2014 YAMAHA FZ-09 | Doin' Time

Our long-term FZ-09 test bike gets an R&G tail tidy and BikeMaster LEDs

By Ari Henning, Photography by Brian MacLean

WRIST: Ari Henning
MSRP (2014): $7,990
MILES: 3,333
MPG: 37
MODS: R&G fender eliminator, BikeMaster turn signals, Lockhart Phillips flasher unit, reservoir relocation

I'm not putting many miles on the FZ-09 these days. That's because shortly after last month's update, the bike went back into the shop to have the fork disassembled and the internals sent off for service. (The low-buck suspension mods just aren't cutting it.) With the bike out of commission, I took the opportunity to attend to a few aesthetic mods that have been on my mind.

The FZ-09 is a sharp-looking machine, but there's room for improvement. The easy, free stuff first, then. A heat gun made quick work of the warning label on the tank—I know to fill it with premium gas, thanks—and removing the rectangular reflectors from the fork lowers helped unclutter the front end and show off those cool calipers.

The rear brake-fluid reservoir has bothered me since I first saw the bike. It looks out of place hanging out behind the right passenger peg, so I relocated it to the rear of the clutch cover with a bracket I made out of a scrap of aluminum. I had to shorten the stock reservoir hose, but that's a cheap part to replace when it's time to put things back to stock. With the reservoir supported by its own bracket, I was able to remove the passenger footpegs, too. I won't be using those until the suspension gets sorted, anyway.

Next on my "it's gotta go" list was the rear fender and those big, floppy turn signals. I went with a Tail Tidy kit from R&G (twistedthrottle.com; $143), and the setup accomplished exactly what the name implies. It was an easy install, too. The kit comes with a trick LED license plate light and adapters for mini turn signals, which I'd already ordered from BikeMaster (bikemaster.com). I got two sets of Narrow Arrow Head II LED signals for $60 total—less than the cost of one of the fancy signals I'd considered ordering.

Wiring up the signals was straightforward, but some soldering was required, and I had to get another set of R&G adapter plates ($17) for the front indicators. The LEDs only have a fraction of the resistance of the stock incandescent signals, so the flash rate was frenzied until I plugged in a model-specific, plug-and-play electronic flasher unit from Lockhart Phillips (lockhartphillipsusa.com; $12).

I'm pleased with the way the FZ cleaned up—and for not a lot of coin. The fender eliminator kit was key, as were the turn signals. There are a few more things I want to do to spruce up the bike's appearance but not before I put some more miles on the odometer!

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