News 2017 Yamaha FZ-09 First Ride Test | 8 Fast Facts

2017 Yamaha FZ-09 First Ride Test | 8 Fast Facts

2017 Yamaha FZ-09 First Ride Test |

Electronic Update

2017 Yamaha FZ-09 First Ride Test - Cornering

The 2017 Yamaha FZ-09 isn’t an all-new motorcycle by any means, but the tuning forks folks have definitely upgraded the middleweight sport bike—and we were already fans.

  1. The 2017 Yamaha FZ-09 doesn’t ride radically differently. From a ride perspective, the big change is full adjustability of the fork, and the separation of the compression damping in the left leg with rebound in the right. Base compression damping rate is 83 percent firmer than last year, according to Yamaha. This follows in the footsteps of the XSR900, although the FZ-09 is still not as firm as its Sport Heritage brother. In practice, the fork does feel firmer when riding aggressively, without sacrificing comfort on bumpy surfaces. The FZ-09 is definitely sportier for 2017.
  1. Electronics are a big part of the new FZ-09. Although the smooth and torquey Crossplane Concept inline-3 powerplant is untouched, this year, the Yamaha FZ-09 gets a new standard electronics package that includes ABS and traction control, as well as updated fuel mapping. The occasional notchiness when transitioning from off- to on-throttle is reduced from last year, and is now the same as the XSR900–reasonable.
  1. Traction control is defeatable; ABS is not. You get full-time ABS on the 2017 Yamaha FZ-09, and it is possible to initiate it for both the front and rear wheels when riding hard—pulsing can be felt at the controls. There are two levels of TC (easily switchable while riding), plus off. Like the ABS, TC will let itself be known when riding hard. If you like wheelies, shut it off (you have to stop to do so) and let ’er rip.2017 Yamaha FZ-09 First Ride Test - Sport Motorcycle Review
  1. The drive train is updated. In addition to an optional pre-wired, plug-and-play quickshifter, the FZ-09 also gets an assist-and-slipper clutch. Thanks to engine torque assistance, the clutch pull is 20-percent lighter this year. Miles of tortuous lane splitting on Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades on our first ride confirmed that this makes a real-world difference for urban riders. As before, the six-speed transmission is flawless with gear ratios perfectly matched to the power output.
  1. The 2017 Yamaha FZ-09 has a new back end. In addition to a new rear subframe, the FZ-09 also has a new seat and swingarm-mounted single-arm license plate bracket. The seat is flatter and roomier, and a fraction of an inch higher. In practice, it’s much easier to move around on the FZ-09, and the seat doesn’t try to push you toward the tank. The back of the bike looks clean, and works better than before—the KYB shock is unchanged.
  1. You can’t help but notice the FZ-10 inspired headlight. Four LED headlights give the front end of the FZ-09 a new modern look, and we love the way the instrument pod projects from the deflector that flows back from the headlights.
  1. Plastic has been updated, too. The radiator now has plastic camouflaging it, while the plastic accent on the tank has been enlarged, plus there’s a plastic spoiler under the headlights assembly. Also, while not strictly plastic, the tail cowl and muffler cover have been reworked and are more contemporary.
  1. The 2017 Yamaha FZ-09 is a superior motorcycle to its predecessor. Yamaha teased some of these improvements with the XSR900, and it’s nice to see the FZ-09 made sportier. It is a great urban bike, and just ready for city-bound hooliganism, yet it is an incredibly agile canyon carver that invites aggressive riding. Much faster than the FZ-07, and easier to ride than the muscular FZ-10, the Yamaha FZ-09 stakes a solid claim to the middle ground.

Photography by Garth Milan


Helmet: HJC RPHA 11 Pro Skyrym MC-3

Jacket: Joe Rocket Meta-X

Gloves: Joe Rocket Pro Street

Pants: Joe Rocket Stealth Sport

Boots: Sidi Roarr

2017 Yamaha FZ-09 Specs


Type: Inline-3

Bore x stroke: 78.0 x 59.1mm

Displacement: 847cc

Compression ratio: 11.5:1

Maximum torque: 64.5 ft/lbs @ 8500 rpm

Redline: 11,250 rpm

Valve train: DOHC, 4vpc

Fuel delivery: Denso EFI w/ YCC-T

Ignition: TCI; 32-bit ECU

Cooling: Liquid

Lubrication: Wet sump

Transmission: 6-speed

Clutch: Wet multi-plate disc; assist and slip

Final drive: Chain


Frame: Controlled-fill die-cast aluminum w/ subframe

Front suspension: Fully adjustable inverted KYB forks; 5.4 inches of travel

Rear suspension: Rebound damping and spring-preload adjustable horizontal KYB shock; 5.1 inches of travel

Front wheel: 17 x 3.5” 10-spoke cast aluminum

Rear wheel: 17 x 5.5” 10-spoke cast aluminum

Front tire: 120/70 x 17

Rear tire: 180/55 x 17

Front brakes: 298mm discs w/ four-piston calipers

Rear brake: 245mm disc w/ one-piston caliper

ABS: Standard


Wheelbase: 56.7 inches

Rake: 25 degrees

Trail: 4.1 inches

Seat height: 32.3 inches

Fuel capacity: 3.7 gallons

Curb weight: 425 pounds

Colors: Matte Silver w/ Neon Yellow; Intensity White; Candy Red

2017 Yamaha FZ-09 Price: $8999 MSRP

2017 Yamaha FZ-09 First Ride Test Gallery

Don Williams
Don Williams
With 50 years of riding experience, Don Williams is a fan of all kinds of motorcycles. He enjoys sport bikes, cruisers, dirt bikes, touring bikes, adventure bikes, dual sport bikes, and rideable customs. Ask Don what his favorite bike is and he will tell you, "Whatever bike I'm on."

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