Buyer Guide: Yamaha Fazer 600

The ultimate buying guide to the Fazer 600 written by the people who actually own the bike...

Click to view: Yamaha Fazer 600 owners reviews, specs and image galleries.

Fazer. It’s a daft name but a brilliant bike. It was the first machine which showed cheap didn’t have to mean nasty and that a versatile bike could be fast and fun too – all for a sensible price.  Yamaha’s  FSZ600 Fazer took the biking world by storm when it appeared in 1998. It was a well known formula – take an established engine (from the YZF600 Thundercat) and put it in a basic upright chassis.  But this time the result was much more than the sum of its parts. Yes, it ticked all the practical boxes but it was seriously quick for a budget mid capacity bike and it even handled well.

Suzuki’s 600 Bandit was slow and heavy by comparison, Honda’s Hornet was impractical as it lacked a fairing and was a bit showy too. The Fazer sold loads.  There were minor niggles. The finish was poor and the headlights dismally weak. Yamaha solved the latter problem but not the former with an updated model in 2002.

Emission regs meant the carburetted FZS600 Fazer couldn’t be sold after 2003 but Yamaha had been working on a replacement. They released it in 2004 called the FZ6. Magazines were impressed but existing owners weren’t. The new bike had a bespoke alloy frame instead of the original’s basic steel tube job and a more powerful R6 derived engine. It had better forks but the rear suspension was cruder in that it lacked a rising rate linkage.

More importantly it was lacking mid range power. Some fans of the original FZS model said it was a step backwards. The later FZ6 Fazers are better finished, have superior handling that’s especially noticeable in big lean situations. One thing’s certain – the older bike sold far more and has a far larger following. Out of 64 owners who filled in our on-line survey on the bike, 56 had the early FZS600 model and just seven had the newer version.

Both make great buys on the used market. Tatty FZSs can be had for little over a grand. Clean, low mile late ones fetch well over £2K. The later FZ6 models are underrated so there’s plenty to be had on the used market from about £2,200.

The nuts & bolts


  • Five favourite tyres

Percentage of owners who thought those tyres were the best choice.

1 Bridgestone BT-021 20%
2 Michelin Pilot Road II 15%
=3 Bridgestone BT-020 12%
=3 Avon Storm ST 12%
5 Mezteler Z6 Roadtec 5%
The top choice, BT-021s, are Bridgestone’s latest sports touring tyre and an excellent choice for the bike. Pilot Road IIs are Michelin’s equivalent and arguably even better but more pricy as well. BT-020s are the 021’s predecessor and are effectively old stock now but still good. Avon Storms are excellent and competitively priced and Z6s another good, up to date sports touring tyre. There’s no point in fitting anything sportier as modern sports touring rubber’s got more grip than the bike has ground clearance.

Average front tyre life is 7,364 with a maximum of 20,000 miles and a minimum of 3,000. Rear average life is 6,287 miles with a maximum of 20,000 and minimum 2,500. The newer FZ6 models have a wider 180 section rear and average life from our much smaller sample of these bikes is 8,416 miles front and 6,416 rear.

Running costs and consumables
Considering the 140mph performance it’s a cheap bike to run. Average fuel consumption in our survey for FZS models is exactly 50mpg with a maximum of 65 and minimum of 30. The injected FZ6 series bikes aren’t quite so good averaging 48mpg with a highest reported figure of 55 and lowest 38. Chains and sprockets last well as it’s a fairly light bike with a smooth delivery – and quite a few people fit Scottoilers.

The average in our survey for FZS models was 18,740 with a maximum of 35,000 (with a Scottoiler) and a minimum of just 5,000 miles. There’s not enough information on FZ6s to give an accurate picture but expect around the same.

Servicing’s every 4,000 miles (average price £114) on FZSs with a larger one due at 8,000 miles (average price £148). From 2001 onwards these intervals were extended to 6,000 and 12,000 miles not due to engine changes but Yamaha’s increased confidence in their product. The biggy with valve clearances is only due every 24,000 miles (average price £280). The FZ6 also needs servicing every 6,000 miles although valves are also due at 24,000. Prices are a little higher than for the FZS mainly as owners are more likely to use main dealers.

EBC are the most common replacement brake pads and pretty much everyone’s pleased with them. OE are next followed by Carbone Lorraine.

Owner Case Study: "I’ve done almost 200,000 miles on FZS600 Fazers."

Alastair Lang has owned four FZS600 Fazers. His current one has 108,000 miles on the clock, of which he did 104,000.

“They’re fantastic bikes, brilliant all rounders. My current one is a 2002 model and I’d consider replacing it because the mileage is getting high. I’d go for another 2002 or ’03. The later ones lacked midrange power and underseat storage and the earlier ones had rubbish headlights.

