Dear MOby,

Love your articles. I am truly excited about the new Kawasaki Z900RS, but concerned with the abrupt throttle response I keep reading about and seeing in videos of the bike. Frankly, I’m real close to buying one, but if Kawasaki isn’t interested in “fixing” the issue, I’m not sure I want to purchase it. Any thoughts about what the manufacturer may do in this case?

Tony the LaGrange Rocket


Dear Tony,

It’s a shame it’s so hard to get a test ride on so many Japanese motorcycles, because the whole “abrupt throttle” brouhaha mostly comes down to a personal thing: Some people are really bothered by it. I read a couple of reviews where the Kawasaki Z900RS’ throttle abruptness was the main theme. For me it wasn’t really a big deal, and in the review I wrote for MO at the bike’s launch, I said the Z “does suffer a bit of throttle abruptness occasionally when things get aggressive in the curves. By no means a deal-breaker.” By that I mean that when you first crack the throttle on, there’s a bit of a lunge when the computer first injects fuel. It also didn’t help that we were riding really tight, bumpy backroads when I felt that behavior, which many times is just your throttle hand bouncing around on the grip.

If you’re roadracing, you really need the power to come in smoothly because you’re generally on the very edge of tire adhesion when you want to open the throttle. For a streetbike like the Z – especially a retro one designed more for cruising around than ultimate sport performance, that throttle abruptness seldom even registers in my brain. When I want to take up the cudgels on curvy backroads, it seems like one finger on the clutch and a toe on the back brake are all you need to do to tame that behavior, things I’ve learned to do subconsciously over the years anyway. (Which is not to say that some of the other journalists who complained about the Z aren’t really good riders.)

That bike’s been with Brent Jaswinski the last few weeks. Brent’s a really good rider, who does a lot of MX and off-road too. Here’s his take:

“The Z gets looks and compliments everywhere you go. It rides and performs well too, but there is definitely something to be said about its abrupt throttle response. There’s a big hit when you initially open the throttle and likewise when you close it with engine braking. Modulating the throttle is smooth and fine once it’s already open, but the initial open and close just about anywhere in the rev range definitely jerks the rider a bit.

“I’ve put a good 300+ miles on the Z900RS so far and from what I’ve learned about it, basically, is that you need a very smooth and calculated throttle hand. Getting used to the throttle may be a concern at first, but the more you ride it, the less you end up thinking about it. Just like a touchy clutch or front brake, it’s just something to get accustomed to because each bike is different. I don’t know if I’d call it a flaw so much as I’d call it a quirk.

“Once riding, it’s kind of fun to play around with the throttle while figuring out how to rev-match and once you get it down it’s really not that bad.

“What I do know, is that there will be some absolutely killer, custom raced-out Z900RSs out there in the near future with rear sets that won’t have the pegs scraping so early and different, racier bars. The Z900RS may have its rough edges, but what hot rod doesn’t?”

Brent-the-chopper-guy’s last sentence resonates with me, too: I grew up with the idea that a big engine producing big horsepower isn’t going to always be a perfectly smooth-performing vehicle.

Will Kawasaki refine it for year two? I wouldn’t be surprised, given all the complaints, but are we sure that’s what we want? I happen to be sitting next to a 2018 Suzuki GSX-S1000, whose throttle abruptness Suzuki addressed following complaints about it. (I tried to smooth out the GSX-S with a Flash Tune reflash here, partially successfully.) That 2016 Suzuki made 143 hp and 76 lb-ft of torque. The smooth-running new 2018 we ran on the dyno a couple weeks ago, which really is way less “abrupt,” makes 134 hp and 72 lb-ft. That’s still plenty of power, but 9 hp is 9 hp. Maybe you can’t have everything?


Send your moto-related questions to AskMOAnything@motorcycle.com. If we can’t answer them, we’ll at least do no harm in the time it takes to seek out a believable answer. And we’ll occasionally even admit we were wrong, even if we were right at the time. Depends on what the definition of “is” is.

