2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Review

Light, manageable and easy on the wallet

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2015 Yamaha FZ-07

Editor Score: 86.0%
Engine 18.0/20
Suspension/Handling 12.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 8.0/10
Instruments/Controls4.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 8.0/10
Value 9.5/10
Overall Score86/100

The west coast of Canada probably offers the country’s best motorcycling. The scenery is magnificent, with cascading mountains along the coastline of British Columbia plunging sharply to meet the Pacific, all the way from Alaska to Washington State.

If you prefer a more condensed version of the beauty that is BC, look no further than Vancouver Island, which measures 290 miles long by 50 miles wide. Yamaha chose the city of Courtenay, located halfway down the east coast of the island, as the location for the launch of the 2015 FZ-07, available for now only in Canada, where native Canucks pronounce it F-Zed.

(Although yet to be announced as part of Yamaha Motor USA’s lineup, we can’t imagine it not being added to the American catalog. -Ed.)

2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Cornering

Canadians will get Yamaha’s new FZ-07 twin-cylinder naked bike this year. Until it’s announced for American consumption, pronounce it F-Zed.

There’s always room for more lightweight, nimble and affordable motorcycles, even in a field populated by the Suzuki SFV650, the Kawasaki ER-6n and the Honda NC750S, the latter two available to riders north of the border. (In the U.S., there’s also Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 and Hyosung GT650 to contend with.), The FZ-07 promises to be least expensive and the lightest in class, tipping the scales at just 397 lb wet. That’s 48 lbs lighter than the Suzuki, and even 23 lbs lighter than the smaller Honda CB500F.

Yamaha chose to bring the FZ-07 into Canada at a price advantage over the competition, as well as offering an affordable step up for riders trading up from bikes like the Honda CBR250R and Kawasaki Ninja 300. At $7,299 CDN (approx. $6,695 USD), it undercuts its middleweight Canadian rivals by at least a grand.

2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Profile

The FZ-07 will be available at a very competitive price north of the border, and it weighs just 397 lbs wet, making it an appealing machine to step up to from a smaller bike.

The trade-off for this low price is that there’s no ABS available, not even as an option. Other cost-cutting measures include resorting to the use of tubular steel frame rather than one cast in aluminum. It’s a very rigid item nonetheless, weighing 11 pounds less than the FZ6R frame. Chassis geometry is on the sporty side, with rake at 24.5 degrees, trail at 3.5 in. and wheelbase at 55.1 in. The swingarm looks like it’s made of aluminum, but it’s in fact made of stamped, welded steel. Wheels are 17-inches front and rear, and on the rear is mounted a supersport-spec 180/55ZR17 tire, wider than most of its classmates, except for BMW’s much pricier F800R.

Power comes via an all-new, liquid-cooled, 689cc parallel-Twin. Cylinders are over-square with bore and stroke measurements of 80 x 68.6mm. Compression ratio is 11.5:1 (it runs on regular fuel), and Mikuni provides the EFI which breathes through 38mm throttle bodies. The engine produces a claimed 75 crankshaft hp at 9000 rpm, while torque peaks at 50 ft-lb at 6500 rpm. Horsepower is comparable to the Gladius, and about on par with Yamaha’s own FZ6R, though the Twin produces about 6 ft-lb more torque than the 6R’s inline Four. There’s good news for maintenance-minded riders; Yamaha claims 25,000-mile valve-adjustment intervals.

2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Engine

An all-new, 689cc parallel-Twin produces 75 horsepower and 50 ft-lb of torque. Power delivery is smooth enough for a beginner yet engaging enough to keep an advanced rider entertained.

The FZ-07 feels quite muscular when turning the throttle because inside its crankcases is a 270-degree crankshaft, providing more bottom-end torque than a conventional 360-degree crank. The crank, which Yamaha calls a “crossplane concept”, also gives the FZ-07 the exhaust cadence of a 90-degree V-Twin, so it even sounds a bit like the Gladius.

There’s a distinct family resemblance to its larger brother, the FZ-09, with which it shares some styling cues like the low, angular headlight, humpback fuel tank, wedged tailpiece and low-mounted, shorty exhaust. There are plastic panels covering the metal fuel tank, which would make damage repair easy and inexpensive in case of a tip over.

We departed in the morning, heading north on Highway 19 out of Courtenay before turning west onto the tighter Highway 28 towards Gold River. Along the 20-minute stretch of northbound divided highway, the FZ purred along in counterbalanced smoothness, with only a light throbbing coming through the seat and handlebar, not even enough to blur the mirrors.

