Review: 2015 Yamaha FZ-07
As I have mentioned in the past, I’m not a professional writer, nor am I in any way qualified to be reviewing motorcycles. But that doesn’t stop me from masquerading as a motorcycle journalist on dealership demo days. When I was asked by Atlantic Recreation to come along on their “VIP Demo” I was thrilled, and when I learned that this would entail me putting almost 200km on the newly launched FZ-07, well…my eyes must have lit up like a Christmas tree.
The 2015 FZ-07 is the smaller, more civilized sibling of the much-hyped FZ-09. I won’t bore you with the minutiae of their differences, but the triple-cylinder 09 is more powerful, less forgiving, and contains more complex technology like ride-by-wire and electronic riding modes.
The look of the 07 – like the 09 – is pure streetfighter, naked except for the radiator shrouds. For a bike that is advertised as inexpensive ($7300), it does NOT look cheap. Fit and finish is fantastic, and I think the exhaust looks great. I was also very impressed with the adjustable clutch lever, lacking on most mid-sized bargain bikes.
Swinging a leg over the bike, I immediately felt comfortable. You know that feeling when you pick a pair of jeans off the rack and they fit just perfect? Well, I’ve never experienced that but I’m guessing it feels a lot like sitting on the FZ-07. The footpegs were low and forward, almost in an adventure bike position. The high handlebar put the controls at a perfect level for me. Lifting the bike off the stand, I was struck by the lack of weight. At less than 400lbs wet, the 07 is almost as light as a big dual-purpose.
The first leg of our ride consisted of about 80km of highway riding, with a slight headwind. I was fully prepared to manhandle the bike to keep it steady on the highway, but it wasn’t necessary. I was actually SHOCKED at the stability of this bike at highway speeds. I was also shocked at how comfortable the seat is. I was expecting complaints from my derriere before we hit Paddy’s Pond, but I was content for the entire ride.
The heart of the 07 is a 689cc parallel twin engine, providing the most linear torque curve I have ever experienced on a motorcycle. This motor is happy no matter what the RPM, but a little icon called “ECO” pops up on the instrument cluster when you’re in the most efficient gear. I enjoyed a little game called “keep the FZ-07 out of ECO”, but I’d probably rethink that if I was paying for the gas.
After a coffee break in Bay Roberts we headed back the “old way”, that wonderfully twisty section of Route 60 that hugs the coastline from Brigus to Holyrood. Our escorts kept the speeds at a sensible level and I completely understand that, but I could still get a sense of what this bike is capable of…and it’s capable of taking those corners a lot faster than I can. I was also struck by the ease with which the 07 soaked up bumps. Again, more like an adventure bike than its sportbike brethren.
If you can’t tell, I was incredibly impressed by the FZ-07. When we got back to the dealership the Yamaha guys basically had to pry me off the bike and kick me out of the yard. The only things I didn’t like were the plastic gas tank (can’t use a magnetic tank bag) and the digital instruments…though I think the latter is the reality for all modern sport bikes so it’s something I’ll have to learn to live with.
If you’re looking for your first bike, or you’re looking to move up from a smaller bike, look no farther. Seriously. Buy it. Even if you’re an experienced rider, you will have an absolute blast on this bike (apparently it’s easy to wheelie?). The FZ-07 is like golden retriever puppy; it’s friendly, playful, and you CAN’T not like it!