Recent Ask MOs:
Is ABS Worth and Extra 600 Bucks?
What the Heck are Centramatic Wheel Balancers?
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  • Alaskan18724

    Really nice bike. Really wanted to love it. In person, the tank looks a little bulbous, and the CB1100EX sitting next to it made it look a little rough around the edges. Beautiful bike, that.

    • Alaskan18724

      The Z will probably grow on me. Right now, I’m looking at it through 70s goggles.

    • Born to Ride

      I haven’t seen it in person yet and I still want one. However, its luster and sex appeal is greatly diminished(in no particular order) by the teething issues, detuning, overpricing, and lack of matte green model.

  • john phyyt

    Just such an excellent discussion. I got an Early FZ 09 and having a background including Flat side carbs ; I was prepared for suicidal jerkiness. Blah blah blah. I soon adapted with simply using a higher gear often an easy remedy. The reflash industry is always improving .. Current flash is brilliant but the only other bikes I ride have carburettors and they have far more issues. It isn’t mentioned but some of the reason for abruptness is fuel starvation on closed throttle . Think Euro regs..
    Buy the bike and you will love it. Then get back to us after a couple of months . My bet is that you won’t even think about it.

    • Lewis

      I did read/watch a review or two that mentioned using a higher gear than normal. Fairly easy when you have the torque curve this has.

  • Born to Ride

    Wow, had no idea the new GSX-S lost that much power this year. I do raise an eyebrow at the assertion that fixing the off-to-on fueling resulted in the horsepower reduction. How would the fuel delivery at the smallest throttle opening possible have any effect on the power production when the injector pulse is longest and the butterflies are wide open? I believe you that they fixed the fueling and she lost power, I just don’t believe that the relationship is causal.

    • Johnny Blue

      I was about to write something very similar. I also believe the lost 9 horses were not the ones causing throttle abruptness on the Suzuki.

      • Alaskan18724

        We all remember how Jesus reacted when he lost a sheep. How, then, should we feel about nine lost horses? Just asking.

    • DickRuble

      Has nothing to do with power. They traded power to shift torque to lower rpm , not to improve fueling right off the throttle.

      • Mad4TheCrest

        Are you talking about the Gixxus? BTR was (I think). I can’t imagine why the GSX-S would need more torque this year.

        • DickRuble

          I am talking about the FZ-09, the GSX-S, the Z900RS.. The origin of the problem is the same for all of them.

    • Gabriel Owens

      Read some reviews on another site and they both said Suzuki is claiming the bike now makes more power, especially in the mid range.

      • Born to Ride

        Well they can claim what they want. If Burnsie strapped it to a Dyno and says it’s making less peak power and torque, perhaps to improve midrange, I’m more inclined to believe him than Suzuki’s brochure.

  • Marc

    Every bike I have owned had a quirk (and have owned over 100), some were bad enough to take the fun out of riding it. For some bikes aftermarket suspension did the trick, for some the quirkiness was not fun.
    I own a Z900RS and I have to say the abruptness is noticeable but with careful throttle control the bike handles surprisingly well. I say surprisingly because the tank is wide and when riding the bike that tank makes the bike feel bulky, but actually nimble.
    I also own an xsr 900 with very similar engine characteristics, but actually does not handle as well, even with the addition of an Ohlins rear shock.
    Some people comment on their own bikes, making them sound like perfect bikes. As my wife knows, if a bike doesn’t cut it for me, it’s gone. The Z900RS is a keeper.

    • DickRuble

      Post a pic of your Z900RS with a boot next to the front wheel. Otherwise we’ll think you just made this up. Ya know.. just to “talk”. We’ve seen many of those “talkers” around here.

      • Marc
        • DickRuble

          No boot? You get a second chance; show the Z900RS in the same picture with the xsr 900.

          • Marc
          • DickRuble

            These could be random, or taken years apart. Yes, there are rules. Very strict rules.

          • Marc

            If you knew anything about motorcycles you would see they are all 2017 models, except for XSR which could have been 2016, but isn’t, and yes, that’s my random house. Did you notice I didn’t ask to see pictures of your bikes?;)

          • DickRuble

            Pictures seem to be taken on the same street, though there is no way to ascertain. Regardless; I didn’t claim to have the XSR AND the Z900RS. If I had them I would do the mother of all comparisons and post it for eternal glory. If you don’t know how to do that, let me know and I’ll be happy to do that in the most honest, impartial, irreverent, all-egg’s-for-manufacturer’s-face way.