2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Action Front

The FZ-07 is an easy-handling bike that can negotiate winding roads as easily as the daily commute.

From the saddle, the FZ-07’s engine feels very much like a Suzuki SV V-Twin, and that’s a very good thing. It has a linear powerband that starts pulling smoothly yet forcefully from as low as 2000 rpm. Power is easily controllable, which will inspire confidence in newer riders with an inexperienced throttle hand. Let the revs build up to its indicated 10,000 rpm, however, and even an expert will find the FZ-07 a gratifying machine to ride. Revs build in a linear manner, seemingly forever, while pushing you into the passenger seat hump with every gear change. Light clutch and gearshift effort make rowing through the six-speed gearbox a completely effortless affair, even if you don’t need to shift often due to the engine’s wide, flat powerband.

The riding position is typical naked-bike upright, with a relaxed, slightly forward reach to the handlebar, though as a six-foot-tall rider, the footpegs are as high as I’d like them. Although the seat is narrow at the front to allow for an easy reach to the ground (seat height is a modest 31.7 in.), it widens considerably at the rear and doesn’t slope forward, which is conducive to rider comfort. It is, however, firm, and my backside began getting numb after about an hour.

Because the FZ-07’s headlight is mounted so low, you get the impression something is missing from the front end when looking down from behind the handlebar, but what you will find there is a very comprehensive LCD display. It includes a bar-type tachometer, speedo, dual tripmeters with fuel reserve countdown, clock, gear-position indicator, ambient temperature gauge, and a fuel economy computer. Altogether it’s a rather complete display for a bike on a budget. There’s even an ECO indicator that lights up at light throttle settings to let you know you’re not going fast enough. Actually, it comes on to let you know you’re saving fuel. Claimed fuel economy is 56 mpg, which would give the FZ-07 a theoretical range of almost 210 miles from its 3.7-gallon gas tank.

2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Right Side

Styling is simple yet contemporary and definitely on the sporty side. Plastic panels cover a steel gas tank to keep costs down in case of a parking-lot mishap.

Turning west onto Hwy 28 towards Gold River, the road tightens up, and the FZ powers through turns predictably, with an easily modulated throttle. Steering effort is light with no hint of twitchiness, and the bike exhibits sure-footed stability through the high-speed sweepers winding through the desolate but beautiful Strathcona Provincial Park.

Another area where Yamaha saved a few bucks is with the suspension components. There’s a conventional, 41mm fork and single, linkage-type shock, but adjustment is limited to rear spring preload. Suspension compliance should be adequate if you are of average weight, say about 170 pounds, but for a heavyweight like me, who weighs in at about 220 pounds in full riding gear, the rear is simply under-damped. The rear would rebound quickly and make an extra bounce after hitting a dip in the road. Fortunately the taut chassis keeps the bike in line and it doesn’t weave through sweepers despite the soft damping. Speaking with one of my lighter colleagues about this revealed he had no issues with the rear suspension. Adjustable rear rebound damping would have been a welcome feature, nonetheless.

After lunch in Gold River, the pace quickened on the return trip to Courtenay, and the FZ-07 again exemplified its modest yet versatile nature. It kept an elevated sporting pace effortlessly with a balanced mix of confidence-inspiring stability and quick, sporty steering. Although it wouldn’t bet an ideal track-day bike because of its soft-ish rear end, following your sport-bike riding buddies shouldn’t be a problem.

2015 Yamaha FZ-07

Rumors have it that the FZ-07 might soon be coming to US dealers. If you like the bike, let Yamaha know!

Twin four-piston calipers squeeze 282mm discs up front, and there’s a single-piston caliper and 245mm disc in the rear. Braking power is more than adequate, with moderate yet easily modulated pressure needed at the lever for quick stops.

The FZ-07 is a welcome addition to the middleweight motorcycle market, and its affordability, nimble handling and contemporary styling almost assure it will be a hit. It will make a great city scrambler, as well as an effective back road carver in the right hands. It’s likely Americans will see the FZ-07 in dealers by the end of the year, where I suspect it will be well received.

+ Highs

  • Bargain price
  • Excellent performance per dollar
  • Easy and fun to ride
- Sighs

  • Bargain suspension
  • Modest seat comfort
  • Not available in USA (yet)
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39 Comments

  1. michael franklin
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    not getting ABS these days would be like ordering your new car without airbags.bike looks great, call me when ABS is available

    • Chris_in_Kalifornia
      Posted May 16, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      If I could order a car without airbags I would. I’ll stick to fixing my 69 mustang until then.

