2007 Yamaha FZ1 | First Ride

Second-Year Tweaks Change The Fizzer From Flawed To Fantastic

Manufacturers rarely make significant changes to models in their second year of production. Not only can it be hugely expensive, the bad PR that can result from leaving first-year buyers holding a flawed or ill-equipped machine can be damaging, especially in this everyone-knows-everything-instantly Internet Age. But that's exactly what Yamaha has done to its R1-engined FZ1 super-standard for '07, and we can't agree strongly enough with the decision.

When the second-generation 2006 FZ1 bowed in late '05, super-standard fans were abuzz. Here was a smaller, lighter, sexier and more powerful version of a bike that had pounded out a solid market for itself by virtue of comfortable ergos, true big-bore performance, superb suspension and well-oiled refinement. But the new-gen Fizzer proved to be a letdown due to harsh suspension, weak midrange and, worst of all, fueling manners as bad as we've seen since fuel-injection began replacing carburetors.

Fortunately, Yamaha listened to the complaints from testers and owners and made key changes to the '07 FZ1-tweaks that have banished all but a smidgen of the bike's well-chronicled faults.

First came recalibrated suspension in the form of fork and shock components with less compression and rebound damping, along with a nearly 15 percent softer shock spring. The result is a noticeably more compliant ride over all sorts of pavement, and better wheel control at speed, as well. The shock remains a bit overdamped on sharp, square-edged hits, but overall the FZ1's new legs are much improved versus last year's units.

A new ECU with revised EFI mapping is the other big change for '07, and what a difference it makes. Not only has 90 percent of the '06 bike's bothersome, abrupt off/on throttle response disappeared, there's noticeably more midrange verve. If Yamaha hadn't told us otherwise, we'd have guessed the engine had gotten new cams. It's not so noticeable on the dyno, but on the road it's a huge improvement that makes the '07 model a lot more fun to ride.

The rest of the package remains status quo: powerful brakes (though with mushy lever feel), reasonable ergos (if a bit skimpy on seat-to-peg room), average wind protection (lots of helmet turbulence for 6-footers), tossable handling manners (the wide bar helps), average gearbox action that improves as the miles pile up, a bit too much driveline lash, below-average mileage from its 4.8-gallon fuel tank and some engine buzziness from 5000 to 7000 rpm, right where the tach needle finds itself during fast highway sorties. All in all, though, it's a much better motorcycle, and one we're now happy to ride.

It took time and generated considerable angst for all parties, but Yamaha has finally delivered on the promise of the second-generation Fizzer. That's worth raising a fizzy drink to, isn't it?

Tech Spec
A second take on the second-generation FZ1, which itself replaced the R1-powered, carbureted original that debuted in 2001.

Honda 919, Suzuki Bandit 1250S and Kawasaki Z1000, plus a wide variety of European naked and semi-naked bikes.

Price: $9199
Engine type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, 20v
Displacement: 998cc
Bore x stroke: 77.0mm x 53.6mm
Compression: 11.5:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Measured horsepower: 125.1 bhp @ 11,250 rpm
Measured torque: 65.6 lb.-ft. @ 8250 rpm
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar with aluminum swingarm
Front suspension: Kayaba 43mm inverted-cartridge fork with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Single Kayaba shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Sumitomo four-piston calipers, 320mm discs
Rear brake: Single Nissin single-piston caliper, 245mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Dunlop D221 Sportmax
Rear tire: 190/50-ZR17 Dunlop D221 Sportmax
Rake/trail: 25.0o/4.3 in.
Seat height: 32.1 in.
Wheelbase: 57.5 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal.
Weight (tank full): 495 lbs.
Weight (tank empty): 467 lbs.
Colors: Black, blue
Available: Now
Warranty: 12 months, unlimited mi.
Contact: Yamaha Motor Corp. USA
6555 Katella Avenue
Cypress, CA 90630