Used Review: Yamaha Fazer 600

Cheaper than chips and more versatile than a Swiss Army knife, the Yamaha Fazer is one of the few bikes that really can be (nearly) all things to all men - and all for under two grand

Posted: 5 April 2008
by Bertie Simmonds

Even medieval alchemists couldn't have managed what Yamaha did with the Fazer 600 back in 1998.
They took the motor from a second-rate 600, bolted-on R1 brakes and stuck it all in a workmanlike chassis, wrapped in plastics of questionable aesthetic value.

No matter how they went about it, the men from Iwata had turned base metals into gold: the Fazer was a knockout bike. It performed better than it should, proving to be so much greater than the sum of its parts. So good was it, people looked at it as a budget VFR.

It was more flexible and versatile than the Hornet and Bandit it was up against, and more of a man's bike than the SV650. Despite having less power than the Hornet, the midrange torque of the more flexible Thundercat motor made it feel like it had more power, while the able chassis, budget suspension and 110-section front, allied to the shortest wheelbase in the class, made it feel more like a frisky, fast-turning sportster rather than the plodding commuter it should have been.

Add in the practicalities of a machine costing twice the price and you can see why Fazers have such a loyal following, and why many mourned when emissions laws killed it off at the end of 2003. What did Yamaha replace it with? The revvier, buzzier R6-engined tart's handbag that is the FZ6. Alas poor Fazer! We knew you well...

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