First Ride: 2014 Yamaha FZ-09 Review

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The most anticipated bike in…who knows how long isn’t an absurdly powerful superbike, it’s the fun, capable, three-cylinder and, most importantly, affordable 2014 Yamaha FZ-09. We literally just handed it back to Yamaha, here’s our first impressions.

Click here to research 2014 Yamaha FZ-09 specs, prices, insurance and compare it to any other motorcycle.

What’s New 
The 2014 Yamaha FZ-09 is completely new, minus the grips, blinkers, and license plate holder. During the briefing they stressed that, while the FZ-09 was built with achieving a low cost in mind, it is not a “parts bin” bike and that they designed nearly the entire thing from scratch while using quality materials. You have only to look at the intricate cast aluminum frame and how it sits inside the aluminum swingarm to witness that.

The 847cc three-cylinder engine is all new and includes tons of cool technology to create an emotionally stimulating ride. For instance, the intake funnels are staggered lengths, which help to produce power fatten the power curve at both low and high revs. The FZ-09 utilizes newly designed 41mm Mikuni throttle bodies, which fire directly down at the valve skirt, allowing a more direct feel between the throttle and rear wheel, while also helping make the engine more compact.

The FZ-09 also uses Yamaha’s Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) which is their version of ride-by-wire, as well as Yamaha Drive Mode (D-Mode) variable mapping to allow three different levels of throttle response: Standard, A, and B (A being the sport tuned mode and B, the mellower city mode).

One of the goals Yamaha had when designing the FZ-09 was to make it as compact and light as possible. From the new throttle bodies to the offset cylinder design to the new, stacked, six-speed transmission to the new 3-into-1 exhaust; everything is incredibly compact and it’s quite noticeable when you swing your leg over the seat.

Thanks to the three-cylinder engine’s narrow dimensions and a frame that goes over, rather than around its sides, the FZ-09 is two inches narrower than the bike it replaces, the Yamaha FZ8. The suspension is KYB at both ends, with 41mm USD forks up front and a horizontally mounted progressive link rear shock (adjustable for pre-load and rebound at both ends).

Brakes come in the from of radial mounted, 4 piston ADVICS calipers on 298mm floating front discs up front (with Brembo master cylinder) and a single Nissan brake caliper on a 245mm disc in the rear.

Compared to the FZ-8, the handle bars on the FZ-09 are 53mm taller and swept back 40mm. The foot pegs are also 26mm lower, creating a more comfortable, spacious riding position and a little more leverage over the bike.

The wheels are 10-spoke cast aluminum items, designed especially for the FZ-09, and are wrapped in either Dunlop SportMax or Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport rubber (both of which we were told were created specially for the bike).

Now for the numbers: Weight comes in at 414 lbs when at full fuel. 115 horsepower. 65 foot lb-ft of torque. 44 mpg.

2014 Yamaha FZ-09

The Ride
Day one was spent tooling around San Francisco proper. The idea being, this is an urban sportbike, they wanted us to see how it did around town and let me tell you, coming from LA this is a crazy place to ride. It’s like being on a roller coaster, but one that you control and that has the ability to fall over. The pavement refuses to stay one consistency for more than 100 ft and the cars aren’t big fans of letting you get where you want to go.

Despite all of this, the FZ-09 handled everything we could throw at it with grace. The suspension ate pot holes, cracks, trolley tracks, and 24 degree inclines/declines without problem. The engine is full of torque and made it easy to squirt out in front of an oncoming bus or make a gap ahead, while the brakes do a fantastic job of stopping you when that taxi you’re sure can see you decides to pull out anyways.

I was a little disappointed to have to spend an entire day riding in town, but when I realized we had been riding for a few hours and I felt zero fatigue or frustration I realized what a good decision it was on Yamaha’s part.

The second day, we rode up the coast on Highway 1 as far as Point Reyes Station. The road varies a ton, from fast sweepers along the water to tight, twisty mountain roads and it’s here that we really got to see what the engine was capable of, while also finding the FZ-09′s shortcomings.

The engine and gearing are absolutely superb. As someone who has never been great at wheelies, this 847cc triple was the perfect teacher. It didn’t pull huge accidental wheelies like the Dorsoduro, but those could be recreated with ease without having to yank back on the bars. First gear felt tall and I found myself actually riding in it for huge sections of the coast road, enjoying the higher RPM range.

That is, until I realized that a much smoother ride could be had in 3rd gear. Unfortunately, the fueling on the FZ-09 left me feeling frustrated and my confidence a bit shaken and I found the only way to transition from closed to open throttle smoothly was to keep it in a higher gear and let the torque do the work. This seems to be the case with Yamaha sport bikes and it was the same complaint we had with the R1. When you need to be smooth and careful, the fueling is abrupt and jerky. Not good, Yamaha.

The suspension, while great around the city, was also not great for fast canyon riding. I bounced and skipped off of uneven road surfaces and felt the front end lift and shimmy under hard acceleration. Blame overly soft front forks that dive under braking and get upset by both cornering Gs and bumps.

Still, while I struggled to ride at a very fast pace, I was still having fun thanks to that great three-cylinder motor.

2014 Yamaha FZ-09

What’s Good
Fat torque and power curves make the engine exceptionally user friendly and fun.

The brakes, while lacking ABS, inspire confidence and have good outright stopping power.

The slender frame and lack of an unnecessary weight make this an incredibly easy motorcycle to navigate through difficult areas and tight traffic.

Aesthetically, the FZ-09 fascinates. I actually prefer the red version; the bright paint is used sparingly, contrasting the strong mechanical elements. It really does need a fender eliminator though.

Yamaha will offer a number of aftermarket pieces to customize the FZ-09 or help make it fit your needs. They even have soft side bags you can add to make the FZ-09 tour ready.

2014 Yamaha FZ-09

What’s Bad
The jerky fueling means you have to back off the power by using B mode and a higher gear to retain control. Especially a shame when you consider how willing the motor is otherwise.

Suspension that gets upset by every bump in the road is equally disappointing.

Both these problems combine to artificially limit the FZ-09′s pace.

The Price
The Yamaha FZ-09 has an MSRP of $7,990 making it cheaper than pretty much any of its competitors. The Triumph Street Triple starts at $9,399, makes less power and torque, but does have usefully good fueling and suspension. The Honda CB1000R makes just 10 more horsepower and 7 more lb-ft of torque, but costs a whopping $11,760 while being plagued by similarly too-soft suspension. The 136 bhp Kawasaki Z1000 is considerably faster than the FZ-09 in a straight line, but is out-handled by the Yamaha and costs $10,999. Perhaps the nearest competitor in terms of fun is the Ducati Hypermotard, but that thing is a whopping $11,995.

The price difference between the FZ-09 and any of its competitors should easily pay for rebuilt front forks and a power commander while leaving you with a couple grand in your pocket to pay for gas and tires.

2014 yamaha fz-09

The Verdict
Despite the fueling and suspension issues, the Yamaha FZ-09 is the naked sportbike I want to own. It’s such a complete package, performing well in town, on the freeway or on a good mountain road. While we hope Yamaha addresses the fueling issues on this and most other bikes in their range, adding something like a power commander and swapping the front suspension really isn’t all that difficult and would make this pretty much a perfect package. And that’s before you factor in the $7,990 price tag. In an age when value is at the top of everyone’s priority list, the FZ-09 is on the money.

