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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all-
I purchased a new (2015) FZ-09 matte grey about a month ago. It has been over a decade since I last owned or even had ridden a bike and the FZ seemed to fit the bill for me to dip my toes back into the water. I've read what seems like every post on this forum and I must say that everything I've read has pretty much been spot on with my personal experience in my short period of time owning this machine. I've got almost 800 miles on the bike which is made up mostly of weekend back roads and zipping around town to run any made up errand I can find that justifies riding the bike. I live in the St.Louis, MO region and have been shut in by a never ending rain cycle that has sidelined more riding fun. So here is a kind of chronological summary of my time with the bike:

- I bought the bike at the beginning of May with 2 miles on it without riding it first. I took my father along who is a seasoned motorcyclist to give me his thoughts and he thought it would make for a decent bike to get my motorcycle legs back underneath me. At the time of purchase I only had my permit and they wouldn't let me ride it, but having done thorough research and deciding that a test ride wasn't going to really tell me anything significant about the true character of the bike, I decided to pull the trigger. While filling out the paper work at the dealership to finalize the sale, the maintenance manager interrups us to say there is an open recal on the bike for a clutch lever arm that must be resolved prior to me taking delivery. I was disappointed that this wasn't brought up sooner, but oh well, it needed to be done. So, I had to wait a week after purchase to take delivery. I took the time to order the pig touring screen, soft saddlebags, and a magnetic tank bag. A week later I picked up the bike and rode it home in the pouring rain (first ride on this bike or any bike in over ten years had to happen in a downpour with new tires to boot) I was on pins and needles, but made it home safely.

-Over the next few days I installed the wind screen and luggage and rode it as much as possible weather permitting. I didn't like the way the soft luggage sagged over the rear seat, so I welded up some brackets that bolt underneath the rear seat that I attached the soft saddlebags to. It turned out well and is much cleaner not having straps running over the seat. I don't really know why, but I had higher expectations for the touring wind screen, I guess it helps, but not significantly for me. (I'll get into information about me later). I also installed a charging port for accessories in front of the tank between the forks. I opted to not install the USB port and went instead with a standard cigarette socket so that I had more charging options later. For no I have a double usb socket plugged into the cigarette socket. I works great and looks good.

-After reading nauseating threads on oil changes, oil, filter, intervals, and the associated bickering; I decided to do my first service at 500 miles with the k&n #204 and conventional oil. This is where thing got bad for a little while. While doing the routine oil change so many that I've done before, I lost my mind for a couple seconds while trying to remove the drain plug and ended up tightening it instead of loosening it. I felt it give way and immediately my stomach sank, expletives flowed like a geyser, and I curled up into the fetal position on the garage floor because I had just stripped the aluminum threads on the oil pan of my new bike with less than 500 miles on it. I had probably read 4 hours worth of back and forth on oil types, filters, and intervals only to do something so simple so terribly wrong. Anyhow I was left to figure out my options: helicoil the pan in place on the bike, remove the pan and helicoil it, replace the entire pan, or simply tap it out larger and use a bigger drain bolt. I opted to keep the total pan replacement in my hip pocket and try to helicoil the pan off the bike. The helicoil was easy and fast as well as removing the exhaust and the pan, but the new gasket proved to be difficult to get quickly as no one has them in stock and I was ordering it on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. So after expedited shipping which cost more than the gasket and six days from the start of a simple oil change, I had it all back together without issues or leaks. I've got about 250 miles on the fix and it seems just fine. I can talk more about the pros and cons of each solution that I mentioned above with anyone that finds themselves needing to know (I won't even ask why you need to know because it's humiliating enough to be in that position) there are cons to what I did that I won't go into now, but later if someone is interested.

