Do you like a three-cylinder naked bike that is priced at $1,400 or less, and makes more power and torque than a Street Triple? So, meet the 2014 Yamaha FZ-09 that is very hot.
For sure this is the bike that you must ride, touch, see, feel and sit-on. Sitting on the bike, feels almost impossibly slim and light. Every component, every texture and every surface have received the perfect details that Yamaha typically reserves for its R1 and R6 range. But when we heard the price of only $7,990 we were astonished.
That feeling of slimness didn’t just come from the narrow, three cylinder motor, but also from the die-cast aluminum frame that wraps from the steering head the engine and then inside the swingarm. The height of the seat is normal 32.1 inches (that is 7 inches taller than the Triumph), and it feels like a smaller bike. That is because it’s perceptibly slimmer between the legs.
But you must know that that swingarm is not just a piece of box aluminum, like on the most affordable naked bikes. It is a swoopy, hot, banana-shaped piece of aluminum and through it the chain passes and it is again nice like R1’s.
What is connected to the swingarm is a monoshock that is adjustable for preload and rebound damping and it lays flat to maximize mass centralization. If you want to see it you have to get down on your knees and peer ahead the rear tire.
At the front of the bike, the suspension is by an inverted 41 fork adjustable for rebound damping and preload only. Front brakes are 298 mm in diameter and they are gripped by radial calipers that are almost the same like those of the R6.
And finally, there is the all-new motor that develops 113bhp and 63 lb-ft of torque, and the 847cc triple is developed to deliver linear and punchy performance. This is 7bhp and 12 lb-ft more than the Triumph. There is three engine maps available that are controlled by ride-by-wire throttle. The standard mode is named STD, then A and B modes that reduce and sharpen up throttle response.
Now we go inside the motor. There we found a primary coupled-force balancer shaft that is determined in the opposite direction of the crank, at equal speed, to small the vibration and a crossplane crankshaft that should maximize the rear tire feel in the time of power. Unequal length intakes for every cylinder have to give special sound.
Yamaha uses adjectives like “quick revving” and “torque” to describe the character of the motor.
One of the best parts of the new engine is the exhaust that has three swoopy down pipes that are connected to a single R6-style canister. The polished pipes really stand out against the black cases.
If you compare the FZ-09 with the outgoing Yamaha FZ8, the FZ-09 weights an incredible 56lbs less and makes 4 more lb-ft of torque. The new chassis of the bike is little sharper because of the reduced trail and it accomplished that while achieving roomier ergonomics.
We need more bikes like this. We get performance, character and strong styling of a Japanese motorcycle that we can afford.