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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There was an FZ-09 at the hangout today and one guy was commenting on liking the "laydown" style shock. I got to wondering why Yamaha used this design feature and think I have the answer. Take a look at the mass centralization and compactness of the two layouts of the 8 and 9. Note the position of the clutch basket/transmission relative to the seat and tank and the proximity of the cylinder head to the front tire. Any comments on how this setup would affect feel?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here are a few other interesting chassis tuning factoids. The FZ8's swingarm is over 2" longer than the FZ9 and the FZ8's engine is 2" further forward and 1" lower than the FZ9. The FZ8 also drives its alternator by means of a gearset and the alternator is located above the transmission, while the FZ9 mounts its alternator on the left end of the crankshaft. The FZ9's engine is essentially mounted higher and more to the rear but it still has slightly less ground clearance than the FZ8, probably to make room for the large muffler underneath.
 

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Here are a few other interesting chassis tuning factoids. The FZ8's swingarm is over 2" longer than the FZ9 and the FZ8's engine is 2" further forward and 1" lower than the FZ9. The FZ8 also drives its alternator by means of a gearset and the alternator is located above the transmission, while the FZ9 mounts its alternator on the left end of the crankshaft. The FZ9's engine is essentially mounted higher and more to the rear but it still has slightly less ground clearance than the FZ8, probably to make room for the large muffler underneath.
Lean angle for the FZ8 is 47 degrees, lean angle for the FZ-09 is 51 degrees.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Lean angle for the FZ8 is 47 degrees, lean angle for the FZ-09 is 51 degrees.
Sorry, I should have been more clear; I was referring to ground clearance, rather than lean angle. This is simply the distance from the lowest part of the bike to the ground when it's sitting upright, motionless, without a rider, as in the images.

What I've been driving at is that the location of the engine and length of the swingarm on FZ9 are going to do a couple of noticeable things; the shorter swingarm will allow more squat of the rear end under acceleration and the higher more rearward engine location will result in more weight being biased toward the rear wheel.

Those things would typically be the cause of comments re: a "vague" front end, "headshake" driving out of a turn, the rear end "squatting", and the bike wanting to "run wide" on corner exits. All these are comments made by those who've ridden the bike. I got curious as to what design features about the machine might support the people making these comments. The chassis dimensions would lead one to believe they are valid, and knowing them will result in a better solution, hopefully.

The shock will need to have a wide range of compression damping adjustability as cranking that up is usually the first thing one does to tune out squat on gassing it. A steering damper is probably a very good idea for aggressive riders. Ride height and tire profile are going to be critical, too, for those wanting to clean up the handling for aggressive cornering.
 

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W8andC, your attempts to convince people (especially yourself) that the FZ8 is a better bike than the FZ-09 remain as entertaining as ever...and just as specious.
 

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See my post in my ride review......I posted it this evening after spending the day up on Deals Gap and putting the bike through it's paces in the very, very twisty stuff. This stock suspension is much better, in my opinion, than what some of the writers have said about it. Having said that, it's not up to par with a high dollar, properly setup Ohlins/Penske/etc., but I was pushing it pretty hard today and other than the front fork dive under hard braking, the suspension works pretty damn well. Keep in mind, I never rode the bike with the stock tires (Bridgestone S20's), as I put a set of the Dunlop Q3's on the bike when it had only two miles. I also cranked up the preload on the front to almost full hard (I weight 200 lbs plus about 15 lbs of riding gear) and the rebound to full hard......Today, it just worked for me. In fact, I had a guy come up behind me riding a Ducati Pannigale and when I saw him in the mirror, I decided to see if he could hang with me through the corners............he couldn't!
 

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W8, have you ridden an FZ-09, yet? I know you've expressed interest in seeing how this bike pans out before you plunker down the cash....but have you demo'd one yet? I ask because there have been a lot of different opinions thrown around about the FZ-09 and it's hard to say where there is such a divergence of opinion. Could have resulted from tire selection (Dunlop vs. Bridgestone), air pressures, suspension settings, road conditions, or personal taste alone...to name only a few.