          • Marc

            If I were to write a comparison on my 7 bikes (sorry the 7th is actually a trike) that would be work and I am retired and would rather ride each day than do compsrisons. I like to have bikes with different engine configs, single, various type twins, triple and in line fours. The XSR has a better engine than 900rs, but RS handles better,

          • TriumphRider87

            How about a pic of all 7 stuffed into the garage?

          • Marc

            Tonight

          • Motonirvana

            Ok, now go put a boot in front of all seven bikes and then post picture! 😂🤣😂🤣 like your taste in bikes.

          • therr850

            Why do you rub Dicks’ ego? Don’t waste your time and go ride:} Nice group of rides by the way.

          • Marc

            He busts my chops I go along😁

          • MARC
          • Alaskan18724

            I’ll kill you, your mother, and all of your bridge-playing friends….

          • John B.

            One more college graduation, one wedding, and a second cataract surgery, then I swear my garage will look just like yours! Our youngest turns 21 tomorrow!

          • Marc

            Lol, my kids are 42 and 45, and they ain’t gettin a dime, all the money goes to bikes.🤗

          • John B.

            Good for you Marc! Enjoy!

          • Gabriel Owens

            Probably the best comment ive ever seen.

          • Gabriel Owens

            The street twin and the Harley are very similar, and the z and xrs as well. You need a change up. Trading out the xrs for the niken makes a lot of sense to me. I Like the bikes but do not envy your insurance costs.

          • Marc

            I would agree that XSR and RS are similar. Harley and Street Twin not so much, one is super smooth at every rpm, the other is only smooth at exactly 4000 rpm. Sound is completely different. One is a true retro, the other ain’t a retro since it has been continuous production since 1957. And one weighs 100 pounds more,
            Yes a lot of insurance but since we have used same carrier for 25 years we get volume discount, good driver etc, so it ain’t that bad.

          • Born to Ride

            He probably pays less than I do with 3 bikes. Lol

          • TriumphRider87

            Awesome collection. Thanks for the pic & for posting.

            So. Begs the question… well, about a hundred questions. But if I had to pick just two questions, they would be:

            if you had to slim your collection down to 3 bikes out of the ones you have, which would you pick? and why?

            Out of that collection, the most appealing to me are: the SuperSport (because, how can you pass up a Ducati?), the Street Twin (because it’s the next gen Bonneville, and I loved the Bonnie I had, also really enjoyed the Street Cup), and the Z900RS (because it seems pretty darn cool & well done). But your choices would be?

            Or maybe a better way to put it is, which sets of keys do you reach for most often?

          • Marc

            I would have to keep the Harley Tri Glide, since that is the bike my wife is most comfortable on and is my only long distance bike. Next would be the Yamaha XSR 900 because I love triples with their broad useful power bands. I would keep the Street Twin since it is so easy to ride and is a true retro, and because I lived in the U.K. for 10 years.
            But since I don’t have to get rid of any of them I ride each one once a week.

          • TriumphRider87

            Thanks. Makes a lot of sense.

            I’ve tried to get my mind (or maybe just body) around the FZ-09 / XSR-900, and I just can’t get comfortable with the peg placement. Glad it works so well for you – and that says quite a lot that you like that triple so much that other niggles get set aside – suspension, other budget component choices.

            Glad to hear the Street Twin makes the list. Fun bike.

            Tri-Glide makes sense too – hard to argue with two-up touring comfort.

            Cheers & enjoy the ride. All the rides!

          • KevinM044

            There’s not a bike there I wouldn’t ride. Which is your favorite?

          • DickRuble

            There’s a sportster in there.. look closely.. that’s where I’d draw the line.

          • KevinM044

            I have a Sportster. It’s Marc’s Roadster’s older brother, XL1200R.

          • DickRuble

            .. and it has all the mods he wants..

