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Yamaha Unveils 2014 FZ-09 850 Triple

When Yamaha displayed the Crossplane Triple concept at INTERMOT last year, it made it clear that a three cylinder bike was headed for production.  That bike was revealed in private to a group of journalists here in Southern California last week (you can see me sitting on the bike at the bottom of this article).  It will be known as the FZ-09 when it hits dealers in the U.S.  late this year (the same bike is called the MT-09 in Europe).

The FZ-09 is a small, light and powerful 847cc three-cylinder with a remarkably low U.S. MSRP of $7,990 ($1,400 cheaper than the less powerful Triumph Street Triple, for instance).

The new FZ-09 engine features even, 120 degree firing intervals, together with unique, unequal length intake funnels.  It has four-valve heads and fuel injection, as well as a relatively short stroke (78 mm bore and 59.1 mm stroke) with an 11.5-1 compression ratio. The transmission is a six-speed.

Ride-by-wire throttle and Yamaha D-Mode, which allows switching between three throttle-control maps for different performance characteristics, is also included. A counter-rotating balance shaft keeps things smooth.

U.S. Yamaha representatives would not give us a peak horsepower figure, but Yamaha Europe is quoting 115 bhp at 10,000 rpm.  We were given a peak torque figure of 65 foot/pounds, which should arrive at 8,500 rpm.

When we sat on the FZ-09, it felt very small and light (see pictures below – for scale, I am 5’11” tall with a 32′ inseam).  Claimed wet weight (with 3.7 gallons of fuel) is 414 pounds, meaning that the claimed dry weight would be in the neighborhood of 390 pounds, or less!  On paper, this is an awful lot of torquey engine in a lightweight package.

Speaking of torque, as the table below indicates, Yamaha’s technical specifications indicate the FZ-09 will have 30% more peak torque than the Triumph Street Triple, for instance, while the Yamaha weighs just a few pounds more than the Triumph.  Having just stepped off the Street Triple, the FZ-09 should be mighty quick at real world speeds and rpm levels.

Both the fork and shock are adjustable for preload and rebound. The riding position is very upright (very much like a supermoto or dirt bike). I had just tested the Triumph Street Triple, which is a very narrow motorcycle at the footpegs and the knees. The new FZ-09 felt narrower, in part due to deep scallops in the fuel tank.

Yamaha’s FZ8 is being discontinued. Comparing the old 800cc inline four with the new FZ-09, the FZ-09 is less expensive, 53 pounds lighter (with wheels that are nearly a pound lighter) and more powerful. Progress, indeed.

The United States press launch for the FZ-09 will be held in approximately three months. We expect to be there, and we can’t wait. Here are the specs published for the identical bike in Europe, the MT-09, as well as additional photos. You can also visit Yamaha’s web site.

Engine

Engine type

liquid-cooled

Displacement

847 cm³

Bore x stroke

78.0 mm x 59.1 mm

Compression ratio

11.5 : 1

Maximum power

84.6 kW (115PS) @ 10,000 rpm

Maximum Torque

87.5 Nm (8.9 kg-m) @ 8,500 rpm

Lubrication system

Wet sump

Carburettor

Fuel Injection

Clutch Type

Wet

Ignition system

TCI

Starter system

Electric

Transmission system

Constant Mesh

Final transmission

Chain
 

Chassis

Frame

Diamond

Front suspension system

Telescopic forks

Front travel

137 mm

Caster Angle

25º

Trail

103 mm

Rear suspension system

Swingarm

Rear Travel

130 mm

Front brake

Hydraulic dual disc, Ø 298 mm

Rear brake

Hydraulic single disc, Ø 245 mm

Front tyre

120/70ZR17M/C (58W) (Tubeless)

Rear tyre

180/55ZR17M/C (73W) (Tubeless)
 

Dimensions

Overall length

2,075 mm

Overall width

815 mm

Overall height

1,135 mm

Seat height

815 mm

Wheel base

1,440 mm

Minimum ground clearance

135 mm

Wet weight (including full oil and fuel tank)

188 kg / ABS 191 kg

Fuel tank capacity

14 L

Oil tank capacity

3.4 L

Easily flat footed with a 32″ inseam.

