Motorcycles have come a long way since I first started riding. Streetbike-wise you had two choices: cafe racer or a cruiser. There wasn’t much in between.

Attitudes about riding have also evolved over the years with the motorcycle community embracing a broader range of riding experiences. When I started riding there weren’t the so-called crossover bikes that motorcyclists enjoy today. These are bikes that perform well in all segments of street riding – bikes that are suited for everyday commuting, short day rides, touring… but motorcycles that still have the guts to get it done in the canyons. 

According to Yamaha the sportbike market makes up around 20 percent of total sales. Within that “Sport” category you have Supersport, Sport Touring, and Sport models. The Sport models have enjoyed a steady increase in sales - up from 32 percent in 2009 to 50 percent in 2014. So what if you could combine the very nature of all three of these disciplines into one bike?

Well, the European motorcycle companies have been doing a good job of producing naked-type sportbikes with a focus on giving more accessibility to the average biker. And the Japanese manufacturers are starting to get onboard with new naked sportbikes of their own. When asked the question by Yamaha: “What do you really want in a streetbike?” most bikers responded by stating that they are searching for a motorcycle with more all-around functionality combined with good overall performance. In other words they’d like a bike that works well in all aspects of street riding.

So when Yamaha introduced its FZ-09 model, it did so with an eye on the rider who was looking for the newly popular naked, hot-rod-style streetbike. The result was a cool bike with a new three-cylinder, cross-plane crankshaft motor layout that generated plenty of hype. But it was also a bike that demanded a more advanced level of rider. So Yamaha decided for 2014 that it needed something in its lineup that was a little smaller and a bit more practical.

Enter Yamaha’s all-new 2015 FZ-07.

You might think on first impression that the FZ-07 is a scaled-down version of the FZ-09. After all, both feature motors fitted with Yamaha’s cross-plane crankshafts designs and they even share similar styling points… but they are two different animals on many fronts.

To read more of our 2015 Yamaha FZ-07 first ride in this week’s issue of Cycle News, click here 

By Tom Montano

Comments