Yamaha FZ-09 - Riding Impression

Consider the entry game officially changed.

Yamaha FZ-09 action shot

We've had lots of seat time on the FZ-09, and this sub-$8K naked bike has so much spirit, soul, and performance that the next time I rolled on the throttle riding a Honda NC700X, all I heard was the sound of quiet desperation.

We know the NC700X isn't meant to be the same thing, but you just can't help make the comparison because these bikes are going after the same entry rung and are just too close in price to ignore.

But there is no doubt the FZ-09 is the enthusiast’s choice. Wicked fast in a straight line, this Yamaha triple blasts through the quarter-mile in 10.66 seconds. That’s only a few ticks off our trio of exotics leading this Year of the Naked section and barely behind the Monster 1200 S, Speed Triple R, and Z1000, all of which cost considerably more.

2014 Yamaha FZ-09 on the CW Dynojet dyno:

2014 Yamaha FZ-09 Dyno Chart

Folks, we are talking mid-10s from a $7,990 motorcycle. And it's not just the 107 hp and 62 pound-feet of torque the bike makes on the CW Dynojet dyno; it's the fact that there are 43 pound-feet at just 2,000 revs and an excellent clutch that makes firing out the hole so easy. A 396-pound dry weight doesn't hurt either.

Steering is very good, the riding position ultra comfortable, and overall handling is held back only by the suspension, which suggests "lowest bidder." The spring-preload- and rebound-damping-adjustable fork and shock run short of composure, even with rebound cranked to max. Eh, be smooth and start considering upgrades (we'll update you in the next FZ-09 long-term-test installment soon).

There are plenty of reasons to peel greenbacks out of your wallet for bikes like the BMW S1000R, but if you don't have the funds, the FZ-09 and its new FZ-07 stablemate mean you have not been left out of the naked-bike revolution.

Yamaha FZ-09 front wheelie action view

Action shot #1

Yamaha FZ-09 front 3/4 action view

Action shot #2

Yamaha FZ-09 rear wheelie action view

Action shot #3

Yamaha FZ-09 front wheelie action view

Action shot #4

Yamaha FZ-09 angled action view

Action shot #5

Yamaha FZ-09 static front 3/4 left-side view

Static front 3/4 left-side view.

Yamaha FZ-09 static right-side view

Static right-side view.

Yamaha FZ-09 static rear 3/4 left-side view

Static rear 3/4 left-side view.