RideApart Rating: 8/10

Gear

Helmet: Schuberth C3 Pro – $769.00

Jacket: Dainese Shotgun – $254.00 (limited availability)

Gloves: Dainese Druids S/T – $199.95

Boots: Dainese Technical Sneaker – $179.95

 

Competitors:
Ducati Hypermotard
Honda CB1000R
Kawasaki Z1000
Triumph Street Triple

  • kevin

    So, rideapart staff, (or anybody else who wants to chime in) here’s my dilemma. My local Triumph dealer has a left over 2012 Street Triple brand new for $8,300. Between that and the FZ-09, which would you choose?!

    • CP

      Street Triple, better brakes and suspension

      • kevin

        It’s just the regular triple, not the R… do you still think the brakes and suspension are significantly superior?

        • CP

          Buy the bike you like, don’t worry too much about the specs.
          the difference is probably not noticeable on the street anyways.

        • Corey Cook

          The brakes and suspension on the standard street triple are crap, especially if you’re a normal sized person or bigger. Street tripleR is the way to go.

      • VagrantCoyote

        Probably hard to give advice if you haven’t ridden the FZ-09 yet. Each to their own though.

    • Harve Mil

      Street triple, if you can get past the Dame Edna headlights. Many years of refinement. Power and torque is close enough not to matter. By the sounds of it better suspension and brakes even without the R version. Not a big price spread.

      • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

        15 ft. lbs of torque is close enough not to matter?!

        • Harve Mil

          Show us the dyno graph and if that 15 is mostly across the rev range I’ll gladly admit that I’m wrong. See what I did there trying to get dyno numbers? :)

          • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

            hahahaha, I’m trying to find some myself. One of their designers said he had never seen a torque curve like it and said it just ramped up huge out of the gate and then held throughout the powerband.

            but then again, he worked for yamaha so that could be bullshit. I can tell you it felt like it had way more torque than the striple, but I wanna see it for myself, same as you do/should.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      I’d buy the Yamaha. Seriously considered the striple for a long time, but I had WAY more fun on this.

      • bammerburn

        What was the biggest factor, then, in enjoying the FZ more than the S3?

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          the 15 extra ft. lbs. of torque.

  • VagrantCoyote

    I can live with buying at least a power commander and possibly upgrading suspesion! Great review, looks like a great bike.

  • Tommy Erst

    Two years ago I would have completely lusted over this. My riding has changed a bit since then, so it’s not something I see myself buying, but it’s still an exciting new bike to a pretty dull motorcycle market.

  • John

    Too bad Honda can’t make a CB750F triple by adding another cylinder.

    • Kr Tong

      Just pull a spark plug out. Or wait for a crackhead to do it for you.

      • Mark D

        Ah yes, the old TL spark plug crack pipe.

  • Josh M.

    “For instance, the intake funnels are staggered lengths, which help to produce power fatten the power curve at both low and high revs.” Brilliant! Bravo Yamaha!

  • http://stellarplum.tumblr.com/ Marie Delgado

    Another competitor, although much more pricey – MV Agusta Brutale 800.

    • Corey Cook

      $14k out the door price, not a competitor, not even in the same ballpark. ;)

      • http://stellarplum.tumblr.com/ Marie Delgado

        Might as well include it here if the Hypermotard is too.

        • Corey Cook

          Thats true, but with the inflated price tag the hypermotard fixes all the problems that this bike has. The brutale 800 still has all the same problems, even with the inflated price tag…

        • grindz145

          We all love your bike though ;)

          • http://stellarplum.tumblr.com/ Marie Delgado

            Yay!

    • Stuki

      Or more realistically price, and town and twisty fun, wise, the Duke690.

  • JerseyRider

    What does a power commander do? Would it really smooth out the fueling that dramatically?

    • Stuki

      This sounds like it has much more legroom than the Striple. Just sitting on it, the Striple felt tighter in the knees than the S1000RR.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      you can customize how the fuel is delivered, so absolutely. Yamaha has to jump through a ton of hoops to get the bikes to pass emissions in all parts of the world.

      go ride them both and figure out which you like best. For me, it’s the yamaha.

      • JerseyRider

        Wish it was that easy. No triumph dealer here in Jersey allows test rides and i bet i’ll be hard pressed to find a dealer willing to let me ride the brand spanking new FZ-09.

        • mfour

          If you’re in (New) Jersey, Triumph Metuchen allows test rides.

          • JerseyRider

            Really!? I’ve called at least 3 different places and kept getting the same answer. I’ll give them a call later. Thanks

  • grb

    I like how this looks and the idea of the 3 cylinder engine on it. But Im just crossing my fingers Yamaha doesnt ditch the screamer engine that characterizes the R6 to go for a 3 cylinder on the next one, it would be a shame…

  • Ardie Saeidi

    I’m interested in the bike but the throttle/fueling issues are a real bummer. Did yamaha say anything about possibly fixing this with a better tune/reflash of the ecu? Otherwise you might as well tack on an extra $700-800 for power commander + dyno tune.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      nope. has more to do with how they meet emissions than anything else.

  • Johnny Bravo

    It seems incredible and totally unacceptable to me that a 2013 streetbike doesn’t come with standard ABS, but has switchable power modes (none really useful).

    • Corey Cook

      I totally agree on the useless riding modes, but out here in California and many other places in the west it almost never rains. So ABS is almost equally useless…

      • Scott Otte

        It never rains in the West? When did San Francisco, Portland and Seattle move east?
        Maybe you never ride in the rain (living in the dessert somewhere) but ABS is still useful for gravel and panic braking which is happens everywhere.

      • appliance5000

        No rain, no gravel, no sand, no oil – all the children are above average and every driver alert and focussed. California is great – no need for abs.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      I actually really like the various riding modes. The ones on this weren’t the same as the ducati (regular and snipped), more just variations in delivery. Riding around the city or commuting daily would be nice in B and really smooth, while the others (assuming you cleaned them up a little) make it absolutely hoonable.

    • Paolo

      Who says that all existing features have to be mandatory? I for one am still glad stuff like ABS is optional…freedom of choice!

    • juliansr

      power modes make as much of a difference to we traction as ABS.

    • Hellfire1968

      I rode the FZ-09 and the switchable power modes is needed for this bike. The modes are really designed for the different riding situations. While the A and STD modes produce identical full-throttle power graphs, A offers sharper throttle response on the road in the low-to-midrange revs than STD. Toggling to B via the handlebar thumb button further softens throttle response and reduces top-end output to the tune of about 10 hp. I also believe it will also impact fuel consumption too using the various modes.

  • Stephen Miller

    The performance/value ratio reminds me of what the SV650 offered back in 1999. If this bike catches on like the SV did (especially as a track bike) then there will be clever (and mostly cheap) aftermarket fixes for all the bike’s flaws. But realistically if you value your own labor time at all (or pay someone else) you’re easily putting in the $2K difference between this bike and a Street Triple R. This bike has roughly 8 more claimed hp at the crank than the Striple R. What they’d feel like ridden back to back is what matters, but my guess is that in terms of real world performance, they’d be pretty close, with the Triumph being more expensive but better out of the box.

