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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

2016 Yamaha Early Release Models—And New Dirt Bikes!


2016 Yamaha FZ-07

Yamaha and Star have given us a peek into their 2016 lineup of bikes. Yamaha has some cool stuff in the works.

I’m mostly a street rider, so I’ll start with the road bikes. You’ll be glad to hear there are no price increases on any of these models for 2016.

Yamaha’s excellent FZs both get new paint jobs. The FZ-09 now comes in Raven and a nice brilliant Blue, and the FZ-07 is available in Raven or a Tron-esque Matte Silver / Blue. The -07, still $6,990, will hit shops in August, while the -09 will be available in September, still at $8,190.

Star’s popular (the number three seller in the Yamah/Star lineup!) Bolt also gets snazzy new colors. The standard issue Bolt, still $7,990, gets sprayed with either Raven or Deep Blue, while the R-Spec now comes in Rapid Red (obviously the faster color) or Stone Grey, with matching wheel stripes for an extra-sporty look, still at $8,390. Both of these ’16 models will be available in July. We have to wait until fall for the C-Spec details, though.


2016 Yamaha FZ-09

Ok, some pretty cool new colors. What’s cooler? New dirt bikes!

Serious off-roaders will be stoked to hear that Yamaha is bringing us an entirely new model, the two-stroke (too stoked!) YZ250X, a closed-course competition-oriented woods racer, “the ultimate woods weapon,” available in August for $7,390.

We don’t have specs yet, but Yamaha tells us the 250X will be light and nimble, with a KYB AOS (air and oil separate) fork, a wide-ratio five-speed and power delivery tuned for cross-country racing. Bonus: you get a sidestand!

Yamaha’s best-selling motocross bikes both get engine and chassis updates for ’16, and as with the street machines, no price increases.


All new 2016 YZ250X

The big news: the YZ450F gets launch control, to help you get the holeshot. It also gets new cam profiles for improved control in the low and mid ranges, clutch and shifting refinements, revised suspension (settings and spring changes, fork offset changed from 23mm to 25mm), and a bigger 270mm front brake. The rear section of the frame has been beefed up, and the motor hangs in new mounts. There’s a host of other small changes, designed to make the big YZ more controllable and give it better feel. It’ll be available in June (that’s now!) for $8,590.

The YZ250F also gets the “lots of refinement” treatment. There’s a new, lighter piston design, and an improved piston cooling sprayer that reduces running temperature in this area by 10° Celsius—a big drop. The 250 gets similar clutch and shifting refinements as the 450, along with additional refinements to the mill and suspension settings changes. It also gets a bigger 270mm front brake. The 250 will be coming to shops near you in July for $7,590.


2016 YZ450F with 60th Anniversary graphics

The other YZs (YZ85, YZ125, and YZ250) keep on keepin’ on, again with no price increases, but get black wheels and gold chains. The 125 and 250 are also treated to revised suspension settings.

But for me, the biggest deal for 2016? While I’m probably one of the biggest haters of “bold new graphics” motorcycle marketing, Yamaha is offering both the YZ F models in 60th Anniversary yellow, black and white livery—you know, old school Yamaha cool. Bold old graphics, if you will. These bikes look so good that I’m trying to find a reason to put one in the back of my truck, and I’m definitely no motocrosser.

Surj is Editor in Chief of San Francisco-based CityBike Magazine and founder of


  1. stinkywheels says:

    I’m with a lot of you, (How much more for some quality boingers?). I’d still like to have a real gas tank without stepping up the FJ. I like to ride naked bikes to more than the grocery store.

  2. Fivespeed302 says:

    For those of you who are complaining that the FZ09 & 07 are ugly, might I suggest visiting a Harley dealership? They’ve been rehashing the same design for 80 years. I mean if you want the same thing that’s been offered to every generation since your great grandfather’s, it’s available. However, if you want something new, exciting, affordable and fast, Yamaha has a ride for you. So which is it, a bike that looks like it rolled out in 1959 or something new?

    • mickey says:

      Well they do sell far more of the old looking stuff than the new ” exciting” looking stuff.

    • RD350 says:

      So you are telling me (as the biggest complainer here) that if I don’t like the current styling direction of Yamahas or some other Japanese sport/standards that I should buy a Harley? Really? That argument makes about as much sense as “America, love it or leave it.” Accept things as they are or leave? Sorry, I don’t accept that …

      I dont ride Harleys. Unless they are racing on a mile dirt track, I have zero interest in Harleys. I dont like cruisers. I probably never will. My first bike was a Yamaha way back when. Started on their dirt bikes, moved on to their street bikes and became a club racer on RDs, RZ, TZs and SRXs. I have owned something like 20 Yamahas over the years. It is my preferred Japanese brand. My complaints are not about performance, technology or value. They are about design and styling. I am not suggesting that new bikes be styled like old bikes. I am suggesting that new bikes be styled well.