          • john burns

            Dick, don’t let him off the hook! Still no boot!!

          • DickRuble

            I can see both bikes in the picture. He’s legit.

          • Marc

            I wanted one of those and by the time I noticed it Harley stopped selling it

          • Marc

            Many people ask which is favorite. For twisty roads I use the KTM. I like the XSR engine the best and if I sort out the soft front end with Ohlins cartridges the XSR would be the favorite. As far as Dick’s noticing the sportster its an unusual sportster in that it came with upside down cartridge forks and has decent travel in the rear, 31 inch seat height, Bars are below tank position and I purchased rear set kit to move pegs and controls where the passengers pegs were. It handles fairly well but is the heaviest bike I own aside from the trike.

          • KevinM044

            I really enjoyed the XSR when I got on it last summer. What a blast. I’m waiting for a decent one to hit the used market near me.

          • Marc

            The XSR will probably be replaced later this year when Niken is available (same engine)

          • KevinM044

            I don’t think I can see myself on the Niken. It’s ah, um, an interesting looking machine? Haha. But, I can’t wait to hear opinions on its ride.

          • DickRuble

            Like any trike, it will have very limited appeal. Yamaha are making a big mistake venturing there. It will be expensive by motorcycle standards and will be looked at down the nose by motorcycle riders. The Piaggio trike, that has some practicality in urban settings, would satisfy the exact same needs, at a lower price and targeting the same population: those who can’t ride. The Niken won’t last more than 3 years on the market. I am venturing to bet that most of those few to buy it will be 60+.

          • Marc

            And since an increasing amount of riders as a percentage are over 60, or as dealers now say “aging out” that is exactly who is being targeted, A few will go to people who are a bit afraid of a two wheeler. Me, I’ll try anything once. Wife had a used Spyder for a week and sold it back to dealer. She tried a Piaggio MP3 after her major back surgery and it fell over even though it ain’t supposed to. My wife convinced me to buy a Ural sidecar rig 4 years ago, she and our dog loved being passengers. It had no power and engine had to be rebuilt under warranty twice. Trike is great, took it cross country and didn’t have to be worried about bad pavement etc.

          • DickRuble

            Just out of curiosity, how much do you lose when you buy and return a Spyder after a week?

          • Marc

            We bought it used so we lost the tax. I had left it with dealer on consignment

          • Alaskan18724

            Another handsome bike!

          • Born to Ride

            Yes, the rule is thus, “no boot no cred”. It has been and always shall be. As decreed by pontiff Ruble himself.

          • Born to Ride

            Lol, there you are Dick.

        • Alaskan18724

          That’s a handsome bike. Good on you!

        • Lewis

          Thanks Marc! Mine is still out there in a crate somewhere. You have great taste in color selection. The absolute worst fueling bike I ever had was an 04 Triumph Speed Four. Never bothered to reflash, I just re calibrated my right wrist. Still prefer carbs, at least when considering on/off transitions. When mine comes in, I will submit a photo with it beside my 89 FZR 600.

          • Marc

            Worst for me was the 97 Triumph misnamed T595. That bike would almost die at certain rpm and then take off. Am off carbs since ethanol destroys them

          • Lewis

            I miss carbs…ethanol is no joke. Back in the 90’s I could leave fuel in the bowl with a bit of stabilizer and never had any carb issues after 6 to 8 weeks of dormancy.

          • Mad4TheCrest

            Don’t want to Jinx myself, but my ’01 ZRX1200R has been running well and it has carbs. And there’s been nothing done to them except syncing in 16 years! Although I do add some ethanol gas treatment when I can be bothered to remember.

      • Born to Ride

        I think 2 out of 3 times you’ve posed the boot challenge, it has been fulfilled. I don’t know how you Jedi mind trick people into doing meaningless tasks, but it is impressive.

  • Johnny Blue

    Yeah, you can get used with riding mostly anything, but I think that’s not the point. We have fuel injected bikes for about 20 years now. There’s no reason to have to put up with a less than perfect fueling at this time.
    “but the more you ride it, the less you end up thinking about it.”… why should someone buy a new motorcycle and have to learn to live with it instead of just simply enjoying it. I’m sure there are plenty motorcycles without fueling issues. No need to buy a product that was not fully tested and issues fixed.