  2. Y.A.
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Why couldn’t they give the FZ-09 this bike’s stance…… this thing looks great

  3. Luke
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    You know a fun set of “shoot outs” I’d like to see would be in the same brand. This -07 against the -09, the Honda 500 vs 700 etc… It would be nice to see the editors here take a stab at “is the extra $ well spent” or at least giving a new-ish rider like me with limited bike variance a better understanding of how things scale as opposed to comparing the “best triple.” (which to someone like me with no triple experience isn’t that useful when I’m looking for my next bike).

  4. Kenneth
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    Looks like a nicer, centered instrument display than the one used on the FZ-09. I also like that Yamaha took more care with throttle smoothness, compared to the larger FZ.

  5. Sentinel
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Bring it in with ABS at least as an option and I may buy one, bring it in without that and I won’t even bother thinking about it anymore.

    • Tinwoods
      Posted May 20, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      What happened to all the riders that know how to brake and who don’t refuse to own a a motorcycle with all these crutches like ABS, traction control, electronic suspension? Mark my words, there’s going to come a time when people will refuse to consider a bike unless it comes with airbags.

      • TonyCarlos
        Posted May 21, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        All the riders who know how to brake? You mean the ones who can read the ever-changing road surface coefficient of friction, make real-time adjustments to hydraulic pressures to keep the two brake circuits at threshold breaking levels (while never stepping over that threshold), and alter the two circuits’ balance as the bike’s weigh shifts front/rear? Those guys are busy riding in Moto-GP.

      • Sentinel
        Posted May 23, 2014 at 5:06 am | Permalink

        You are ridiculous! Are you even aware that the statistics are in, and ABS has already proven to be a huge lifesaver for motorcyclist? I’m a very good and skilled rider genius boy, and I’ll tell you that as a year-round rider I’d love to have both traction control and ABS when out in the rough weather conditions. That’s not a crutch, that’s just good ol’ commonsense tough guy! lol

    • Sean Wallace
      Posted June 13, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      I bought a brand new FZ1 NO ABS. Guess what.. when the brake lever is applied the bike stops.
      Sometimes less is more. New riders should learn to ride without electronics.

      • Sentinel
        Posted June 20, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        And it’s this kind of absolute ignorance and idiocy that costs peoples lives. Apparently you aren’t aware, but these systems have been on bikes long enough now, and the statistics are in,THEY ARE SAVING LIVES! And if you think you are so supernatural as to be able to out break an ABS system in emergency stops in slick and very poor road conditions, then go ahead and prove it!

        • Sean Wallace
          Posted June 26, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          Such anger. Tsk tsk
          If ABS is important to you than buy it.
          I do not want it as it prolongs stopping distance on dry roads which I ride on 90% of the time.

          • appliance5000
            Posted July 4, 2014 at 1:01 am | Permalink

            And the other 10% – do tell.

  6. allworld
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    This is a good entry level bike, with optional suspension components and ABS it would be a very attractive bike, not only for beginners. It is priced right, so adding $1K for an upgraded version would be a bargain, and hard to pass up for a bike in this class.

  7. Kevin White
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Something mentioned in nearly every FZ-09 review is the fuel injection and abruptness and how ride mode “B” (which cuts power as well) is the only okay-sorted streetable mode. How does the FZ-07 (with only one ride mode) stack up in this area?

    • Rick Vera
      Posted May 14, 2014 at 1:36 am | Permalink

      I was thinking the same thing when I read this review. I’m curious to know this as well.

      • Kenneth
        Posted May 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        From the review: “Power is easily controllable, which will inspire confidence in newer riders with an inexperienced throttle hand.” In another review (Canadian website) it was stated that Yamaha did a far-better job of making the FZ-07′s throttle user-friendly than with the FZ-09.

        • Kevin White
          Posted May 16, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

          Thanks Kenneth!

  8. Dreadicus
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    As a FZ-06 owner, I love this bike but will wait for the FJ-09 to make it’s appearance. This would seem a great bike for newer riders, or ‘bigger’ riders where a 250 doesn’t quite ‘cut it’. Aesthetically pleasing indeed, but as with all Yamaha bikes these days, a little weak/soft in the suspension area (Easily rectified with aftermarket of course).

  9. Craig Hoffman
    Posted May 14, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Yamaha has come out with some compelling bikes built to a relatively low cost. Cool, as not all of us have unlimited funds to spend on our toys. Perhaps more buyers will get to enjoy that new bike smell!