      And if I want something with a more appealing design these days, I’ll buy Italian, British, Austrian or German. All have cutting edge modern designs that usually look great. They are not retro. I am no Euro snob however. I would love to buy a current Yamaha. I really like the FZ-07 twin motor. But life is too short to ride ugly bikes. So until they build something that doesn’t hurt my eyes, I will pass.

  3. billy says:

    Just like the kawi the headlights are about four inches too low. It makes the bike look droopy and sad. And how long are these wheelbases? Supertanker? I’ll bet they’re close to 57 inches. I guess I’ll have to ride one or at least see one in person someday.

    • todd says:

      The bikes are fairly small. I haven’t ridden one yet but sat on them (I’d call the -07 “compact”). I see both of these bikes all over the place. They must be selling tons of them.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I agree they feel quite small, though Billy’s estimate on the wheelbase is probably close for the FZ-09 at least. Otherwise the rider would have a heck of a time trying to keep the front wheel on the ground. I see a lot of them around here too. I read that the FZ-09 is Yamaha’s #2 best seller here currently, and the FZ-07 is currently #4 and expected to rise in the rankings.

  4. Don says:

    I like the Tronesque FZ-07’s paintjob and overall style. I just wish it came with better forks and shock. It’d would be nice to see an R-spec version of this bike with adjustable forks and an Ohlins shock or the like.

    I sort of like the look of the Bolt C-spec as well, the gas tank just looks a little on the small side. Part of the original bobber look I guess. It seems sort of out of place on the cafe model though.

  5. Jeremy in TX says:

    Am I the only one that finds it ironic that you can buy an R-Spec Bolt, but not an R-Spec FZ-09?

    • mickey says:

      That IS ironic lol

    • Blackcayman says:

      one would think they might actually make an FZR-09 just to shut us up already!

    • Dave says:

      They make a “Street Rally” trim in other markets. If non-cruiser sales continue to improve, maybe we’ll get more choices down the road.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Yes, but the Street Rally treatment is purely cosmetic. I would think if Yamaha were serious about an “R-spec” FZ-09, we’d have seen it in Europe by now. Maybe they are concerned it would encroach on R6 sales.

        • Dave says:

          Perhaps, though I wonder how well the 600ss market is doing these days? I’m betting that they’re just concentrating the business on the single model since it’s a lightly contested segment. The cruiser market is full of choices and a brand with too few choices may be more easily passed over. Speculation on my part..

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I haven’t seen any current news about the 600 market in general, but I read that the R6 is Yamaha’s number one seller right now. (Surprised? Me too.) The FZ-09 number two. The Bolt? Best selling metric cruiser, period. It sure would be interesting to know what all that translates to in number of units.

  6. Sentinel says:

    Still NO ABS? Really? And last I heard the cam-chain tensioner is still failing in that FZ-09 engine with no fix from Yamaha in sight.

    • Curly says:

      No, you’re wrong about the camchain tensioners. The problem all along was chain noise and not “failures” which implies that engine damage happened. My dealer says the current tensioner works great and cured the noise on early models. I have to agree since my FJ-09 sounds fine.

      • Sentinel says:

        No YOU’RE wrong. The CCTs do fail, not all of them have yet but many, including the one in the engine of the FZ-09 that I rented for a week. When the CCT fails, it no longer maintains slack on the cam chain, which leads to the noise of the chain grinding against the keepers that you hear, and if left unfixed will lead to a dangerous engine failure. Yamaha has released at least 3 revised parts that I know of so far, yet the failures continue to happen. This is not acceptable by any means.

  7. Rick says:

    Would have been nice for Yamaha to use the rear tailsection & taillight from the FZ07 on the FZ and FJ-09 bikes. Looks like the “09” tail light was an afterthought.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I was hoping for a Tenere Lite to come from the platform rather than an FJ.

  8. John says:

    The FZ07 would actually look pretty stunning in real brushed metal. I think the blue takes a way a bit from the gray on black thing though.

    BTW, as everyone see the “FJ07” sport touring and/or ADV roadie prototype? Awesomeness.

  9. RD350 says:

    The dirt bikes look proper. The street bikes .. not so much.

    I am sure both of the street bikes are fine rides. Their styling however is foooking horrible looking. Note to Yamaha (and Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki) …. PLEASE HIRE SOME ITALIAN DESIGNERS! Is it just me or have Japanese street bike designs just continued to deteriorate in styling in the last ten years? Whats with the multi-layer origami fuel tanks?