405 Comments

  1. andy1300 says:

    Yea I like it, Good move for Yamaha..

  2. allworld says:

    Well overall I like it, for $8K, it would seem you get a lot of bike for the money. I would like braided brake lines and those parts bin directionals, have got to go. Yamaha may make more money on accessories and upgrades.
    It is so typical with most reviews to leave out all the players; for one the Bonneville does not belong in this comparison.
    How does it compare with:
    Aprila; Shiver
    MV Agusta; Brutale 675 and 800
    Hyosung; GT650
    Suzuki; SV650 (Gladius)
    Ducati; Streetfighter 848

    At any rate, if you are looking for a new bike in this class do your homework, it is becoming a buyers market, with more and more choices.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      This is not a review, and those are the bikes Yamaha chose to compare (it is a copy of a slide from Yamaha’s presentation). The MVs and Ducati are not in the same time zone when it comes to price (the FZ-09 is $7,990).

  3. Gary says:

    There will be a triple cylinder bike in my garage in the near future. I look forward to a shoot-out of the Street Triple and the FZ-08.

  4. Craig Jackman says:

    Very nice! The triple is always a great engine in a bike. Love the howl at WFO, and shame on Kawasaki for not resurecting their heritage. However, not a bike I’d ever buy. Teeny weeny little fuel tank. Good for Dirck for putting the bike in scale, but I’m 5″ taller with a 4″ longer inseam. Teeny weeny little bike. Please put the triple in an adventure bike setting, but with street wheels … kinda Tiger 800 meets Versys 1000 (Canada and Europe only). Speaking of wheels, hate the blue wheels with the black bodywork.

    • CL77 says:

      Kawasaki has no heritage with 4-stroke triples…only 2-stroke triples. They need to work on a direct-injected 2-stroke that will pass EPA…then make it in a triple.

  5. Gronde says:

    It’s going to be a fun bike to ride. Not too impressive to look at, but the price/performance ratio is looking good.

  6. Tim says:

    Attractive bike, attractive price, comfortable ergos, Yamaha quality…this will be a very popular bike. I’m anxious to see one in the flesh.

  7. ABQ says:

    I wonder why it was compared with a triumph street triple. Wouldn’t putting it up against a tiger 800 have been more honest?
    …and I will not buy anything with less than a five gallon gas tank. I don’t just use my bike for the twisty canyons on week ends. I actually ride to work.

    • FAST2WIN says:

      No. It compares directly with a speed triple. Where do you see an adventure touring bike here? It absolutely positively beyond the shadow of any doubt, compares to a speed triple.

      • ABQ says:

        The comparison was about the torque, not the height of the shocks or diameter of the wheels. So, I think it would have been honest to compare the 850 to the triumph 800.

    • Mark says:

      Tiger 800 has little in common with this bike except the motor.
      Glad you actually ride your bike. The rest of us posers just look at websites and buy bikes to take to coffee shops.

  8. Jay says:

    How do you get wind protection? The Kawasaki Ninja 1000 is more like it, for me, but I prefer the triple.

  9. TomS says:

    Woot!

  10. Michael H says:

    Gimme.

  11. denny says:

    Actually, I do not want to sound provocative and I know this is in vogue, but I am little disappointed. I expected something in line with MT-01, in around 1200cc and V configuration; that would be feed for me. Moto-Morini Corsaro is of that kind I like, albeit with engine in 3cylinder row.

  12. denny says:

    Pretty bikes and high compression ratios…. yeah, but do you have gas for them? anything in more than 11:1 is in question IMHO.

    On NA continent the highest octane gas commonly available is 93 (no wonder when 1/3 of population is driving trucks). I wonder, is this sufficient for long term use while obtaining longevity expected? In EU is more common gas with rating of 103 and even 108 octane. Rule of thumb used to be octane rating/comp. ratio about 10/1.

    • Randy says:

      Where have you been for the last 10 years? That rule of thumb might apply to hot rodding but not the highly refined modern computer aided computational fluid dynamic combustion designed and CPU FI controlled engines. This might be an issue in parts of Mexico where you can’t get premium, then you have to take it easier till you get to a Premex with premium.

