ScottRC51

118 months ago

 - via web

- Story

2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Review

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TWO SIDES OF THE COIN
Big Fun for Little Cash

by Scott Caldwell



2015 Yamaha FZ-07

2015 Yamaha FZ-07

I follow a few criteria when deciding to spend my hard-earned money buying a motorcycle. No less than a litre, no cruisers and no naked bikes. As you get a little older and you've taken a few spins around the block you get a little choosy, maybe even stuck in your ways. Then along comes 2015 Yamaha FZ-07.

The FZ-07 is the Swiss Army knife in Yamaha's tool box because it simply does everyting. And it does it at a bargain price of $6990 USD ($7299 CDN). This motorcycle has the power and character to please everyone, from a beginner, to a rider looking for an upgrade, to an experienced rider looking for a fun runabout.

What is the FZ-07? It's a do-it-all naked bike, a street fighter that shines in an urban environment and a country cruiser that eats up the curves. The powerplant is a 689cc parallel twin producing a claimed 75 bhp and the flattest torque curve, ever. From 1st gear to 6th, from zero rpm to redline, there is always a handful of torque to pull you out of a corner, or get you quickly out from between those two transport trucks on the highway.

When you first fire it up, you'll wonder if you actually fired it up because that twin is whisper quiet. It springs to life and then settles into an underwhelming purr. It's a nice, smooth idle, not the putt-putt sound of other parallel twins.


FZ-07 uses a 689cc parallel twin.

FZ-07 uses a 689cc parallel twin.

The first ride was a bit of a shocker for me, coming off a supersport bike. As I pulled away on the FZ I pulled my legs up to find the footpegs, only drop my feet down about four inches. I felt like my boots were nearly dragging on the pavement. Of course they were not. The pegs are in the perfect spot for this bike which sits the rider upright. The bars are spaced perfectly to create a relaxed, sporty ride. They actually reach back to the rider a bit, so you really are sitting upright, but because the bars aren't spread wide, it doesn't feel like you're on an adventure-style bike.

Let the clutch out in 1st and FZ07 feels a little anemic. Pop it into 2nd, pull up the rev's and knock into third and there's the sweet spot. It'll have you wondering, is this a vertical twin or a v-twin? It feels and sounds very much like the latter. Keep a tight grip on those bars, this thing has some impressive pull ... Very much like a v-twin of similar or even larger displacement. I took to leaving stoplights in second-gear. There's more than enough torque to do it and it gives the illusion of riding a bigger bike. And heck, it's a lot more fun.

At higher revs, in lower gears -- say 8,000rpm in 3rd -- there is some buzz. It'll give your bum a little tickle .. but who doesn't like a tickle once in a while? But that's the only part of the anatomy that gets buzzed. Very little comes through the handlebars or footpegs. Although, I must say on one hour-and-a-half haul, at a little more than highway speed, I ended up with a little numbness in the fingertips. But that may be attributed to the fact that I was taking much more wind in the chest than I'm used to and combined with the upright riding position, I may have been gripping the bars a bit tighter.



The FZ-07 is an urban brawler.

The FZ-07 is an urban brawler.

I made a point of riding the FZ-01 in everyday scenarios. I did some commuting to work and also spent some time on country road twisties. It was a stellar performer in both situations. It is amazing in the urban setting. It is so easy to flick around in traffic. And, again, that torque will get you quickly out any sticky situation. It's so quiet it will not add to the noise pollution downtown. And there will be no complaints from your neighbours when you fire it up in the underground parking garage at your condo.



The FZ is a budget-minded streetfighter

The FZ is a budget-minded streetfighter

The one complaint I had about city riding was that the clutch felt a little heavy in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Maybe I need to squeeze some tennis balls and build up my forearms, but it was a little tiring. I dialled the clutch cable adjustment all the way in and it was much better.



Difficult to find a comfortable place on the seat

Difficult to find a comfortable place on the seat

What a blast it was away from the concrete jungle. On a tree-lined country road the FZ-07 was very much at home. It's pretty planted in the corners...you can do it sportbike style or you can do it supermotard style. Either way it sticks in there. Just be aware that front end is really light.

The seat does provide lots of room to squirm around. Stretch out on the highway by moving back against the passenger seat, but then when you are about to dive into a corner, move into the cockpit, up against the tank and corner with confidence.

The seat was actually a real pain in my behind. I do not like it. My first ride after picking the bike up was a 30 minute slog through stop and go traffic. The seat is wide at the back but tilted just enough to push you toward the tank. I'm used to sportbikes doing that to me ... that's fine. But if you are pushing me forward, give me more seat because on the FZ essentially you are sitting on something about as wide as a rolling pin. Admittedly after I put on some miles I got used to it. But then the back part of the seat gave me a sore behind because of the upright position that sits you squarely on your tailbone. I can live with it, but wish i didn't have to. Hello, aftermarket?