  • Old MOron

    143 HP versus 134 HP? Doesn’t concern me. I’m not racing.
    A throttle that opens and closes exactly how and when I tell it to? Now that’s important. But it depends on how “bad” the throttle response is. Only one way to tell if it’s bad enough to be a deal breaker. Get a demo ride!

    • Marsha

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    • DickRuble

      Sorry, there’s no excuse for an imperfect throttle response. Anything short of perfect is not acceptable. And it has nothing to do with power.

      • Old MOron

        I agree with you in principle, but even at the highest levels manufacturers struggle with throttle response. Consider Ducati’s Moto GP effort.

        Feb 2012, Nicky Hayden: It’s got good power, and the front end is working well, but with the extra power, now we’ve got to find better rear traction at the first touch of the throttle.

        Nov 2016, Gigi Dall’Igna: And also the first touch of the throttle is a worse point, and we have to improve that

        Jun 2017, Mat Oxley: The problem is poor mid-corner turning during the transition from off-throttle to on-throttle, which is less of an issue at fast, flowing tracks like Mugello. Ducati has worked on the chassis to fix this, reducing their disadvantage step by step, but it now realises that the final fix must come from the Desmosedici’s engine.

        Anyway, the world is not black-and-white. Your sense of a perfect throttle response will be different from someone else’s. Don’t write off a bike just because some hack with a youtube account says it’s not perfect. Take a demo ride. Then decide.

        • DickRuble

          Your examples do not apply: you are talking about bikes making 250+hp tuned for maximum performance. The Nicky Hayden comment is about traction, not throttle action. The Ducati comment refers to chassis adjustment, not throttle action.. Only the Gigi Dall’Igna comment seems to be related to the issue at hand. I am 99 % certain the Z900RS problems stem from an implementation of the off-throttle to satisfy emissions control. I am not arguing that they should bypass emissions control but that if Triumph found a way to implement a solution that satisfies both needs, Kawasaki should figure it out too. It’s not only youtube hacks that have complained of throttle issues; respected, highly revered writers on this very site have mentioned it, if in diplomatic, subdued tones as not to irk the OEM. It’s not an isolated report, the same way it wasn’t an isolated one for the FZ-09. When there’s smoke, there’s fire.

          • Old MOron

            Agreed, IF the throttle response needs fixing, Kawasaki should be able to fix it. You can take a demo ride and find out for yourself, or you can wait for unanimity among the internet sages.

            I acknowledge that it may be difficult to get a test ride. No demo ride, no sale!

          • Curtis Brandt

            Dick,
            In response to your opinion that the comment from Nicky was about traction and not throttle action, I would suggest: throttle action IS a big element of traction, for sporty bikes spending time near limits of adhesion. (What many of us ride for.)

      • Mark Vizcarra

        Yeah, I mean if Harley can figure it out why can’t the rest. Amirite?

        • DickRuble

          Well..you are, but only if Harley meets Euro 4 emissions specs.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    Abrupt and unexpected cuts or surges in power can be dangerous. At the moment I am battling such a gremlin with my 2016 Street Triple – a sudden increase in engine braking on trailing throttle, which occurs unpredictably. I have been told that an answer lies in the aftermarket, but I would hope the manufacturers would have enough pride in their products to make them right/safe as delivered to the customer. If Kawasaki got the fueling right on the Z900, how can they mess it up on the derivative Z900RS?

    • Born to Ride

      I wonder if that is the fuel cut-off engaging prematurely because of a poorly calibrated or failing throttle position sensor. See that exact symptom every once in a while with manual transmission Nissan vehicles in the shop.

      • Gruf Rude

        Since it seems to be a universal complaint, ‘poorly calibrated’ is much more likely than ‘failing.’

        • Born to Ride

          I was referring to his Triumph, because poor fueling is not often a trait associated with those bikes.

