Yamaha aim to reinvent its best selling Fazer brand with a bigger capacity engine and whole new ethos. Will it help banish memories of the disappointing FZ6 range?
What made the older model Fazers so popular was their forgiving nature, unlike the FZ6 models every component felt like it worked together in harmony to allow the rider to enjoy the riding experience without any irritating niggles. With the FZ8, Yamaha has managed to get this feeling back into the Fazer range and this new model takes the best parts of the 600 and 1000 and combines them in a beautifully balanced package that is ideal for riders seeking a non threatening ‘big’ bike that is bags of fun as well as sporty and practical.
The new engine has a light and progressive clutch action with none of the FZ6’s grab that once engaged reveals a motor that is stacked full of grunt as well as having a zinging top end. Yamaha has concentrated on giving the FZ8 a strong bottom end to make it user-friendly and it shows as the bike is more than happy to be kept below 6,000rpm and responds to this use with a smooth and fluid delivery of power that makes relaxed riding a joy, but it doesn’t end there. Should you feel the urge to up the momentum you just need to get the FZ8’s rev counter above the midway mark and the engine develops a genuinely fast and revy nature that has a surprising turn of pace. And it’s all harnessed in a chassis that can happily keep it in check.
Despite lacking adjustment there is little to criticise on the FZ8’s suspension and although ground clearance is limited if you are really pushing hard it in no way compromises the Yamaha’s ride quality. Charging through the twisty roads around the south of France the FZ8 was agile and responsive and more than capable of delivering an exciting and rapid ride that is in suiting with the bike’s character. Although the naked FZ8 felt slightly more agile than the Fazer8 due to it lacking the heavy fairing on its front end when ridden in isolation it wasn’t an issue and while we didn’t get to test an ABS bike the non-ABS brakes were strong without being over-kill.
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