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After 300 miles, my take on the fz-09: free advice is worth what you paid for it.

First off, I am not an A class racer, nor am I a noob. I have owned 6 bikes in my life from a 50 cc Harley-Davidson (yes, the used to make those) to a norton commando in college. My most recent ride was a 2004 honda F4i, a 600cc sport bike, a great bike by the way.

I have only 300 miles on the Yamaha, but I am impressed. My impression differs from some of the professional reviewers a bit so here it is. The suspension is on the soft side, but I am not going to rush out to upgrade it. I weigh about 185 and with the rear full stiff and the front forks dialed down to about 3.5 lines, it is pretty balanced. Too soft for the track for anyone over 150, but just about perfect for commuting and moderate thrashing. I also don't find the A or standard modes 'too snatchy to use' as some have reported. A mode is pretty touchy on a rough road since the slightest bump will upset the throttle and lift the front. But on a smooth surface with a careful hand it's fine. Great fun to feel the front end lift while accelerating out of a corner. Standard is fine for my city commute and B mode is fine too. I hated the seat at first, but either my butt is breaking in or the seat is; now I think it's fine.

This bike has the most useful poweband of any I have ridden, and that includes liter sport bikes. Gas mileage is quite good for a bike with this power, in B mode with a gentle right wrist I am getting about 50 mpg.

This is NOT a good beginner bike though, even though it is priced that way. I predict a lot of new riders may be attracted to them, crash, hurt themselves, and hike the insurance rates. The combination of high torque at low revs, touchy throttle in A, combined with the upright posture and high handlebars (a little too high and close for me) takes a little getting used to for a sport bike guy. A sport bike (forward lean, higher foot-pegs, clip-ons) handles this power a little better I think and if Yamaha puts this engine in their r6 frame, that will be a kick -ass canyon carver. But as an old guy, I don' handle the crouch as well as I used to.

Take it easy at first if you don't have a lot of riding experience, and even if you do. This bike does demands careful throttle control, something that beginning riders usually don't have. Nothing to be afraid of if you are careful, and big fun. I really like the bike and don't regret the purchase a bit.







This would not be a good choice for a new rider ho
 

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Did you get the red one??
 

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Thanks for the review! I'm looking forward to getting a few 100 click's on mine in the Spring but until then it's always nice to read honest, real world reviews like this.

I'm coming from almost an entirely sportbike-based background including a couple years racing and some sport-touring before that so I'm curious to see how this bike will perform in real life conditions because on paper, it is damn near perfect (once the little niggles get worked out of course). My bike is currently at the shop being used as a test bike for a suspension company to build new products for this model so when I get it both ends will be completely done up for my personal size and riding style so sadly I won't get to do a before and after comparo.

Keep us posted on your thoughts the more you ride it and I'll try to post up something similar in the Spring once I get a chance to break in the Ef-Zee-Oh-Nine.
 

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Nice review, Pacer. Thanks. Except for no experience on sport bikes, preferring the upright posture a bit more than yourself, and wishing I only weighed 185, my write up would look very much like yours. Congratulations on your FZ-09!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Did you get the red one??
Nope, graphite. But it had the Bridgestone 20s tires, which I also think are more than adequate for the street. And after bedding in the brakes (go easy for the first couple hundred miles) I think they are plenty good; certainly good enough to lift the rear tire. Great bike and I think, a great package for the money. Funny how some complain about the lack of radial brembo brakes and no ohlins suspension on an 8,000 bike...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, I cannot wait to get in some more riding right now time to change some parts first up rear shock
I agree that the rear shock is probably the weakest link in the package, and the bike does squat too much under hard acceleration. But to the average rider, not on the track, it's not something you can't live with. Rather than drop a grand on a hi-zoot Penske, I would look for a stiffer rear spring for street riding and leave it at that. I can't help but notice that folks rush to upgrade stuff when most of us should put more money (and time) into upgrading our skills first..I got a lot out of a lee parks total control class a few years ago followed by a couple of track days A day at the track (even with less than perfect suspension) will do more for you than 2 grand in suspension upgrades.
 

