Yamaha’s ultimate street brawler, the FZ1, brings 998cc of fuel-injected previous generation R1 power to the fray, in a light-and-strong aluminum frame. So can you ask for more? Definitely no, but the unmatchable design and low price are also benefits that make sure you don’t leave your local dealer without Yami’s most versatile sports motorcycle.
Yamaha considered that it would be wonderful to offer a street motorcycle featuring the R1 engine and pretty much all the technology available for the super sport model so after the YZF-R1 became THE machine to ride, its manufacturer launched the sport-tourer FZ1. The idea was absolutely brilliant and it leaded to great popularity and excellent sales numbers.
The first Yamaha FZ1 history page was wrote in 2001 when the model was launched as a street motorcycle manufactured by the Yamaha Motor Company. The carbureted 998cc, liquid-cooled, inline four-cylinder; DOHC, 20 valves engine was capable of 143 hp to the crankshaft and approximately 120 hp to the rear wheel. Most European sports models achieve that today (with V-Twin engines, that’s fair), but the FZ1 stood for progress and advancement. Until 2005 the FZS1000s, as it was know in Europe, changed nothing but colors. Being such a great product, there wasn’t the need to improve it so Yamaha focused on developing future generations of YZF-R1’s. In some European countries the 2005 model featured and exhaust-based catalytic converter, but the bike was still the same.
2006 saw the introduction of the second generation of FZ1’s, a model featuring a 998cc DOHC 20-valve R1 engine, which produced 150 horsepower at 11,000 rpm. The powerful motor was placed in an all-new compact aluminum frame that required brand new suspensions. As all the technical on the 2006 model was completely new, so the bodywork couldn’t have been different and you know it wasn’t.
The monster was dressed in beautiful clothes, developed now more power, it was lighter, and better looking so it could be very proud of its big step forward. It proved it by smashing its competition and that was the last evolutionary step made by the FZ1. We look forward on seeing what Yamaha reserves for the future.
Suzuki also made sure that its 1250S Bandit would became the favorite of a wide range of riders worldwide by delivering its own package of performance, style and value.
The new Bandit is even better as for 2009 as it combines heavyweight power with distinctive styling and the quality of an all-new, technologically-advanced liquid-cooled engine and an advanced digital fuel injection system.
Its balance of power, style and technology is developed by a team of dedicated Suzuki engineers, working together to produce a street machine of unmatched quality and a strong competitor for the FZ1.
Kawasaki updated the ante in the naked bike arena with the entrance of the 2008 Z1000. Beyond its muscular torque delivery and radical styling, the Z1000 dishes out a visceral riding experience. This purpose-built Kawasaki is equally at home in the garages of both practical motorcyclists – simply seeking a smile-producing weekend ride and owners desiring a bike that doesn’t fit the norm. This excellent motorcycle also fights the Yamaha but it must face the Suzuki first.
Yamaha created the FZ1 as a sharp looking machine that would charm its owners with good looks and satisfy their riding needs with amazing power and excellent riding feel. I will talk about those a bit later so let’s check out the bike’s unique exterior features.
On the first sight, the fairing impresses through its half-fairing design implementing R1-style headlight layout that makes sure it creates the most aggressive profile a naked bike can have.
The fuel tank is beautifully sculpted, like R1’s, and it continues the lines of the fairing in order to create a smooth looking motorcycle with some unique body elements.
Handlebars, footpegs and seats are all mounted in the ideal position in order to contribute at moving the rider forward and offer a great riding position. A cool aspect is the two-piece seat that also brings a major contribution at providing the best riding experience. This adds a sportier look to the already aggressive motorcycle and the rear end makes sure that it would remind you of the Yamaha YZF-R1.
2009 colors available are Cobalt Blue and Granite Gray.
Yamaha presents the most aggressive looking machine in its class and I don’t wonder why. Just take a look at it!
There I was, on the Yamaha FZ1 for the first time. I immediately noticed that Yamaha tends to lead the bike towards its sporty side and they leave behind the relaxed riding position that allowed for day-long rides and which made, in part, the FZ1 a very desirable motorcycle.