I'll say this (again). In my opinion, the front end is NOT vague. Undersprung? Yes. Underdamped? Yes. Vague? Not in my opinion (take that for what it's worth!). The suspension needs help, and that's all I say until I've had a chance to sort through a few different approaches to see what works best. The rear squat is largely a result of the soft spring and very little damping. As underdamped as each end is, the bike is relatively balanced fore/aft. But you're right, it needs more low speed compression damping in the rear.

RE: the tank slapping, take this with a grain of salt - though I won't say it won't wag it's head. If the conditions are 'right' (crest in road with heavy throttle, for example), a lot of bikes will exhibit head shake. Some require a steering damper to fix, but others respond well to other approaches such as bar selection and suspension tweaks (geometry and tuning). Of course, there are other bike's that will just NEED a steering damper...

The FZ8 has 4.3" of trail (vs. 4.0" for FZ-09) and 25 degree rake (same as FZ-09). A 0.3" decrease in trail is fairly significant and really quickens steering. Snappy throttle response can certainly get the front end shaking if it's light. The handlebar situation (higher and closer to the rider) will make it even more touchy. The FZ-09 also has a shorter wheelbase than the FZ8 (56.7" vs. 57.5"), so expect quicker transitions and more wheelies.

Buells have had a track record of being very fast steering, and in some cases, wheelie prone. The 1125R and 1125CR were great examples. The R was the first model out the gate and was considered the sport bike. It had clip-ons and taller gearing. The CR came out as a 'naked', sans fairing, which naturally resulted in less weight on the front end. Although the bike came from the factory with clubman bars which closely replicated the R's clip-ons, the factory sold accessory high bars that took a good amount of weight off the front end in an effort to make the bike more comfortable. The end result was a very comfortable, fun bike...that wheelied on demand. For my money, I preferred the stability of the R...but wanted the CR's lower gearing.

Buell also did a lot of pioneering in the way of mass centralization. They were the first to market with an underslung muffler, and used a flat-ish shock orientation on some models (don't forget the fuel in the frame). It's important to note that mass centralization doesn't necessarily mean putting the weight as low as possible. Rather, the idea is to centralize the bike's mass around a point determined by the designers to deliver the feel and side to side transition they desired. Of course, there is a sliding scale with CG height...higher may turn in faster, but will require more effort to transition to the OTHER side (i.e. picking the bike up). Regarding front end weight, it would be interesting to weigh a stock 8 and 09 side by side on the same scale to see which has more weight on the front end (% of weight).

Or, Yamaha could have done what they did not to create a rock solid track bike, but to appeal to our inner hooligan. One thing I do know...the 09 is an absolute hoot. It reminds me very much of the my Buell XB's, but with a (much) better engine. The dimensions and feel are very similar IMO.
 

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interesting that you make that comparison stoltec, as I have a xb12r and will be picking up a fz9 very soon. I love my buell, and have been really trying to decide on getting a lightning or the fz9. My firebolt is cool, but after an hour, it gets very uncomfortable and becomes less fun to drive. I think having my first brand new bike is more appealing to me, and this new 3banger sounds like a real winner. The exhaust looks super cool, (prolly end up cermic coating the back half black though) and looks like a great bike to really drive.

peace

Jb
 

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interesting that you make that comparison stoltec, as I have a xb12r and will be picking up a fz9 very soon. I love my buell, and have been really trying to decide on getting a lightning or the fz9. My firebolt is cool, but after an hour, it gets very uncomfortable and becomes less fun to drive. I think having my first brand new bike is more appealing to me, and this new 3banger sounds like a real winner. The exhaust looks super cool, (prolly end up cermic coating the back half black though) and looks like a great bike to really drive.

peace

Jb
I've personally owned an XB9S, XB12S, XB12X and an 1125R. I'd slot the FZ-09 in between the XB and 1125CR. Like the XB in terms of size and ergonomics, but more like the 1125's power. Of course, the triple feels completely different, but you get my drift. As a Buell lover (even still), the FZ-09 reminds me a lot what Buell was trying to do.
 
