The Yamaha FZ1 doesn't get the marketing attention it should have, because of that the FZ1 hasn't caught the imagination of the Thai big bike buyer. But the Yamaha FZ1, powered by a YZF-R1 engine, is a top motorcycle.
The Yamaha FZ1 is evidence that motorcycling can turn full circle. Its rivals are all reactions to Japanese hegemony, but now have become more conventional and it's this new breed of naked Japanese motorcycles that provide a refreshing change.
Not that you'd know about this quiet revolution. Amid the boisterous behavior of its rivals the Yamaha FZ1 is like in a class of its own. The Yamaha FZ1 initially shunned the limelight, preferring to keep its powder dry for when the fireworks were really about to explode.
But it's hard to keep a ballistic inline four 998cc engine under wraps for very long. The Yamaha engine may belong to the FZ1 now, but it seems to remember its days when it was powering the Yamaha YZF-R1. Sure, it can politely make progress through town or quietly keep up with the morning traffic on the Bangkok other-ring-road but before long it vents its frustrations by delivering a hit of acceleration that its rivals simply can't match. While you have to adapt to the Yamaha's rivals, the space afforded on the Yamaha FZ1 means that it can adapt to you. It feels like a real big bike, with a long wheelbase and lots of weight to bring along for the ride. Naturally, there's precious little wind protection, but it's no worse than on any other motorcycles in the same class. And its so user friendly that I think that our secretary could ride it (she normally ride a Yamaha Fino 115cc). The handlebars are nicely narrow and conveniently located, your legs splay round the wide fuel tank and are easily housed while your boots don't get trapped in the ensuing mass of exhaust or pillion peg like they do on some other motorcycles.
The Yamaha engine is equally accommodating too. While I've never had much of an issue with the FZ1's infamous fuel injection, it was a major detraction for some in the past. With the latest FZ1 model it is a different matter, though, and anyone complaining about the set-up now clearly has some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder. The Yamaha can trickle along with barely any speed in top, or it can whistle out of a turn with the engine revving between 6,000 and 12,000rpm with a hit of speed rarely matched by any other comparable motorcycle.
Realistically, it's as quick as any sportsbike, just not as comfortable, so if it's pure performance you're after, then look no further. Yes, it doesn't have a real soul, but given the scrapes it can put you in this is a small price to pay for such ruthless efficiency.
The leap from relaxed to sporty is a bigger jump than on any other machine. While some motorcycles wrestle you all over the road, you really feel like it takes a purposeful stab down the gearbox to engage the Yamaha FZ1 into high jinks. Some of this is psychological, with Yamaha strangely shoeing its aggressive naked machine with not the best tires. Because the Yamaha FZ1 has limited ground clearance, the issue of tires and suspension barely comes into it. Footpegs are ground out round almost every enthusiastically-taken bend.
Basically, the Yamaha FZ1 has all the makings of a superb motorcycle. The looks, now nearly three years old, are still relevant. The engine is everything a 1000cc sportsbike derived lump should be and the chassis and riding position is clearly designed to perform to the levels of its counterparts.Tag: YamahaFZ11000ccInline-FourNaked-BikeSportbikeEFILiquid-CooledPerformance