There is a lot written on the internet about this upgrade, but it was always one I wanted to do as not only is the R6 shock a nice modern unit so they tend to have done less miles than the RZ units, but it is also very adjustable.

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What follows is not another round up of the info already out there about fitting the R6 shock to the Yamaha RD/RZ models. Rather than do another step by step guide (as that is already covered in plenty of places online) here are the notes I made when fitting mine along with my solutions and thoughts to common issues and problems.


- R1 99-01 shock unit, The popularity of these units means that ebay prices have risen and good ones seem to cost around $80 now.

  1. -Shock bushes - best to buy from Economy Cycle - see the links page of this site.

This is the shock you are looking for... observe the horizontal reservoir and the fact the lower mount is a round thru-bolt type not a fork as in some later units.

First job is to notch the frame so the hex part of the adjuster has somewhere to live. Evidence has shown that this will not significantly weaken the frame as it is very strong in this area, but I would advise that you do a neat job and remove as little metal as possible. Do this before powdercoating if you can of course!

Self lubricating bronze bush kit is simple to fit and a great solution to get this shock working on the RD/RZ.

Last job is to fit the chain guard, but with the R6 shock installed it needed a little trimming. I probably trimmed a little much if i am honest and if i was doing this again i would try and same more of the material on the inside lower down, it would add strength and also stop the chain lube flying a bit, not that modern chain lube is as bad as the old stuff we used to use.

Fitting the bushes is 'a doddle' as we used to say in the UK... (Aussie sayings are usually more graphic!)

Remove the bush and bearing on the R6 shock using threaded bar and sockets, I can’t see why anyone would bash these out with a lump hammer and chance ruining the alloy body of the shock, threaded bar and few washers and nuts is cheap insurance and a lot less work than bashing with hammers... be kind to your bike parts and they will return the favour!

Fit the bushes to the lower eye of the R6 unit, they should be easily squeezed in with a vice. getting them level at half way each is a fun game! Don’t rush this, lipping the edges of the bushes will make fitting difficult later.

Then check the fit of the original top collar from the RZ shock. Of course this assumed that is it not rusty, these collars sit up high and do not move much so generally do not have much wear, but it’s worth making sure you have a good one before you start.

Put the H arm on the lower end of the shock and with the collar thru and it should be a nice and snug fit in the new phosphor bronze bushes, really firm but with enough movement of course.

At this point you will need your old shock as you reuse the collar from the top mount for the R6 conversion.

To fit the unit on the bike I undid the lower inner guard and pulled it away from the clip and the brake master cylinder and then threaded the shock back up into the bike thru the swingarm from underneath and attached the top bolt after I had folded up and slid the front of the H arm into place, then bolted on the dogbones... Obviously its a fiddle to do all this thru the frame/swinger as these are not light parts and the parts don't always slide in as well as you would like with the thicker powder coating.... So, yes I didn't get that all right the first time and did that whole shock-in-shock-out thing a few times until I had the order right, but that's how you need to do it really until you learn how it goes.

So this is what we have:

Next job is to get the adjustment you want, here are the R6 instructions from the Yamaha manual.