Yamaha FZ-09 | Long-Term Motorcycle Test | DOIN’ TIME

Long-Term Update: Aftermarket taillight options from Bikemaster and Rizoma

WRIST: Ari Henning
MSRP (2014): $7,990
MILES: 7,772
MPG: 38
MODS: Headlight bulb, BikeMaster and Rizoma taillights
UPDATE: 12

Awhile back I noticed the Yamaha FZ-09's low-beam headlight was out, and I immediately assumed my bike was the victim of a too-short wiring harness, the subject of a recent recall ( see FZ-09 Recall News here ). Some 5,300 FZ-09s suffer from a lack of slack in the wiring harness at the headstock, so when the handlebar is turned to full lock the headlight connector can get yanked out of the back of the bulb. The bulletin I read said that if your headlight flickers or goes out, you might have a defective harness. Yamaha knows which VINs are susceptible, and you'll be contacted to arrange a fix if your bike is part of the recall. (The solution is to install a sub-harness to add length.)

Stock Yamaha taillight

Since I never received a recall notice—and I wouldn’t because the bike is still registered to Yamaha—and the high beam still worked, I figured the low-beam filament had just given up the ghost. Gaining access to the bulb is easy: Remove two bolts and the whole headlight assembly lifts up, providing a clear shot at the bulb and connector. The burned-out bulb was replaced with a standard H4 unit from an auto parts store for $12.

Rizoma FZ-09 tallight kit

On the subject of lights, I’ve always felt that the FZ’s taillight looks ungainly. I’m also not a fan of the fact that only the small triangular edges of the assembly serve as running lights—it’s not enough visibility, says this one-time rear-ender victim—so I decided to investigate alternatives.

Bikemaster universal LED taillight

Based on its dimensions I knew BikeMaster's universal mini-LED taillight (bikemaster.com; part #266262, $30) would fit in the recess on the FZ's tail. It not only fits, but the two studs on the back bolt right up to the original mount. The unit is brighter than the stock light and has a slightly wider viewing angle (plus a built-in license-plate light), but wiring it in is up to you. I don't care for the blue glow from the license-plate light, and the assembly leaves ugly gaps in the tail bodywork, but for $30 it's a very cheap mod.

Rizoma (rizoma.com) has a purpose-built kit, but it's $122. Then again, it comes with the LED taillight and a mounting bracket that supports the light and a plastic trim piece that matches the contour of the FZ's tail, plus an OE-style electrical connector. Interestingly, the LED assembly appears to be identical to the BikeMaster piece, albeit with a light smoke lens and no integrated license-plate light. The Rizoma piece is a clean solution, but the soft, round look doesn't quite suit the FZ-09's angular aesthetic.

Stock Yamaha taillight
Bikemaster universal LED taillight
Rizoma FZ-09 tallight kit