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Yamaha could have done what they did not to create a rock solid track bike, but to appeal to our inner hooligan. One thing I do know...the 09 is an absolute hoot. It reminds me very much of the my Buell XB's, but with a (much) better engine. The dimensions and feel are very similar IMO.
Exactly. The design features would support that. I do have it on very good authority (a riding buddy just bought one and he's someone who's opinion I trust) with respect to the rear squatting and the tendency to want to run wide. Of course that's exactly what would happen if the rear was packing down under hard throttle on a softly-sprung/damped bike with a shorter swingarm. One would have to ride the bike differently and make suitable changes, like a different shock with more compression damping (preferably both high and low-speed adjustments!) and perhaps roll the throttle on more gently or switch to B mode. Yamaha must've put that mode in there for a reason, maybe this is part of it.

I will say again, this is interesting to me as I was strongly interested in acquiring one of these at first but I can see it is not the bike for me on any level. The FZ8 and Street Triple have zero tendency to headshake and are rock-stable under all conditions and that's the kind of handling I'm looking for. I'm an FZ8 owner who was very curious to see what the Nine was going to be like and I've got my answer. I've put my front-end lofting, rear-sliding days behind me, mostly when I sold off my 1986 CR250R Honda and XT550 Yamaha, and definitely when I sold my KLR250 a few years back. I used to enjoy the occasional rear slide on pavement while doing sport-bike riding but now that the tires, suspension, and bikes are so good, these slides are nothing like they were 10-15 years ago, where the tire would just start to go away a bit (get a bit greasy) and the slides were real controllable. Even the sport-touring tires I use on my FZ8 (Pirelli Angel GT's) grip like glue and seem to be wearing like iron compared to what we had circa 1999-2000.

The comparison to the Buell is interesting and in a way very ironic. The very thing that caused Buell to have to innovate and work around the inherent problems of building a sportbike around a Sportster V-Twin are some of the same features that without a doubt are appearing (albeit in somewhat muted form) on the FZ-09. It's almost like Yamaha said, "Let's make this thing just interesting enough to create a bit of pucker factor." I do find it a bit "curious" that some journalists are suggesting that FZ-09 is packed with MotoGP technology, when you've indicated a comparison to a Buell is perhaps more apt. I completely agree with your take here, BTW. Every Buell owner I know loves his bike because it's FUN to ride on the street. Interestingly enough, and a matter of historical record, is the fact that no matter what Buell did to modify his V-Twin design, it never made a good racebike and was never the least bit competitive with Ducati or any of the purely sporting brands of twin, even the best hands.

Yamaha claims 51/49 front/rear weight bias for the FZ9, exactly the same as for the FZ8, but the rider's position is much more forward on the FZ8 and it has an entirely different type of frame design and chassis geometry. Apparently the FZ9 has less trail than the FZ8 and that would also tend to cause the shake and tendency to want to run wide. I would be interested to get an engine width for the FZ9 from crank-to-crank, as the alternator is hung out on the end of the crankshaft, unlike the FZ8 which mounts it above the tranny. The width might be about the same. My crude measurement shows the FZ8 to be ~17" at the crankshaft, about a half-inch more than the GSX-R 750.

Someone mentioned SAE lean angle earlier as being rated at 51 degrees on the FZ9 as opposed to 47 degrees on the FZ8, but we have to qualify that by saying that this is because the peg width side-to-side is a bit less on the FZ9; The FZ8 is not hampered at all in actual riding conditions. I know one youthful, exuberant FZ8 owner who has ground the peg feelers completely away and is now working on whittling down the footpegs themselves. This is with the stock exhaust and shock! Thankfully he is starting to do track days and will ease up on this stuff for street use. A simple change of foot controls on the FZ8, though, will increase the SAE lean well beyond 51 degrees and swapping the silencer for a more petite unit will also provide additional clearance. Just shifting one's buttocks six inches to the inside of the turn sort of obviates all that hardware swapping. The FZ8's are in common use as both student and instructor's bikes at the Yamaha Championship Riding School without these mods.

However, all this said -- and this was not coming from me as I am not a potential customer for ya -- there does seem to be a great interest in aftermarket fork and shock upgrades for the FZ9 because of the design features we've been discussing here. If the bike were perfect and flawless there'd be no demand, but then it would've cost $12K! Of course these things can be dealt with and a good rider can ride around them (as I used to do myself before my regard for my longevity increased) to be king of the local hill, but new the FZ9 is clearly not aimed at my push-buttons. Thus, I've learned what I need to about the FZ-09 here and have realized I got the right bike for me.
 