      • denny says:

        So, if I understand it right the 91/93 octane gas for bike with 11/1 plus compression is just fine. Well…. how is it then that even with my 900 Bandit (10.8:1 ratio) and FI, I feel difference in smoothness of run and quality of output even between 89 and 91octanes?

        Is it not just a techno hype you are telling me read out from magazines? Let’s be clear – propaganda of sort in under every stone. Unless you have your own experience in that trade (engine analysis) you cannot say for certain (or speak Japanese at least).

        • FAST2WIN says:

          Compression ratios are higher in more modern engines. a 2 valve Harley could not possibly run much more than 11/1 but some engines like the BMW k1300s have as high as 13/1. a lot of factors go into this. Like watercooled, 4valve per cyl. (more valve area)for bleed off(overlap on cam timing) knock sensors, some engines have vvt. timing retarders. etc. all these eng. run better with premium but will run on lower octanes with no problem. They just wont put out the same power.

    • Cal says:

      The EU octane numbers you cite are Research octanes. They are taken at lower rpms and less load than Motor octane numbers. A typical NA 93 octane gas might have a RON of 100 and a MON of 86. Average the two numbers and you get a R+M/2 of 93 octane which is what is reported on NA gas pumps. The EU numbers are not directly comparable.

    • TimC says:

      FZ6 has higher compression ratio but takes regular gas. So CR’s not the only variable….

  13. Joe Sixpack says:

    Japanese designers must be desperate for women.

    This is one ugly motorcycle.

  14. paul says:

    Hope it comes to Canada.

  15. Zammy says:

    Less is ….well… just LESS . Maybe some folks do want …less.

  16. brinskee says:

    Shame about the size. Come on, some of us magpies have real gripes too. Look at Dirck sitting on it – at 7″ taller, I’m gonna look like an ape humping a football! The trend I see is alarming, and it started with that damn RSV4. Keep designing good bikes, oh ye motorcycle engineers, just don’t forget the world is getting taller every generation…

    Okay besides the tallness rant this really is a great bike and we need more innovation and forward thinking along these lines. Light weight, real world power, modern electronics, lower cost, and built for larger riders? Hey, 4-out-of-5 ain’t bad!

    In all seriousness I love my ’08 Speed Triple – I think everyone should enjoy the noise and fun of a well designed three.

  17. Kagato says:

    I am greatly embarrassed that the tank does not say Kawasaki on it. How could big K NOT build a triple?

  18. Azi says:

    Well done Yamaha! Looks like this decade will be the Decade of the Triple. Great to see so much action in the middleweight street genre, after the open sportbike saturation of the noughties.

  19. hipsabad says:

    From one of the photos it appears to have no linkage on the rear suspension… I’m pulling for this bike (initial price, cost of parts, reliability) but I wonder if the Street Triple will outhandle it…

  20. TimC says:

    Please give it a half-fairing and lose the awful instrument. WHY have bike makers failed to notice that all-digital gauges came and went in cars what, 25 years ago???

    • Norm G. says:

      I dunno about came and went. we have full glass cockpits now…? but to ask for anything more out of bike with this price point seems a bit ridiculous.

      • TimC says:

        Most actual instrument panels in cars have reverted to analog gauges. I can live with digital speedo but not bar-graph tach.

  21. Brian says:

    Looks like Yamaha may have nailed it with this one. It is a really simple recipe; lightweight, powerful, good looking, and affordable.

  22. Nomadak says:

    Awesome job Yamaha. I hope it catches on. I’d like to see them make a mini tenere out of that motor too.

  23. Chris says:

    Not bad. Not bad at all… The price is surprising considering how much motorcycle it looks like you are getting. Has me looking forward to the 675cc R6 and 1100cc R1.

  24. paul A says:

    It might not be perfect but it is a step in the right direction. Upright riding position, low price, very little plastic and a great motor. Now all we need is a smaller version.

    • Ken says:

      “…a smaller version” — Why? 414 pounds, wet; 56.5″ wheel base; $7990. Maybe you’d be better-off with a Honda CB500F?

      • Zammy says:

        Nah …Honda is beating their chest because they can compete with a 300 Ninja with a 500.

        • MGNorge says:

          The way Kawasaki is beating their chest because they can compete with a Honda CBR250R with a 300 Ninja? One-upmanship has been in vogue for years.

