Fazer bares it all

The FZ1 beats its ri­vals, writes CRAIG DUFF

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE R1 is the Yamaha of choice for most sports­bike rid­ers, but they’re ig­nor­ing the naked op­tion. The FZ1, or Fazer, fol­lows con­ven­tion in run­ning a ver­sion of the race-de­rived R1 en­gine tuned for mid-range re­sponse.

The re­sult is a bike that does ev­ery­thing well— well enough to jus­tify the thou­sands you’ll save against the R1. It’s more comfortable than a su­per­bike, eas­ier to ride and more ver­sa­tile, with pan­nier and bag-mount­ing points.

There’s a bikini-fared FZ1S model for those who want a bit of plas­tic, but I like the pure me­chan­i­cal bru­tal­ity of the naked Fazer.

Yamaha says the weight bias is 51/49 per cent front to back to im­prove han­dling. The in­verted front forks are fully ad­justable and the ride po­si­tion is re­laxed.

The throt­tle re­sponse un­der full ac­cel­er­a­tion is as sen­sa­tion­al­ter­ing as you can hope for with a 1000cc sports­bike, but it isn’t as crisp on smaller throt­tle in­puts at low revs. There’s a heart­beat’s hes­i­ta­tion be­fore the wrist action trans­lates into more urge.

The best way to ride the Fazer, though, is to get on the four­caliper front brakes early, clip the apex and use the power to fire into the next bend.

It’s too much fun to be le­gal.

It’s also far cheaper than step­ping aboard one of the fully faired rac­ers. In this case, the FZ1-N costs less than $16,000, giv­ing you $3000-$4000 to spend on ac­ces­sories be­fore you reach sports­bike prices.

The Yamaha is still up against some se­ri­ous ri­vals. Tri­umph’s Speed Triple is about $16,600, Suzuki will sell you a 1250cc Ban­dit for less than $12,000 (with anti-skid brakes now) and Honda has the CB1000F at $13,000.

But the Fazer will more than hold its own with this posse. The model is due for an over­haul and lacks the pol­ish of its more re­cent ri­vals, but there’s not a lot in it.

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