-I've been on a couple 3-4 rides on the back roads and I reaaly like most everything about how the bike drives ( I intentionally used the word "drives" rather than "rides" for a reason). I agree that the front is a little/lot soft, but with my limited seat time on any bike, I didn't really have a good benchmark to compare it to. I could have happily ridden forever and ever on the stock setup without any real problems. Last week I decided to mess with the front suspension (which is entirely outside of my wheelhouse of knowledge, but it's not really irreversible or rocket science either). So I stiffened up both the damping and rebound and wow, what a difference. I can only imagine what great components would do to this bike. I'm not going to do anything further to the suspension as it meets my non track conservative riding needs.

-I also took the seat cover off and tried to tackle that as well. 600 bucks for a Corbin isn't going to happen on a $6500 bike and I enjoy testing myself with new projects. I added an extra layer of foam and formed it up with a grinding wheel. I tried to reduce the pitch and create more of basin with a little bolster behind me. It turned out great as far as looks are concerned, but I didn't go far enough- it still pushed me onto the tank to much and just wasn't right. So I tried again and added another layer of different foam and dished more out in the sitting bone region and it is much better, but still not great. Yamaha could have shipped this bike with a cinder block for a seat and it would have been better than the stock seat.

So now I'll tell you a little about me and why the word "discouraged" is in the tag line. I'm 6'-2" and 167 lbs. I'm not a track guy nor do I go nuts about bike performance. I'm an average Joe when it comes to bikes. I grew up sitting on top of some sort of combustion engine and have a fair amount of experience on a variety of different machines and bike types. I'm not the guy pulling wheelies on the interstate or anywhere for that matter, I'm the guy in high viz happily enjoying just riding. The purpose of getting this bike was to have fun, but for me it also needs to be utilitarian (hence the saddlebags and tank bags) I wont a bike to run around and do errands on, but also a bike to cruising the backroads with the guys on the weekend. I romanticize doing a three or four day tour through the unknown parts of my state and living out of my bags, but that's not realistic and the opportunities are too few and far between. Frankly, in an ideal world I'm more of a BMW R1200GS kind of a guy. I don't want to go into the ins and outs of that particular bike, but that's the flavor of bike that attracts me. Adventure. So why the FZ?? Well, price point is obvious (I got mine for under 7k), but not knowing how I was going to take to riding again (time and desire once the new wears off) and realistically understanding how I was going to use the bike, it seemed to make sense. I am happy with everything the bike does. It's a solid little monster. (Disturbingly loud clutch sounds, but I think it's normal). Here's the problem: I love riding it, but there is a steep price to pay for that joy. I literally cannot walk the next day. My butt aches, my left knee hurts, my back is killing me after 40 miles, my groin region just plain hurts. The bike just beats the crap out of me. At first I thought I just needed to toughen up and get some miles under me, but more and more I'm thinking that the ergonomics are just plain bad for me. I've read a lot of posts about guys with my build having no issues and it's hard to discern objectivity because most people refuse to talk bad about their stuff. I've read everything one can read about dropping pegs, changing bars, changing seats and on and on, but there comes a time when I ask myself if I should undertake the cost and time of modifications given the fact that the gains maybe marginal. I just can't help but think I bought a bike that doesn't fit me. I don't know how telling a test ride would have been given the fact that I rode it home without issue and grinning ear to ear (about 20 miles), but maybe that's where I went wrong. I do love riding it and I'm going to give it the summer to see how things turn out. For all I know I could be in the same boat on a different machine.

Anyhow, this forum is great and any objective feedback from anyone who has felt this way before would be great. Maybe I'll post some pics once I get the hang of this forum. I typed this whole thing out on my phone, so I hope it makes sense. Thanks for reading and it's nice to be in the company of such knowledgable and enthusiastic riders.

Aaron

Here are some pics: (pre-saddlebags and post-saddlebags)
PreBags.jpg
PostBags.jpg
 

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I too am 6'2 and 167 lbs haha, with the aches and pains after riding part I got them when I first started riding and they lasted me about a month (I'd get cramps in my hips when I was trying to shift too) but after that it was smooth sailing. So I'd wait a little bit longer to see if it's the same case for you.
 

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Man, that's a long post.. ��

Give the beast a bit more time and see how you go.

