Fazer bares it all
The FZ1 beats its rivals, writes CRAIG DUFF
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.