      • Randy says:

        Yes smaller – like a 500CC 65HP with 350 pound curb weight. That’s “smaller” than the CB500F.

        • Dave says:

          That curb weight figure is very hard to hit at a reasonable price/spec.I really don’t know how Yamaha had managed the price they’re showing for this.

          KTM is bringing their 350 to the US and may have a hard time competing with THIS bike unless they gouge their own profit to drive down the price.

      • paul A says:

        Maybe what I need is a Grom.

  25. Anon says:

    This doesn’t ‘change the sport motorcycle world’ but it is pretty damn cool. Imagine what Bimota could do with such an impressively inexpensive starting engine and tranny.

  26. Machog says:

    Super Versys. Had my Versys since 08, haven’t found anything to replace it with, maybe this is it? Would have to be damn good. the V is still one of the best bikes out there, over 50k miles on mine.

    • xootrx says:

      I’m wondering if this bike is more singular in function than the Versys. I feel the same way about mine. It’s an amazing bike. Time will tell if the new Yamaha has that kind of versatility, or if it’s strictly for sport.

    • Bones says:

      Hey, Machog, I was on the same wavelength! Curious to see where else this new mill finds applications in Yamaha’s product line.

  27. Mike says:

    Wonder how it will compare with MV’s Brutale 800. Also, is that a true aluminum frame, or a steel tube frame with a plastic cover designed to look like aluminum and hide the steel tubing?

    • Kagato says:

      The info I read stated that is a die-cast aluminium frame—-the Euro version frame is silver, which I prefer–and apparently they get the purple one and we don’t. The black one looks pretty good though

  28. mpolans says:

    Looks ugly, but it sounds like the recipe for fun (light weight and power), and the price is right.

  29. BoxerFanatic says:

    Not bad. Only thing missing is an option for a half fairing bolted in place of the faux-ducts above the radiator, and the headlight.

    It may not look like a cafe racer or anything, but I applaud any affordable real street bike that isn’t trying too hard to be something it isn’t (not trying to be a race replica, nor a pseudo-offroader), and a triple is a nice mix between a Twin and an I4.

  30. Norm G. says:

    okay, now I know where I’ve seen that pointed seat section before. vaguely reminiscent of buell’s XB9 lightning.

    • brinskee says:

      Come on NormG. The Bell had a tail that was shorter and thicker. Stubbier? But I can see the resemblance…

    • Daytona James says:

      If I recall correctly, that (almost) same taillight assy narrowly survived its intro on the 06′ R6 but only because it was new and was on a somewhat revolutionary design. That Yamaha is still sticking the same looking assy on bikes is a tribute to the fact that their stylists and designers didn’t come back after recess bell. The cost cutting it took to achieve this bike comes in the form of the parts bin. No redesign… little designer input, little development cost.
      Still, if it were on a Triumph Tiger 800-like platform with some higher end suspension available, I’m down. Until then, or the release of the new KTM Adv 1190, my philopoty ol’ VStrom thou will have to do.

  31. Randy says:

    With 135 Hp/liter makes you wonder about what a 500CC version would be like – roughly 350-360 pounds curb weight with 65 HP @ $6K?

    I also wonder about an “adventure styled” version with larger tank, fairings, and more reasonable footpeg position.

  32. ben says:

    Now this is a fine direction to head in with new models. Affordable, exciting, likely nimble, fast, comfortable. Nothing at all like the disgraceful offspring of a scooter that was raped by a sportster….ahem..ctx

  33. mkv says:

    Needs a proper double headlight. Not hooligan enough.

    How much you wanna bet people will do a a triumph triple style headlight conversion?

  34. kawzies says:

    Holy Sh@# !!!!!!!! $7990???? I’m looking at my next bike……

  35. Norm G. says:

    whaddaya mean, it’s a nekkid. no wonky fairing, no extra tail area, no DCT, no TC, no giant clocks. that’s pretty clean innit…? uh oh… no ABS. when does this mandate kick in again…?

  36. Randy says:

    As the ex owner of a S4R Monster and the current owner of a Sprint RS 955i this looks like triple sound, S4R mid and high range power, 955i bottom end, S4R weight, and Yamaha practicality rolled up. If it’s more comfy than the S4R I like it.

