Tiff and I met at the track, where she races her Ninja 250 with more enjoyment and positivity than anyone else on the grid. When Tiffani got word that she’d be getting laid off from her job in Los Angeles, she didn’t fret. In typical ultra-optimistic Tiff style, she saw it as an opportunity to hit the road on her newly acquired Yamaha FZ-07. What follows are Tiffani’s reports from the road, originally posted for her friends on Facebook but shared here with her permission for all to enjoy. — Ari Henning
Being this is all about a road trip on a motorcycle, specifically my FZ-07, it’s probably a good idea that I actually tell everyone a bit about the bike, right? Right.
I bought my FZ barely used with a whopping 700 miles on it, borderline bone stock, save an Akrapovic exhaust and some tank grips, and shinier than anything I’ve ever owned. Obviously, it’s no longer even almost bone stock, so let’s go through the build!
I know full well this isn’t an adventure bike, nor was it intended to be, but I’ll be damned if I ever let logic dictate my life choices! So, for my first round of upgrades, I decided it needed some sort of crash protection (and after taking it over 55mph for the first time) some wind protection. Thus, I picked up Hepco & Becker’s engine guards and a Puig touring windscreen. And after the first test ride with the new windscreen, what a night and day difference!
And that was just the tip of the iceberg. Next up we had some of the bigger things. I didn’t want to get racing rearsets like I normally do, as the rubber on the stock pegs is appreciated for vibration dampening over distance, and the folding pegs make life much easier when you’re not super tall and the kickstand is tucked away. So, Andy Palmer of AP MotoArts was clever enough to come up with a nice set of riser plates that bolt behind the stock rearsets and allow you to adjust the footpeg height.
Of course, if you’re building a cross-country bike, you also need some storage space. After tons and tons and tons of research on what was currently available for the FZ and what would make the most sense for me (and, let’s be honest, what had the most zombie-apocalypse-esque aesthetic), I once again ended up with Hepco & Becker in the form of some side cases. I did have to cut into the bodywork to install them (RIP pristine, uncrashed bodywork), and the install was a bit more complicated than I expected.
Next up was the seat, some minor things, and one very important project. I once again went to the interwebs for endless research, and ended up shipping my seat out to Indiana to a company called AsTech seats, and had them redo the padding. Thus, the seat still looks stock, but now it stays comfortable all day. I also added some front axle sliders from R&G Racing.
Next up was more protection. (If you hadn’t gathered, I consider myself awkward and accident prone, so this was all quite important.) I wanted handguards with a full backbone and both a bar end and bar clamp mount for maximum impact protection. Sadly, any company who actually made guards for the FZ didn’t offer both mounts, given how little space is available on the FZ’s bars. So, After doing even more research, I ended up with the Zeta Handguards, which many people had had luck fitting. The bar ends had to be both drilled and tapped to make them work—thank God for friends who own drill presses and actually know what they’re doing. While I was in there, I also took the time to swap out the stock grips for some pro grips that matched the blurple ever so nicely, attach a fuel canister to the rear of one of my panniers, built a radiator guard for myself, and also I built a headlight grill from scratch with some crap from home depot. After all was said and done, we had progress!
And, which you can vaguely see above, the absolute most important mod of all was adding the personal race logos, characters, and companies that the many friends I’ve met and bonded with over the years on the race track use to represent themselves.
And that’s the bike! Oh wait, I nearly forgot the Shinko 705 dual-sport tires, since I intend to explore a fair amount of our National Parks’ dirt roads during my trip. Ari levered those on for me in the MC Garage, and I’ve already put them to good use getting to some remote campsites. More on that in the next update!