  10. dubrennoc
    Posted May 16, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t trade my ’08 FZ6 (not R), real deal aluminum frame, R6 based engine, etc., for one of these. I am old school I guess, but I love the sound of the inline four (with mellow Scorpion exhaust) especially when it’s turning upwards of 14,000 rpm. No thanks to a two cylinder “thumper.”

  11. Craig Hoffman
    Posted May 16, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Good points about “options”. Bring in the stripper version, and an upgraded version with ABS and better suspension. The Euros are big on doing this – the Japanese should take notes. Why not do it with entry bikes like this? Could rope in a few more buyers.

  12. Reid
    Posted May 16, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    If Yamaha had this bike on sale in the U.S. I probably would have bought one and then traded up to an FZ-09 after about two years, and either of those bikes would have saved me money over my 690 Duke (which, though I love it, is very expensive for what you get in terms of power). In other words, Yamaha could bring in a lot of new customers with a competent offering like this.

  13. Chris_in_Kalifornia
    Posted May 16, 2014 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Apparently the bike marketeers have abandoned any hint at trying to include a bit of practicality. Put a good back rack on it like the one on the 2004 Suzuki Vstrom 650 and allow the inclusion of a trunk. Some of us out here are looking for a good midsized bike (like the original Vstrom 650, no longer available) with things like that wonderful 5.8 gallon gas tank. Sure the styling was kind of odd but it worked as a commuter bike. I’d have to spend quite a bit to get this one as practical as the Vstrom was out of the box. I didn’t buy a HD XR1200 for the same reasons. I for at least one, take more than just my wallet when I go riding.

    • Tinwoods
      Posted May 20, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      Practical? Most of us don’t need our bikes to substitute for cars. And this coming from a rider who no longer owns a car.

      • unixfool
        Posted June 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        I think the key is to allow for the option. Whether or not *you* want factory luggage is beside the point. If the bike is able to accept factory luggage from the factory, then those who want bags can easily be appeased and those that don’t want luggage will be without bags. Simple.

    • TonyCarlos
      Posted May 21, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Virtually every BMW either comes equipped with, or is able to accept factory luggage.

  14. Matt Maddalena
    Posted May 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Looks great. I love middleweight naked bikes, and the REAL SV is gone, sooooo… I’ll make the same requests as I did with Suzuki’s SV: optional brake & suspension upgrades. Maybe even optional colors to distinguish them for the squidworld, but even if the colors didn’t change, this bike sounds deserving of proper suspension & brakes, even if it costs another $1500.

  15. LogicDude
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I had a couple of 90-degree V-twins. I try not to be so shallow, but I’m kind of tired of their exhaust notes, and now everyone wants that 270-degree difference between rear and front firing. Oh well. I’m glad to see so much turnover. I started riding in 2003 and most of the choices had been around a while and were still going to be around a while. Once Honda came out with the CBR250R, it seemed like everything’s being renewed. And some are recycled! Kawa gets rid of 500cc twins (albeit 180-degree firing) and Honda picks them up!

    Still this bike is a welcome addition. It’s really good to see they’re not resting on their laurels. Even Harley is coming out with miniature V-Rods, in their 500 and 750cc “Street” cruisers. It’s good to live in more interesting times! (Bike-wise anyhow.)

    • V-twin
      Posted June 15, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      A plus of 90deg twins and 270 deg. clocked cranks is inertial balance. With 180/360 cranks, all pistons come to a theoretical stop twice per crank revolution with the momentum of the crank carrying them past bdc/tdc.. With 90/twin & 270 cranks, when one piston is at “stop”, the other is at full speed, canceling the “stop” out. Makes for much smoother output.

      • LogicDude
        Posted June 15, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I think I even worked out the parametric equations and figured out that if the crank were turning at a constant speed (which it’s not due to the power pulses), the total kinetic energy of the pistons would be constant on a 90-degree V-twin. Then they don’t have to exchange kinetic energy with the other motor parts like the flywheel, but can with each other. In a way it’s smooth for the reasons you cited. But it has its own imbalances, as do all motors. I suppose just exchanging kinetic energy with each other causes some. Still, perfect primary balance” is how they describe the 90-degree V. I think they can get it with other angles if they just mess with the TDC/firing differences, like the 270-degree parallel twins Triumph and Honda play with.

        I think the Yamaha “cross-plane” fours mess with that primary balance too, and have an interesting exhaust note because of it.

