How many of you have read these books?

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