To show off these improvements, Yamaha invited the press corps to spend a full day riding in Southern California's famed Santa Monica Mountains (and they didn't say "fake news" once). Challenging on the best of days, the area's serpentine backroads were made even more so by this winter's incessant rains, and yet the FZ-09 took everything in stride. You don't fully appreciate ABS or traction control until you come around a blind corner and find the road strewn with dirt from a mudslide or awash in running water! The ABS is preset but the TC has three positions (1,2, and Off), and there are also three Ride Modes (A,B, and Standard) for the YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle. We spent most of the day riding in "A1" and found that to offer exhilarating performance and an acceptable safety margin. Hooligans (and Motorcyclist's Ari Henning) will rejoice in the fact that the FZ is still capable of wheelying in the least-obtrusive TC setting, and will also do stoppies if you don't snatch at the brake lever too hard. So the rider aids don't intrude on the fun.