Yamaha has moved to plug a gap in its Fazer line up with the new FZ8 slotting in nicely between the 600 Diversion series and the big, powerful FZ1.
The hole became noticeable after the 600 Fazer series was dropped in favour of the lower powered Diversion and now that’s rectified with the introduction of the 779cc the inline four.
By restricting the bhp to 106bhp at 10,000rpm, Yamaha has resisted going all out for power and instead has concentrated on producing torque which, in all honestly, is more useful than high mph figures.
It’s all right for racers to look for top speed at the NW200 or the Ulster Grand Prix but in the real world if you’re caught by the boys in blue, or whatever the correct hue of the PSNI uniform, and you’re way over the legal limit, you’ll end up in court and most likely lose you licence for a spell.
I had a good day’s riding on the FZ8 recently and the first thing I noticed is the extra pulling power from the all new engine compared to the FZ600 series, where you need to use the box a lot more to keep the unit spinning.
Having a good supply of torque leads to a more relaxed riding style and it was possible to move on briskly, make good progress and yet not feel that you were in frantic travelling mode.
A good example of this was on one of my favourite test routes where there are some ‘tightish’ corners, taken in second or third gear, depending on the conditions, with long straight sections in between. The tendency on a bike lacking in torque is to accelerate smartly on the straights but the extra pulling grunt of the FZ8 removed the need for this style of riding.
I should have said at the outset that the riding position is good, without a big stretch to the bars. You sit up well, which gives the rider a good view of all traffic and, more importantly, let’s you see sooner than on a sports bike if anyone is trying to pull out in front of your path. Very useful for spotting the woman car driver with a phone glued to her ear in Ballyclare town centre.
There’s nothing usual about the equipment on the FZ8. It’s a naked bike and like the majority of these type of machines, 85 is the ideal top speed. Go much above that and you soon develop neck muscles like a bull elephant.
The bike weights at 211 kg, an average for the class, and the wheelbase is 2140mm. I was soon to discover that it turns very rapidly as I almost pushed the bars too hard in the first set of ‘decent’ corners that I encountered.
I love climbing hard uphill and on two very tight turns in one section of road the sharp steering made them a joy to ride through without having to lose too much speed. If a bike, any bike, does not give you a kick, forget it about and try another machine. Not so the FZ8.
The brakes are standard fare, double discs on the front and a single on the rear and they’re up to the task. The suspension units are run of the mill and perform adequately; the gold coloured down tubes on the front end look very smart and enhance the overall appearance of the machine but do not contain any trick items.
The bike comes with Bridgestone 021 tyres, covers I’m well familiar with, and they work well. (If your own tyres are in need of replacement try the latest 023s, very good). The six speed gear box is usual Yamaha and cog swapping was no problem.
The tank holds 17 litres and expect the mileage figure to work out between 42 and 45, giving a decent range before a refill is needed. As air boxes become bigger, there’s a tendency with some makers to reduce fuel capacity but 17 litres is a sensible size.
The FZ8 is a nice size of a bike, cc wise; the power of a 1,000cc engine can be very intimidating to some riders, particularly those who have only a couple of years experience them.
It’s also not down so much in poke as to bore the leathers of more experienced bikers and I’ve always felt that the 750/800cc class in four cylinder machines is an idea engine size. It’s possible to have too much power, a lot of it not much use for everyday riding.
The FZ8, borrowed form Hurst Motorcycles, Boucher Road, Belfast, costs £7,924 on the road, including road tax and first registration fee. The semi faired version is approximately £1,000 more. Yamaha has many of its models on a 0% interest offer at present with a low deposit.