Introduced in 2014, this motorcycle may still be finding its following among riders but that’s through no fault of Yamaha which brought together the needed technology, performance and matched it with an undeniable price.
There are a lot of reasons to like Yamaha’s FZ-07, which on the surface could be presumed to be the slightly younger brother of the larger F7-09. But technically speaking, the FZ-07 should be considered the younger son from another father with Yamaha introducing many new parts to make the motorcycle what it is.
In this vein, it might be easier to start with what the FZ-07 isn’t, a smaller, stripped down version of the FZ-09. Featuring a new powerhouse, the FZ-07 offers performance when riders want without the handholding or throttle management other motorcycles may demand.
The FZ-07 rode onto showroom floors in 2014 with an all-new 689cc liquid-cooled, in-line twin cylinder, DOHC, 8-valve engine with fuel injection. The model isn’t ride by wire, nor does it feature ride modes. Neither of these are needed on the FZ-07 as in reality, they would probably get in the way of what the motorcycle has to offer. Developing up to 50 foot pounds of torque and designed to maximize riding excitement in the real world, the FZ-07 provides outstanding low- to mid-range torque with very linear throttle response, yet offers strong mid-high rpm pulling power as well.
One of the factors behind this power delivery, Yamaha’s ‘Crossplane Concept,’ 270 degree crank that provides linear torque development in response to the rider’s throttle input. Simply put, this method helps provide one of best power deliveries of any middleweight on the market.
The motorcycle’s performance is enhanced by the weight, or lack thereof, with the CP2 engine being light, slim and compact, making it easier for the smaller framed riders to wrap their legs around. To this end, the slim 3.7 gallon fuel tank is both stylish and compact to provide excellent comfort and knee grip for rider confidence. Want proof of this slimming effort? The FZ-08 weighs in at 397 lbs wet and ready to go.
Adding to the FZ-07’s performance, a new 6-speed transmission which was built to match its engine. The transmission “stacks” the input/output shafts to centralize mass and to keep the overall engine size shorter front-to-back, which optimizes engine placement in the frame for outstanding weight balance. This design helps brings out more of the low- to midspeed torque and excellent response characteristics while reducing the need for frequent shifts.
Indeed, the FZ-07 allows a lot of room in the different gears minimizing the need for shifting up and down making the motorcycle ideal for those who may want an easier ride or are looking for something to ease them through the skill sets needed for riding.
A reason the model has the play it does are the settings of the FZ-07’s Electronic fuel injection system which deliver a smooth throttle response. Again, Yamaha designed the system to deliver outstanding torque in the low rpm range, excellent acceleration in the middle rpm range and strong rev characteristics in the upper rpm range.
Readers should be sensing a recurring theme from Yamaha’s engineers and design focus.
Essentially two things will tire a rider the quickest, managing the motorcycle, whether physically or with the power delivery and riding position. With the focus seen in the power delivery of making the FZ-07 an easy ride, we turn to the motorcycle’s handling and riding position.
A new lightweight, diamond-type, backbone high tensile steel frame provides an optimized rigidity balance for light, agile handling and stability. This helps with the riding position which Yamaha’s engineers feels is one of the motorcycle’s most important features, offering balance between sporty handling and excellent rider comfort, thanks to its upright riding position.
Helping with the ride’s ‘feel’, its wheelbase, seat height, fuel tank width, rake and other dimensions, all set to work with the qualities of the compact 2-cylinder engine to achieve a sporty, light and neutral handling character.
A smooth ride is delivered by not only the front suspension, handled by a 41mm fork with 5.1 inches of travel that is tuned to provide a balance of great comfort on the streets but the rear which allows for adjustment. The rear suspension features an adjustable link-type Monocross shock that provides 5.1" of rear travel and is positioned below the seat, with the shock itself in an almost horizontal alignment. This unique positioning contributes to make the body design more compact and optimize component.
The rear suspension includes spring preload adjustment, allowing the rider to tailor the settings to match rider weight or load.
Lightweight cast-aluminum 10-spoke cast aluminum wheels reduce unsprung weight for great handling and suspension performance. The 17-inch front wheel is fitted with a 120/70ZR-17 radial tire and the rear wheel sports a 180/55ZR-17 radial tire.
Finally, to keep the rider informed, a newly designed lightweight, compact, full LCD instrument panel is adopted. The panel includes a digital bar-type tachometer display with gear position indicator, digital speedometer, odometer, dual trip meters, fuel gauge, fuel reserve trip meter, clock, instant and average fuel consumption and a range of warning and indicator lights.
Yamaha puts the FZ-07 against the likes of Honda’s NC700X, Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 and the new, or returning kid on the block, Suzuki’s SFV650. Comparisons to these competitors can be seen in videos found on the product page as well as its Youtube channel.
With a MSRP of $6,990 it’s an affordable road for new riders to get into the saddle, or even those looking for an excuse to come back to the two-wheeled past time. Offer a simple, powerful ride without overwhelming the rider seems to be the magical, if not straight-forward formula for the FZ-07.
There are three colors to choose from, Armor Gray, Raven and Matte Silver, all carrying the same MSRP.
The FZ-07 appears to be well-liked in the motorcycle world, delivering far more power than the size of the engine would lead riders to believe. Yamaha introduced this model in 2014, just as the motorcycle industry was coming out of the worldwide recession that made for some lean years for all. This could explain the laser-like focus on building something that would allow newer riders to keep up with the more experienced pack and more importantly, keep the FZ-07 in the garage for quite a few years.