First Ride: 2007 Yamaha FZ6 Fazer S2

Yamaha's breezy, breathless middleweight gets some minor updates and a slightly longer name. A dash of midrange would be nice, too. Will it be enough to rule the morning dash to work?

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By Tim Dickson on Wed, 2 Apr 2008 - 12:04

Visordown Motorcycle News


Not an exotic, far-flung track launch of a long awaited sports tool, this. Sorry. Instead we've got a minor update to the nice, sensible sort of bike your mother would want you to ride. This here is the slightly different Yamaha FZ6 Fazer S2.

The oft maligned FZ6 Fazer has taken a bit of stick since replacing the gutsy, no-nonsense FZS 600.The FZ6 Fazer looked the business, but many thought the thrashy, rev-happy (but emissions compliant) fuel injected R6 lump powering it was less suited to trundling to and from work in an orderly fashion than the old model's motor was.

So what you'll be wondering is this: has the S2 turned last year's bike's power curve on its head andsacrificed top end rush for some useful bottom end and midrange pulling power? The answer is no.

The word 'engine' doesn't feature in the small list of changes to both naked and half-faired FZ6s. Both bikes benefit from new forks with revised internals and a more rigid swingarm, while it's back to the kind of four-pot monobloc brake calipers seen on the original FZS Fazer but curiously replaced on previous FZ6s with less-effective sliding pin calipers. ABS is now an option too, but not on the bike tested here.

The half-faired Fazer S2's riding position is slightly different with a revised handlebar position, though if I'm honest I can't say I noticed a real difference. Also new to the Fazer is a subtly redesigned fairing. The FZ6 remains as naked as ever.

Finally both bikes get FZ1-style clocks, which confused me no end - I associate that particular view with the terrible off/on throttle fueling that blighted my FZ1 longtermer, an affliction the FZ6 thankfully lacks.

Except none of that addresses the issues raised about the Fazer's suitability to fuss-free commuting, namely a revvy motor lacking the low down punch so useful in the cut and grind of urban commuting. It's not that the motor's bad, but it could be better suited to the job. And that's a shame, because everything else is cock-on for a spot of early morning traffic-busting: an upright riding position, a slender profile, easy steering, comfort-friendly ergonomics and great brakes.

But to belittle the Fazer as an also-ran commuter is do it a disservice. A sharp-looking, 100bhp, 600cc middleweight with a modern chassis is the kind of thing many bikers rightly aspire to. And contrary to any arbitrary pigeon-holing the Fazer is, in fact, a surprisingly effective middleweight sports tourer. While the motor may not be best suited to town work it's rewarding and entertaining when wound up and thrashed through the box. That, combined with a genuinely good chassis and, finally, excellent brakes, add up to a fun and effective package on fast roads. While the rear shock is on the budget side, the new forks' action is noticeably smoother, the steering light and precise if not razor sharp and the riding position conducive to, well, to having a bit of fun really.

Motorways are easy-peasy too, with good protection from the elements and the ability to cruise all day at speeds that'll have your licence sweating. A useful 150-plus mile fuel range does no harm either. I would have no qualms about taking one of these on a continental thrash.

Some downsides remain. The gearchange is (still) horribly clunky and had me wincing every time I selected first, the clutch is grabby, and it's strangely hard to operate and integrate the controls at low speed without feeling like a new rider fumbling with the early process of learning to operate a motorcycle. It gets easier with time on the bike but I still found it odd. And, thanks to the high-rise silencers, there's barely any underseat storage.

That aside the FZ6 Fazer S2 is a useful, stylish and well executed middleweight all-rounder.

VERDICT 5/5

Motor lacks punch but think outside the box and you've got an entertaining budget all-rounder.

SPECS

TYPE - STREETBIKE

PRODUCTION DATE - 2007

PRICE NEW - £5299 / £5599 WITH ABS

ENGINE CAPACITY - 599cc

POWER -96bhp@12,000rpm

TORQUE - 46.5lb.ft@10,000rpm

WEIGHT - 186kg / 191kg WITH ABS

SEAT HEIGHT - 795mm

FUEL CAPACITY - 19.4L

TOP SPEED - 140mph

0-60 - n/a

TANK RANGE - N/A

Not an exotic, far-flung track launch of a long awaited sports tool, this. Sorry. Instead we've got a minor update to the nice, sensible sort of bike your mother would want you to ride. This here is the slightly different Yamaha FZ6 Fazer S2. 

The oft maligned FZ6 Fazer has taken a bit of stick since replacing the gutsy, no-nonsense FZS 600.The FZ6 Fazer looked the business, but many thought the thrashy, rev-happy (but emissions compliant) fuel injected R6 lump powering it was less suited to trundling to and from work in an orderly fashion than the old model's motor was.

So what you'll be wondering is this: has the S2 turned last year's bike's power curve on its head and
sacrificed top end rush for some useful bottom end and midrange pulling power? The answer is no.
The word 'engine' doesn't feature in the small list of changes to both naked and half-faired FZ6s. Both bikes benefit from new forks with revised internals and a more rigid swingarm, while it's back to the kind of four-pot monobloc brake calipers seen on the original FZS Fazer but curiously replaced on previous FZ6s with less-effective sliding pin calipers. ABS is now an option too, but not on the bike tested here.

The half-faired Fazer S2's riding position is slightly different with a revised handlebar position, though if I'm honest I can't say I noticed a real difference. Also new to the Fazer is a subtly redesigned fairing. The FZ6 remains as naked as ever.

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