    Where Yamaha can really go after Triumph (much the way Triumph went after BMW) is with an 847cc triple-powered Tenere. But can they do that for less than $11k?

    • Dan

      Was the SV really popular as a new bike? I know it’s a cult classic with a strong used market, but that doesn’t always translate to strong initial sales (esp. when your used market is driven by modders and racers who wouldn’t buy new).

      • Stephen Miller

        It took a couple of years, but yes. Racers started buying them new because the Hawk GT, Ninja 500, etc. were no longer competitive with the SVs out there. You can still find 1st Gen SVs that have never been registered for street use. SV sales took a hit in 2003 with the redesign (although the EFI was a net improvement) and then with the recession in 2008. Part of the reason they’re cheap now is because there are so many out there.

    • Justin McClintock

      I’d like to see the two bikes (the FZ-09 and the Street Triple) on the dyno. As several have pointed out, while the FZ-09 may only make marginally more HP peak, the difference on the way to those peak numbers may be substantial. I’d bet the displacement advantage of the FZ would rear its head there. That’d make for a MUCH better street engine and a somewhat better track engine as well.

  • Kr Tong

    eight grand bike in need of a remap and maybe some lighter fork oil. A cheap bike with cheap problems.

    I’m gonna venture to say what a lot of people have already said, this bike will be popular. Popular enough to see front end swaps tutorials and free fuel maps if the bike needs em.

    Oh and you guys did the the SMR route, which is cool.

    • bammerburn

      The new SV650. I is excited.

      • Mark D

        Yeah, the stock suspension on the SV was likewise built to a price point. Half of fun of a bike is modding it anyways. and if you’re modding a bike with a big 800cc triple…even better!

  • VWWV

    I live in SF and ride the 1 up to Point Reyes on my days off. I’m looking to replace my 01 CBR with something more upright. I can afford a more-expensive bike like the Street Triple R, but the likely-lower insurance and price of this bike are awfully attractive. On the other hand, the STR comes with nicer tires, better suspension, ABS, and, honestly, more panache.

    I agree with KR Tong, that the suspension issues will eventually be fixable as will the fuelling. I wonder if some of the abrupt throttle sensation testers are getting isn’t the result of Yamaha doing a bang-on job of getting air to the engine quickly and easily. This thing has a much longer stroke than most modern motorcycle engines and I find it hard to believe that Yamaha would apply anything other than a linear or smooth curve to the action of the throttle plate.

    In any case, Highway 1 to Stinson will challenge most riders on any bike, especially with throttle control, since keeping your suspension loaded front/rear and transitioning while going up/downhill can lead to jerky on/off throttle no matter what. Not that there isn’t a real issue, it’s a technical ride even on a perfect bike.

    I really like the orange european model and the bike looks WAY better with the smoked windscreen, why they didn’t include it standard is a complete mystery to me. They could mark it up $500 for looks alone with the windscreen attached

  • Jack Norton

    Interesting to see no comments on the fuel tank. I know it’s small so would like to know what the range could be.

    I’ll still test ride one but I think if anything that might be the deal breaker.

    Also that seat looks MX comfortable – any complaints there?

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      Range is in the 140-150 mile range. Seat is actually really comfy.

      • Jack Norton

        Thanks Sean, gonna sort that test ride!

  • Lou Jacob

    Sorry for stating the obvious, but you made a great case for the Street Triple here. Can’t imagine why someone would be this instead of the Triumph, as they’ve already solved the issues you have with this, cheaper knockoff. Just don’t see it.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      ride one, then lemme know how you feel. the extra torque makes a HUGE difference.

    • Kamenashi

      The problem with Triumph is the power delivery – like the Sprint 1050, it’s just not decent. It’s just too jerky.

      • Lou Jacob

        Really? You’ve, clearly, never actually owned a Triumph, plus the bike you’re citing was designed quite a while ago. The snatchiness you’re referring to, in first gear only, goes away with right hand acclimation and as the bike breaks in. I’m speaking after 36K on a 1050 Triple. “It’s just not decent,” speaks of little indepth knowledge. Plus, the Triumph triples of today, a fairer comparison with the japanese knock-off, are amazing and as smooth as can be.

        • Kamenashi

          I’ve ridden a few new models from Triumph – and it still feels the same.

  • devillock

    Will never understand why these companies try to keep costs down by cheaping out on the suspension. I will take superior suspension over more power every time.
    How is the nearest competitor the Hyperstrada? One is a naked inline 3 with budget parts, the other a top of the line L twin Supermotard.
    On paper it has higher numbers than the Street, but I’d like to see a real side by side comparison. Total power is irrelevant, its how you get your useable power that matters.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      Completely disagree. Suspension is much easier to fix.

      • bammerburn

        True, nothing that a few hundred dollars can’t really fix.

        Weight and stature of the bike matters a whole lot, too. A smaller, lower-weighted bike would be easier to fix, to fit riding preferences, than a heavier bike (like a Z1000).

        • Davidabl2

          Gen 1? And what would you recommend for a 155 lb. rider on one?

          • bammerburn

            Yep, Gen 1. I’m 190 lbs, so a .95 spring rate fit me just fine. You can look up your suitable spring rates at http://www.racetech.com; you aren’t that far off from the stock configuration (stock 1st Gen’s are sprung for 130-lb riders), but once you get front fork mods down, along with a good rear shock (ZX-6R) your bike would be solid.

            • Davidabl2

              Thanks. …I was once a 130 lb. rider. Before Suzuki make 4-strokes :-)

      • Dan

        Suspension is easier to fix for the buyer AND:
        (1) “good” suspension isn’t on the radar for new buyers, but they’ll notice missing power (on paper);
        (2) it’s not clear that it’s even possible to make a suspension that works reasonably well for a majority of buyers. “Normal” US rider weights = 120lb girl to a 300lb+ rider/pillion combo. “Normal” US riding temps = 50*F – 105*F. “Normal” rider type on a bike like this = first time buyer to dyed-in-the-wool hoon. So basically there is no helpful “average” for an OEM to use for calculating spring rates and oil / shim combs. The answer is for an OEM to go with something basic that’s geared towards newer riders, and let the experienced ones fix it themselves.

        • devillock

          Missing power? at 100hp + this bike has more than enough power for a new rider, they will not be missing any at all, ever on the street. You should not have to fix a new bike either. Both the Street and Speed Triple have great OEM suspension, but you pay for the bikes. There is an “average”, that’s what the factory setting is.

          • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

            there are TONS of new bikes in the 8k range we think have things you should fix after buying.

            • devillock

              That’s my point exactly, if a new bike needs fixing to perform decently, the manufacturer has failed. But I do agree with your statement, it’s also why I don’t buy bikes from the 8k range…
              Too bad though because I really like the 800cc class; bit more oomph than the 600s and more useable(street) than the 1000s. I ride 1000 for the ergonomics more than anything else. Street triple has been most fun bike to ride to date, but it’s a little small for me at 6’2″ with 34″inseam and gorilla arms.

              • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

                that’s like saying that Honda has failed if I can’t take my Civic to the track without any upgrades.

                • devillock

                  No. Because said Civic is designed for street use and not track use. If you bought a Civic then had to up grade it for street use, then yes they have failed.

                • Justin McClintock

                  And Yamaha pointed out with their initial ride choice that this bike is meant primarily for street (urban street at that) use. So at this point you’re basically complaining that they didn’t design the bike for what YOU wanted them to design it for.

                • devillock

                  I’m not complaining, I’m only stating that these bikes usually cheap out on the suspension to keep costs down. I’m also saying that I’d rather a top end suspension over “more power”. The writer of the article even says the suspension is not up to par when it comes to faster riding, “The suspension, while great around the city, was also not great for fast canyon riding. I bounced and skipped off of uneven road surfaces and felt the front end lift and shimmy under hard acceleration. Blame overly soft front forks that dive under braking and get upset by both cornering Gs and bumps.”

                  And this is exactly what this bike is made for. If you want to do “urban street”, an 850cc 100hp+ is overkill. You’d be better off on a 400cc SM. Or a scooter.

                • Justin McClintock

                  While I would agree that 850cc and 100hp for city riding is overkill, that’s where many of these will be used and that’s who they’re marketing this to. And while I agree a 400cc SM would be better, I’m also certain they’re going to sell more of these than Suzuki does their 400SM. And for city riding, the suspension honestly sounds like its set up perfectly.

                • devillock

                  True, they are going after a target market and the people that want a top end suspension will not be looking at this bike anyway. This bike does seem like a good deal though, a nice compromise between the FZ1 and FZ6.

                  For all out city riding, SM is the way to go. I don’t get why more people aren’t into them. Most fun I’ve ever had on two wheels…

        • Stuki

          One of the reasons higher spec bikes tend to work better for Joe Average America, is because the suspension upgrades done to make the bike perform under sky high dynamic loads for the 150lb sport riders who tests and reviews them, simultaneously make them perform better for “normal” tasks for slightly bigger folks…… Perhaps coincidental, but effective nonetheless.

      • Justin McClintock

        I agree with Sean here. You never know how each individual is going to need/want their suspension setup anyway. I’m 215 lbs. I don’t need the suspension setup the same as somebody who’s 150 lbs. One of us is having to change it out regardless. So Yamaha accepts that, sets it up for what they view as the most generic user (sounds like about somebody Sean’s weight and urban use) and goes from there. Want something different? Spend a few bucks and you’re there. Same as it is with pretty much every bike built.

    • Davidabl2

      “Will never understand why these companies try to keep costs down by cheaping out on the suspension.”

      The only way I can figure it is that they must think that a large part of the their target audience can’t tell the difference .

  • devillock

    Also lest see it up against the Speed Triple. Yaya, cots, power, blah blah blah but just for fun and see what it’s capable of.

  • G D

    Street III R costs $2k more, but gives you better suspension that can be adjusted for compression damping, ABS brakes, a 4.6 gallon fuel tank, braided steel lines, less weight (403 vs 414), better sorted fueling, a warranty that’s twice as long, and has proven to have amazing resale value.

    Not having to throw money at it to make it work right and getting pretty much all the price difference back when you sell the bike later on makes the Triumph the much smarter choice. It’s a shame that the writer of this review doesn’t take the time or care enough about the readers to dig a little deeper as to how much of a non-bargain the new Yamaha really is, all things considered.

    The old adage that you get what you pay for absolutely holds true when it comes to the FZ-09.

    By the way, I don’t own a Street III R. But I do know enough about motorcycles to know when a manufacturer is cutting every corner they think they can get away with to make the MSRP more enticing. This bike is a perfect example of this philosophy.

    • Jack McLovin

      Try to get a stripple R for just $2K more. None of the stealerships are willing to drop the BS freight and setup fees so once it’s all said and done most people pay around $12K OTD for a triumph.
      Now go out and try to get a deal on a Japanese bike. I bet even someone as dumb as you could do it within ten minutes on the internet or in the first stealership you go to.
      Anyhoo you’re probably just a walt who hasn’t ridden either bike or perhaps any bike but thanks for your insight nonetheless.

      • Stephen Miller

        I would’ve thought the same thing, until I negotiated on both a Triumph and a Suzuki last month. It turned out the Triumph dealer was much more willing to negotiate. I’m sure it depends on the model, where you are, etc. I was surprised, but pleasantly so.

        • motorock

          I was negotiating on a 2013 Striple but noone was going down the MSRP and the OTD price was nearly 12k! Meanwhile, a 2012 Ninja 1000 can be had for nearly 9.5k OTD or a 2013 FZ8 for about 8K!

          • Stephen Miller

            Like I said, it depends on the bike and the location. I’ve seen lots of good deals on the FZ8, and come to think of it, the CB1000R and Ninja 1000. I think Triumph’s pricing is very competitive, but destination charges are unusually high. And here I thought England was closer than Japan.

          • G D

            A year later, you could sell your Street III R for $9k, but you’d be lucky to get $6.5k for the Ninja (what a stupid-ass name for a motorcycle) or $5k for the freshly discontinued FZ8. So how exactly do these cheaper bikes save you money?

            • motorock

              I don’t buy bikes so that I can get good resale out of it. I buy bikes that appeal to me and that I can live with for a long time without having to think about selling them off (usually because I get emotionally attached). I think the more powerful engine with more torque already saves me the extra 2.5k I would have to shell out for the next big engine on the Triumph. The Ninja at the same price has quality components and more power (again) than the Striple, and is smoother and more comfortable. The FZ8 is more versatile by being able to carry hard luggage with a passenger while carving canyons and giving a longer tank range. So, what you save is coming up with excuses to defend a naked bike that is not the most comfortable, nor the most versatile. I have been looking at the Striple for the longest time but then I realized that I probably need something that is a more complete bike that will also appeal to my senses. The KTM SMT fit the bill, but the wallet did not agree (for now).

              Ps: you should check KBB and see that resale even on the Japanese bikes doesn’t depreciate by the margins that you have just, rather arbitrarily, posted.

              • G D

                I like to stay anonymous in forums like these, but I will say that I have made a career out of the motorcycle business and have been in it for several decades. So I might know a thing or two more about bike values than the average bear.

                The vast majority of Japanese bikes (Japanese cruisers in particular) don’t fetch the retail KBB value unless they’ve got silly low miles or all kinds of expensive add ons. Why would anyone pay KBB retail for a used bike when they can find a new one just like it heavily discounted by a dealer who’s terrified that they’ll never find enough buyers for all the bikes in stock?

                On the other hand, a typical Triumph (and, for that matter, BMW and Ducati) dealer is equally terrified that they won’t have enough inventory to meet consumer demand. So they sell their wares at or pretty close to MSRP.

                Guess what? That makes selling one of these used bikes pretty damned easy, and for good money.

                Does KBB relfect this reality? Nope. As a guide, it’s just not that sophisticated.

