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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another perspective to those looking to buy this bike.

My first bike was a Harley XL1200 that I still have. I also have a Honda Shadow Spirit. Since I wasn't a fan of my Harley's 600 lb tractor like finesse, I bought a Suzuki S40 which was lighter but lacked performance. It didn't have the bottom end of the Sportster but it was under 400 lbs. I was never into sport bikes but I saw the FZ-09 at a Triumph dealer when I went to check out a Bonneville. I kept an open mind and looked at the extensive inventory in the store. At this point, I knew nothing about the bike except that it felt right and for whatever reason I had the gut reaction that this was the one.

I don't do anything without researching it first. I researched numerous bikes thatwere recommended to me from the CBR250 and Ninja 300 to the SV650 and FZ6. I sat on the bikes. Since I have a 31 1/2 inseam and also need to be able to upright the bike, some bikes were ruled out for that reason.

I bought the FZ-09 and it has exceeded any expectation I had. I don't think the power is too much if you don't feel the need to ride it to its limit. The B mode is fine for riding around without pulling wheelies unless that's your goal. The other modes are a load of fun but your mind can't be wandering. You need to be all in for the ride.

The bike is so easy to ride- smooth, great brakes, nice clutch response and I love how it takes turns.

At my size, I have no suspension issues, if you are a bigger guy then you need to listen to another 250 lb guy about their experience

Just trying to throw another perspective down. Please include your experiences.
 

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I already posted in the other similar thread but I'll repost (and reword) my experience here: I learned to ride on a Suzuki SV650, which is what you could call a "baby" version of this bike. It has the same basic power delivery characteristics (although only about 60% as much power, if even that much). It also has the same substandard suspension components, only even worse. I loved a lot about the bike, but didn't really love the bike (if that made sense). After owning it for 5 years, I reached a point where my skill level demanded that I either sink the money into upgrading the god-awful suspension components, or get a new bike completely. Since I had recently reached the goal weight I set when I first started trying to lose, I decided on the latter and got rid of the bike for a 2006 Kawasaki ZX6R. This turned out to be a mistake, because going from a bike that had usable power right off idle to a bike that you have to rev to 6 grand or higher to enter into its powerband turned out to be too much trouble. It did great on the racetrack, but it was anything other than confidence inspiring in the street, and the lack of power below 6 grand complicated riding for me in a way that made it scary, stressful, and just a lot of work.

I sold it in November 2013 and began comparing bikes that were along the lines of my old SV650, only better. I narrowed my search down to the Triumph Street Triple R, KTM Duke 690, a leftover Honda brand new 2012 CB1000R which a local dealership still had in stock, and the FZ09. I read enough about them to know that, with the possible exception of the Triumph (the farthest dealer away and most difficult to deal with), they each had their own issues which I was willing to deal with. I decided to let the dealers work for my business, and in the end, the Yamaha dealer was the one that treated me the best. They rolled out the red carpet for me practically and gave me a killer deal.

When I first got the bike I was worried it might be too much for me, but after logging about 75 miles or so my opinion on that quickly changed and it felt every bit like what I was looking for--a bigger, badder brother to my old SV650, with a lot of the same little issues. Only this time I like the bike enough to be willing to work to address them.
 

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This is my first street bike, I grew up on dirt bikes. I decided one day that I wanted to finally get a bike for commuting and, well, ride a bike on the street! I did plenty of research on many types of bikes. Once I stumbled upon the Niner, I knew at first sight that this was the bike I'd own. I did all the reading and videos and was completely aware of the issues that some were having, suspension mostly. Me being 150lbs, its really a non-issue.

Anyway, coming from dirt I was kinda skeptical about getting a bike with an 850cc engine for the street. After sitting on it, feeling the ergos and all-around fit of it, I was convinced. The salesman was also skeptical about it, he was trying to get me into a 250. Long story short, I got the Niner and haven't looked back.

