Yamaha FZ-09 - Long-Term Test Update

More bark, more bite.

Yamaha FZ-09 action shot

It only took one trackday and a few hundred more miles of aggressive back-road charging on the FZ-09 after our last update to convince us we needed to dramatically improve suspension performance. Race Tech reworked the stock fork with a Gold Valve (damping is in the right leg only) and stiffer springs ($449.96). At the rear, a Race Tech G3-S shock ($749.99) replaced the stocker. Damping control is far better, and the springs have altered chassis attitude for better turning response. We spec’d it for “twisty roads/expert” and got nice, firm damping that can be relaxed with minor changes to the rebound-damping screws (rebound and spring preload remain the only adjustments).

Yamaha FZ-09 Race Tech G3-S shock product image

A few thousand miles before the suspension work, our first attempt to improve handling was simple fitment of Dunlop Sportmax Q3 tires (120/70ZR-17 front: $170.64; 180/55ZR-17 rear: $219.40). Confidence on turn-in, grip fully leaned over, and overall chassis behavior got a huge bump just from the tires. We mounted them at 3,200 miles, and at 5,750 they are still holding up well. This is great sporty rubber.

Vance & Hines used our bike to prototype a full exhaust system then decided not to produce it! The stock system is 18 pounds, and the V&H cuts that nearly in half. Power is up a few ponies at peak, and the exhaust note, while sweet, is quite loud, even with the removable “quiet” insert installed. We have a beautifully crafted Akrapovic Racing Line exhaust system ($1,239.95) ready to mount next, and that one you can buy.

Yamaha FZ-09 Rizoma aluminum headlight fairing product image

Cosmetic and functional upgrades included a Rizoma Aluminum Headlight Fairing for much improved comfort on the highway ($184) and 4-D aspheric mirrors (with curved glass at the outer edges to widen rear view, $318, plus $24 for the necessary adaptors). Finally, Yamaha accessory radiator covers ($117.99) are a very nice addition and only took a few minutes to install.

The FZ-09 has had no mechanical issues, and only scheduled maintenance has been necessary. The first oil change was at 4,000 miles, and 2.4 liters of new Motorex Sport Max 4T in 15w-50 ($7.95 per liter) handled the job (a new filter is not called for until the next service). Sport Max is “a premium quality, mineral-based formula aimed at the price-conscious street and off-road motorcyclist,” Motorex says. Even though we’ve spent quite a bit on other items, we thought a less-expensive oil was perfect for our bargain middleweight.

PRICE AS TESTED (2014)|$7990
RELATED CONTENT|Yamaha FZ-09 – Long-Term Test Intro

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Action shot.

Race Tech G3-S rear shock.

Vance & Hines prototype exhaust.

Rizoma Aluminum Headlight Fairing.

4-D aspheric mirrors.

Yamaha accessory radiator covers.