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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The end of this month will mark the anniversary of my acquisition of my 2014 Rapid Red, whom the angels call Lana. I've read every magazine article about it, in print and online. I've joined two forums, listened to the reviews, and avidly followed the long-term critiques. Here's what I've concluded:

I still love it. I'd buy another one tomorrow if I lost this one tonight.

Is it perfect? Not quite, but it is a price-point bike. There are going to be compromises. Such as…

1. The Suspension.
Is it too squishy for the track or serious canyon work? Probably, but it's PERFECT for commuting, which is this bike's ostensible mission. (Its double-secret mission is hooliganism, and the suspension is perfect for that, too…) If you want to enjoy it properly out in the twisties, back your pace down to about 8/10s. If you insist on those last two tenths, pony up for the R6. But don't pour huge money into fixing the 09; that misses the point.

2. The Throttle.
Yes, it can be abrupt. Boo-hoo. Get smoother. If you really can’t deal with it, go get the factory reflash. Or just put it in B mode every start-up. Or do like I do, put it in A mode and treat it like a training device, a tool for teaching you how to roll on gently. For those of you coming onto this bike from a 600, half of the "problem" I’ve heard you whining about is mainly your perception. It feels alarming when you give it the beans because the 09 is making 40 foot-pounds of torque at 4K on the tach, when your R6 is putting out exactly HALF that amount. Embrace the grunt. It can be fun.

Other complaints? Maybe the range and the seat, but those are self-canceling problem -- the fuel light comes on at about 135 miles, which is right at the point my butt needs a break. And on high-mileage, multi-day trips, I just stop for gas sooner. I do have a first-gen FZ-1 for longer sport-touring, but if I decide I need to do an Iron Butt rally, I’ll rent an FJR1300.
Is the FZ-09 the best choice if you only have one bike in your stable? That’s a personal judgment call. They do come smoother, more comfy, less thirsty, and easier to insure. But on the other hand, the 09 can pretty much do it all, to an extent.
Is it a good beginner bike? ABSOLUTELY NOT. This thing wheelies easier than my original 2001 FZ-1, which was plenty easy enough.

Here’s what the FZ-09 is: cheap, urban fun. Quarter-mile times in the mid-tens. Wheelies on demand. Stoppies if you’re up for it. Quirky good looks, a startling power-to-weight ratio, and an engaging exhaust note. That’s what you get for your $8.5K.
If you want cutting-edge track performance, every manufacturer – including Yamaha – makes a bike with a stronger racing pedigree. Just bring 40-100% more money.
 

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What on earth are you doing?! I've been watching the 'Muricanz on this 'FZ'-09 forum for about a year now and the amount of whining about this bike has provided me with _so_ _much_ giggles I just keep coming back!
 

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Nice post. That sums it up perfectly for me. I love mine. Love the "dirt bike stance". Love the power. Love the color. Love my Sargent seat. I have serious complaints, my mods have been to make the my bike your personal to me, not to reinvent the bike itself.
 

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I absolutely love point 2.

2. The Throttle.
Yes, it can be abrupt. Boo-hoo. Get smoother. If you really can’t deal with it, go get the factory reflash. Or just put it in B mode every start-up. Or do like I do, put it in A mode and treat it like a training device, a tool for teaching you how to roll on gently

Amen brother...preach it!
 

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I was only upset about the throttle while I was in corners, having a new bike and having fell (slow speed) on my last bike during a turn it made me a bit more cautious/nervous to take corners, but after the factory re flash I was good, now I'm about to get my ecu back from Vcyclenut so it will be even better!!! And I'm only annoyed with the suspension while trying to wheelie, sometimes if I bring it up fast I feel like I'm on a pogo stick and gotta bring it back down. Other than that which I don't even consider a problem, I LOVE THIS BIKE!
 

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Awesome post.

The suspension gets better and better the lighter the rider is, and the more weight you remove from the bike.