Sounds like a tracer/FJ09 might be more what you are after.
 

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I'm a couple inches taller and 35or so lbs heavier- you need to eat some pies, mate.

The seat was a bit average, so I added some foam under the OEM to flatten it out, now it's fine. Definately better than my ktm motard seat was, that was a plank of wood balanced on a paint shaker. Seriously, it made your eyeballs vibrate.
The bars were a bit low, so I put some higher ones on.
Now it's even more lovely than a stock one.

I'm not skipping any bad stuff, I reckon it's a great bike, comfortable for bigger guys, even when I'm full of titanium inserts and not quite as flexible anymore. Not sure what to say that'll help.
A teaspoon of concrete, perhaps?;)
 

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I felt the same way (pain) and I picked up the yamaha comfort seat. I can ride couple hundred miles more comfortably than 20 on the stock seat. I have a really bad lower back so I had to get a better seat. If I did 100 miles on the stock seat I couldn't sit for days without pain lol.
 

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if your main gripe is that your in pain when you get off the bike, then proper suspension and a good seat would more than likely fix your issue..but only you can decide if you want to spend the money.

good luck whatever you decide.
 
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I would recommend a test ride on the BMW - if it meets your needs in stock form, then it may be something to consider. On the other hand, if it doesn't, you can probably meet a lot of your needs with a MRA vario touring windshield ($180), a true custom-built seat($200-600), and a suspension upgrade ($500-2000 - component dependent). You could also look into aftermarket handlebars, risers, and any necessary hardware ($200 - ?). And finally, you might consider some adjustable rear sets (those tend to be expensive ($500-1200). If you forgo the rearsets and handlebar swap and stick to the cheaper end of the spectrum for the other stuff, I can see you getting to where you want to be for well under $2000 and still keep your grand-total to under $10000 in the bike - WELL under what the R1200 would cost you, especially if you needed to mod it as well. On the far end, I can see you easily dumping $5-6g into upgrades for the FZ.

I think you just need to schedule a test ride and try and figure out where you want to go from there. Either way, it sounds like you're going to have to dish out a bit of money. On the other hand, you might be able to find something totally different that meets your needs much better - the FJ-09, that others have mentioned, for instance.

Best of luck!
 
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Upgrading everything possible to make it more comfortable would raise the price significantly and, still might not make it good enough for you. It's simply not a touring bike or cruiser.

I would give it more time as others recommended. If that doesn't make it easier for you, go out and test ride everything you can. You are good at researching, so search for reviews from other riders on long distance comfort. Do not read motorcycle magazine test rider reviews, because they tend to stay politically correct with the manufacturers by praising every bike out there.

Sounds like you need a larger, more plush bike. New ones are not cheap, but there are constantly good deals popping up on used ones. These also tend to be very well maintained by more conservative riders. Hawkerjet, on this site, has an FZ09 and added a used Kawasaki Concourse to his collection for longer distance comfort. Read his posts. Dealers take trade ins on used bike purchases as well.

Good luck.
 

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I'm 6'2 180lb. First GET RID of the stock seat. Seat Concepts seat works good for me, $160 (money well spent). I tried both Puig sport and touring screen which dint help much for my height. Now I'm taking Madstad route, fly screen for around town and 22" screen for touring, it's a pricey option which will cost around $400 and make the bike look fugly. Try changing the handle bar to Protaper Universal low, it does help change the ergo of the bike (change in position might help reduce your aches and pains). Definitely change the seat and you ll notice a world of difference. My 0.02 cents. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the feedback guys. Although it doesn't change anything, it's somewhat nice to know that there are some that have shared my pain. I don't really want to make any drastic bike changes right now because even if I find a more comfortable bike, I'm pretty sure I'll have the same pains from sleeping in the dog house. (my wife won't be happy to say the least) My dad told me that bikes aren't like shoes, they won't get more comfortable with time; but I thought I'd throw it out there to others and see what you guys have experienced. I'm not going to go through the process of upgrading everything with hopes that it will get better, although it could work out, it seems to me that would be throwing good money after bad money. In the end, if the summer proves to be miserable, I will upgrade to something different. I do realize that I'm forcing this bike to be more than what it is, but even on shorter rides, I feel it.