After 2k miles so far, I feel like I can control this thing like a dirt bike. It's very light and flickable with lots of power. It begs to be ridden fast. In the 2k miles with this thing I have learned so much I would've never thought possible. As long as you have a sense of control and any type of motorcycle skills, this bike is amazing. Take it easy and get familiar with the bike, it's amazing how fast you'll realize how awesome this machine is and be in FULL TIME A MODE!

So, to sum it up, I love this thing. I came into it with little to no experience on the street and couldn't imagine myself on another bike. It's perfect (for me)!!!!!!
 

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This is my first street bike, I grew up on dirt bikes. I decided one day that I wanted to finally get a bike for commuting and, well, ride a bike on the street! I did plenty of research on many types of bikes. Once I stumbled upon the Niner, I knew at first sight that this was the bike I'd own. I did all the reading and videos and was completely aware of the issues that some were having, suspension mostly. Me being 150lbs, its really a non-issue.

Anyway, coming from dirt I was kinda skeptical about getting a bike with an 850cc engine for the street. After sitting on it, feeling the ergos and all-around fit of it, I was convinced. The salesman was also skeptical about it, he was trying to get me into a 250. Long story short, I got the Niner and haven't looked back.

After 2k miles so far, I feel like I can control this thing like a dirt bike. It's very light and flickable with lots of power. It begs to be ridden fast. In the 2k miles with this thing I have learned so much I would've never thought possible. As long as you have a sense of control and any type of motorcycle skills, this bike is amazing. Take it easy and get familiar with the bike, it's amazing how fast you'll realize how awesome this machine is and be in FULL TIME A MODE!

So, to sum it up, I love this thing. I came into it with little to no experience on the street and couldn't imagine myself on another bike. It's perfect (for me)!!!!!!

I'm in the same circumstances, never ridden on the road until two weeks ago when I took a bike safety course. Rode dirt bikes all the time growing up. I'm picking up my 09 in the morning from the dealership that's only a 5 minute walk from my house. I plan to keep it in B mode for the first few hundred miles at least. Feels like Christmas tonight.. :eek:

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Oh man...be careful. Seriously, I would borrow someone's smaller bike for a week or two if you could. Congratulations on the bike. It is amazing. I don't think I would want it to be the first bike out of MSF. I don't have dirt experience, so hopefully that will make the difference for you. The throttle response and braking, as well as clutch response are way different than anything they give you in MSF. Those bikes are super easy to ride and control. This weighs more, has a higher seat height, A mode and Standard are like rocket mode. Your bike will automatically start in Standard. After I got gas one day, I didn't turn it back to B mode and I rode the mile or so back to my house. After turning out of the gas station and going on the road (speed limit of 40), I felt like I had launched something with booster rockets. Now, this was a wonderful, adrenaline filled activity that I do want to repeat, but if I had no experience with street bikes, I don't know if that would have been a "good" experience.

Having a smaller bike for a few weeks really helped me get comfortable on the road. I had a 650 cc little bike that only had about 35 hp, so you didn't have to worry about the bike doing anything unexpected, you could concentrate on riding for the first time with cars and traffic and kids and dogs and people trying to kill you (which happens at least 50% of my rides and I only ride in rural PA- between the old people who shouldn't be driving, people not realizing how close you are, hidden cars on side streets and drive ways, people speeding through a red light, etc). I didn't have to concentrate on how to ride my bike, it was automatic, and I had spent days on end in a parking lot working on emergency braking and turning from a stop and swerving, and anything else we did in MSF. Then I went on the side streets. Then the main roads. So, the bike thing was almost subconscious. When you come out of MSF, you need to learn things on your own like how to start on a hill, how to ride in traffic (lots of clutch control), how to slow down from a higher speed, how to brake using engine braking as well as your front and rear brakes without locking the back wheel, etc. With the Harley, I had to practice starting on hills, since there are a few techniques you can do and I had to hold the brakes and give it more throttle to get moving. If you don't know how to do this on the FZ-09 and give it too much gas, you are going to have problems. I remember giving the Harley too much gas when I was starting out and going way too fast from a stop sign or turning out of a parking lot that was on an incline and coming too close to the curb. Try this with the FZ-09 and you are eating the curb or going into a car, or worse.

