Taking aim at the mid-size sport bike market, the 2015 Yamaha FZ-07 is poised to steal market share from its closest competitors by targeting what the everyday rider is looking for in an aggressively priced package.Coming on the heels of the well-received FZ-09 triple, Yamaha brings us its little brother, a brand new 689cc parallel twin FZ-07 that is easy to handle, gets great mileage, and on our first ride, we found it to be a total blast.
Throw a leg over the 2015 Yamaha FZ-07’s 31.9-inch seat and check out the ergonomics. While it’s not the shortest saddle in its class, the comfortable seat is wide and supportive in the rear, and then narrows down sharply where it meets the tank, allowing an easier reach to the ground. Nothing inspires confidence like feeling in control, and flat feet at a stop is a great start.Adding to the FZ-07’s approachability is its incredibly light weight. Shaving off 10 pounds from its closest competitor, the Ducati Monster 696, and whacking off an incredible 75 pounds from Honda’s NC700X, the FZ-07 has a curb weight of 397 pounds, and it carries it low thanks to engine and chassis design.The brand new engine was built to deliver plenty of low- to mid-range torque, and includes healthy acceleration at higher revs. I experienced a nice burst around 7000 rpm when I gave a good twist to the throttle in top gear on the freeway.The all-new parallel twin benefits from the Crossplane Concept 270-degree crankshaft with its uneven firing order which makes the solidly oversquare powerplant not only easy to ride, but provides plenty of spunk for experienced riders. It is great to have this MotoGP-derived technology available in such a price-conscious bike.Logging trucks on the two-lane roads just east of Olympic National Park in Washington prevented an extended spirited first ride, but the Michelin Pilot Road tires felt secure on the short fast runs.This was especially convincing, as much of the asphalt was damp under the tree canopy and the turns unfamiliar. Despite long feelers on the pegs, I never touched down and the FZ-07 has generous cornering clearance.With a rake of just under 25 degrees, the 2015 Yamaha FZ-07 handles nimbly. Its light weight and moderate wheelbase make it a pleasure to spin along the winding roads. The KYB suspension is reasonably tuned for the bike’s expected usage — neither overly stiff nor soft — and soaks up moderate road imperfections; only shock preload is adjustable.Although the 4-piston monoblock calipers are not particularly large or radially mounted, they do a very credible job squeezing the 282mm front rotors, allowing me to ride my own pace without worry. We look forward to taking it for some extended romps through our local mountains, as it’s clear this entry-level bike can perform when pushed.As an around-town bike, the FZ-07 truly shines. When you’re maneuvering busy streets and have cars, pedestrians, and cyclists to keep an eye on, you don’t have to devote attention to keeping track of this bike. There is no hair-trigger clutch or over sensitive front brake to be careful of, no hitch in the powerband, nor overly steep steering angle that will get you into trouble.Instead, you have a light clutch pull that engages smoothly and predictably, a flawless 6-speed transmission that shifts precisely (neutral is easy to find at stops), and power that is nicely dialed in. It leaves controlling the FZ-07 as second-nature as riding a bicycle, which means a safer and more fun ride.If your local town includes hills, the FZ-07 is particularly adept. The low-rpm torque and agreeable clutch makes it easy to climb the hills, as well as get started mid-grade.The large segment of the mid-sized sport market that uses their mounts to commute during the week will be pleased with the fuel efficiency of the FZ-07. Yamaha claims 58 mpg running on 87 octane — nice.For a bike that is the price-buster in its class, the 2015 Yamaha FZ-07 is nicely finished. For those wanting to upgrade or simply personalize, Yamaha Genuine Parts & Accessories offers a line of specifically designed accessories – both functional and stylized – from comfort seats, soft saddlebags, and racks, to steel mesh covers and anodized billet accents.Market research from the Motorcycle Industry Council has identified an interesting shift in the sales of sport bikes in the past five years—a trend away from Sportbikes and toward street-oriented sport bikes.Entry-level riders are leading this shift, and Yamaha intends to ride that wave with its 2015 FZ-07. The naked and upright 2015 Yamaha FZ-07 has the commuting and weekend short-ride categories covered with a well-executed, good-looking bike that will please anybody’s budget.Photography by Riles & NelsonHelmet: Arai Signet-Q Bomb with Pro Shade System Jacket: Joe Rocket Ladies Trixie Gloves: Racer Women’s Matrix Jeans: Uglybros Guardian-G Boots: Sidi Livia Rain2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Specifications:
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!