Mine sits at 400lbs wet, and myself, 143lbs wet.

Awesome bike, awesome price. If I wanted a Triumph, I'd have kept my 2011, but this bike is infinitely more fun.
 

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Well said. However, it's possible that you might also have missed the point.

If you want to enjoy it properly out in the twisties, back your pace down to about 8/10s. If you insist on those last two tenths, pony up for the R6. But don't pour huge money into fixing the 09; that misses the point.
You can spend anywhere from $200-$2000 on the suspension and make significant improvements throughout. It's not about blinging out the bike (but, admittedly, guilty as charged). Rather, it's about letting that brilliant engine shine. Properly suspended, this bike has few equals on the road - in nearly any price category. Fortunately, it isn't hard to improve on the factory suspension.
 

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Ok, you've all convinced me -- I'll keep mine!:D
 

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+100% on every point and as for comparing the FZ-09 to other bikes, this is what I find in Canada for price comparisons. When I say price comparisons, I mean PRICE comparison right around the same dollar value as the 09. All prices shown are in Canadian Dollars, which means a brand new 2015 Canadian FZ-09 which cost $8,999 CDN, only cost $7046.99 USD. Exchange rates can be a cruel thing..... MSRP of course, no other fees or taxes taken into account here.

Yamaha - FZ-09 - MSRP $8,999

Suzuki - GSX-S750ZA - MSRP $8,999

Kawasaki - VERSYS 650 ABS - MSRP $8,999

Honda - NC750XA - MSRP $9,199

Triumph - Bonneville - MSRP $9,099

Ducati - Scrambler Icon - MSRP $9,299

KTM - 690 Duke - MRP $9,999

Aprilla - 750 Shiver - MSRP $8,995

BMW - G650GS - MSRP $9,350

Moto Guzzi - V7 Stone - MSRP $8,690

New Model Buyer's Guide 2015 - Detail - Canada Moto Guide

So now take a look at the above list of bikes all in the +/- $9k mark, and tell me what you would buy???

If it were me, it would be an FZ-09 without even looking at any other of those bike. The only other one that is close might be the Suzuki - GSX-S750ZA, but to be honest, I'd probably look at a FZ-07 if that was the case.
 

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+100% on every point and as for comparing the FZ-09 to other bikes, this is what I find in Canada for price comparisons. When I say price comparisons, I mean PRICE comparison right around the same dollar value as the 09. All prices shown are in Canadian Dollars, which means a brand new 2015 Canadian FZ-09 which cost $8,999 CDN, only cost $7046.99 USD. Exchange rates can be a cruel thing..... MSRP of course, no other fees or taxes taken into account here.

Yamaha - FZ-09 - MSRP $8,999

Suzuki - GSX-S750ZA - MSRP $8,999

Kawasaki - VERSYS 650 ABS - MSRP $8,999

Honda - NC750XA - MSRP $9,199

Triumph - Bonneville - MSRP $9,099

Ducati - Scrambler Icon - MSRP $9,299

KTM - 690 Duke - MRP $9,999

Aprilla - 750 Shiver - MSRP $8,995

BMW - G650GS - MSRP $9,350

Moto Guzzi - V7 Stone - MSRP $8,690

New Model Buyer's Guide 2015 - Detail - Canada Moto Guide

So now take a look at the above list of bikes all in the +/- $9k mark, and tell me what you would buy???

If it were me, it would be an FZ-09 without even looking at any other of those bike. The only other one that is close might be the Suzuki - GSX-S750ZA, but to be honest, I'd probably look at a FZ-07 if that was the case.
Your point is well taken but I think you can easily add another 6-8 bikes that become a consideration when shopping for an FZ type bike. The results may be the same although there's certainly more stones to be turned.:cool:
 

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Your point is well taken but I think you can easily add another 6-8 bikes that become a consideration when shopping for an FZ type bike. The results may be the same although there's certainly more stones to be turned.:cool:
The only other ones I see are in the 650cc range, which to me disqualifies them from the search.

