An all-new naked | Would the new 689cc model retain the pure joy of riding that its larger sibling has?
After hearing about Yamaha’s introduction of the 2015 FZ-07, I was curious to see how it compared to its big brother, the FZ-09. Would the new 689cc model retain the pure joy of riding that its larger sibling has? Would it inherit the suspension and throttle issues? The answer is definitely yes to the former, and yes to the latter as well, although the issues persisted to a substantially lesser extent.
The FZ-07 is simply a gorgeous bike. The tubular steel frame is edgy and aggressive, and the wide supersport-spec 180/55ZR17 rear tire gives it a brawny look. LED lights are stock on the rear taillight, a rather nice aesthetic feature. The turn signals are one thing that look as cheap and flimsy as they did on the FZ-09, but they’re easily shrouded by the rest of the beast’s raw, naked beauty. It’s surprisingly light for its appearance, coming in at 397 lbs, making it the lightest naked in its class. The 31.7″ seat was easily low enough for me to plant both feet on the ground at 5’11. I found the seat quite plush and comfortable. That being said, the FZ-07 is not very passenger friendly, as my friend noticed strong incessant vibrations while sitting on the back.
Riding position was normal for a naked bike: upright with a slight forward lean to the handlebar. The slim tank fit snugly between my knees. Turning the key in the ignition, the LCD electronic dash whirs to life. The display is quite impressive for the low-priced bike the FZ-07 is. Static items on the dash include a gear indicator, a linear tachometer, a fuel gauge, and a clock. Flipping through the options, the features include ambient temperature, internal temperature, and fuel economy statistics. The inclusion of the bike’s internal temperature makes the bike that much more appealing; it’s a feature that was not included on the FZ-09. Speaking of fuel economy, Yamaha claims a theoretical range of 338 km per tank, not bad compared to others in its class.
The killswitch is integrated into the ignition, which I found both interesting and intuitive. Pushing the killswitch up, the engine starts up without any sort of hesitation. The parallel twin sounds absolutely fantastic. A gentle twist of the throttle gives way to a throaty, heavy rip from the exhaust. As soon I hit the road, the FZ-07 showed its colours. This bike is incredibly fun. The throttle operates with pinpoint precision, though slightly jerky in the lower gears. Right from 2,000 rpm, the bike pulls forward forcefully, yet inspires confidence with amazing throttle control. This makes it a great segue from a smaller bike to larger liter-bikes.
The use of 4 valves per cylinder and a revised 270-degree crankshaft as opposed to the usual 360-degree crank, gives the FZ-07 a greater focus on low- to mid-range torque. Keeping this in mind, the bike’s powerband is quite linear, and there is plenty of torque throughout the entire span of the rev-range, which red-lines at 10,000rpm. Yamaha claims a maximum output of 74 horsepower. Shifting is smooth and clean, and the clutch-point is slightly further out than that of the FZ-09, which I found much more comfortable. The gear ratios are also very well configured, requiring much less shifting. Sixth gear is great for hanging out at a comfortable rpm while riding at highway speeds.
On the twisties, the bike dips into turns easily; the slim, lightweight frame and the low centre of gravity make for precise handling and maneuverability. Stopping power is adequate, but the lever activates too far in for my liking. The front brake lever is adjustable in 5 positions, which negates this problem. That being said, I found the rear brake to be not very effective, as the bike tended to dip forward a fair amount regardless when slowing down. The suspension is one place the FZ-07 is lacking. This motorcycle comes stock with a 41mm conventional fork in the front and a link-type motocross rear suspension with adjustable pre-load settings. For heavier riders, the rear suspension is under-damped. Better stock suspension would have driven up the price of the bike though, which was Yamaha’s goal.
Yamaha made some clever cost-cutting decisions with the FZ-07, spending the right amount of money in the right places. At $7,299, though not available with ABS, the FZ-07 is the most affordable bike in its class. It comes in three colours: matte metallic grey, bluish white, and vivid red; mine was the former, and it looked stunning. Congratulations Yamaha, on creating a motorcycle that’s as much fun to ride in the city as it is on the back roads.
2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Gallery