          • Mad4TheCrest

            To be fair, the fueling on my Street Triple is sweet except for that one situation; on trailing, partial throttle. I can manage it somewhat by keeping the revs up, or by rolling completely off the throttle on decel.

    • Alaskan18724

      That’s exactly the right question. Answer: Don’t “re-tune for midrange torque.” Leave it. The heck. Alone. It was perfect to start.
      Congratulations! You made it worse!

  • DickRuble

    “Once riding, it’s kind of fun to play around with the throttle while figuring out how to rev-match and once you get it down it’s really not that bad.” — Well, then let’s all buy bikes with crappy fueling, it might be fun to try to figure out how to ride them..

    • Alaskan18724

      Ha! Here’s to crappy fueling! Perhaps whole packs of us can dress up just alike and ride together on bikes with crappy throttle response! No, wait–that would be a menace. Never mind.

  • Shlomi

    So many good bikes out there why compermise on throttle response which is the number one thing you notice everyday you ride the bike. I heard the Honda CB throttle is smooth, both bike looks amazing, so might be good alternative.
    Simply no reason to buy defective 🏍

  • Gruf Rude

    Having once owned a bike with this sort of faulty throttle response, the memory of that frustration lingers still. No way would I knowingly purchase another bike with that problem.

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    • Max Wellian

      Unfortunately, it’s a problem with many fuel injected bikes. Most people don’t carve canyons with their bikes and probably see the immediate power as being desirable when doing stoplight battle with the Civic boys in the Coffee Can Muffler Club.
      I agree that using some rear brake tames it in the corners, but one really shouldn’t have to create work arounds for their brand new bike’s flaws.

      • Ozzy Mick

        The only crash l ever had in 20 years of riding thousands of miles occurred when l was on my 3 month old SV650 with fuel injection.
        I was following a car that had signalled turning right (I’m in Oz where we drive on the left). I slowed down to a very low speed and as l was just about to pass the car, the driver changed her mind, decided to proceed straight ahead, and her mirror bumped my handle bar on the right side.
        In spite of my experience and training, l failed to hit the kill switch, my hand twisted ever so slightly but it was enough to open the over-sensitive throttle to some ridiculous revs and l went sliding down the road. Wrote the bike off!

  • Bmwclay

    Never buy a first year model…………

    • Lewis

      I am always a sucker…97 TL1000S,98 R1, 96 GSXR 750. All radically changed/different first year bikes. Did it again with the 900 RS…did not want to miss out on the root beer brown/orange combo.

      • Bmwclay

        Actually, I did buy a first bike and never regretted it one bit. It was a 2000 BMW 1150 GS. I still have it, it runs like new and never a day of down time.

  • kenneth_moore

    Oversize throttle cable pulleys are available. They’re marketed to “smooth out” throttle inputs. I never tried one, but somebody must be buying them…especially early model FZ-09 owners.

  • luciano136 B

    I have a ’14 Ninja 1000 that suffered from the light switch throttle response as well. I honestly considered selling the bike because it drove me crazy. Thankfully a guy on the east coast (Ivan) had an ECU flash for it and it is now smooth as butter and completely transformed the bike; powering out of a corner is as good as it gets now. So, in short, if it is a hot button, do not buy the bike unless there is already a fix for it; you’ll hate it.

    • movado

      I agree, I had a ’15 Z1000 and hated the throttle abruptness. I didn’t want to mess w/ taking the ECU out and mailing it in so I ended up selling it. Throttle abruptness was probably the main reason why the bike didn’t speak to me.

  • Don Silvernail

    Test rider to head of Engineering, “Yes sir, the throttle is pretty abrupt off idle”. Manager – “Never mind, we’ve got a schedule to meet. They’ll get used to it. If too many squawk we’ll just blame it on emissions regs”.

  • boscoe

    This is an excellent and informative answer to the question. Thanks so much. Reader responses were educational, too!

  • john burns

    Oh, I forgot to mention my pea-under-the-princess son Ryan rode the thing more than a few times when it was here. He says: “I didn’t really notice anything myself. It’s real torquey that’s for sure.”