    Seriously, I think Yamaha has a contender here – Ducati lightness, Tuono power, hopefully Yamaha ease of ownership, and lots of dealers. 5″+ Suspension travel for real world backroads. And the price, under all of the 650’s and just 1K more than a NC700X? Kind of the Multistrada I wished Ducati would make.

    Somebody mentioned the pillion, yes, once again styling trumps that practical consideration. I feel for you. My MTS1000DS Multistrada wasn’t so good at that either though brilliant in most other ways.

  37. John says:

    Nicely done, Yamaha!

  38. skybullet says:

    This bike is exactly the right direction. Light, simple, comfortable riding position and uncluttered styling with a great power to weight ratio. Somebody got the message that this bike answers.

    • funnyguy says:

      it’s getting a Versys owner to take a 2nd look, so Yamaha is doing something right…

  39. Norm G. says:

    i stand corrected. but wait 120 degrees…? that ain’t crossplane, it’s just a standard triple…? no matter, it stands in stark contrast to Honda’s new cruiser. see, packaging is everything. this thing looks GOOOOD. maybe when yam was talking about shocking the world, they were talking about price…? is that a real aluminum frame i see…? and Suzuki couldn’t do that for the SV…? other than the wheels, this things looks totally fabbed in japan. buy now before the price goes up.

    • MacBandit says:

      How would you crossplane a triple? With a dummy crank lobe? Cross plane can only truly be with pistons 180 out from each other.

      What makes this triple different then others is the ignition timing which is 240º close to that of a v-twin.

    • Rocky says:

      Sure it’s a crossplane. That just refers to the shape of the crank, not the firing order – it just happens that an even firing order on an I3 requires a crossplane crank. Now the Laverda Jota 1000 is a triple with a flatplane crank and an uneven firing order (it has a 0-180-360 arrangement), it sounds magnificent, but I believe is somewhat vibey…

      One of the key design goals in Yamaha’s crossplane philosophy is to spread the rotational inertial momentum of the reciprocating mass more evenly through the cycle, rather than having all the pistons going up and down in phase. When the current R1 was first released, Yamaha published some cool videos describing the various torque inputs within an individual engine cycle and the differences therein between a standard I4 screamer config and the Yamaha crossplane. Worth chasing down if you are interested in techsplanation.

  40. Rocky V says:

    If it were a 1200 – i would be trading my 03 Zrx 1200

    • Dirck Edge says:

      I doubt your bike could hang with this one ……either in a straight line ( it would be close) or in the twisties (probably no contest_), but you still have a very cool bike.

  41. Home Skillet says:

    Next powertrain for the Super Tenere?

  42. Gutterslob says:

    Call me pleasantly surprised. I actually like what I see. Never thought I’d say that about one of these new insect style nakeds.

    Weight seems okay, if what Yamaha quotes id true, that is. 5.5″ rear wheels sound just right. Passenger seat seems narrow, but I’ll probably buy a cowl anyway since I ride alone. Rear subframe looks a bit agricultural beside the cast aluminium main frame. Plumbing on the left side also looks a tad messy, though nowhere near the ‘intestines hanging’ look we see on liquid cooled naked Ducatis, thankfully. Exhaust looks quite handsome for a stock unit.

    Unless I missed something, your article doesn’t state whether it’s a 5 or 6 speeder. I’m assuming 6 gears? Also, any word on where this is built/assembled? Wonder how they got the price that low. Hopefully they didn’t cut too many corners.

    Doesn’t quite change the face of motorcycling (liked Yamaha claims), but I think I’ll pt myself down for a test-ride when this comes to my country.

  43. VLJ says:

    That thing looks great, and the specs (including the price) are excellent. As long as the suspension is halfway sorted, man, it should be an absolute terror in the medium-fast twisties. It should also make for a perfect around-town ride.

    And hey, no stupid-looking headlights or acres of ugly, superfluous plastic! It’s just a…motorcycle! A simple, honest, light, affordable, capable and FUN motorcycle!

    Who knew?

  44. roadrash1 says:

    I think it’s a winner! But, as a former Street Triple R owner, and huge Yamaha fan, I’m probably an easy sell.
    I had a demo ride on a 2013 FZ8, and was looking to pull the trigger on that. Now, I’ve got some thinking to do…..