                • motorock

                  Fair enough- though I actually have found that most dealers sell at prices higher than KBB but probably you know better. However it is pretty sad if your primary concern in buying a motorcycle is about its resale value- I ride motorcycles because I enjoy them, not because they can hold their value better.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      you missed the 15 ft lbs of torque the yamaha makes over the triumph.

      as the writer of this article, and a guy who was considering buying the street triple, I would spend my own money on the yamaha instead of the street triple. I fixed the front suspension in my bonneville, and would gladly do the same in the Yamaha, because I would rather pay for this engine and fix the suspension than pay for the striple’s suspension and have to figure out how to get more out of the motor.

      • Lacubrious

        What did fixing the suspension entail?

      • G D

        I didn’t miss the extra torque of the bigger engine, Sean. I just don’t really care about it. Once a bike has all the power I need to get the job done (and the Street III does in my case) any extra power starts to become a liability. Traction management becomes more complex and weight transfers to the back on heavy throttle make the front end less precise. Wear items like tires, chains, clutches have shorter service lives. And fuel mileage suffers.

        But weird throttle response and poorly set up suspension impact my control of the bike. Having a high level of control, with the confidence this brings, is many times more important than a little extra power that I really didn’t have much use for in the first place.

        I’ve owned countless bikes in my motorcycling career. Which also means I’ve sold countless bikes. One of the early lessons I learned is that a cheap bike that you throw money at to make it work right is still a cheap bike when it’s time to sell. Conversely, a costlier bike that’s already got quality components keeps it’s value far better.

        Some folks don’t care about resale value since, apparently, the financial hit they take is inconsequential. I’m not as rich as these folks, it seems, so I do care. And I have to wonder why someone who’s so cavalier about losing money would be drawn to a bike built down to a price point anyway.

        Bikes like the FZ-09 kinda’ remind me of the furniture you can buy at Target or Walmart. Clearly it’s designed to look just like actual quality furniture that costs far more, but everywhere they think their consumers won’t notice they use cheap materials.

        When these shortcomings aren’t adequately addressed in a review written ostensibly by “experts” the readers are short-changed.

        Anyway, that’s my 2 yen’s worth.

      • JerseyRider

        Which suspension did you install on the Bonnie?

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          Local triumph shop do their own custom job. Stiffer springs and different oil.

    • juliansr

      “This seems to be the case with Yamaha sport bikes and it was the same complaint we had with the R1. When you need to be smooth and careful, the fueling is abrupt and jerky. Not good, Yamaha.”

      I find it humorous that Yamaha has six world championships with their R1 derivatives in the last ten years, but we bitch about them and their fueling/control…and triumph…have hardly ever won a damn thing…except our hearts! 675 is the go-to Jesus bike.

      Consider this: the 675 makes less power that the 09 and uses more gas. at 36mpg it’s more than some midsize sedans to teh 90′s 44mpg. literally 25% more fuel efficient and 30% more power (torque is in fact actual power, you HP zealots). also 2000$ buys a lot of suspension OR engine tweaks. or both.

      Do consider the following…character…it’s not like we have close to a clue about the test riders who design these bikes, and how they ride…the way that rossi, stoner, lawson or roberts all had different styles and bring new skills to the game…the way these are designed by the riders plays a big role in how they must be exploited on the street, including the ideal powerband. They might use a touch more trail braking to create more smoothness/finesse. The way you were ‘learning wheelies’ …those factory guys are probably doing 1/4 mile at a time on one wheel and using the top end a lot more.

      not an excuse, but the lower the cylinder count, the wider the firing order and it gets even rougher as you increase displacement.I belive Most of the problem comes from compromising for EPA regs and MPG, but almost every bike ever criticized for its fueling usually only needed a minor tweak to be made right again. MV’s 675 Brutale get the same complaints.The Vtec VFR had the smoothness complaint, but plug up an air valve and the bike smartens right up because it stops drawing fresh air past the O2 sensor, giving it misinformation to please the EPA’s exhaust requirements for cleaner air out of the pipe.

      • Jason Smith

        When I read the critique on the fueling I wondered if it actually was the fuel mapping or if its the EXUP valve (if equipped). The exact symptoms mentioned are why I’ve always bypassed it on Yamahas and dealt with the lost bottom-end torque.

      • Piglet2010

        Torque is not “actual power”, as least by the convention the terms are used by in physics and engineering.

  • Jack McLovin

    Didn’t you guys start this website out of frustration that every other american motoring press institution merely strings the spec sheet together with a few conjunctions? Hey thanks for that riveting “whats new” paragraph. I hadn’t smoked in years but I just had to light one up after reading that awesome write up coz it felt like I just got done riding the bike myself. ADVICS, did I get that right? That’s some good info right there, oh and look the Dainese Shotgun jacket is in limited supply. I’d better rush out and get one soon. Pls GTFO

    • bammerburn

      A bit biting with the sarcasm here; but a bit more expository writing about the riding experience would be nice and contribute to our vicarious fantasies more and more compel our consumer identities toward purchases. Like, in the line of BIKE UK magazine’s writing. Love that magazine. Be like them, a bit more. :)

      • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

        I think RideApart has higher quality writing and feature content than any publication out there, Bike included. This is a first ride, filed from a launch. In that environment, you essentially have the opportunity to gain first impressions. It’s not an opportunity to go on a road trip or do anything like that.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Not every story can be a masterpiece.

      Sean filed this one about an hour after handing the bike back to Yamaha. Given the highly anticipated nature of the bike, we figured you’d rather see if it lived up to the hype sooner than next week.

      We’ll be spending more time with it soon, and creating more feature-like content with it. Maybe even for an episode of the show.

      • Jack McLovin

        Yeah I understand the bit about the consumer anticipation for any shred of info on the bike. I’m just being dickish because internet, and because there was no need to include 3-into-1 this or 245mm that since that stuff was known months ago and can be found on ten other motorcycle review websites. The rest of the write up is great and that could be your guys angle, for the diameter of the rear brake disc (JFC) go to the dorks at ______ for the truth whether you agree with it or not come to ride apart.
        If I may expand on why I hate specs so much; you never know what people associate with which spec. I’ve read dummies arguing on the net that the CBR600 would make more power with a 3 into 1 exhaust because the Daytona 675 uses one and it makes way more power. And in general dwelling on that peak power figure is sofa king retarded. This bike may make 25 more bhp from 3500 to 7500 rpm where people actually ride but only makes 5 more peak than the stripple which must rev to 13000 to achieve that figure I mean come on. I’m sure you already know this, that is why spec sheet racing needs to go away.
        I expect a written apology for the travesty of quoting specs in any article from now on.

  • STRTRRR

    I’ve owned a Street Triple R since February and have been looking forward to FZ09 with great interest. Unless Yamaha is planning on amortizing the FZ09 motor across a wide range of bikes (which they may well be doing), they simply had to cut some corners somewhere to get to $8K. Other than trackday junkies, I don’t really see anybody reworking the front suspension of a brand new bike, and I suspect you’d be spending quite a bit more than $2K to get to the otherworldly combination of stability, agility and braking that is ST3R. And you still wouldn’t have ABS. Sounds like the latest member of the FZ family inherits the mantle of the early SV650 — a fave of novices and experts alike, with the latter quite likely to put money into them to get a ride that lives up to the motor. If Honda launches the rumored VFR-powered 800cc naked, this category is going to heat up REAL fast. Can’t wait.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      people fix the front suspension in a lot of bikes. it’s even a common upgrade in bonnevilles. it would be totally worth 2k to get the FZ, with all the extra torque, to handle on par with the triumph.

