FZ-09 first impressions
July 19, 2013
Today I checked out the FZ-09 at Laguna Seca. Unfortunately I did not get to ride it but I did do a lot of measuring and took about 100 pictures.
It feels very small and very light. The seat height feels low to me (6'1”, 34” inseam) but not uncomfortable at all.
I like the seat-peg-handlebar relationships. I might lower the handlebar a little but that is a decision that will have to wait until after I ride it.
Interesting design points beyond the new triple engine include the frame. The frame appears to be made from two castings: a left side casting and a right side casting. The two side castings are bolted together with six 10-12mm bolts at the headstock (where the steering head bearings reside).
Each side of the frame then descends along the sides in perimeter fashion around the cylinder head and back and down to the rear of the engine where they end. Each side of the frame bolts to the engine near the head and at the back. The swingarm pivot passes through the frame but the frame is very narrow at that point and the swingarm is on the outside of the frame instead on between the sides of the frame as is most common.
Suspension seems weak. Front forks have preload adjusters in both sides but a single REBOUND ONLY damping adjuster only in the right fork. I did not see COMPRESSION damping adjusters at all. I later noted the FZ8 fork is in the same configuration but the right FZ8 fork has rebound and compression damping adjusters. I did not measure the FZ8 fork to find out if Yamaha used the same fork in the FZ8 and the FZ-09.
FZ-09 fork measurements:
41 mm diameter sliders (inner fork tubes)
50 mm diameter outer fork tube in the top triple clamp
52 mm diameter outer fork tube in the bottom triple clamp
21.25 inches long for the outer fork tube
30.5 inches in total length from the top of the fork to the center of the 22mm axle
FZ-09 rear shock
Looks like a product from about 1989. Narrow steel body. No reservoir. Stepped preload adjuster. REBOUND ONLY damping adjuster (no Compression damping adjuster) on the side of the top.
The shock is about 13 inches in length and has a clevis (fork) on the bottom mount with a 12 mm bolt securing it to the suspension rocker. The top of the shock is a single eye type mount (I don't know the technical terms for the shock mounts) with a 12 mm bolt securing it to a frame cross member. The frame cross member bolts to each side of the frame and extends across the transmission part of the engine. The shock is basically horizontal.
The bike includes swingarm spool mount points but they are only drilled and tapped for 6 mm so be careful about sitting on the bike with it supported by the spools.
A lot has been said about the exhaust. Most think the center of it (the muffler, catalyst, collector combination) is ugly.
It is very ugly off the bike but even on the bike it is ugly especially from the left side of the bike. Is is a bulbous appendage hanging down there behind and below the engine. Looks like a scrotum to me so that is what I am going to call it.
The scrotum is not appealing to look at. So it either needs to be replaced with a complete exhaust system or at the very least covered with an appropriate loin cloth er um chin fairing. Could be interesting finding something to mount the loin cloth to as there is no frame on the bottom of the engine. But I am sure there is a way to mount it off the engine cases in some way that will tastefully cover the scrotum.
My biggest concern is that the water pump, the radiator side tanks, radiator cap and especially the lower radiator outlet tubes stick out and look very vulnerable to damage in even a parking lot tip over so something needs to be done about that very quickly.
In sum, I am excited by the bike and can't wait to get my hands on it. BTW the Yamaha reps at Laguna Seca said to expect delivery in mid September.
FZ09 Photos at Laguna Seca