  45. Yoyodyne says:

    414 pounds with a full tank of gas, 115 bhp and 65 ft/lbs of torque (at only 8500 rpm) for only $7999!!!

    And yet the magpies still find things to complain about…amazing.

    • thoppa says:

      No motorcycle is perfect so of course there’ll be annoyances and niggles. Even though this is my kind of bike, and I’ll very likely buy one, the tank shape and headlight seem to be out of balance with the rest of it, so I won’t be queueing up at a dealer for one. The numbers are great, the styling is a bit off for me.

  46. Ken says:

    I think it is a good move for Yamaha. We need more bikes that will be out the door with tax, title, and plates for less than 10K. Should be a fun bike and with a wind screen option would work for short trips. I have had 5 street bikes in the last 10 years and this type of a bike is very fun and would work for a lot of guys, lets hope they sell a bunch!

  47. Random says:

    Great, another nice bike with pillion pegs so high my wife can’t ride with me – as if the extra-thin seats of today weren’t enough. I wish I had the resouces for creating an aftermarket passenger footpeg company. Even if it’s a bike intended for commuting this is a real deal braker for some people – how can I persuade her I need another bike if she can’t ride with me??? :)

    • hipsabad says:

      Agreed. FWIW, I’ve made up pillion brackets in the past on several bikes to rectify the hopelessly short peg situation.

  48. dman says:

    I think it looks fine. But a 14 litre tank seems like a non-starter for me, unless it gets phenomenal gas mileage. I’ll wait for the Tenere version with 6 gallon capacity ….

    • goose says:

      Thanks for saving me writing a post. It looks like what I’ve been wanting for a long time, I’ll even put up with 1930 era chain drive, then I got to the 3.7 gallon tank. Do the making these decisions actually ride motorcycles? My favorite ride requires at least 160 miles on a tank. Without that you range have to make a 40 mile detour over really boring roads to get fuel.

      So close but not workable for me. I can fix a poorly set up fork or shock, I can replace a bad seat or handlebar bend but I can’t fix a too small tank.

      What do fuel tanks keep getting smaller? Fuel milage isn’t improving, outside of the NC700.

      Goose

      • MotoBum says:

        We have one word for you. RotopaX.

        • goose says:

          I carry spare fuel on my bike with a small gas tank now. My point is that I shouldn’t have to. Adding a gallon of fuel to the tank would add a few ounces to the bike’s weight and pennies to its cost. Why are the idiots in marketing losing sales by building bike that people who actually RIDE can’t use? Not everybody lives and rides in a densely populated area with gas stations every 10 miles.

          I feel really strongly about this because this bike is exactly what I’ve been asking for, around 800CC, less than four cylinders, light, it looks like it will handle well and generally my kind of bike. With the 3.7 gallon tank, if I buy it I get to build another mount to safely carry spare fuel. I’m kind of tired of that.

          Goose

  49. Bob says:

    I am impressed by the price. It is a nice looking bike, but I feel sorry for the passenger, the seat looks so thin.

  50. Oh Emm Gee! says:

    Guys, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is going on with the motorcycle market? Whatever happened to a simple, clean, uncluttered nekkid bike? That think would turn a funeral up an alley, for Pete’s sake.

    • Rocky says:

      “Whatever happened to a simple, clean, uncluttered nekkid bike? ”

      water cooling and electronic fuel-injection happened. A few decades ago, it turns out.

      • Tom K. says:

        Don’t forget about Cat converters. But Yamaha has done a pretty impressive job of packaging here, I’m thinking “Multistrada for the masses”. Seriously, if the Tuning Fork’s target was to out SV the original 650 Suzook, they may have done it. The small tank is designed around the bike’s purpose, which is unbridled hooliganism, you don’t want it breaking your nose when the front end decides to claw the air as you’re doing your best Clayton Moore impersonation. I hope the sound is good and snorty, I had a ’77 XS750 with a Kerker back in the Olden Times, and it had a very unique sound, somewhere between a twin and an inline four (I wonder why?). Good on ya, Yamaha. Maybe a thicker seat would give me the legroom I crave and the comfort my aged bum demands. I’m going to have to try this one on for size, I’ll be looking forward to MD’s review.