Okay, I'm done. Hope I'm not being too annoying, just wanted to share my experience as a newer rider.
 

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Oh man...be careful. Seriously, I would borrow someone's smaller bike for a week or two if you could. Congratulations on the bike. It is amazing. I don't think I would want it to be the first bike out of MSF. I don't have dirt experience, so hopefully that will make the difference for you. The throttle response and braking, as well as clutch response are way different than anything they give you in MSF. Those bikes are super easy to ride and control. This weighs more, has a higher seat height, A mode and Standard are like rocket mode. Your bike will automatically start in Standard. After I got gas one day, I didn't turn it back to B mode and I rode the mile or so back to my house. After turning out of the gas station and going on the road (speed limit of 40), I felt like I had launched something with booster rockets. Now, this was a wonderful, adrenaline filled activity that I do want to repeat, but if I had no experience with street bikes, I don't know if that would have been a "good" experience.

Having a smaller bike for a few weeks really helped me get comfortable on the road. I had a 650 cc little bike that only had about 35 hp, so you didn't have to worry about the bike doing anything unexpected, you could concentrate on riding for the first time with cars and traffic and kids and dogs and people trying to kill you (which happens at least 50% of my rides and I only ride in rural PA- between the old people who shouldn't be driving, people not realizing how close you are, hidden cars on side streets and drive ways, people speeding through a red light, etc). I didn't have to concentrate on how to ride my bike, it was automatic, and I had spent days on end in a parking lot working on emergency braking and turning from a stop and swerving, and anything else we did in MSF. Then I went on the side streets. Then the main roads. So, the bike thing was almost subconscious. When you come out of MSF, you need to learn things on your own like how to start on a hill, how to ride in traffic (lots of clutch control), how to slow down from a higher speed, how to brake using engine braking as well as your front and rear brakes without locking the back wheel, etc. With the Harley, I had to practice starting on hills, since there are a few techniques you can do and I had to hold the brakes and give it more throttle to get moving. If you don't know how to do this on the FZ-09 and give it too much gas, you are going to have problems. I remember giving the Harley too much gas when I was starting out and going way too fast from a stop sign or turning out of a parking lot that was on an incline and coming too close to the curb. Try this with the FZ-09 and you are eating the curb or going into a car, or worse.

Okay, I'm done. Hope I'm not being too annoying, just wanted to share my experience as a newer rider.
No worries Jen I have a great deal of respect for this bike and I'm planning to make B mode part of my pre ride check each time I ride. I don't have any option for getting a smaller bike to ride, but I do plan to be very ginger with the wrist action until I get used to this thing. I'm picking it up in about 2.5 hours from the dealer, the good thing is they have a quiet road behind the dealership that I can ride on for the first bit to get the feel for the throttle. I did learn hill starts in my MSF course and yes that was on a 250, so I'll have to practice on gentle hills with my FZ and build up the grade gradually. At 44 I feel I'm a bit more level headed than if I were 22, must be a hormone thing as we'll as a sharply honed sense of self preservation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have never "looked at the sky" at 25 mph or at any speed. We must be doing something different. I have ridden it relatively hard and not even a lightening feeling. I don't understand all of these accidental wheelies. Are we riding the same bike?? We are both coming from a Sportster.
 

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I have never "looked at the sky" at 25 mph or at any speed. We must be doing something different. I have ridden it relatively hard and not even a lightening feeling. I don't understand all of these accidental wheelies. Are we riding the same bike?? We are both coming from a Sportster.
I could see an accidental wheelie happening if the clutch was let out too abruptly..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Then someone who would do that shouldn't be riding this bike. I don't do that. Ever. I'm not special either.
 