      • Piglet2010

        I would upgrade the rear suspension on a Bonnie before the front – makes the ride quality on my Dullsville feel Gold Wingish by comparison.

  • Dennis Bratland

    If Yamaha’s teams of engineers couldn’t figure out the fueling themselves, I hardly think I could do it for them with my laptop and a Power Commander.

    • Mitchel Durnell

      Sometimes adhering to Euro5 standards means the fueling has to jump through some crazy hoops, so it also could be a case of meeting stringent emissions rather than an engineering problem.

      • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

        correct.

        • Piglet2010

          Until someone at the EPA and/or CARB wises up, and OBD and mandatory emissions testing comes to motorcycles.

      • Richard Gozinya

        I don’t know, considering the consistency with which motorcycle manufacturers pass on fixing problems with their bikes to the consumer (Crappy seats and suspension top this list), it seems safer to assume Yamaha is either too lazy, or too cheap, to do it themselves.

  • Stuki

    Just for clarification; is the fueling and suspension bad in an absolute sense, or just in comparison with the absolute state of the sportbike art? Say, compared to the similarly priced Vstrom 650 you guys like a lot, is the front fork still bad?

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      it’s just bad.

      the v strom is heavier and doesn’t accelerate like the FZ-09, so it doen’t need to have the same level of suspension.

  • motorock

    Great review but I still have some specific questions I have been wanting every review to cover-. You mentioned soft bags. How possible is it to have hard bags? How bad is the suspension- is riding two up (about 280lbs), with luggage on the highways and cities going to be a problem? (Love mountain roads too) And how cheap would be fixing the suspension? Also, is a 140 miles range so bad in the real world?
    The reason I gave up on the Striple was the seating position and incapability to have hard bags for two-up riding- apart from the high OTD price (nearly 12k in NYC!!) To put it simply, the ideal bike for my needs is the pricey (and currently out of my budget) KTM SMT – would this be able to fill that void at this price? My other choices are the FZ8 (now selling well below $7k!) and the Ninja 1000…

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      keep saving and get the ktm

      • motorock

        I almost did last month and not being with a bike for more than a year, I really want a bike soon! The KTM is nearly 15k OTD!

      • motorock

        What would you consider the equivalent of the SMT (in purpose and character) under 10k?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Don’t bother with the FZ8, it’s a dog.

      • motorock

        Many would disagree and you cannot take away its versatility- a naked sport touring machine! Anyway, what would you think is the equivalent of the KTM SMT under 10k OTD?

  • Jeremy

    The snatchy throttle on roll-on is the exact reason I am looking to sell my 2006 FZ1. Even after a ECUnleashed flashing it’s still snatchy when I’m trying to ride fast through corners. It’s a shame.

  • Motorcycle Extremist

    Looks like a decent bike, but unnecessarily limited by a too small fuel tank and poor passenger accommodations. Also not even offering the option of ABS is a mistake. I’d love to see Yamaha make a bike with this engine, but with a larger fuel tank, better passenger accommodations, especially some lower foot-pegs for them, optional hard bags, and at least the option for ABS.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      150 miles to a tank is fairly common. Maybe go sit on one before you write off the passenger accommodations.

      • Motorcycle Extremist

        I agree with you on the fuel range for this bikes intended purposes, but what I meant was that I’d like to see that motor in a bike made for more of a sport-touring role overall; with a larger tank, better passenger accommodations, and some optional hard-bags. Also ABS should at least be an option in this day and age.

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          hoping they use this engine in something else is much more fair than criticizing a naked sport bike for not being a tourer.

          • Guest

            Let’s
            try this again… My first point is that simply with a larger fuel tank and some
            lower foot-pegs this bike “could have” had a broader market appeal. I was not “criticizing
            a naked sport bike for not being a tourer” as you have apparently assumed, and
            I’m not a dumbass thank you very much, so please stop treating me like one; capisce?
            Beyond that, and on another note, I would like to see a more sport-touring oriented
            bike using this engine since this one just won’t fit that need very well, but better
            still, instead of all of this hyper specialization in the market we see which
            has grown to ridiculous proportions as time has gone on, it would be nice for manufacturers
            to make great bikes that can serve as a platform for the owner to customize to
            suit his own personal desired style of riding and usage, which this bike could
            easily have been with just a few minor changes.

          • Motorcycle Extremist

            Let’s try this again; shall we? My first point is that simply with a larger fuel tank
            and some lower foot-pegs this bike “could have” had a broader market appeal. I
            was not “criticizing a naked sport bike for not being a tourer” as you have
            apparently assumed, and I’m not a dumbass thank you very much, so please stop
            treating me like one; capisce? Beyond that, and on another note, I would like
            to see a more sport-touring oriented bike using this engine since this one just
            won’t fit that need very well, but better still, instead of all of this hyper
            specialization in the market we see which has grown to ridiculous proportions
            as time has gone on, it would be nice for manufacturers to make great bikes
            that can serve as a platform for the owner to customize to suit his own
            personal desired style of riding and usage, which this bike could easily have
            been with just a few minor changes.

  • crankaholic

    Good first ride write-up Sean. This bike is shaping up to be a great competitor in the naked-sport-bike segment. How is this compared to the MV Agusta Brutale 800? I know the MV is much more expensive, but it’s also very pretty: exposed steel tube frame, single sided swingarm, the round headlight… that last one, I can’t believe manufacturers stick those unsightly multi-faceted headlights on naked bikes :(

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      MV is essentially non-existant in the states, so we haven’t had the opportunity to test its new bikes. Non existent in that they don’t respond to emails, even when they come from the head office in Italy. Unlike that MV, the Yamaha will be available in a dealer near you, will have good parts availability, will actually like work and stuff and will be dead reliable.

      • crankaholic

        That’s too bad… would have liked to read your opinion on the bike. I ride a 2010 R6 now, so I know how awesome Yamahas are. Is the MV really that unreliable though? I want something with a more upright riding position for commuting, but still have the power and excitement that my buddie’s CB500F sadly can’t provide… the more character the better, I don’t really want an appliance or really care how good it will be to go out for a day of canyon carving… that’s what my R6 is for. Or should I just get a used CBR600RR, strip it naked and put some handlebars on it?

        • devillock

          KTM Duke. Once you go orange you’ll never go back…

  • Jack McLovin

    Calm down king of the rational nerds. It never ceases to amaze me how deliberate, judicious and prudent guys who wear leather pants and scoot around on a motor with wheels unprotected from anything can be, especially when it comes to resale value lol.
    Yes I’m aware of the supply and demand and perceived value, brand cachet, resale potential etc etc of euro brands vs. our Japanese brothers’ far superior if not desirable products. I for one get bikes solely on an emotional basis. If I see something I like everything else be damned I’m going to do whatever I can to get it.
    You go back to calculating long term apr vs resale value and fuel economy on your calculator watch and I’ll go back to riding my expensive and impractical toy for fun, agree to disagree.

