Tag Archives: 2014

2014 Yamaha FZ-09 – LONG-TERM TEST WRAP-UP Triple blaster.

2014 Yamaha FZ-09 on-road action If you have one spec of enthusiasm for motorcycling, the howling heart of the FZ-09 gets down in your soul immediately and never lets go. Mere moments into our first ride on the bike at the San Francisco press introduction I was screaming out of my helmet to one of the Yamaha executives riding next to me: “LONG-TERM TEST MANDATORY!” And here we are, wrapping up with 11,111 miles on the clock. The FZ-09 has been so many places in the meantime, grinding out daily commutes, long road trips, several trackdays, and many a back-road thrash. But it wasn’t perfect. Our main initial complaints related to abrupt throttle response and lightly damped suspension that also included too-soft fork springs. 2014 Yamaha FZ-09 studio side view We tried several potential remedies for fueling. First was a Bazzaz Z-Fi TC ($ 849.95). It was pricey, but the EFI remap woke up power and improved (but didn’t make perfect) throttle response. Traction control and quickshifter were great bonuses. After many thousands of miles, we suffered from a nearly severed throttle-position-sensor wire because of low-cost wiretap connector provided with the unit. The Bazzaz was removed and the wire soldered. We were ready to try our next EFI trick, though, so we ran a reflashed factory ECU from Flash Tune ($ 200 for mail-in service). We missed the TC of the Bazzaz, but the reflash allowed fueling to be turned on where the factory originally had none (closed throttle above 4,500 rpm), which you can’t do on a Bazzaz or Power Commander. Further, fine-tuning of fueling and ride-by-wire throttle plate action resulted in the smoothest, most refined running of the test. Returning to the 2014 stock map, we then tried a G2 Ergonomics Street Tamer aluminum throttle tube ($ 79.95) that features a nonlinear cam profile to slow throttle action at smaller openings, leading to smoother pickup. It was, for some of our testers, “transformational” and for most did improve control of initial response. A Yamaha Tech Bulletin also allowed owners to get the much-improved 2015 FZ-09 mapping free at their dealer. We have a 2015 in-house, and stock mapping in Standard mode is excellent. SW-Motech Bags-Connection Blaze Sport saddlebags mounted We overhauled the suspension at Race Tech. Stiffer springs and a Gold Valve ($ 449.96) in the fork work with a replacement G3-S shock ($ 749.99) and resulted in total transformation of handling. Ride is stiff, as we spec’d, but the bike is glued to the pavement and steers beautifully. In fact, on our final trackday with the bike there were no complaints except lack of cornering clearance. Made for great sparks and footpeg-feeler shrapnel flying off the bike, said one staffer following me for a few laps. We also left the SW-Motech Bags-Connection Blaze Sport saddlebags ($ 371.95) in place for that trackday, which helped make the bike wider and harder to pass… In all seriousness, the super-slick mounting system for these soft 14-liter-each bags makes them easy to mount and remove and totally secure, even at triple-digit speeds. And they expand to 21 liters with a quick unzip. We dressed up the FZ with a few accessories. The first fly screen we tried was a beautifully machined aluminum piece from Rizoma ($ 184), which matched the company’s 4D aspheric mirrors ($ 318, plus $ 24 for adapters). From the GYT-R factory accessory catalog, we added sweet radiator covers ($ 120.95), switched to a bigger smoke-tint screen ($ 142.95), gained a GPS mount ($ 58.95) to the bar risers, and an aluminum chain guard ($ 125.95). Wind protection from the bigger screen was better and also made reaching the FZ-09’s odd ignition-key location a bit easier than with the Rizoma. GYT-R factory radiator cover addition The last bit was an Evotech fender-eliminator kit ($ 201.95) imported by Moto Performance. It’s well made, straightforward to install, and allows for easy mounting of the stock turn signals. Two downsides: Installation instructions were poor; and a rubber cap on the seat-release lock replaces the stock flip-up cover, which is mildly annoying when you want to remove the seat. Speaking of which: The stock seat sloped forward and wasn’t too comfortable for more than a long commute. A Seat Concepts replacement cover and foam ($ 159.99) transformed the stock base with a much-improved contour and density, and the price was great. The “carbon weave” cover we chose (among many options) looked good and worked fine if we were wearing denim or leathers, but any textile riding gear slid around like crazy. Seat Concepts says it now offers a new carbon-style material without slickness issues. From a purely sporting perspective, our favorite setup was post-Race Tech/Bazzaz period/Dunlop Sportmax Q3s ($ 390.04). Steering and front-end feedback were awesome, and you could rip it down to the apex in a slower second-gear corner and fire out with the TC making the exhaust pop while doing a leaned-over crossed-up wheelie. It was one of life’s great pleasures. Our final set of tires were Continental Road Attack 2 EVOs ($ 435.31) fitted at 6,430 miles and going strong at 11,000 plus. Front-end feel was not quite as good as with the Dunlops, but the Contis worked great at our final trackday and look like they’ll outlive the admittedly sportier Dunlops. Akrapovic exhaust system addition The Akrapovic Racing Line Ti exhaust system ($ 1,239.95) is pricey, but build quality and fit (with threadlocker and anti-seize compound included) are excellent. Its sound is mellow and rich without being too loud. The three-outlet baffle is removable, but the bike ran so well with the remapped and stock fuel maps, we never bothered. The system is 5.2 pounds lighter than stock and added 3 hp to peak output while peak torque was about the same. Final numbers were 109.57 hp and 61.46 pound-feet on the stock map with the Akrapovic fitted. There were no repairs, and our only maintenance items were tires and oil changes. The rest has just been good times out on the road. The FZ-09 began as fun but flawed. While it still isn’t perfect, and we spent a few bucks to get where we are now, there are few motorcycles that offer as much value as the FZ-09.
NEXT SERVICE 12,000 mi.
PRICE AS TESTED (2014) $ 7990
RELATED CONTENT Yamaha FZ-09 – Test Intro
Yamaha FZ-09 – Test Update #2
Spenser Robert: Overall, the FZ-09 is exceptional for long-distance touring. The engine is great on the road, the aftermarket seat was comfortable, and the gearing was ideal. My only complaint was the limited range from the 3.7-gallon fuel tank. The FJ-09 made our bike a little redundant, but it also proves Yamaha is working off a pretty good platform.
Andrew Bornhop: I like the riding position quite a bit, but after riding the FJ-09, I’m even happier with that. Actually, at 6-foot-4, I’m generally happier with the roominess of the FJ-09, and its kinder, gentler overall setup suits me more. What I really want to know, though, is when this triple will go into a true adventure bike.
Blake Conner: After more than a year, I hop on the FZ-09 and am instantly reminded why we loved it so much in the first place. The inline-triple fights above its displacement class, while the reworked chassis has a nimble flickable attitude, like a big supermoto.
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DYNO VIDEO: 2014 BMW S1000R It’s not the potent S1000RR, but excellent torque and easier ergos make it a great everyday ride.