    • Marc

      The good news for the 900rs is that it has very good low rpm power, like a triple. Bad news is that it is a bit abrupt. But I put it down to my advanced age. Which is why I sold the FZ10 back to dealer. Too much power for a geezer like me.

  • kawatwo

    I don’t know why manufacturers wait until the next model year to fix these issues. I guess it takes a while and costs money to re-certify with the EPA? Anyway, it would be nice if they could “update” the software and get it done during the first year. None of my carbureted bikes ever did this, just saying:) My 2013 NInja 650 has a bit of a jerky throttle too. My FZ6 throttle was AWFUL on tight twisty roads which is where you want to ride bikes like those and this RS. There just seems no reason to bring out motorcycles that behave this way. I’m sure you could live with and even enjoy the bike in it’s current condition but it’s just sad they can’t get them right out of the gate. I LOVE Kawasaki and the RS looks like an amazing all around bike other than that one thing. Hopefully they get it smoothed out for next year.

    • DickRuble

      It won’t go away completely. Witness the evolution of the FZ-09.

      • Motonirvana

        I thought Yamaha finally fixed the issue last year? Not so?

  • Patrick Callahan

    Since the direction of new ECU’s, throttle by wire, anti-wheelie, traction control, ride modes, all apply to the New Normal for modern sporty bikes, abrupt throttle response is going to be a typical problem. Not to say it can’t be worked out, think FZ09. But you must give the manufacturers a chance. Yamaha has more experience with its YCCT, which it has been using for years now. The others are just now adding throttle by wire to their street bikes, so it will take a cycle or two to get it corrected, be patient….

    • Mad4TheCrest

      Unless the eventual correction can be applied to first-year bikes a lot of early buyers will be feeling unloved and somewhat short-changed. As others have mentioned, that’s not good business.

      • Patrick Callahan

        Oh I completely agree! There is always the argument that you should never be the first on your block to buy the new technology. But to those who can’t wait for 2nd gen, they will be the ones to live with the bugs which need to get worked out! Ride the wheels off of your current bike and let time sort out the issues, then make your purchase after that. I’m looking at the new Speed Triple/ Street Triple as the new go to for myself, but will wait to see how they fair after a years worth of commentary.

  • Craig Hoffman

    The throttle abruptness issue is easily fixed with an ECU flash. Just had my ’14 Super Tenere done, cost $225, now it runs smooth, like it has a perfectly jetted set of carbs. Side bonus, the flash also greatly reduced the engine braking, which makes it shift better. Side side bonus, the top speed governor was removed, the fan set to come on a little earlier, and power restrictions removed in the 1st three gears. That big old pig will actually wheelie now. An incorrigible hooligan, I can’t help myself…

    My ’06 FZ1 was the King of harsh and horrible throttle snatch, post flash it is perfect also, and it gained a “revviness” that was not there before. So fun to wring out now. The harshness is all due to fuel cut. Somehow the Euro makers just plain handle this better.

    • john burns

      did you notice a decrease in fuel mileage?

      • Craig Hoffman

        Fuel economy is better on both bikes if ridden the same. It is more fun to flog them now, but I am seeing 51 to 55 MPG with the Super Tenere on the highway at 65 to 70 mph with the cruise set. Pretty awesome, it will go a long way on it’s 6.1 gallon tank! The FZ1 gets around 38 to 40 MPG, with some moderate hooligan behavior thrown in now and then.

  • therr850

    I have a 2008 Bandit 1250S bought used. Didn’t like the throttle coming off closed. Too abrupt and jerky. This Kawasaki looks to have cable throttle control. On my Bandit the cable free play is suppose to be 3mm. I don’t like that much free play on any bike so I tightened it to about 1mm. For my style of throttle control that took nearly all abruptness out of the throttle. Just a thought. Do leave a little free play so the throttles will close completely and swing the bars from side to side at idle to be sure the cables are not too tight.

    • john burns

      I actually forgot to mention that. It’s the first thing Don Canet would do with a new bike at Cycle World. Get rid of the slack in the cables.

  • JMDGT

    I noticed throttle abruptness or what I thought was throttle abruptness on my Street Triple. Once I became acclimated to using the throttle it became smooth as silk.

