AIMExpo News: 2017 Yamaha FZ-09 First Look Review

Tech updates and a facelift for the 2017 FZ-09

2017 Yamaha FZ-09
The FZ-09 was already an edgy, high-excitement budget bike. Yamaha’s aim is to keep the FZ at the forefront of the budget-friendly naked-bike class by updating the bike’s style and adding TC and an adjustable fork.Photo: Julia LaPalme

When it hit the streets in 2014 the Yamaha FZ-09 blew the wheels off the naked-bike segment. For $8,000 you got over 100 horsepower in a 414ish-pound package, not to mention the exciting and dynamic character of that amazing three-cylinder engine. We've loved that crossplane triple since the first time we rode it and we've championed it in all its forms, including the FJ-09 sport-tourer and the XSR900 hipster bike.

2017 FZ-09 headlights
Quad-LED headlights now grace the 2017 FZ’s robot-frog face.Photo: Julia LaPalme

For 2017 Yamaha hopes to maintain the FZ’s momentum by revamping the bike’s style and adding traction control and ABS. The bike also gets the slip-and-grip clutch first introduced on the XSR900 introduced earlier this year, plus the option to add a quickshifter for even more exciting sport riding.

As with the new-for-2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 (click here for the AIMExpo First Look with video) and the R1, the updated FZ-09 draws heavily on the styling of its big brother, which in this case is the FZ-10. To that end, the FZ-09 gets the full Transformers treatment with a squinting, machinelike face dominated by LED headlights. Shrouds now flank the radiator and the tail section has sharper lines and a cleaner integrated tail light, with the license plate relocated to a dangling arrangement above the rear wheel as on Ducati's Multistrada. The FZ's seat and tank appear to be the same, though we know that the saddle now rests 0.2 inches higher off the ground. All told it's an effective makeover. Whether or not it looks good… we'll let you be the judge.

As with the new-for-2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 (click here for the AIMExpo First Look) and the R1, the updated FZ-09 draws heavily on the styling of its big brother, which in this case is the FZ-10 (see our special On Two Wheels video review here). To that end, the FZ-09 gets the full Transformers treatment with a squinting, machinelike face dominated by LED headlights. Shrouds now flank the radiator and the tail section has sharper lines and a cleaner integrated tail light, with the license plate relocated to a dangling arrangement above the rear wheel as on Ducati's Multistrada. The FZ's seat and tank appear to be the same, though we know that the saddle now rests 0.2 inches higher off the ground. All told it's an effective makeover. Whether or not it looks good… we'll let you be the judge.

2017 Yamaha FZ-09 fork
The FZ’s KYB fork is now fully adjustable, with spring preload, compression, and rebound damping.Photo: Julia LaPalme

As before the 847cc triple’s ride-by-wire throttle is tunable via Yamaha’s D-Mode system, letting riders choose between three throttle maps. New for 2017 is a traction-control system and optional ABS. The best news though? Yamaha fitted the FZ will a fully adjustable fork, meaning you may be able to do something about the previous bike’s terrible suspension action.

2017 FZ-09 tail
The 2017 FZ is restyled, nose to tail. That’s a new LED tail light, and it’s neatly integrated into the bike’s sharper, more pointed tail. The license-plate assembly juts off the swingarm, similar to what’s seen on Ducati’s Multistrada.Photo: Julia LaPalme

We’re excited about the suspension upgrade and love the idea of TC as an option, but all those new features mean two things: more money and more weight. The 2017 FZ with standard ABS will carry a $8,999 price tag, up $809 from the 2016 model. The bike is also about 10 pounds heavier than its predecessor, and while a claimed 425 pounds is still pretty light, that original 414-pound weight was pretty spectacular. Hopefully this isn’t a trend for the FZ, and if Yamaha wants to keep increasing the bike’s features, maybe they’ll consider building an up-spec R-model.

The 2017 FZ-09 will be in dealerships in February and will be available in Candy Red, Matte Silver and Intensity White. We’ll let you know how that new fork feels as soon as we ride the bike, so stay tuned.

2017 Yamaha FZ-09 in Candy Red.
2017 Yamaha FZ-09 in Candy Red.Photo: Yamaha
2017 Yamaha FZ-09 in Intensity White.
2017 Yamaha FZ-09 in Intensity White.Photo: Yamaha
2017 Yamaha FZ-09 in Matte Silver
2017 Yamaha FZ-09 in Matte SilverPhoto: Yamaha