That said, two-up riding was fantastic. A no point did the FZ-07 feel overwhelmed with the extra weight. My passenger -- my wife, of course -- said it was the best of all the bikes I've owned. She said there was plenty of seat to support her and felt like she was riding with me on the bike instead of being perched on top of it and me.



Truly naked … absolutely nothing in front of you

Truly naked … absolutely nothing in front of you

The ride is supple. The suspension is a non-adjustable standard fork up front and single rear adjustable shock in back. Both soak up the bumps but they're firm enough to help the FZ sit right down in the corners. You may not be hunched over the tank and feet way up high and behind you like a supersport, but this bike can carve. It inspires confidence. It's very flickable. This is a sportbike. Although I must mention that riding 2up there are times when the rear feels a little soft. But there is room for adjustment. Consider that if you are carrying a passenger around on a regular basis.

It comes with a good amount of rubber on it. On the rear of my test bike was a Bridgestone Battleax BT02 180/55ZR17. Up front was a 120/70ZR17. Lots of stick.

Braking is excellent too, although a little grabby up front. On my first ride with the FZ-07 I was forced into an emergency stop. I just kept pulling in that lever and it just kept grabbing that front disc harder. No lock up in the back... just a solid, straight-line stop. Four pistons up front and two in the back... plenty good enough to haul this bike -- 397lbs (180kgs) with all fluids in -- to a safe stop.

The digital dash, like everything on this bike. exceeds all expectations for a machine at this price point. It is perfectly laid out and easy to read. Just wish the font style was a little less stylized. With a push of a button (very easily done with a gloved hand) you have access to the odometer, tripmeter, operating temperature and air temperature. The clock is a nice addition.

Wanna play a little game with yourself if you are on a boring highway? See how steady you are on the throttle by trying to keep the ''eco'' indicator on as long as you can. The indicator tells the rider when you are optimizing fuel economy. Truthfully my best time was only two minutes. That's because it is so fun to roll the throttle around on this bike. It's just that entertaining.


Lots to look at in a very informative instrument panel

Lots to look at in a very informative instrument panel

Just as the purchase price is low, the cost of operating the FZ-07 is also easy on the wallet. At current prices, it only costs about $12 to fill it up. With a claimed fuel economy of 68 mpg (24km/l) and fuel capacity of 3.1 gallons (14 litres) you can run the backroads, run errands or commute to work and back for over 200 miles (330kms).

The fit and finish on the FZ is excellent. A few carbon fiber-looking bits are cool, but not cheap looking. The only parts that scream ''inexpensive'' are the gearshift and the brake pedals. Its stance is strong and sporty. During my time on the bike I had a number of unsolicited comments, all positive, about the look of the bike.

If you buy one resist the temptation to put an aftermarket pipe on this bike. Why would you? To make it annoying? That's all you're going to do. It is whisper quiet, but when you start honking on it you get a nice v-twin blat from that parallel twin. Leave it like that. We've all heard smaller twins with aftermarket cans... they sound horrible! The FZ-07 sounds exactly the way it is supposed to sound.


Enjoy the peace and quite!

Enjoy the peace and quite!

I'm no designer, but I have a feeling the designers at Yamaha lowered that headlight not just to create and agreessive look, but i think it is also functional, by changing the air flow to the rider. The one bit to consider adding is a wee windscreen. They are available and bolt right on above the headlight. As much as this bike is a great urban runabout, you will undoubtedly put in some highway time with it and that little windscreen will may those times as little less tiring.



The FZ-07 headlight is on the down low

The FZ-07 headlight is on the down low

I won't forget that first ride home through heavy city traffic. That's never fun, but the FZ-07 ate it up. It got lots of looks too. I finally made it home, all sweaty and frankly tired from duking it out with all the drivers who seemed bent on taking me out, but as I started walking to the house I got this feeling that I wanted to get back on the bike. That's saying something.


The FZ-07 blends nicely into an urban environment

The FZ-07 blends nicely into an urban environment

The FZ-07 feels to me like an upgrade bike and a ride for anyone who wants to step outside the usual motorcycle categories. If you are a little older and you are not into touring anymore, or you've been scrunched up on a sportbike long enough and you've played the horsepower wars and just want to settle down a bit, this is a good bike. If you are my age -- and you'll know that age after I say this -- this is the kind of bike you come home on a Friday night, get a sitter for the kids, pick up your wife and take a summer ride through some country roads to get to that out-of-the way spot for dinner. Then, Saturday morning you hook up with some buddies and flog it through the twisties.

It's a fun, urban brawler that I'd love to have in my corner. It's that everyday bike that can also step out at night . The FZ-07 is the bullet that shatters the idea that a parallel twin can't be a performer and that it aways has to come as a beginner bike which is dressed up to look like a sportbike, but is really a cheap imitation. The FZ stands alone in a category of it's own. A real breath of fresh air.

Thank you to Yamaha Canada for providing the motorcycle. The company neither reviewed or approved this article.

You must be logged in to comment
Login now