The FZ8 has been replaced by a more powerful, torquier, lighter and cheaper FZ-09.
When Yamaha introduced its new three-cylinder Crossplane Concept Bike at the Intermot Motorcycle Show last October, feedback was so positive that Yamaha moved forward and committed to its three-banger theory in what the company says “will shape Yamaha’s future motorcycle line up.”
The first of these three-cylinder machines is the all-new, middleweight naked sportbike FZ-09, which will take the place of the previous and now-discontinued FZ8. In designing the FZ-09, Yamaha put special emphasis on certain key areas, such as rider position, cornering performance, physical size, originality of styling, latest technology and acceleration from a stop - the top six reasons why riders purchase naked sportbikes in the first place, according to a recent Yamaha survey.
The all-new FZ-09 features Yamaha’s new Crossplane Crankshaft Concept 3-Cylinder Engine technology.
The big news here is the FZ-09’s motor and its three-cylinder configuration, but it also offers some of Yamaha already proven innovations, such as its MotoGP-inspired YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle technology and D-Mode three-way variable throttle mapping, as well as new ideas like variable-length intake funnels.
Power is relayed to the rear wheel via a six-speed transmission, and exhaust is handled by a centralized 3-into-1 stainless-steel system.
Some might be disappointed that the FZ-09 is not fitted with a slipper clutch or offered with ABS braking. But the flip side is lower cost and less weight. At 414 pounds, it’s about 50 pounds lighter than the previous FZ8.
Yamaha promises “exciting and quick revving, torque” performance from the FZ-09’s engine. According to Yamaha’s specs, the bike delivers 65 ft./lbs of torque, which it claims is more than many of its primary competitive models, like the BMW F 800 R, Ducati Monster 976, Triumph Street Triple 675, Triumph Bonneville T100 and the FZ8.
The all-new motor is, of course, connected to an all-new and more narrow aluminum frame. The new frame with a new externally mounted swingarm combines to give what Yamaha claims is light and neutral handling, as well as light steering feel at low speeds.
Suspension is made up of an inverted fork and a single horizontally arranged shock, with both featuring adjustable preload and rebound damping.
As mentioned, rider comfort was tops on Yamaha’s priority list. The end result are handlebars that are 53mm taller and 40mm closer to the rider, and footpegs that are positioned 26mm lower and 2mm more rearward compared to the FZ8 that Yamaha says gives the FZ-09 a more specious, pleasurable and less-fatiguing feel. Yamaha gave us a chance to look and sit on the bike and we can tell you that the FZ-09 is, in fact, motocross-bike narrow at the tank/seat junction (and down through to the footpegs) and feels very small and compact overall. In other words, it feels fun.
The new FZ-09 triple has all of the ingredients to be a very fun yet practical street bike.
To give the FZ-09 a more sporty and modern look, it gets new 10-spoke aluminum cast wheels and new switchgear, LCD meter and LED tail light.
When Yamaha unveiled the FZ-09 to us, it saved the best bit of information for last – the FZ-09’s MSRP, which is a jaw-dropping $7990. That’s $900 less than the previous FZ8. It’s also cheaper than all of the aforementioned bikes in its class.
The FZ-09 will be available in two colors – red and black – and will be available in October.
2014 Yamaha FZ09
ENGINE TYPE: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-stroke, triple
BORE & STROKE: 78.0 x 59.1mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 11.5:1
FUEL DELIVERY: Fuel-injection
CLUTCH: Wet, multiplate
FINAL DRIVE: Chain
FRONT SUSPENSION: 41mm, adj. preload and rebound damping.
REAR SUSPENSION: Single shock, adj. preload and rebound damping
FRONT WHEEL TRAVEL: 5.4 in.
REAR WHEEL TRAVEL: 5.1 in.
FRONT BRAKE: Dual hydraulic disc, 298mm
REAR BRAKE: Hydraulic dis, 245mm
FRONT TIRE: 120/70-ZR17 in.
REAR TIRE: 180/55-ZR17
SEAT HEIGHT: 32.1 in.
WHEELBASE: 56.7 in.
GROUND CLEARANCE: 5.3 in.
RAKE (CASTER ANGLE): 25-degrees
FUEL CAPACITY: 3.7 gal.
WET WEIGHT: 414 lbs.
COLOR: Liquid Graphite; Rapid Red