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Derived from the BMW S1000RR, the BMW S1000R is optimized for general street use with comfortably upright ergonomics. While the 999cc 4-cylinder doesn’t make as much horsepower as the potent mill in the race-ready S1000RR, there’s still plenty on tap, and the torque is reported to be just as good, peaking some 1,250 rpm lower on the tachometer. On our Dynojet dyno, this 2014 BMW S1000R put out 150.9 horsepower at 11,230 rpm, which is complemented by 76.8 pound-feet of torque at 9,420 rpm. Although the S1000R is a tamed down version of the S1000RR, it’s still a remarkably powerful bike that in many ways is a better everyday machine for most riders.

2014 BMW S1000R dyno chart[Click to view larger image] Read More

DYNO VIDEO: 2014 Suzuki GSX-R750 54 seconds of Gixxer fury.

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Do you have less than a minute? That’s all it takes to watch this 2014 Suzuki GSX-R750 power through a pull on our Dynojet dyno. We love seeing a real sportbike scream up through the gears, and this three-quarter-liter Gixxer puts out plenty of power along the way. Try 125.9 horsepower at 12,700 rpm, along with 55.2 pound-feet of torque at 11,050 rpm. Ths Suzuki likes to rev, so turn it up!

2014 Suzuki GSX-R750 dyno chart[Click to view larger image] Read More

DYNO VIDEO: 2014 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe Let’s see how well the air-cooled Twin Cam 103 spins the Cycle World dynamometer.

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Harley’s Softail Deluxe has a cool vintage vibe, even when it’s painted the Hard Candy Custom Voodoo Purple (a $ 1,400 option!) seen here. Although the Softail Deluxe ($ 19,759, as tested) boasts good steering geometry, the potential for cornering fun is negated by floorboards that scrape at the first hint of good lean angle. Nevertheless, we were impressed by the excellent finish quality of this Harley, which is built with smaller riders in mind. For the record, our Dynojet dyno tells us that the air-cooled Twin Cam 103 in the Softail Deluxe produces 70.9 horsepower at 5,250 rpm, along with 87.2 pound-feet of torque at 3,090 rpm. Power reaches the rear wheel via a slick-shifting six-speed transmission. Top speed of the Softail Deluxe: 113 mph.

2014 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe dyno chart[Click to view larger image] Read More