        While I was intrigued by the feel and exhaust rhythm on my 90-degree V’s, after owning a 360-degree (CB250…not as smooth as, say, a Bonneville) and two 180-degree parallel twins (GS500E, EX250 Ninja), for me the bike I can ride for hours without being lulled to sleep is my 2006 XL883 Sportster and its totally unbalanced, 45-degree V-twin. It’s like I’m riding a museum piece that keeps up in traffic. (The quiet but deep stock exhaust helps.) HD tried several other kinds of motors and only the 45-degree V sells. I recently rode a 750 Honda Shadow Spirit and it was vanilla compared to it. The Sporty’s motor does have its sweet spots, which can be quite smooth and efficient if you hit them, and that’s part of the fun. Bikes that are “so good” it’s like playing a video game get kind of dull to me after a while, but to each their own! My most engaging rides have been my Sportster and, when I had it, my 250 Ninja. On paper my best bikes were my CB750 Nighthawk and my DL650 V-Strom, both of which sat in the garage most of the time when I wanted a fun ride, and the Ninja or Sportster got the nod. Now I have only the Sportster and don’t really miss other bikes, unless I see a nice specimen in the wild.

  16. matthew patton
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    It is indeed pitiful that Yam/Suz continue to strangle their middle-weight bikes with suspension that is a complete joke. Don’t waste money on RaceTech gold valve emulators. There are a few folks on the ‘net who can easily put full-on cartridges (3-way adjustable) into SV/Ninja650R/Bandit and FZ-7/9 forks for like $450 (me) and as high as $1000 (Traxxion Dynamics). The marginal expense to the factory of Showa cartridges can’t be more than a couple hundred (why not use ~08 YFZ 600R parts?) and a properly adjustable shock could have come from the same parts bin (or similar vintage R6).

    • unixfool
      Posted June 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      I’ve GSXR-750 forks and rear spring on my SV1000S. I keep asking these mag rags if the YZF forks/springs will fit on the FZ-09 (and in this case, FZ-07)…I never hear anything. They’d rather keep reviewing springs from these suspension companies than look at Yamaha parts bins, I guess. It should be easy enough to find salvage parts from an R6. The single biggest mod that SV650 riders typically do is upgrade to GSXR forks…it is cheap as hell for a significant upgrade.

  17. Mark Lerib
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad i came across this article, I was about to buy a Honda, but i sooo wanted the FZ07, im willing to wait here in NORCAL, Yamaha, please send it to US ASAP.

    • Kevin Duke
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Yamaha will be bringing the littler FZ to American this summer.

  18. snd
    Posted June 2, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad you mentioned your heavy weight. Too many fat moto journos knock bikes for not being set up out of the box for their fat weight. Adjustable suspension might help but can’t fix the spring rate for fat riders. Fat riders need stiffer springs. And the fatness of the rider is a bigger issue when the bike itself is so light.

    • Kenneth
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      ‘Never seen the word ‘fat’ used so many times in 5 sentences. You need to lighten-up.

  19. Johnny Nightrider
    Posted July 1, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    The Yamaha 2015 FZ07 is here now at the North Hollywood Yamaha Suzuki,and Honda dealership.I was going to buy a 2014 FZ09 as my last bike was a 2009 Yamaha FZ6.Though after test riding the FZ09 i liked everything but the soft suspension and how the THrottle tears your arms out in Standard and especially A mode.I’m going to buy the 2 cylinder FZ07 as the suspension is better for me and the throttle response is great.I just don’t understand why my FZ06 had 95 crank hp and 44 torque foot pounds and the FZ07 only has 75 hp at the crank and 50 foot pounds of torque though it ways only 398 gassed up and my FZ6 was about 456 pounds gassewd up.The FZ09 has alot of hp like 108 at the rear wheel and 50 pounds of torque and weighs 414 gassed up.I think i’m going with the FZ07 because of its lightness,suspension,transmission,good motor and I don’t think I will miss 2 cylinders and I’ve never owned a 3 cylinder.Also 25,000 miles before a valve adjustment.That is awesome and the gas mileage and you can tell people I have a Yamaha FZ07 instead of I have a FZ6 which sounds small.I really liked my Fz6.I should just go for the FZ1 but I hear it has heating up problems like my FZ6 had in hot temperatures.I’ll let you all know what I bought.I might even buy a Suzuki Hayabusa as its such a unusual fast bike and I really like the 2013 yellow daytona/black limited edition.Its hot right now my A/C broke and The guy has been gone over a hour getting a new motor for it.He’s giving us a discount but I don’t know if he’s coming back even though he replaced several parts.I hope he comes back its hot!!!!!!!

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