    • G D

      Hey Jack, your imbecility is showing again. The subject at hand is the new FZ-09, a machine for which the low MSRP compared to its competition is one of the key selling features. I’ll try to explain this so even a simpleton who goes around saying things like “stealerships” might understand.

      When folks are drawn to a bike due to its low MSRP, it can be assumed that they are somewhat frugal with their money. Perhaps they’re not flush with wealth. WIth me so far?

      So, since money, or the preservation of it, would likely be important to this person, the value at the end of their ownership takes on a little extra importance, wouldn’t you agree?

      Since the FZ-09 is built down a price point, and has some significant shortcomings as a result, throwing money at it to make it match the quality a discerning motorcyclist might require is money flushed down the toilet. In the end, it’s still a cheap bike in the eyes of most consumers.

      So said frugal buyer is likely to find that they really didn’t save any money after all. Which was the point I was trying to make.

      Anyway, why don’t you just go visit your local stealership and explain to them how their freight charge “is BS” or something (even though you can read it right on the manufacturer’s website). And stay off forums like this. Because calling someone “dumb” who knows probably 1000% more about the subject being discussed than you do is, well, kinda’ dumb.

      • criticalspectator

        1. anyone who gets mad on the internet is wrong, because if you were right, you wouldn’t be mad.
        2. more seriously, your resale value argument may be solid, but if a person (the reviewer, people disputing your argument) doesn’t really care about resale, your point is no more helpful than the original point which you found so unhelpful at the outset.
        3. lastly, and least importantly, I’d like to know what stealership you worked at / for etc. because everyone I know who doesn’t work at a stealership, calls them stealerships. Automotive stealerships are also known commonly as stealerships. My best guess is you worked at / for, owned / whatever a certain large american manufacturer’s stealerships. But that is just a guess.

        • G D

          1. I get mad when someone who doesn’t know me says I’m dumb for stating an opinion that’s contrary to their own. Sorry, but I’m not seeing this as any kind of sociopathic behavior.
          2. If a bike owner doesn’t care about resale value all that much, more power to them. But a bike for which one of the key selling points is its low price tends to appeal to folks who don’t have a lot of spare money. And, by and large, these folks do care about the value of their investment if and when they decide to sell. What’s so complicated about this?
          3. I know a lot of motorcyclists and, for the most part, they are pretty happy with the dealer(s) they do business with. Those morons who go around saying things like “stealership” are the low-information shoppers who A. believe they are entitled to to buy at wholesale prices, demand notwithstanding, and B. aren’t smart enough to know when someone is trying to fleece them until after they’ve made their purchase.

          What I do for a living is irrelevant to this discussion. I have bought countless cars and motorcycles at dealerships over the years. Some of these dealers are unethical bastards and some are not. I don’t buy from the former. As a result (coupled with the fact that I tend to be reasonable when I’m negotiating price), my relationship with the dealers I work with is symbiotic and amicable. For the most part, I like working with them and they like working with me.

          I’m offended when low-information morons suggest that all dealers are out to “steal” (meaning to take something from someone that is not legitimately theirs to take) from their customers. These twits are of the mindset that any margin the dealer earns from the sale is rightfully theirs, but was “stolen” by the dealer.

          If a dealership’s modus operandi is to try to rip everybody off that sets foot in their showroom, then don’t do business with them. But if you lump the ethical sellers who are only trying to earn a decent living from their profession of choice into the same camp, you’re pretty much an imbecile.

          • Jack McLovin

            Hey I don’t think you broke it down enough, please be more detailed and specific. I would love to hear your thoughts on the mindset behind customers of various means and their influences and considerations when purchasing a toy.
            P.S. yes yes, let the butthurt flow through you.
            P.P.S. Stealership, stealership, stealership, stealership.

          • sadpeopleinsadtimes

            I love the dealership I have purchased from, my father purchases from, and I will continue to purchase from. It depends on the dealership, just like it depends on the person if they are a d-bag or not. I will agree to your point of the “buying on a budget so they are frugal” to an extent. Some people like to buy things (cars, bikes, homes, so on) to make them their own. The bike might just have all of the pieces that they want (engine and chassis), and not they ones they would want to change anyway (suspension and fuel mapping). Or they might not have the money at the time and plan to upgrade when they do have the extra cash. Or some people are crazy and put more into a bike (or car) than what it’s worth (rims on cars with huge sound systems when the car is worth $600). Or some people plan to keep the bike until the wheels fall off, like my parents who just sold their 1981 Yamaha Virargo 1000 for a new Goldwing after i don’t know how many thousands of miles. Resale won’t matter to them.

            All of the articles need to be taken with a grain of salt. This article is by someone who rides often, and possibly races. He is writing for everyone from a newbie, to a pro-rider looking for a casual street bike. If you don’t plan on carving canyons or going to track days, you might not have to change anything. He is an opinion rider/writer and is there to give his opinion. I personally, living in the midwest and not being a weekend warrior, wouldn’t care too much about the suspension, but I know people who race and such and would care. To each their own, he just points out everything.

            If you get taken at a dealership, it’s your fault. You obviously know what the internet is, so you have the ability to check what a fair price is before you ever set foot in the showroom. If you find a dealer that you like, like me, you might be willing to pay more for the service, or they might treat you well for the respect you show them and cut you deals to keep you coming back. Judging by how many people have flown off the handle on here, if I was the dealership, I would charge a lot more because I should be rewarded for dealing with people who feel entitled to everything, will want everything from now on, and lack people skills (from the sounds of it, don’t know anyone here personally).

            Finally, how many people keep any bike they get stock? Unless you get a bike with Ohlins already on it, Brembo brakes, and all of the other goodies, you are going to upgrade those parts anyway. You are going to put your own accent pieces into the bike, a new muffler, fender eliminator, new seat, new signals, some carbon here and there, whatever.

      • juliansr

        you may be some whiz-bang bike guy , who knows, maybe with a championship and a dealership and two hot wives, but that does not preclude you from being a douche.

        take a chill pill or go ride or something.

  • Paolo

    How many miles do those last? I’ve always loved naked bikes like this one, but when have you seen a 15-20 year old naked still going? (or maybe they haven’t been around that long, I don’t know) the target demographic for this bike isn’t exactly the kind that looks forward to keeping the same vehicle for long periods of time.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Bikes have way longer service lifes than people give them credit for. With regular maintenance 100K miles+ should be no problem on the original motor. On this or any other Japanese bike.

  • appliance5000

    I’d think with the tech available – materials/computers etc – that making a confidence inspiring suspension at this price range would be pretty straightforward. Also to not offer abs – even as an option – when the system is available elsewhere is unconscionable.

    Other wise it looks like a nice bike.

    • Stuki

      I find it a bit baffling as well. KTM sells the 390 duke in India for something like 3 grand, with standard abs, and supposedly at least half decent suspension. Which is why I have just a slight suspicion that even the generally more down to earth reviewers on this site, might be starting to suffer just a tiny bit from spoiled motojournalist syndrome…. OTOH, they had nothing bad to say about the suspension on Honda’s much cheaper 500s, so what do I know…

      • appliance5000

        I ride a cb500f – there’s not much bad to be said.