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Exactly. The design features would support that. I do have it on very good authority (a riding buddy just bought one and he's someone who's opinion I trust) with respect to the rear squatting and the tendency to want to run wide. Of course that's exactly what would happen if the rear was packing down under hard throttle on a softly-sprung/damped bike with a shorter swingarm. One would have to ride the bike differently and make suitable changes, like a different shock with more compression damping (preferably both high and low-speed adjustments!) and perhaps roll the throttle on more gently or switch to B mode. Yamaha must've put that mode in there for a reason, maybe this is part of it.

I will say again, this is interesting to me as I was strongly interested in acquiring one of these at first but I can see it is not the bike for me on any level. The FZ8 and Street Triple have zero tendency to headshake and are rock-stable under all conditions and that's the kind of handling I'm looking for. I'm an FZ8 owner who was very curious to see what the Nine was going to be like and I've got my answer. I've put my front-end lofting, rear-sliding days behind me, mostly when I sold off my 1986 CR250R Honda and XT550 Yamaha, and definitely when I sold my KLR250 a few years back. I used to enjoy the occasional rear slide on pavement while doing sport-bike riding but now that the tires, suspension, and bikes are so good, these slides are nothing like they were 10-15 years ago, where the tire would just start to go away a bit (get a bit greasy) and the slides were real controllable. Even the sport-touring tires I use on my FZ8 (Pirelli Angel GT's) grip like glue and seem to be wearing like iron compared to what we had circa 1999-2000.

The comparison to the Buell is interesting and in a way very ironic. The very thing that caused Buell to have to innovate and work around the inherent problems of building a sportbike around a Sportster V-Twin are some of the same features that without a doubt are appearing (albeit in somewhat muted form) on the FZ-09. It's almost like Yamaha said, "Let's make this thing just interesting enough to create a bit of pucker factor." I do find it a bit "curious" that some journalists are suggesting that FZ-09 is packed with MotoGP technology, when you've indicated a comparison to a Buell is perhaps more apt. I completely agree with your take here, BTW. Every Buell owner I know loves his bike because it's FUN to ride on the street. Interestingly enough, and a matter of historical record, is the fact that no matter what Buell did to modify his V-Twin design, it never made a good racebike and was never the least bit competitive with Ducati or any of the purely sporting brands of twin, even the best hands.

Yamaha claims 51/49 front/rear weight bias for the FZ9, exactly the same as for the FZ8, but the rider's position is much more forward on the FZ8 and it has an entirely different type of frame design and chassis geometry. Apparently the FZ9 has less trail than the FZ8 and that would also tend to cause the shake and tendency to want to run wide. I would be interested to get an engine width for the FZ9 from crank-to-crank, as the alternator is hung out on the end of the crankshaft, unlike the FZ8 which mounts it above the tranny. The width might be about the same. My crude measurement shows the FZ8 to be ~17" at the crankshaft, about a half-inch more than the GSX-R 750.

Someone mentioned SAE lean angle earlier as being rated at 51 degrees on the FZ9 as opposed to 47 degrees on the FZ8, but we have to qualify that by saying that this is because the peg width side-to-side is a bit less on the FZ9; The FZ8 is not hampered at all in actual riding conditions. I know one youthful, exuberant FZ8 owner who has ground the peg feelers completely away and is now working on whittling down the footpegs themselves. This is with the stock exhaust and shock! Thankfully he is starting to do track days and will ease up on this stuff for street use. A simple change of foot controls on the FZ8, though, will increase the SAE lean well beyond 51 degrees and swapping the silencer for a more petite unit will also provide additional clearance. Just shifting one's buttocks six inches to the inside of the turn sort of obviates all that hardware swapping. The FZ8's are in common use as both student and instructor's bikes at the Yamaha Championship Riding School without these mods.