    The Tron-esque Matte Silver/Blue FZ-07 is certainly a new low. An offensive and garish paint job on an already uninspired design. Come on guys .. you are better than this.

    • John says:

      Yamaha has never really made many gorgeous bikes, they always tend to have typical japanese edgy design. There are exceptions but it is what it is for the most part. The FZs are good enough, it really doesn’t matter for most people, because the price and motors make them.

      • todd says:

        I’d say Yamaha nailed it with bikes like the SR500/400, SRX, DT400, TT500, GT1000, FZR400, R5, XT250, TW200, C5, YDS, XS650, FZ-6, Seca, Vision…

        I could go on and on.

      • cyclemotorist says:

        Yamahas have consistently been the best looking Japanese bikes.

        • RD350 says:

          I agree with you and todd. Yamaha has had plenty of beautifully designed, highly desirable bikes over the years. To add to todd’s list, consider the YDS1, 2, 3, the RDs, the RZ350, the FZR400, the FZ600, the first FZ750, the FZR750R OW01, the first VMax, the TZR250, the SDR200, RZ500, the early XT, TT500s, the XT660’s, the TRX850, MT-03, etc etc etc.

          All of the Japanese manufacturers are stuck in the Tron-esque, origami trend with their overlapping bodywork panels, multi-part fuel tanks, bizarre (ugly) headlights, and many other aesthetic violations. Check out the Kawasaki Z800 for an even more extreme example of a bike that has been hit by the current Japanese ugly stick. These bikes are a mash up of streetfighter and Japanese comic book, sci-fi transformer.

          I suppose if I were 15 I would think they were rad (maybe) … but today, to me, they are just laughable and sad.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I personally really like the designs and the color schemes.

    • Brian says:

      I agree with Jeremy. There are other “real life” pics of the FZ-07 in that paint scheme…I think it looks kinda cool. To each his own. Personally, unless the styling is something I just absolutely can’t stand, I’m more interested in how the bike feels/performs. Like they say, you don’t see it when you’re on it.

      • Joe Bogusheimer says:

        I like the FZ07 paint scheme, but I’m biased, having a ’13 Fazer 8 in Yamaha “Race Blu” paint scheme – matte grey and deep purplish blue wheels, valve cover, and stripes.

    • Mr.Mike says:

      My 1982 Yamaha Vision is a beautiful bike. I like the looks of these too – not nearly as much but I’m sure they are much more fun to ride.

  10. halfbaked says:

    Major kudos to the tuning fork company for keeping it real with the YZ 125 & 250 2T models they never stopped believing and made them available all these years and are the only J-bike mfg to do so. And the new off rode YZ looks remarkably like my next bike. I don’t really care for the styling of the YZ-F’s but that Molly stripe treatment looks good regardless.

  11. Connieusa says:

    The only think I would like to see on the ‘new’ FZ was an ABS option. What I can’t understand is why the US marked doesn’t offer that like the European does on their MT version. People would sure pay the extra $$$ for it.
    My 09 Kawasaki Concours offered both options and I went with the one with ABS. My wife didn’t have that option last year when we bought her FZ-09 (FJ was not out yet and it would not have been her choice anyway).
    We will always be able to adjust the suspension and fueling issues, not as evident on the 2015 model, but we can’t do the same with the brakes.
    Come on Yamaha. Be all you can be.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “What I can’t understand is why the US marked doesn’t offer that like the European does on their MT version. People would sure pay the extra $$$ for it.”

      I don’t know what their aversion to ABS is either. The only thing I can figure is that Yamaha crunched the numbers and decided that ABS just isn’t a primary motivator to the majority of buyers of bikes in this segment.

    • Brian says:

      I wonder if US consumers have gotten so used to ABS being standard equipment on cars that they’re reluctant to pay what’s often 10+% extra for it on a bike. That, and I wonder if they really understand the benefits.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Agree on both points. I do think there is a psychological aversion to paying extra for it, and I also think there are a lot of people that either don’t appreciate the benefits of ABS or think their skills are somehow superior. The number of people I meet that are certain that they can control their bike better without ABS always amazes me.

        • mickey says:

          Market survey after market survey have said American’s don’t care for ABS on motorcycles. I think things are slowly changing, but also think it would take govt mandate to get it on most US cycles.Heck in this country the majority aren’t even worried about basic safety gear.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “Heck in this country the majority aren’t even worried about basic safety gear.”

            Ha! Very true. Seat belts, airbags and ABS in the auto world all went through the exact same story. In all fairness, I think it pretty much took government mandate of ABS on motorcycles in Europe, too.