If you look at the following link you will see what I mean, doing a search for 550 to 850cc and a price range of $6000 to $9999.

The only other bike over the 800cc mark worth looking at to me might be a Ducati Scrambler. Since I didn't want a screaming RPM 650cc bike. Which is why I love the low RPM torque of the 09.

And yes I know, you can get a better used bike in that price range. But at the same time a used 09 would cost you less as well.

I know, I am being stubborn here, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
You can spend anywhere from $200-$2000 on the suspension and make significant improvements throughout. ... Properly suspended, this bike has few equals on the road - in nearly any price category. Fortunately, it isn't hard to improve on the factory suspension.
Not according to personal-hero-turned-whiner Ari Henning in his long term Wrap-Up in Motorcyclist magazine -- which was one of the main reasons I started this thread. Ari was a big fan of the bike -- at first. Then his satisfaction with it seemed to dim as he threw money at the "problem" of the suspension. This grumbling is echoed in several readers' letters-to-the-editor I've read in the magazines over the last couple of months.

I definitely don't dispute that Stoltech and others offer many fine upgrades for the admittedly-budget conscious suspension. The improvements are definitely there for the taking. But pro-level riders like Henning are going to be disappointed when they can't transform the FZ into something that handles like a Panigale R by simply dropping in a ZX9 shock, despite the facts of differing mission parameters, frame geometries, and limits of the base hardware.

Personally, I don't think spending $200-$600 to firm up the ride is too bad an idea at all. But when you start talking about mods with four-digit price tags, I have to wonder if the return on the investment is there. It's like the old hot-rodder saying about souping up a stock motor: the first 100 horsepower are cheap, the last 10 cost a fortune.

Me, I'm going to ride mine as-is, practicing smooth-and-even throttle transitions, until the stock parts wear out. THEN I'll look into some pricey suspenders.

[PS: Don't get me wrong, I do love Ari's work; I just think his loss of faith in the little Fazer was unjustified.]
 

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Not according to personal-hero-turned-whiner Ari Henning in his long term Wrap-Up in Motorcyclist magazine -- which was one of the main reasons I started this thread. Ari was a big fan of the bike -- at first. Then his satisfaction with it seemed to dim as he threw money at the "problem" of the suspension. This grumbling is echoed in several readers' letters-to-the-editor I've read in the magazines over the last couple of months.

I definitely don't dispute that Stoltech and others offer many fine upgrades for the admittedly-budget conscious suspension. The improvements are definitely there for the taking. But pro-level riders like Henning are going to be disappointed when they can't transform the FZ into something that handles like a Panigale R by simply dropping in a ZX9 shock, despite the facts of differing mission parameters, frame geometries, and limits of the base hardware.

Personally, I don't think spending $200-$600 to firm up the ride is too bad an idea at all. But when you start talking about mods with four-digit price tags, I have to wonder if the return on the investment is there. It's like the old hot-rodder saying about souping up a stock motor: the first 100 horsepower are cheap, the last 10 cost a fortune.

Me, I'm going to ride mine as-is, practicing smooth-and-even throttle transitions, until the stock parts wear out. THEN I'll look into some pricey suspenders.
There are a lot of factors at play with Ari's setup that I won't divulge here. But I'll say that price wasn't a concern. I'm sure this line will ultimately limit how far I plan to take Stoltec one day, but so be it. It needs to be said: Don't believe every word you read in a magazine. A lot like how Top Gear has changed over the years, print magazines have to balance keeping the lights on (advertisers) and entertaining the readers (who also pay the bills).

Stoltec hasn't done any suspension work in months, so trust me when I say that I could care less what people spend their money on. But, the value is there if you look in the right places.

Diversion aside, I agree with your post. This is a great bike - absolutely one of the best bang for the bucks you can find and can be appreciated as-is.
 
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