Fab Faz­ers

Used guide re­veals bril­liant 600 could be yours for £1k

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Jon Urry MCN GUEST TESTER

What we said then

“The Fazer feels like it should cost twice the price. The bike’s en­gine, brakes and sus­pen­sion have a much more ex­pen­sive feel than its Hor­net or Ban­dit rivals. The silky smooth mo­tor is one of its best fea­tures with loads of torque and ac­cel­er­a­tion.”

MCN first test, Fe­bru­ary 18, 1998

But what is it like now?

In 2003 I was in­vited to the first ride of Yamaha’s brand new FZ6 Fazer. This was the bike des­tined to carry on the Fazer fam­ily name that the pre­vi­ous model, the FZS600 Fazer, had forged such a strong rep­u­ta­tion around. But there was a prob­lem: the new bike wasn’t a patch on the old one.

Where the orig­i­nal en­joyed the easy charms of a Thun­der­cat en­gine, the new one had an R6-de­rived four. And that wasn’t the only prob­lem, the new chas­sis was too sporty and firm. As a huge fan of the FZS model, I wasn’t

Yamaha got this bike so right, it’s a de­light to ride one again alone in feel­ing gut­ted that tight­en­ing emis­sions laws had forced the pre­ma­ture demise of the old model.

There is a rea­son the FZS Fazer has such a strong fol­low­ing – as soon as its wheels start to turn you are right at home. It is ease per­son­i­fied and most of this warm feel­ing comes from the won­der­ful mo­tor.

The in­line-four is beau­ti­fully smooth and has that lovely mid-range pull you get with an old ‘long-stroke’ unit. It’s not revvy or buzzy like the FZ6’S en­gine, it’s just silky smooth and full of drive. The gear­box may be show­ing its age (the link­age is no­to­ri­ously sloppy when worn) but it clunks into gear with a re­as­sur­ingly solid feel and the bike is more than happy to break the na­tional speed limit when asked. But I have to ad­mit, it is a bit soft in the bends.

With limited sus­pen­sion ad­just­ment (post-2000 mod­els have vari­able damp­ing in their forks) the Fazer is a bit wob­bly in the cor­ners and the Su­mit­omo calipers shared with the R1 quickly over­whelm the forks when you brake hard. But where on some bikes this is an an­noy­ance, on the Fazer it makes you gig­gle and adds to the amuse­ment fac­tor.

With the Fazer, Yamaha got the ba­sics right and that’s what makes it such a great bike. The tank range is long, the seat com­fort­able, the fair­ing ef­fec­tive, the brakes sharp and the mo­tor strong in the mid-range and ex­tremely re­li­able. The sus­pen­sion may be a bit baggy, but if that’s the Fazer’s only real fault 19 years af­ter it was launched then that’s not bad go­ing.

Any ob­vi­ous faults?

Car­ry­ing a mileage of just over 18,000 on its clocks, this 2000 model is a pretty stan­dard ex­am­ple. The paint has started to flake quite badly on the en­gine’s fins (the owner ad­mit­ted to jet wash­ing it) and the un­der­slung rear brake caliper looks like it could do with a re­fresh. The sus­pen­sion link­ages are show­ing cor­ro­sion, as are the fork legs, but these are only vis­ual is­sues and the link­ages and bear­ings are nicely greased. It’s a well used, but cared for, Fazer and that’s the kind of one you want to buy.

Or worth­while ex­tras?

It is pleas­ing to see this bike has had stain­less head­ers fit­ted to the OE ex­haust, but the shock cover may hide a leak­ing or rusty shock, so I’d take a look un­der it be­fore buy­ing. The GPS mount seems nicely wired in, and it doesn’t re­strict the bar’s move­ment. Other than that it is pretty stock – again, that’s quite a good sign.

Ver­dict

If Yamaha launched the FZS600 Fazer to­mor­row it would prob­a­bly still sell, it’s that good a mo­tor­cy­cle. In fact, since Yamaha stopped the FZS’S pro­duc­tion in 2003, it has taken them un­til the launch of the Tracer 700 to repli­cate the Fazer’s magic for­mula. At un­der £2000 for a good ex­am­ple, you can’t go wrong with an FZS600 Fazer.

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