The brilliance of the FZ750
Yamaha’s FZ750 is now starting to be recognised as a real 1980s classic, but it’s not always been so. Why? Well, it was launched at the same time as some rather amazing peers, most notably the Suzuki GSX-R750F, their two-stroke RG500, Honda’s two-stroke NS400R and Kawasaki’s ground-breaking middleweight, the GPZ600R. Out of all these amazing bikes, one of them had to lurk in the shadow of the others and – strangely – it’s been the FZ. And there’s no reason why… the FZ laid the groundwork for Yamaha’s later domination of the big-cube bike market. The DNA is all there… The 749cc engine is canted forward 45° for better weight distribution as well as to help the engine breathe through those fuel-pump fed down-draught carburettors. Power is around 100-110 claimed bhp and delivered in a beautifully linear fashion. The frame comprises a box-section steel perimeter. The big hoo-ha was reserved for the valves: five of them, three inlet and two exhaust. This design stayed with Yamaha’s big sports machines until the 2007 YZF-R1 reverted to a four-valve head. Why a five-valver? Well, it was considered that smaller, lighter valves would work better and faster than fewer, heavier ones. It was probably more of a gimmick as it was a design used in Yamaha’s 1980s Formula 1 engines. The FZ itself carried on in Yamaha’s range until 1991, by which time the Deltabox framed Genesis FZR1000 had shown up. Changes were minimal, but seat height went up 10mm to 800mm from 1987 as did wheelbase by 5mm to 1490mm. Other changes that year were to the rear suspension and swingarm set-up. Tyre sizes eventually went to 17s at the front too. Today the days of a rough FZ like Stavros got for a grand are long gone and prices are stronger for a decent 750 than the likes of a good Genesis or EXUP: expect to start at a couple of grand. The good thing too is that many parts are still available, even through Yamaha.
RIGHT: Canted forward 20-valve engine (45°) helps the motor breathe.
Some markets got the FZ fully-faired.