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Road test: Yamaha XJ6F Diversion

2013-07-28 19:37


MORE THINGS CHANGE: If the Diversion bears more than a passing resemblance to its predecessor, the FJ-6R, it’s because it is – barring a few minor differences – the same bike. Image: DRIES VAN DER WALT

The mid-size bike market is arguably one of the most competitive and many bikes in this sector have to fulfil multiple roles – commuter, weekend toy and long-distance tourer.

Yamaha’s recently introduced XJ6F Diversion is well poised to take on this... er... diverse role.

If the Diversion bears more than a passing resemblance to its predecessor, the FJ-6R, it’s because it is – barring a few minor differences –the same bike. The big difference comes from the source of the bike, say the Triple Tuning Forks people: whereas the FZ-6R hails from Japan, the Diversion is the European market version.


Yet it’s the similarities, rather than the differences that are likely to count in the bike’s favour in the showroom. It retains all of the elements that made the FZ-6R a practical but fun all-rounder bike.

When Yamaha introduced the FZ-6R in 2009 I was a little disappointed in what seemed to be a retrograde step from the venerable FZ-6S Fazer – the new incarnation had taken a considerable knock in the power department and lost the aluminium frame that endowed the S with its surprisingly agile handling.

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Shortly after its introduction I had the opportunity to spend some time with the 6R on a race track. I rode a variety of bikes that weekend, including Kawasaki’s naked Z1000, the then-new BMW S1000RR and Suzuki’s manic B-King, and the FZ-6R was no less fun than its more powerful brethren. Granted, the track was Pretoria’s (rather short) Zwartkops, more suited to smaller capacity machines, but it proved that the right bike on the right road is a source of constant joy, irrespective of its power.

Bike specifications

After taking a day or two to get the hang of the Diversion I’m happy to report that it’s lost none of the appeal that made its predecessor such a versatile, enjoyable bike. Like most mid-size fours, it almost has two personalities: tame and docile below 5000rpm, lively and agile above. The Diversion lacks the high-end punch of the 72kW FZ-6S Fazer but it doesn’t really suffer for that lack.


The torque peak has moved down to 8500rpm (from 10 000 on the Fazer) which makes the bike feel much livelier in everyday riding than its specifications would lead you to believe. Unlike the older Fazer, the Diversion awards you a decent amount of power without having to send the tacho dial into five figures.

There are three body variations available in Europe – naked, half-fairing and full-fairing – but South Africa gets only the full-fairing Diversion F. It may appear distinctively sporty in this guise but the fairing is effective enough at highway speeds that you don’t have to crouch to get out of the wind. The local version also has anti-lock brakes, a boon as much for new riders as for the more experienced ones.


As expected on a modern bike, the TTF engineers have paid a lot of attention to mass centralisation. This is clearly from the Diversion’s effortless handling – the bike feels a great deal lighter than it is.

Combined with its fairly diminutive stature, it stands to reason that this bike will be well-received by female riders who may be looking for an effortless bike that still packs a respectable punch.

Though not the quickest mid-size bike, the Diversion is likely to appeal to wide audience ranging from first-time “big-bike” riders to commuters and even experienced riders looking for a machine that combines practicality and excitement into a light, nimble and reasonably priced package.
Read more on:    yamaha  |  dries van der walt  |  gauteng

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