SSB Big Number:
with fueling and
Story ideas have an interesting way of materializing around the SSB headquarters, and like most of the good ones, this came to fruition over a few cold ones. Moments before a Supersport race on TV, a few of Team Green’s fans in the building started gloating about the power advantages the current ZX-6R had over the other 600s—especially the seasoned R6. But much to their dismay, the Yamahas had enough motor to pull the other bikes down the straights—even the mighty Kawi.
It was then that the questions started surfacing. How could an R6 with a motor that hadn’t been updated in nearly six years have that much power? A racebike is hardly a streetbike and there were tons of insider tricks that race teams would never divulge…or would they? And like that, SSB was on the horn with several top tuners picking their brains in hopes of unearthing top-secret information. Between Graves, Bazzaz and West Coast GP Cycles the answers were uncovered. Come to find out, there’s lots of power locked within the current generation Yamaha R6, it’s just that most folks don’t know it. Sound too good to be true? Nope, and the only reason you’ve never heard of it is because most racers keep their tips and tricks to themselves.
It was an utter breakthrough into the dark art of racer tricks and we were bound to get to the bottom of it. But not before finding the perfect R6. We found a 2006 R6 that was as clean as a whistle. It had 37,000 miles on the clock, but it was a one-owner bike that had never been downed and was also maintained—or so it seemed (more on that next issue).
With the seasoned vessel in hand the quest for mega R6 power began. But as each layer of secrecy was uncovered it became apparent this was going to be more than just a one-hit wonder. So to keep things organized, the project was broken into two parts, the first being bolt-ons to uncork the R6, and the second to dive inside the motor for some unexpected and surprisingly simple power gains.
Building a Foundation
Graves full system When pipe...
Graves full system When pipe dreams come true: R6 meets Graves Motorsports.
A trip to the dyno revealed the condition of the high-mileage motor. On cold starts there was some cam-chain noise until the tensioner pumped-up with oil. This wasn’t a good sign, but since the tensioner would quiet down after a few moments, it was deemed safe enough to make a few pulls. After the smoke cleared (literally), ground zero checked in at 101.76 HP and 39.93 LB-FT. The old gal was only a pony or two down in her old age and despite some smoke on deceleration—likely from the rings or valve-stem seals—the old steed still had some giddy up.
Before going inside the motor to find hidden horsepower the extremities needed to be maximized; In this case with a full exhaust system from Graves Motorsports and a Bazzaz Z-FI QS fueling computer with quickshifter.
Bazzaz Z-FI QS What lies before...
Bazzaz Z-FI QS What lies before you is an electronic revolution of air-fuel tuning, multiple maps and the ever popular quickshifter.
The stock exhaust system weighed a portly 17.8-pounds, had poor sound quality and did nothing for performance. It helped the R6 pass emissions tests, but maximum power was the name of the game and a full stainless steel system with a carbon can did the trick.
Not only did it shave 8.6 pounds, but its fit and finish was impeccable and the installation process was far easier than most full systems. Thanks to its stepped header design with smooth transitions and balanced pipes to help promote scavenging, the pipe was crafted to increase both low-RPM torque and high-rev horsepower.
Since installing a full system drastically alters the tune of a bike, it’s important to note that a fueling computer like the Bazzaz Z-FI QS is a mandatory mod. In went the Bazzaz unit that required the tank, airbox and accompanying accessories be removed. Thankfully, the clearly labeled plugs and concise instructions made the install a breeze.
The stainless steel stepped...
The stainless steel stepped header design optimizes flow at all RPMS to preserve torque down low and maximize power up top. The headers step up in size as they extend away from motor.
The Z-FI allows full control over the air-fuel ratios (AFR) so the optimum tune can be achieved. The QS part of the gizmo is the quickshifter, and what was once considered a race-only mod has proven a worthwhile addition on the street.
With the R6 buttoned back up it was time to hit the dyno again. After tweaking the fuel map for the ideal AFR, the final results rang in at 108.38 HP and 42.16 LB-FT at the tire. The unique header design of the Graves system made power from top to bottom and the Bazzaz maximized the setup for peak gains of 6.62 HP and 2.23 LB-FT with equally stout midrange increases.
The experience from the saddle is that of a whole new bike, as power is up and the pipe emits a deep growl that is literbike tough. Even the dyno crew was surprised at how buff the R6 sounded, and a test ride confirmed the bite matched the bark.
Look inside the pipe and note...
Look inside the pipe and note the razor-sharp merges between the collector pipes. The smoother the merge, the better the airflow—and it doesn’t get any better than this.
Part I of the R6 power build was a success with serious weight savings, solid power increases and tons more attitude. But stay tuned for next month because SSB is taking you inside the secret racer’s society for motor tweaks nobody on the outside even knew existed.
Stainless steel full system with carbon can
Next Month: Getting inside the motor.
After removing the bodywork,...
After removing the bodywork, the slip-on pipe and the factory oxygen sensor it’s time to ditch the stock exhaust system. This example looked like something found on the seafloor.
 The Graves headers are...
 The Graves headers are numbered for an easy install and utilize the factory gaskets and hardware, which means it’s a secure fit.
 The system uses very few...
 The system uses very few springs and after the headers are hung into place, the mid-pipe enters the mix followed by the can, which is carbon in our case.
 Too bad the factory fairings...
 Too bad the factory fairings cover up so much of the system because it’s pure artwork. Hey, at least everyone gets to see the carbon pipe poking out from beneath.
 After ditching the gas...
 After ditching the gas tank, airbox and its accompanying pieces, the Bazzaz Z-FI can be installed.
 Here’s the Bazzaz quickshifter...
 Here’s the Bazzaz quickshifter harness on its way into the mix. It plugs into the coils to momentarily kill power during the shifts.
 West Coast GP Cycles used...
 West Coast GP Cycles used a lathe to cut the supplied shift rod to the appropriate size. For those at home, a hacksaw also does the job nicely.
Those are solid gains all...
Those are solid gains all over the tach with peak figures climbing 6.62 HP and 2.23 LB-FT.