With its European counterpart, the 2014 Yamaha MT-09 dropping earlier today, America too will be getting a 847cc three-cylinder naked bike for the 2014 model year, the 2014 Yamaha FZ-09. Replacing the Yamaha FZ8 in the Japanese company’s line-up, the FZ-09 is the first motorcycle from the tuning fork brand to sport the Yamaha’s new line of three-cylinder engines.
The Yamaha FZ-09 comes about as the MIC is reporting its second-consecutive year of growth in the 751+cc sport bike segment, as well as increase in commuter riding over short-distance sport riding.
With those trends in mind, Yamaha has punched out the displacement on its middleweight naked bike, and focused on giving riders a comfortable, yet stout, motorcycle. Priced at $7,990 MSRP, we think Yamaha hit the nail pretty much on the head with this one.
Perhaps our only real complaint about the new triple is that we don’t love the looks of the 2014 Yamaha FZ-09, but we don’t hate them either. And with only a couple aftermarket bolt-ons, the FZ-09 could really be a lot of things to a lot of riders, and look down right gorgeous.
On a more practical note, the new Yamaha FZ-09 sits the rider more upright than the Yamaha FZ8, which means that the FZ-09 will be more comfortable on longer trips, and its 414 lbs wet weight should be appealing as well — that’s a 53 lbs weight reduction over the FZ8’s wet weight figure — booyah!
Of course, the real star of the Yamaha FZ-09 is its three-cylinder motor. Using the engine configuration to distinguish itself from a sea of Japanese inline-fours, Yamaha’s triple makes 65 lbs•ft (the top of its class) and 113 hp from its fuel-injected 847cc lump.
Using Yamaha’s variable-length intake funnels, the FZ-09 promises to have a good linear throttle response, as well as better power in the low and mid rev ranges. Throttle control is handled by Yamaha’s YCC-T ride-by-wire system, and the FZ-09 comes with Yamaha’s D-Mode throttle mapping as well, allowing a rider to pick the engine map that best suits their current state of riding.
Boasting an all new aluminum chassis, Yamaha has picked four-pot brake calipers up front with 298mm discs (two-pot calipers and a 245mm disc at the rear), which are sprung by 41mm USD forks with 5.4″ of travel (5.1″ of travel in the rear).
Priced $900 cheaper than the Yamaha FZ8 it replaces, the Yamaha FZ-09 seems like quite the bargain, though we would have liked to have seen Yamaha mate fully-adjustable suspension pieces to the machine. Instead, the 2014 Yamaha FZ-09 will come with forks and a rear shock that have preload and rebound adjustments only, which may deter more sport-oriented riders.
Motorcyclists more into long-distance riding might be put off by the somewhat small 3.7 gallon tank size, still at eight-grand it is hard not to like what Yamaha has brought to the naked party (some keys maybe? — hey oh!).
The first of what we expect to be many Yamaha motorcycles with a three-cylinder engine, we like what we see here, and eagerly hope that rumors of a triple R6 or R1 come true.