          • Stuki Moi says:

            Per my experience, anecdotal “market survey” after anecdotal market survey do show that those with enough money to burn to be rather price insensitive on the matter, do care about abs, though. The cost of adding abs is low these days, perhaps $200 since testing is already done for the Euro market. Yamaha US could sell a bundle of them even at $1000 more than the non abs version. As gross take per bike is likely less than $700, every abs bike they sold would equal more than two non abs’

            It is also interesting that pretty much across the board for bikes with both abs and non abs options; if there is overstock that gets heavily discounted at the end of the year, it is almost always the non-abs versions that are left.

            I bet peculiarities related to US dealer allocations, as well as the litigiousness of US business in general, has at least as much to do with the lack of model variations over here as just lack of demand.

          • Kris Wuenstel says:

            Anybody that wants ABS should have that option available. Anybody that doesn’t want it should not have it forced upon them. It’s a personal preference issue. If someone wants to suggest a government-mandated requirement, then I’d also suggest it be part of a tiered licensing program aimed at protecting new riders.

  12. Grover says:


  13. ApriliaRST says:

    I was hoping for an FZ07 dual sport. Nothing announced so far for me.

  14. William says:

    Dual 450…get with it yamaha

  15. Barnapkin says:

    Yellow, Black, and White Yammys are always as I picture them.
    What’s up with a new woods bike without a headlamp??
    What’s the point of a low MSRP if the owners have to drop $350 on an aftermarket kit; Yammy could have added it for less than $200 per bike.

    • John A. Kuzmenko says:

      It’s not a TT-R250, a trail bike made for weekend recreational riding for fun (and that TT-R was actually a stripped-down dual-purpose bike sold in other countries).

      The YZ250X is intended to compete with the KTM250XC, a bike for riders that want to compete in off-road races (like J-Day) held in daylight hours on private property where DOT regulations aren’t an issue.
      Basically, a YZ250 for off-road racing.
      Why would you need a headlight and taillight for that?

      • Roadrash says:

        The KTM XC’s didn’t come with the headlight/taillight of KTM EXC’s, but they did come with enough electrical output to support lights. I remember them even having the wiring, so plug & play (at night).
        Some off road events do have a night segment, so KTM was thinking “Ready to Race” when they did the XC the way they did it.
        Also, I’ve done a lot of trail riding, and sometimes you can get caught out after sunset, due to all kinds of unforeseen things, like breakdowns, flat tires, etc.
        Maybe the new Yamaha can support an off road light…..

    • GKS says:

      The YZ250X is designated as a closed course competition bike, as such, it is not subject to EPA & CARB noise and emissions regulations. Look at the four-stroke off-road 250s, you have the X, which is the uncorked off-road racer, and the WR, which meets “green sticker” regulations and is legal to ride on public land.

  16. Vrooom says:

    They need to make a dual sport version of the YZ450!

    • Ian says:

      Yep, all the J-mans do, only Euro versions are available. Do like they do with most of the modern nakeds, take the last gen 450, de-tune it a bit for longer maintenance intervals, slap a mini instrument cluster, some lights, a horn, and side stand on it, and see they are received by the public.

  17. dman says:

    I’m not crazy about blue wheels but the silver/blue/black colorway on the FZ07 reminds me of my CB900F and that’s a good thing. This bike is very tempting and now there’s another reason for the temptation.

  18. Alex says:

    I wonder if color is the only thing changing on the FZ-09? Have the fueling and suspension issues been sorted out with the more recent bikes coming off of the assembly line? Any other improvements/changes for the 2016 model would be nice to hear about.

  19. Frank says:

    I’d still like to see the FZ-09 with a half fairing and ABS.

    • Alex says:

      I would like that as well. A fairing could help it look better as well as being a practical addition. As is, the bike looks more like a coming together of parts.

    • Rick says:

      Yamaha will sell you the FJ version of the “09”.

    • Selecter says:

      Err… FJ-09?

      • Stromfan says:

        yup ………..

      • Alex says:

        Ummm… kind of, but no. FJ-09 is fine for what it is, a sport touring bike with a bolt upright seating position. The FZ is meant to be more sporty, less touring. And just to ruffle feathers, the FJ-09 is only a tad less ugly—would benefit greatly from the addition of a beak.
        feathers, beak, get it?

        • TimC says:

          The FJ also comes in for criticism on the aero of its fairing/windshield – a common complaint in the class.

  20. takehikes says:

    You can thank Paint by Molly (molly Sanders) for the delicious old school yellow laser design…it was his along with the current blues, Kawi green, Lexus logo, Toyotas colors and so on….not to mention he paints Indy cars, funny cars and all of our choppers back in the day. He was the very best.

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