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Then someone who would do that shouldn't be riding this bike. I don't do that. Ever. I'm not special either.
Agreed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm not 20 years old either (35). I noticed that a lot of us here are older. I figured that most people riding the bike would be in their early 20's. I think if you are older, your judgement will be better (I'm sure there are 20 year olds who have good judgment, but living in NY and driving 120 miles per day for work, I see the sport bike pack mentality of the young kids, even when riding alone on their bikes, they take a lot of unnecessary risks).
 

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I'm not 20 years old either (35). I noticed that a lot of us here are older. I figured that most people riding the bike would be in their early 20's. I think if you are older, your judgement will be better (I'm sure there are 20 year olds who have good judgment, but living in NY and driving 120 miles per day for work, I see the sport bike pack mentality of the young kids, even when riding alone on their bikes, they take a lot of unnecessary risks).
We'll it's to be expected, when I was 22 my brain only had two thoughts.. Impress girls and have fun, the fear of getting hurt or dying never entered my brain. Then you get a little older and get a career etc, you think about the consequences of your actions and how you will pay your bills.
 

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As a lifetime dirtbiker, I have to say that dirtbike experience is something everyone should have.
A good dirtbiker makes a fairly good streetbiker out of the gate.
A good street biker makes a poor dirtbiker out of the gate.
Growing up on dirt is really worth many years experience for the street. Not replacing street experience, but getting a good jump on it as well as enhancing.
I guess you have to have it to understand it.
 
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Be very careful, seriously. With mine in B-mode going 25mph and a little too much throttle I was looking at the sky before I could blink. The size and weight of this bike can be misleading to those less experienced with sport bikes. Hope you enjoy your bike, be safe. They aren't kidding when they say this is no beginner bike...
Not to be rude, super, but everything I've read that you have posted has shown that you tend to assume every bike is the same. You can't stop right, you can't control your wrist, and you bought a sport bike expecting it to handle like a harley. The 180 rear tire should have been a hint that there was a lot of power to put down, not to mention the dual discs on the front tire. I have never looked at the sky without meaning to especially since I always keep my eyes on the road.


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The events that led me to get this bike:
I have been riding about 12 years and most of them mini but highly capable thumpers in India- the last one being a KTM Duke 200 (which nearly made the RD350 seems slow!). In Indian conditions, that bike is like a supermotard is in NYC. Growing up riding and driving in Indian conditions teaches you reflexes no amount of dirt or track riding can. Almost every Westerner fears for their life when they ride/drive there and understandably so. The lessons learned there are invaluable. Riding in NYC has been sort of the same thing- just a bit "easier"- people weave between lanes, people open their car doors without looking, will pull up in front of you, honk and every other aggressive behavior a cager can indulge in (short of pulling out a gun). To go through these conditions, one needs a light, flickable bike that has strong stopping power and a comfortable, upright position to look over traffic (or sit in it for hours). Also needed was a bike that could go touring, two-up, as I love distances even if that is not my primary use- but I have toured on nakeds and I don't find anything uncomfortable or odd about that (I feel that makes me sound like the old timers who took their standard beemers all across the country when there were no "bike-category snobs" sneering at them).
So, I prefer nakeds anyway- after the Katoom esp those with the motard riding position (& riding style) and low-mid range power. I was first looking at the Triumph Street Triple R, Aprilia Shiver, the KTM Duke 690 and my ideal bike, the KTM SMT. I even looked at the FZ8 mainly because they were selling it real cheap- the reviews of a boring throttle response and peaky power delivery put me off. When the FZ09 was previewed, it promised a good compromise between all of those bikes at an excellent price. The Striple was too aggressive and pricey, the Aprilia too boring, the Duke was awesome for the city but two up and long distances seemed like it could be a bit of a pain (and a bit expensive) and the SMT was nearly double the price! The FZ09 seemed like a reincarnation of the UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle)- and it is.