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I agree that the rear shock is probably the weakest link in the package, and the bike does squat too much under hard acceleration. But to the average rider, not on the track, it's not something you can't live with. Rather than drop a grand on a hi-zoot Penske, I would look for a stiffer rear spring for street riding and leave it at that. I can't help but notice that folks rush to upgrade stuff when most of us should put more money (and time) into upgrading our skills first..I got a lot out of a lee parks total control class a few years ago followed by a couple of track days A day at the track (even with less than perfect suspension) will do more for you than 2 grand in suspension upgrades.
I completely agree, and that's what I've done for the past 5 years with track days then racing. My priorities now are:

1. suspension
2. ergo's and safety items (steering damper, clip ons, rear sets, fly screen or double bubble, etc...) to make me feel at home in the cockpit.
3. power delivery - not outright power, just smooth application, get rid of the dips, and things like a 1/4 turn throttle and proper mapping
4. brakes - again not outright stopping power but a system that I'm comfortable with, the stockers on my 750 race bike are fine for me, however my V-Strom needed serious upgrading! LOL.
5. SOUND!!!! last on the list as it's a luxury but I can't deny I wanna full system - 90% for the sound, 10% for the power gains and weight loss.
 

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Had a Grey one put aside about a month ago, I'm up in MA so am totally exited for first ride this spring, Was following the Stoltec build thread and am now back and forth on the suspension although it sounds awesome. I'm 52 and have ridden on and off since i was 14,Raced for 4 years in the 90s. I bought road star 1800 cruiser in 07 after a small hiatus and was so board I sold it a year later and now after 3 years riding my KTM 350 off road I'm finally ready to take the plunge and get back on the road. But I know what is going to happen First month - Pure ecstasy being back on the road. Second month- depression from speed limits. third month- tweaking the suspension as the track day will bekon. So do I get the bike now and have the new dampers ready for spring or do I wait for spring and go through the three month process.
 

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You have the experience to know what you want. So set up the bike before spring to have more riding time.

If you are using the 09 for both street and track days, how close to racing stiff will you want the suspension?

Massachusetts? Where do you go for track days up there?
Lime Rock is not that far...
 

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After 300 miles, my take on the fz-09: free advice is worth what you paid for it.

First off, I am not an A class racer, nor am I a noob. I have owned 6 bikes in my life from a 50 cc Harley-Davidson (yes, the used to make those) to a norton commando in college. My most recent ride was a 2004 honda F4i, a 600cc sport bike, a great bike by the way.

I have only 300 miles on the Yamaha, but I am impressed. My impression differs from some of the professional reviewers a bit so here it is. The suspension is on the soft side, but I am not going to rush out to upgrade it. I weigh about 185 and with the rear full stiff and the front forks dialed down to about 3.5 lines, it is pretty balanced. Too soft for the track for anyone over 150, but just about perfect for commuting and moderate thrashing. I also don't find the A or standard modes 'too snatchy to use' as some have reported. A mode is pretty touchy on a rough road since the slightest bump will upset the throttle and lift the front. But on a smooth surface with a careful hand it's fine. Great fun to feel the front end lift while accelerating out of a corner. Standard is fine for my city commute and B mode is fine too. I hated the seat at first, but either my butt is breaking in or the seat is; now I think it's fine.

This bike has the most useful poweband of any I have ridden, and that includes liter sport bikes. Gas mileage is quite good for a bike with this power, in B mode with a gentle right wrist I am getting about 50 mpg.

This is NOT a good beginner bike though, even though it is priced that way. I predict a lot of new riders may be attracted to them, crash, hurt themselves, and hike the insurance rates. The combination of high torque at low revs, touchy throttle in A, combined with the upright posture and high handlebars (a little too high and close for me) takes a little getting used to for a sport bike guy. A sport bike (forward lean, higher foot-pegs, clip-ons) handles this power a little better I think and if Yamaha puts this engine in their r6 frame, that will be a kick -ass canyon carver. But as an old guy, I don' handle the crouch as well as I used to.

Take it easy at first if you don't have a lot of riding experience, and even if you do. This bike does demands careful throttle control, something that beginning riders usually don't have. Nothing to be afraid of if you are careful, and big fun. I really like the bike and don't regret the purchase a bit.
6th bike?
 

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