Yamaha FZ8 comes to America to fill a gap

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The Yamaha FZ8 was launched in Europe earlier this year primarily to try to steal some sales away from the hugely popular Kawasaki Z750. That won’t be needed in the the US, so its prime function will be to fill in “the gap for sport riders who feel a 600cc is too small and a 1000cc is too big”.

The FZ (and Fazer) series has been a huge success since Yamaha first married an YZF600R Thundercat derived engine to a friendly beginner bike chassis over a decade ago and created an allrounder hit. The 600cc bikes was soon followed by FZ1, a similar concept based on the R1 engine.

The new FZ8 coming stateside next year shares the chassis with the FZ1, and the “completely new” engine is in fact a slightly softer tuned 779cc version of the FZ1. Power output is 105 hp, just 7 more than the FZ6, but with a healthy dose of usable low end power and 61 ft-lb maximum torque. According to Yamaha the wet weight (including a full tank of fuel) is 467 lb.

Reviews of the Euro version have been positive, with a lot of praise for the muscular, friendly engine and some minus points for a slightly soft suspension.

Thoroughly enjoyable with enough sports ability to exhilarate, yet gentle enough not to scare, is Kevin Ash’s verdict in the Telegraph.

The FZ8 is priced at $8,490 and will be available late 2010/early 2011. ABS version is not available in the US, and neither is the semi-faired sibling Fazer8.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    I’d love to see the semi-faired version here, too; a decent light-weight sport tourer/commuter with low-ish insurance premiums?

  • TeeJay

    The FZ (and Fazer) series has been a huge success since Yamaha first married an R6-derived engine to a friendly beginner bike chassis 20 years ago
    To be precise:
    MY1998, FZS600: Thundercat (YZF600R) based engine with tubular cradle frame
    MY2002, FZS600: mainly cosmetic updates based of prev year FZS1000, bigger tank
    MY2004, FZ6(S) (one year later N version too): 2002 R6 based, Euro2 compliant bike with brand new cyl head, cast aluminium frame, crap brakes
    MY2007, FZ6(S/N): tuned engine, with Euro3 compliant 3way cat. conv., brakes revised :)
    MY2009, XJ6(S/N)/FZ6R: tuned engine, new tubular frame, lower spec bike.
    MY2010 FZ6 series discont

    Before the “new age” Fazers we had XJs, but those were a completly diff. dev. line, only the name transferred to the last year models (in Europe).

    • TeeJay

      Oh, I almost forgot, there was a reduced spec FZ6 in 2007-2008: only 78 HP – beyond that completly same as ’04-’06 models.

      • Ivar Kvadsheim

        Damnit – you were too fast for me TeeJay. You’re right of course – I’ve been fixing it while you’ve been commenting.

      • DoctorNine

        I think, only the European version of the Fazer had the reduced HP, TeeJay.

        • TeeJay

          Yeah, right. …and we can complete to picture with the information that in US you did not have the N version either. :)

          Further, the FZ6R (XJ6S Diversion) got a sub-crawling as standard in US.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, it’s a typo. We’ll fix shortly. I’m on my phone, on a train.

      • HammSammich

        “I’m on my phone, on a train.”

        I know it was just a statement of fact, but this made me chuckle, because it sounds like a song lyric, or some other succinctly poetic and profound sentence.

    • s0crates82

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_FZR600

      “The Yamaha FZR600 was a sportbike motorcycle produced by Yamaha between 1989 and 1999.”

  • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

    A lack of adjustable suspension and 60 lbs heavier than a Street Triple… oh boy! Go go gap filling!

  • circuitsports

    given the monsters unwavering ability to sprout new and exciting oil leaks and generally tow a major annual service bill I think this will fill the I like the monster but am tired of socialist noisy garbage gap.

  • DoctorNine

    So the liter FZ1 in only 20lbs less, wet. Hmmm…. I dunno.

    • robotribe

      I think you meant “the liter FZ1 is 20lbs more“, correct? That isn’t too bad by comparison, even though I’d want the FZ8 to weigh less.

      Still, the FZ8 does cost a grand less than the FZ1.

    • TeeJay

      FZ1 feels like a massive, heavy liter-bike with “great” performance. FZ8 feels like a 600 which is on steroids. Rear tire is only 180, less alternating mass, lower center of gravity and a bit more “aggressive” riding position.

  • Bald Shaun

    Not perfect, but I’m glad Yamaha’s bringing it over here. If this bike had been available a couple of years ago, I might of gotten it instead of my Duc. I really like the idea if reasonably priced middleweight standards.

  • SPEKTRE76

    That weighs more than an R1. The Ducati Hypermotard 796 weighs less than that……ad it’s a v-twin!

  • SPEKTRE76

    I think if you add:

    1. Titanium exhaust system
    2. Forged wheels
    3. 520 chain
    4. Titanium fastners
    5. Light weight forged crank
    6. Light weight forged pistons
    7. Forged crank case/clutch covers

    And then I think you’d be in mid 380′s.

    ………just a guess though

  • robotribe

    It could definitely benefit from a diet; it’s up there with the Speed Triple and Z1000 in that regard. Yes, those bikes have bigger engine capacities by comparison, but this 800 uses that same block as the FZ1; no doubt that this afforded some engineering savings on Yamaha’s part. Also, that can is one of the ugliest I’ve seen in awhile. Yow.

    That all said, I can’t deny the positives of having more options States-side, especially naked ones; plus the fact that the price is seriously competitive with smaller capacity nakeds like the Street Triple and Monster 796. It may not be the perfect naked bike for me, but I hope Yamaha sells enough of them to make it worth them bringing it here.

    • TeeJay

      In Europe everybody crying on its price. Z750 is cheaper with about 15%.

      Ugly can agreed – change it to a street legal sport muffler.

  • pplassm

    Gee, I actually like it. I’d like the FZ-1 even more if it had the same headlight treatment (no fairing).

  • chili sv

    Wow, all the weight of a FZ1 with less power! Can’t they just pull a plug wire from the FZ1 to fill the gap? At least it would be upgradeable.

  • s0crates82

    Screw this. We don’t need the FZ8. What we need is the MT-01!

    • TeeJay

      MT-01 would be a very good way to transform the guys with the hairy face to bikers…
      It is just a marvelous giant with decent suspension and enormous torque.
      However what I need is the still not existing ST engine based MT-02. Less weight, more power. :)

  • parkwood60

    I’d like to see a version of this with a 400 or 500cc twin. Basically half the fz8 or fz1 motor. Looks at how successful the old ex500 was, which was basically 1/2 a Ninja 900 motor. The difference between the 600-800-1000 bikes is just a matter of insurance, or licensing rules. The difference between a 500 twin and a 600 four is real.