Robert S. and donkeyballs: Thanks for making me feel like I'm not the only one to go through this. I've got plenty of time and time may be just what I need.

Fizzerpilot: The recall was for a cam lever bracket something or other- I don't know. The exact recall wasn't critical to my message, whatever it was, it delayed delivery and has been taken care of. Your comment added considerable value to this thread.

Others: The BMW reference was just a reference, it's simply out of my price range. The FJ-09 or something similar does seem like it may fit me better. I too have some titanium aftermarket hardware installed in me and I've abused my back over the years. Seat time will surely tell and I will ride some other bikes as often as the opportunity presents itself, but I guess my biggest concern is that this is not a bike specific problem, but rather a rider specific problem. I know you guys can't give any input regarding that, but that's where my head is at on this.

By the way, you guys rock. 8 1/2 replies on my first post between the hours of 12:30am and 8:00am. You guys must truly eat, sleep, and ***t FZ-09 stuff. Good on ya.

Thanks again, Aaron
 

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6', 185 lbs here and a body seriously abused racing motocross (knees, back, and wrists). I put a Seat Concepts seat on mine as well as different bars, Pro Grip gel Superbike grips, FZ6 rubber footpegs, and an MRA Touring screen. The setup is great for me now. I rode the bike 800 miles and back to COTA in Austin TX without any major back issues.
 

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I think you got some good advice on changing the egos for your height. A quality suspension will help. I have Ohlin's/Andreani and the pogo, rocking horse effect is gone. I can ride longer with a lot less pain A good seat is next for myself.

I had a long time between bikes myself and even at a 1000 miles this bike was kicking my ass. I started riding more but not as far and getting off it before I hurt to much just to get used to it. But I don't have any hardware in my back so maybe a comfort bike is

better suited for you it is still a sport bike and the words comfort & modern sport bike don't seem to go together any more since bikes are more rider specific than they were years ago. I feel for ya buddy the thought of not being able to ride any more would be hard

pill to swallow.
 

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Have you considered that adding a lot of preload to the front and rear has made the bike ride like a brick outhouse, and that is why you are so sore? A stock FZ-09 is not as bad as you are describing it. Take the preload back out and give it another try.
 
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From what it sounds like, what you are looking for in a bike is a true do-it-all bike that doesn't specialize in any specific area and instead does everything rather well. These bikes, referred to as UJMs, populated the market back in the 70s, 80s, and even into the early 90s. But it sort of died out because people wanted more specialized machines. There are some bikes out there now that still have that jack-of-all-trades quality to them, but they are few and far between and typically run upwards of $10k. The few noticeable examples I can think of off the top of my head are the FJ-09, Kawasaki Ninja 1000, Ducati Multistrada, and Suzuki GSX1250SA (I think that's what it's called).
 

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I lost my mind for a couple seconds while trying to remove the drain plug and ended up tightening it instead of loosening it.
One of the main reasons why you always use a ratchet and socket, rather than a box wrench, to unscrew the plug. I always check and probably double check the operation of the ratchet before placing it upside down onto the plug.

My Suzuki SV650 was uncomfortable when I first got it...so much so that I thought I made a huge mistake. Then I got bar risers to solve my "reach" issue, and grip puppies...and eventually it became a very comfortable bike. How? Because of not only the changes I made, but because I rode the bike and adapted to it. Isolate the issues and see what minor and inexpensive changes you can make. You can purchase much better foot pegs for only $10..they are wider and have a top rubber surface. Also, your gear may be an issue. When I first rode my SV, I had an open face helmet and a non-motorcycle jacket. Both caught the wind and made riding much more difficult than with proper gear. After I had the right gear, wind really was not an issue unless I was also heading into a head wind of say 15mph. Be aware that some windscreens can actually increase the wind pressure onto your neck and helmet area. That air has to go somewhere, and a lot of it goes up and over the screen. Too high of a screen places it right onto your helmet. I created a windscreen for my SV and that was a big mistake. Finally after removing that screen and having the right gear I realized that the wind was not really an issue unless I was going 80+ mph.

