The Yamaha R6 As A First Bike? Can You Do It?

I get emails from readers asking this question a lot. I figured I’d post this to help some of you make the decision. Keep in mind this isn’t a absolute rule but more guidelines. You can, or not, depending on who you are. You have to make that decision.

Here is a letter from Louis who is considering an R6.

I always wanted a motorcycle and a few months ago I saw an R1 and felt in love with it. So then I saw the R6 and thought it would be a great beginners bike.

I just wanted to hear your opinion. I’m a college freshman and my only experience is on ATV, I had a Banshee and a few other things but never a motorcycle…


Thanks for the question Louis!

That’s a hard question you ask my friend. Ultimately you have to make the call. Basically it depends how mature you are. That may differ from how mature you think you are. I don’t mean to patronize but these bikes are wicked fast in the control of an experienced riders and literal death machines for newbies. The more I learned about these bikes and how much capability they have the less I think they are suited at all for new riders.

That said, the R6 handles better than the R1 since it’s a bit smaller and lighter but it doesn’t have the power of the liter bike. Since you haven’t ridden these bikes that probably isn’t very easy to comprehend. I know experienced riders who were scared by how much power the R1 has. It’s mental. It’s not a joke. New riders get hurt all the time on fast bikes like these. I say that only as a word of caution. It’s easy to think how cool they are and think nothing bad will happen.

I was plenty happy with the R6. I have since sold it. It is very fast and more importantly to me, very agile. I am pretty competent and still could not use the full potential of the bike in the corners. Anyone can go fast in a straight line.

I would recommend getting a smaller bike for your first bike. There is a lot to learn about motorcycling safely. That is, if you want to live healthily a long time. I’ve got serious back problems so I take safety and education very seriously.

There are a plethora of great, cheap, reliable, and easy to ride bikes. Don’t feel like you are above these bikes. I guarantee an experienced rider can whip you with a little bike like this if you don’t have training.

How these bikes preform is completely up to you. If you are idiotic and egotistical (a common trait in sportbikers) you may impress some people but probably won’t be long for riding, or even life. If you are humble, teachable, and self disciplined you will learn how to ride safely and fast. I find that sort of individual to be the most impressive.

To sum things up:

1. Get a small bike like a Ninja 650 etc to learn on.

2. Read books on motorcycle safety.

3. Keep you ego in check whatever you do.

4. Learn from a competent rider. Be selective, age and experience are things I look for.

5. Enjoy!

It is possible to learn street riding on a fast sportbike but I wouldn’t recommend it and there’s a good chance your beloved bike will end up in a insurance salvage yard and you in the hospital. Consider all the consequences of you actions.

Good luck! I’d love to see the photos of what you get!



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