The experience so far
It has great power delivery, fits me well (5'11"), has a all-day comfy riding position, a super smooth engine and gearbox, stops immediately (aided by some awesome engine braking) and already has a lot of touring accessories made for it. With a airhawk, the seat seems comfy enough for the wife for long-ish rides but am waiting for a better pillion seat. I am totally fine with the stock seat but I think the KTMs that I looked at had better seats from the factory. At my weight (145-10 lbs), the suspension seems great- I have it in between "too hard" or "too soft"- mainly because if I make it too hard, the passenger complains and the potholes across the city won't be kind either. Haven't taken it to the twisties yet but whatever corners I have found, the bike was not nervous at all. Even not having a windscreen isn't a big deal though I am exploring the options to have one- the wind blast is nothing that is alien to me having ridden nakeds all my life. The nimbleness of this machine is second to the KTM singles and it's light weight makes it even easier to slice through heavy traffic on narrow roads. The torque lets me sit in 4th or 5th or 6th- even at low speeds of 20-25. I like the minimalist approach to the styling and the also the ability to make it a adv bike or a track bike- whatever suits one fancy. As I said, the UJM is back. It's hard to fault the bike- ok, maybe more fuel economy or a larger tank. Maybe ABS and TCS as options. I am not a big tinkerer but it's fun to farkle up this thing- most requirements having arisen from my recent marriage! Otherwise, even stock, this bike is hard to beat. It takes a level of maturity to ride this but it does not mean beginners should be dissuaded from choosing it.

Whatever bike I move on to in the future, the FZ will always be one of my all time favorites. I am glad it came out just in time to bring me out of my dilemma and give me miles of fun. Oh yes, just another complaint- the orange took so long to show up that I had to settle for the liquid graphite which has grown on me. I think those who fail to appreciate the beauty of this bike have a right to their opinion but they shouldn't generalize the shortcomings as universal for everyone.
 

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The challenge is finding a bike that not only fits you physically, but mentally and emotionally. I like a motorcycle that first - gives me a steady stream of input, and second - responds to my every input... immediately. The FZ09 amazed me with it's agility and responsiveness... it may be a bit of a wild beast in it's stock form, but it really fits my personality... one minute a sedate cruiser, the next a complete spaz... just thinking about it makes me grin. I know I made the right choice. :D
 

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The challenge is finding a bike that not only fits you physically, but mentally and emotionally. I like a motorcycle that first - gives me a steady stream of input, and second - responds to my every input... immediately. The FZ09 amazed me with it's agility and responsiveness... it may be a bit of a wild beast in it's stock form, but it really fits my personality... one minute a sedate cruiser, the next a complete spaz... just thinking about it makes me grin. I know I made the right choice. :D
Yup, the grin factor is actually the biggest factor. That's why bikes like the Shiver, the F800 and the FZ8 were out of the contention even before I started going to dealerships! Most KTMs and Italians would do that for me. This is probably one of the few Japanese bikes that does it well! :D
 

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So I finally picked up my bike from the dealership today and of course it was raining. I sat on it while it was idleing for about 5 minutes to make sure it was up to temp, I had so much anxiety about riding it after reading all the inter webs comments. After 5-10 minutes I felt very comfortable so I went for a one hour ride on some lonely country roads in the rain, I have to say I love this bike and I'm looking forward to a fun summer of riding.
 

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Excellent, yep B mode in the rain is probably a good plan. Now the accessorizing will begin.
Maintenance wise I recommend turning the rear damper screw all the way in and the front shock screw all the way in and back it out 1/4 to 1/2 turn. Do this before you hit your first high speed bump / pothole. Loosen the bowstring tight chain, unless the dealer did that already - that is how they come from the factory.
It is a game changing bike.
 
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