SUSPENSION AND BRAKES
The FZ1′s Soqi suspension components were lauded at the time for their adjustability and competence, even if the stock spring rates were a bit low for aggressive riders. We took the stock items to Race Tech for installation of Gold Valves front (compression and rebound) and rear, plus new springs. Rates up front go from the stock 0.8 kg/mm to 0.95 kg/mm, while in back, a Hyperco 14.3 kg/mm spring replaces the 7.6 kg/mm original. Our FZ1 now rides California’s choppy freeways with less kick through the seat and grips yet has reduced chassis pitching when ridden aggressively. More Corvette, less Chris-Craft. This setup is good for 180-pound-and-up riders as well as lighter pilots intending to carry a load; it might be slightly too firm for lighter folks riding solo. The nice thing: Race Tech will tailor the setup to your weight and skill level.
Galfer steel-braided brake lines replace the original items as much to improve feel as to follow good maintenance practice for rubber lines; after eight years, they’re ready to be retired. EBC Sintered Double-H pads slotted into the front calipers and are motivated by Galfer DOT 4 brake fluid.
For tires, we selected Michelin’s new Pilot Road 3. An update of the popular (among FZ1 owners) Pilot Road 2, the 3 is said to have much better wet-weather capabilities without sacrificing longevity or dry grip. We were impressed by the tires, though no rain fell during our short test period. Outright grip is more than sufficient for the FZ1, and the tires allow the bike to maintain its original neutral handling and light steering.
Turning a naked bike into a capable sport-tourer takes more than time off, a backpack and a gas card. To improve the FZ1, we installed a Givi D129S touring windshield, which is 4.5 in. taller than the nearly ineffective stock item. A 5-foot-9 rider gets a mercifully low-turbulence windblast near the top of the helmet instead of right in the neck. Farther south, a Sargent World Sport seat improves on the Yamaha part, which is actually a very good saddle. Featuring a CarbonFX textured vinyl cover and silver piping, the Sargent looks great but also feels awfully good, especially the gently sloping profile of the rider’s portion. The stock FZ1 seat has a bit of a fore-aft ridge that can make some riders squirm. One-inch risers work with the stock clamps and handlebar to provide a more relaxed riding position. A fine aspect of the FZ1 is that several 7/8-in. bars will not only fit but also clear the fairing and tank. Getting the rider interface just as you want it is actually quite easy.
Down on the fork legs is a pair of PIAA 1100 LED driving lights, which are amazingly bright and focused, yet they consume less than 1 amp each. Koso’s new heated grips came on board, as well, and are managed by a small control box on the left side of the handlebar. Not the hottest grips we’ve tried, but they’ll still be useful for those edge-of-season rides. We fortified the FZ1′s electrical system with a new Ballistic Performance EVO2 lithium-ion battery, which is an astounding 9 lb. lighter than the original Yuasa GT14-B4 lead-acid battery.
Carrying your personal effects aboard the Project Re-Cycle FZ1 became simpler with a full set of Cortech soft luggage: Super 10 Liter Tank Bag, Sport Saddlebags and Sport Tail Bag. Combined capacity is 62 liters. You’ll notice that we added a set of BikeMaster Arrow Head LED turnsignals to the big Fizzer. The main reason was to allow the saddlebags to mount in a range of positions along the FZ1′s hindquarters. Move them back to accommodate a passenger or move them forward so the passenger footpegs can carry some of their weight.
Complete and eager to travel, the Project Re-Cycle FZ1 impresses as an inexpensive entree to sport-touring, a still-thrilling ride with range (thanks to the 5.6-gallon tank), comfort and an elegant simplicity—a truly affordable machine easily maintained and upgraded. Ready for another 32,000 miles.Read Full Post | Comments(0)