Although featuring great ergonomics, the FZ1 is definitely less comfortable than its first generation given to a leg-splaying tank and a two-piece seat, 815mm lower than the one found on the previous models.
Initially, as you could see, it sets the feel toward a somewhat less friendly and significantly more aggressive machine, but we should thank Yamaha for the huge amount of steering leverage provided by the wide tubular bars. This is the first clue that the FZ1 gives you before surprising you with its quick steering. First, I didn’t took in consideration this aspect and I tended to over steer but this allowed me to find out that it has no problem with corrections and this brought a big smile on my face.
It is very easy to accommodate with the new Yamaha FZ1 and it will soon allow you to go in and out of corners spotless. This is what the riding position is for, and Yamaha should receive no criticism for the decision of sport-orientating the bike. It is now proven that everything has a good reason at Yamaha’s. Was something unclear at some point?
The FZ1 makes a demonstration of power when the rider drops a gear and opens the throttle, moment in witch the front end will tend to lift but this reaction is very predictable so the bike receives another plus for being rider friendly and enjoyable. After opening the throttle, the amount of power needed for the front to lift comes very linearly and the engine quickly revs up to the 12,000 rpm redline.
An important aspect is the level of vibrations that reach the rider but this is a think that I completely forgot to follow as I wasn’t able to detect even the smallest vibration. It may be able to cruise, but it surely won’t vibrate.
While the engine produces the enormous amount of power, the gearing is set with taller 5th and 6th gear in order to provide a more relaxed cruising experience. In top gear, at 5,500 rpm, the speedometer needle reaches 85 mph so the bike doesn’t lack in potential. The gearbox and clutch are smooth and make sure that the rider gets its satisfaction.
What I most appreciated on the Yamaha FZ1 and the YZF-R1 was the throttle response given by the bike’s fuel injection system and the way that the new machine behaves under strong acceleration.
An experience on the sporty Yamaha is a full notebook of information gathered from the feedback provided by the motorcycle. Suspensions are tuned to behave excellent in virtually any situation and in communion with the tires every single bump on the road makes its presence felt but doesn’t add the stress of a long-run on like on the YZF-R1 model.
Encountering the open road is a real joy as the 17mm taller fairing offer excellent wind protection and transform the name of the bike from FZ to FJR. It is that great and no rider will be disappointed of the sport-touring combination offered by Yamaha with the FZ1.
The retail price of $9,790 for both color options will surely maintain the FZ1 on top of the sales pyramid and the manufacturer happy with its results. This also increases the chances for you to see one in your rear view mirror and enjoy its sound while it passes you off. That is, if buying one doesn’t represent an option for you.
My impression on the 2009 Yamaha FZ1 is more than positive and, although Yamaha doesn’t improve this model much, I believe that they managed to find the balance between performance and comfort like nobody else did. After all, the FZI is found in the Super Sport class and it had to stand up and bring a sportier feel to its overall package. Everything is dressed beautifully so the bike has its own process of conquering every rider’s heart. Personally, I believe there it the need for a single twist of its throttle, but that’s just me!
Engine and Transmission
Type: liquid-cooled inline 4-cylinder; DOHC, 20 valves
Bore x Stroke: 77 x 53.6mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection
Ignition: TCI - Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed w/multi-plate clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension/Front: 43mm fork; fully adjustable, 5.1-in travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock; adjustable preload and rebound damping, 5.1-in travel
Brakes/Front: Dual 320mm floating discs w/4-piston calipers
Brakes/Rear: 245mm disc w/single-piston caliper
Length: 84.3 in
Width: 30.3 in
Height: 47.4 in
Seat Height: 32.1 in
Wheelbase: 57.5 in
Rake (Caster Angle): 25.0°
Trail: 4.3 in
Fuel Capacity: 4.75 gal
Fuel Economy: 35 mpg
Wet Weight: 485 lb