    • Stephen Mears

      ABS is coming as an option. Surprised none of the U.S. mags are even mentioning this. Apparently in Germany it’s the only choice!

      • appliance5000

        That’s a game changer – thanks for the info.

  • Stephen Mears

    Is that a conventional metal tank or a plastic cover over an airbox?

  • W Grant Norman

    Thanks for a great review. I’ve heard soft suspension and twitchy fuel injection complaints on many bikes before…but have yet to really find them. Maybe it is my weight and riding style, but I find my bike’s suspensions more than adequate. Of my 3 naked bikes, my 06 Yamaha FZ1 is the softest; next is my 11 Honda CB1000R; and stiffest is my 08 KTM Super Duke. Not sure what “soft suspension” is supposed to plague the CB1000R – seems to be almost as tight as the KTM to me. Again, all of mine have a 240 lbs preload due to my weight.
    In any case, I’m ready to add an FZ-09 to the stable as soon as it becomes available. Loved the crossplane in my 09 R1 I had and can’t wait to feel the torque in the new triple on our twisty mountain roads.

  • Justin McClintock

    Cool bike and I’d love to get a chance to ride one.

    One nitpicking point, but Yamaha had a chance to do something really neat with this frame and swingarm setup, but failed. With the frame running inside the swingarm, they had a chance to set the bike up so you could swap gearing and chains without any special tools and without breaking the chain. Then they went and ran the chain through a swingarm (without a removable section) and ruined that chance. Bummer.

  • Mark D
  • Jordan

    An alternative to tampering with the ECU with either a reflash or aftermarket programmer is buying an aftermarket throttle tube with swap-able throttle cams. It might sound like apples and oranges, but my YZ250F suffered from a pretty noticeable part-throttle ‘snap’ and lurch that made the bike’s throttle feel like it was out of sync with what my wrist was doing (that’s what she said!) I think an over eager accelerator pump and light flywheel was the cause but a G2 Dirt/ThrottleTamer helped reduce the effect considerably for relatively cheap and I didn’t lose any favorable engine response. With the FZ-09′s Drive mode selector and a range of throttle cams to choose, you just might be able to find a setup that works well for you. I know it’s a popular modification for new-ish dirt riders that wind up on 450 MX bikes, too.

    I wish I had tried it on my SV650 before I sold it. The FI on the bike from the factory was so abrupt, it was exhausting trying to stay smooth on the gas, especially in cold weather with numb hands.

  • FreeFrog

    When they get the mapping and suspension sorted out from the factory I’ll consider one — a new bike shouldn’t require fixing out the door. Love the triple though… hopefully they make a new FZ1 using it (with fairing) and an adventure model using the same engine too.

  • Guest

    How

  • Kyle Dugan

    How is the geometry for taller riders? I am 6’4″ and rode a 919 for 3 years, is it similar?

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      i can’t speak to how it compares to the 919, but at 6’1″, I thought it was great. It’s a little more open than the fz-8 and I was surprised how comfortable it was the day we spent just tooling around the city. Usually, that much stopping and starting and tight manuevering leaves me sore somewhere from having to compensate for not fitting well or for too much pressure on one part of my body.

      best I can do is to tell you to go sit on one.

      • Kyle Dugan

        Gracias for the feedback.

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          Denada

  • juliansr

    “One of the more unfortunate traits of an imbecile is they just don’t know when to STFU”

    this, my friends, is called Irony.

  • Reid

    Great review, guys! I was curious about the suspension and brakes of this bike: subjectively speaking, how does it compare to those on the KTM 690 Duke? I bought my Duke back in late June and I love it to pieces, but I would strongly consider getting a FZ-09 in a few years so long as the suspension wasn’t markedly worse out of the box than my KTM’s. I think the Duke’s suspension is pretty decent to be kind of budget-ish (from what I’ve read the Duke R’s adjustable suspension is a worthwhile upgrade from the KTM Powerparts catalog), and I’m sure Yamaha will make something similar for this new FZ-09. I kind of wish I’d gotten into street riding sooner, as I could have saved about a thousand dollars and had a more powerful machine if I’d A.) waited a little longer to buy a new bike and B.) been better prepared as a rider to handle 100+ horsepower and 700+ CCs. Granted, the Duke is a 690cc machine, but a single is way different from a multi-cylinder bike and the Duke is just about the most benevolent-yet-seriously grunty scoot there is. I imagine this Yamaha could be quite the handful. Thanks again!

  • MotoEnthusiast

    Did the guys at Yamaha say anything about adding ABS as an option down the line? If I’m not mistaken the European version has that benefit.

  • m4ximusprim3

    Nice looking bike. I’m still waiting for my Gen1 FZ-1 to kick it (89k miles and no issues at all, knock on wood). When it does, something like this is gonna be up next.

  • beefstuinit

    I was just in SF and while most bike cops have those stupid f**king Harley’s, the ones that patrol the really steep bits are on what amounts to supermotos! I couldn’t believe it when I saw a cop pull a chick over on a dirt bike. Awesome. I bet blasting around Telegraph hill would be sweet on one.

  • 200 Fathoms

    My throttle body fires directly down at the valve skirt, if you know what I mean.

  • Guest

    Don’t scuff them shoes, bro!

  • 200 Fathoms

    “The suspension ate pot holes, cracks, trolley tracks, and 24 degree inclines/declines without problem.”

    “Suspension that gets upset by every bump in the road is equally disappointing.”

    Uh, which is it?

  • Kamenashi

    As much as I can’t enjoy a Yamaha, I might give this model a try and see how it stacks up against the 919 I currently ride.

  • Waleed

    Just purchased this bike. Having ridden a 2013 Street Triple R. I am blown away by the Yamaha. I will be doing a review soon. I like your review but I could not disagree more on the fueling, my FZ-09 is crisp and accurate and I have not had a single issue with any rough fueling whatsoever. I wanted to clarify this so people looking to do not get discouraged by what is made out to be some terrible problem. Furthermore the suspension, while I agree is not great, it is definitely not bad either. I found with little adjustment I was able to get the bike feeling excellent for the road. Ultimately id like to have more adjustment but definitely for me overall im selling my Street Triple for this bike. Its just incredible.

    • orthorim

      I believe it’s ride by wire right? So abrupt fueling could either just be people having to adjust to that, or it could be a software fix. People had the same complaints about the Ducati Hypermotard – I have one and fueling is just fine. Same as you. So yeah would def. take that with a grain of salt. It would be pretty weird for a big bike manufacturer to screw up on something as basic as fueling…

  • Peter Marx

    I can’t afford a Multistrada, so I had high hopes for the FZ-09, but: it’s naked, has unsorted suspension, poor fueling and a ridiculously small tank. I could work around the other failures, but the tank is fatal.

  • Kevin Becker

    looks like this “rider” weighs a whopping 125 wet. how is the bike for the average american male (aka 5’10″ 175lbs)? I don’t have legs the size of a 14yr old high school girl