Also, in reference to the soft bags...thinking of doing the same and would like to see more detail photos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Have you considered that adding a lot of preload to the front and rear has made the bike ride like a brick outhouse, and that is why you are so sore? A stock FZ-09 is not as bad as you are describing it. Take the preload back out and give it another try.
Yes this makes sense. I will mess around with it some more, but I'm not maxed out by any means. The bikes comfort really didn't change much with the initial adjustment, but its stability and footing was markedly better. I was really surprised how a small adjustment made such a noticeable improvement in front end stability. I really wasn't expecting to notice much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
One of the main reasons why you always use a ratchet and socket, rather than a box wrench, to unscrew the plug. I always check and probably double check the operation of the ratchet before placing it upside down onto the plug.

My Suzuki SV650 was uncomfortable when I first got it...so much so that I thought I made a huge mistake. Then I got bar risers to solve my "reach" issue, and grip puppies...and eventually it became a very comfortable bike. How? Because of not only the changes I made, but because I rode the bike and adapted to it. Isolate the issues and see what minor and inexpensive changes you can make. You can purchase much better foot pegs for only $10..they are wider and have a top rubber surface. Also, your gear may be an issue. When I first rode my SV, I had an open face helmet and a non-motorcycle jacket. Both caught the wind and made riding much more difficult than with proper gear. After I had the right gear, wind really was not an issue unless I was also heading into a head wind of say 15mph. Be aware that some windscreens can actually increase the wind pressure onto your neck and helmet area. That air has to go somewhere, and a lot of it goes up and over the screen. Too high of a screen places it right onto your helmet. I created a windscreen for my SV and that was a big mistake. Finally after removing that screen and having the right gear I realized that the wind was not really an issue unless I was going 80+ mph.

Also, in reference to the soft bags...thinking of doing the same and would like to see more detail photos.
Yes a ratchet is a no brainer. Fortunately I'm able to modify my behavior without repeating the events over and over. So lesson learned, no matter how trivial the task, use a tool that won't allow you to screw up. I have a full face helmet and have been using a regular jacket. I've been looking for a proper riding jacket, but just haven't pulled the trigger on one yet- I will very soon. Your windscreen thoughts are interesting, and I might just remove mine to see how it affects me- that's really thought provoking because it seemed logical that some windscreen is better than none, but it really never occurred to me that I may be doing more harm than good. I will take some photos and give some descriptions on the bag brackets, but I wouldn't expect to be blown away as I'm just a novice fabricator that likes to make things. I definitely fall into the form follows function camp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
From what it sounds like, what you are looking for in a bike is a true do-it-all bike that doesn't specialize in any specific area and instead does everything rather well. These bikes, referred to as UJMs, populated the market back in the 70s, 80s, and even into the early 90s. But it sort of died out because people wanted more specialized machines. There are some bikes out there now that still have that jack-of-all-trades quality to them, but they are few and far between and typically run upwards of $10k. The few noticeable examples I can think of off the top of my head are the FJ-09, Kawasaki Ninja 1000, Ducati Multistrada, and Suzuki GSX1250SA (I think that's what it's called).
You are pretty spot on. A jack of all trades bike is what I want. I thought/think the FZ could/can work for me, but maybe I will end up with something more in line with the group of bikes you listed. I will be patient and see what the next couple of months hold. Completely reworking the suspension is out of the question. I like to tinker, but if I have to put that much time, energy and money into it, I'm just going to go get a platform that works for me out of the box. It really doesn't take that many of the modifications mentioned in this thread to reach the FJ-09 crate price. I'm not saying that the FJ-09 would be the next bike, but that next level is not that for away in price. We'll see and I'll keep you guys posted. Good input.
 
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