“My current Fazer’s had no major problems although the front sprocket did come off several times. At 80,000 miles I took it to the dealer and they stripped the engine and replaced the output shaft for free although it was out of warranty and I’d done all the servicing myself. They told me other than that the engine was in excellent condition with no signs of wear. I only change the oil every 12,000 miles rather than the 6,000 the manual suggests as it’s cold stars which wear the engine and I don’t do many in comparison to overall mileage.

“I commute about 1,000 miles a week on the bike and it lives outside. The finish doesn’t seem quite as good as Hondas but the only part which has failed through corrosion was the original downpipes. I replaced them with Delkevic stainless ones but they were about 1” too short for the standard end can so I ended up sealing them with JB Weld..”

What goes wrong
FZS600s had a potential issue with the front sprocket retaining nut. It can come loose despite the locking tab washer. As a result the front sprocket can come off and may wreck the output shaft. Yamaha acknowledged the problem and there’s replacement nut (deeper with more threads) and lock washer kit available, part number 90891-10124. It’s something to be aware of as if the shaft the sprocket mounts on does get stripped, it’s a major (10+ hour) job to fix so some owners find fitting a used engine a more economical option. Yamaha have issued a service bulletin (not a recall) on this. Their dealers will inspect any 1998-2003 FZS600. If the outside diameter of the threaded output shaft is 17.5mm or greater, they’ll simply fit the new nut and washer, if it’s any less they may well strip the engine and replace the shaft but that’s a big job and they make the decidion whether to foot the bill on a case by case basis.

Two owners had their output bearing ruined through riding with an over tight chain but that’s due to user error!

Overall it’s an incredibly reliable bike. Some owners have run up serious mileages and you can buy one without any reliability worries. The later FZ6 bikes have been just as reliable with just a faulty kill switch on one and intermittent clutch slip on another showing up as isolated issues in our survey.

Plenty of owners aren’t happy with the finish of their bike with about two thirds of FZS owners grumbling about something. The most frequent issue is the exhaust downpipes rotting. The engine paint, fasters and fork legs can also look tatty pretty rapidly as can all the aluminium alloy. The FZ6 bikes are much more durable. It’s got stainless downpipes although they still discolour.

Most are practical but exhausts, as ever, are popular. Loads of brands are fitted but Micron, ART and Blue Flame are the most popular. Motad stainless downpipes are a wise choice to replace the quick rot OEs.
Mods include attempts to improve those weak headlights on square eye models, HID kits are a big improvement but at around £100 so they should be. Fenda extendas, rear huggers are common to keep the bike clean, heated grips and hard luggage make it more practical. Scottoilers are also widely used as are higher and double bubble screens to boost comfort at speed. Performance mods are fairly few although a handful have K&N filters which they say makes the bike run better. One owner’s fitted an Ohlins rear shock and Hagon fork springs which he (Dave Swarbrick) says transformed the handling on his 23,000 2000 FZS. There’s more – crash bungs, GPS, belly pans, motocross bars but no-one’s gone modding mad partly because it’s not the right bike to throw thousands at and partly because it’s so good as standard.

There’s loads of owners groups and on-line information with (Fazer Owner’s Club – Unofficial) being the biggest and best UK forum crammed with useful information and friendly folk.

Your Reviews

Add you opinion of the Yamaha Fazer's to our review section you'll find the FZ6 here and FZS600 here.

Owner Case Study: "I think the injected FZ6 model’s underrated."

Rob Ashton’s owned an original FZS600 Fazer and now has the newer FZ6s Fazer model and thinks the newer one is the better bike.

“The FZ6 Fazer always seems to get a bad write up in the press and I think that’s unfair. I’ve had my 2005 one since new and I’ve done 30,000 miles on it and I think it’s a great bike. It hasn’t had a single problem in that time. I’ve been abroad six or seven times including a 3,000 mile ten day trip taking in the high Alpine passes loaded up with luggage and camping gear and it never missed a beat. It’s good on consumables too. I use Pirelli Diablo Strada tyres which are excellent, it’s still on the original brake pads and the chain lasted 22,000 miles.

“You do need to rev it hard to get the best from the engine but once you get it up there it’s seriously quick.  I fitted an Arrow link pipe which got rid of the cat and freed up some more midrange power. It was only £60, fitted perfectly.

“It’s not as good on fuel as the FZS though – I get about 36mpg tonking thorough corners but that’s because I’m revving it. At a steady 80mph it’s more like 45mpg. There’s far less after market bits than for the FZS too – if you want a pair of end cans you’re looking at about £500 and even used ones on eBay generally go for over £200.

“It’s an excellent bike, harshly judged by the press.”