  • There are probably some work arounds. On the track one easy one is to just raise the idle speed significantly, although that’s not as useful on the street. An alternative is to get some sort of ‘Power Commander’ and richen the mix at low RPM. Most of these problems seem to stem from ultra-lean setups that OEMs install to clear emissions rules.

  • Dale

    Can someone, Motorcycle.com, or otherwise, provide a short list of currently available bikes that do have a smooth throttle response?

    • MARC

      Triumph Street Twin, KTM 690 Duke, Harley Roadster, Ducati Supersport. I can only speak about bikes I currently own. ZR 900RS a bit abrupt. XSR can be adjusted since it has ride modes, as many new bikes do. Almost every ride by wire can be adjusted using ride modes.

      • Dale

        Thank you for the suggestions.

  • Walter

    You wrote ” I wrote for MO at the bike’s launch, I said the Z “does suffer a bit of throttle abruptness occasionally when things get aggressive in the curves. By no means a deal-breaker.”

    I think I see this kind of equivocation re throttle response whenever a brand new bike with the issue is tested. Made to sound like a minor inconvenience. However, when the same bike is tested 6 months later, maybe as part of a comparison it all of a sudden becomes a bigger deal. In subsequent years, assuming the factory fixes it, the writeups say “NNN has finally fixed the abrupt throttle response that’s plagued the bike since its introduction. And inevitably, down the road when a bike is part of a “best buys from the past” blurb, it’s “avoid the first few years because the throttle response was pretty bad”.

    Or is my memory faulty?

    • Mad4TheCrest

      Nailed it!

  • David Wales

    Use your back brake, problem solved.

  • therr850

    This is a rerun post on Motorcycle.com

  • Mad4TheCrest

    Ok, just saw one of these in the orange/black in person for the first time. Stunning. Very clean design, amazing paint, and one the nicest looking stock exhausts ever. I had a chance to debrief the owner (a friend of mine) who has put 400 miles on it so far. He’s taken the rear Dunlop to the edge and reports no pegs touching down. He also says there have been no noticeable fueling issues, although take that with a grain of salt since he’s a wiley old veteran rider who has ridden every bike you can imagine, so maybe he’s just got a flexible wrist.

    He says the motor isn’t the most powerful but feels rewarding.

    I’ve learned and seen enough to rethink my position on this bike. I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s simply beautiful (in this color). And get this, it has an old-fashioned helmet lock. Icing on the cake.

  • Curtis Brandt

    “Maybe you can’t have everything?”

    I used to wonder the same thing. Then I purchased the most torquey, powerful bike I’ve ever ridden (a 2017 KTM SDR), and discovered buttery smooth throttle pick-up at every RPM, in every engine mode. So, yes, you can have everything. MUCH more powerful than my FJ-09, and MUCH more pleasing and smooth at the first whiff of throttle, particularly in the more responsive modes. (The KTM in track mode feels as smooth as, or smoother than, the Yamaha in standard mode and probably as smooth as B mode).

    At the same time, I would emphasize what others have said – don’t listen to someone else, go ride the bike in question and see for yourself. Your particulars, and riding style, may differ sufficiently to render someone else’s opinion irrelevant to you.

    As for me? Fast is smooth and smooth is fast.

  • Scott Silvers

    I maintain the abruptness issue is all down to noise/emissions and trying to keep as much HP as possible. My fuel-injected 2006 Vstrom does not suffer at all from abrupt throttling (on or off), but then again, it’s only rated at 69 HP! If you like the bike, don’t let a little thing like the twitch keep you away – you can fix it via aftermarket

  • jays_fan

    Just my 2 cents. My Fireblade and R1 had big engines and made a lot of horsepower but throttle response was ALWAYS smooth. When I was shopping for a new bike last summer, I considered the Yamaha FZ-09 and FZ-07. I went with the FZ-07 because throttle response was smooth and lots of bottom-end torque. The FZ-09 had a twitchy throttle and even though I’m an experienced rider, I didn’t want to deal with this. My advice is go with your gut. You can get used to an abrupt throttle but if it really bothers you, don’t buy the bike.