By now we’ll assume you’ve already read my First Ride Review of the 2017 Yamaha FZ-10, which means you already know I’m a fan of the bike. I give kudos to Yamaha for producing a motorcycle worthy of bringing the fight to the three class leaders of the super streetfighter class: the KTM 1290 Super Duke R, BMW S1000R, and Aprilia Tuono V4 1100.
More than just an R1 stripped down, the FZ-10 takes the track-focused R1 engine, which is tuned for top-end power, and reworks it to bring the power down lower in the revs where street riders will actually use it. This was done via a whole host of methods, but the major piece to the puzzle is the reworked cylinder head with smaller intake valves, revised combustion chamber, new piston, lower compression ratio, and new intake and exhaust camshafts with reduced lift and duration. It used to be that the words “re-tuned for torque” meant a once awesome engine was now neutered and boring. Not so with the FZ-10. It’s still as lively as ever, and with the way its Crossplane crank exhaust note sings to you, you can’t help but want to twist the throttle every chance you get.
Borrowing the frame and suspension bits as the R1, though with reworked damping rates, means the FZ-10 makes quick work of the twisty stuff, and its tall, wide handlebar makes it really easy to throw the bike wherever you want it.
Overall, Yamaha did a great job with the FZ-10. It’s a legitimate contender with the best in the class, and clearly ahead of the other Japanese players in the field. That said, the FZ isn’t without its flaws – confusing power modes and soft brakes chief among them – but for $12,999, the least expensive of the four bikes discussed here, neither issue is a deal-breaker for me.
All that’s left to do now is to get the FZ-10 together with its rivals for a good ol’ fashioned face-off. Until then, check out my initial thoughts about the bike in the video above.