However, all this said -- and this was not coming from me as I am not a potential customer for ya -- there does seem to be a great interest in aftermarket fork and shock upgrades for the FZ9 because of the design features we've been discussing here. If the bike were perfect and flawless there'd be no demand, but then it would've cost $12K! Of course these things can be dealt with and a good rider can ride around them (as I used to do myself before my regard for my longevity increased) to be king of the local hill, but new the FZ9 is clearly not aimed at my push-buttons. Thus, I've learned what I need to about the FZ-09 here and have realized I got the right bike for me.
I always appreciate your objectivity man; very rare trait these days. I am glad you post on this forum. :encouragement:
 

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Biased objectivity by W8 it sounds to me like.Do I understand correctly that he has not even thrown
A leg over a FZ-09.Sounds as if he's jealous of all the attention.
Ergos alone are something I like about my FZ-09(for a naked bike)
 

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The FZ8 is a sleeved-down FZ-1 with a less costly four-valve cylinder head and less sophisticated suspension. It has the exact same frame geometry (wheelbase, rake and trail) as the FZ-1, weighs only 20 lbs less and makes considerably less power. Does that make it a bad bike? Hardly, by all reports it is a very good motorcycle.

Yamaha wanted a bike to fill the middleweight category and it made economic sense to leverage the FZ-1 platform, the cost of which has been amortized over many years. Yamaha adorned the FZ8 with Transformers styling and called it a "streetfighter" but it's hardly that--it's fundamentally a responsive, reliable, well-finished standard/sport-touring bike. For someone who doesn't want to spend the extra money for an FZ-1, it makes lot of sense. But as a "streetfighter" type of bike it is heavy, underpowered and has too conservative steering geometry.

The FZ-09 was purpose-built to be a naughty street bike with lots of attitude; it is hardly suited for the types of sport-touring duties at which an FZ8 would excel. Does that make the FZ-09 a bad bike? Again, no, it just means it was designed and built to fulfill a different role than the FZ8.

Bottom line: Comparing the FZ8 to the FZ-09 is like comparing a Triumph Sprint GT to a Triumph Street Triple R.
 

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I bought this bike for it's weight to power ratio,it's sit-up ergos,underside exhaust,banana swing arm,UD forks and radial mount brakes all wrapped in a narrow,compact naked bike.Just happens to cost 2k less than it should.
The bonus was the amazing engine!
 

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Biased objectivity by W8 it sounds to me like.Do I understand correctly that he has not even thrown
A leg over a FZ-09.Sounds as if he's jealous of all the attention.
Ergos alone are something I like about my FZ-09(for a naked bike)
W8andC, fly down to Dallas and I will let ya ride mine =)
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Biased objectivity by W8 it sounds to me like.Do I understand correctly that he has not even thrown
A leg over a FZ-09.Sounds as if he's jealous of all the attention.
Ergos alone are something I like about my FZ-09(for a naked bike)
I am still on this forum because there are few guys here who have some very valuable input and have been quite helpful.

I happen to be very curious about the new bike as it is an interesting design. Please try to understand that I am curious and not jealous for attention nor am I cash-strapped and unable to afford one. I have also mentioned that I bought a new GSX-R 750 in lieu of picking up an FZ9 this year because that's the kind of machine I like.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
The FZ-09 was purpose-built to be a naughty street bike with lots of attitude; it is hardly suited for the types of sport-touring duties at which an FZ8 would excel. Does that make the FZ-09 a bad bike? Again, no, it just means it was designed and built to fulfill a different role than the FZ8.
Which is exactly why I got onto this forum in the first place.

If your post had been up three months ago y'all would have been spared my maunderings.

However I think you're being too hard on the Niner, I bet some guys will sport-tour on it. Back in the days when I could only afford one bike, I rode from Alaska to Los Angeles, through British Columbia, on a single-cylinder XL600R. Solo. I thought it worked just dandy! The FZ9 is a Gold Wing compared to that darned thing.
 

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Which is exactly why I got onto this forum in the first place.

If your post had been up three months ago y'all would have been spared my maunderings.

However I think you're being too hard on the Niner, I bet some guys will sport-tour on it. Back in the days when I could only afford one bike, I rode from Alaska to Los Angeles, through British Columbia, on a single-cylinder XL600R. Solo. I thought it worked just dandy! The FZ9 is a Gold Wing compared to that darned thing.
Likely true. I've done 2,600 miles in a week on a Speed Triple. LOVED it!
 
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