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2017 Yamaha FZ-10: Long Term Review – Report 3

This is Part 3 of our report on the Yamaha FZ-10. Take a look at Parts 1 and 2, as well as our report from the press launch. Obviously, we are impressed by the performance of the FZ-10, but what is it like to live with?

The adjustable suspension offers plenty of range to set up the bike for comfortable street riding. Just back out the compression and rebound damping on the fork and the shock … make sure your rebound is controlled (not wallowy), and you can take “track day stiff” suspension to every day comfortable (if not plush) suspension.

The overwhelming impression this bike gives is one of high performance capability. This is one of those bikes that could simply dominate a track day on a closed course under a skilled rider. It has the horsepower, broad torque spread, suspension and handling to do so. The vast majority of riders who purchase an FZ-10 will never come close to its performance limits.

Although we wouldn’t describe the fuel injection as snatchy, throttle response (even in the Standard mode) is very quick. Coupled with the huge torque available at moderate rpm levels, the FZ-10 can leap forward right now! It can be a bike that a less skilled rider will find difficult to ride in a fluid manner, unless they are riding very conservatively. If you push the FZ-10, you need a pretty substantial skill set to find a good rhythm.

When you find a rhythm on the FZ-10, however, the bike is truly a beast. Viciously quick with more lean angle available than you can reasonably use on the street, with powerful, progressive brakes. The stiff chassis, together with the race-level suspension, means a good rider can go very, very quickly on an FZ-10 along a twisty road.

As a commuter, the FZ-10 has one significant drawback, i.e., fuel economy. This is an extremely thirsty bike. Ridden with even moderate aggression, don’t expect to get more than 32-35 mpg. Mileage gets even worse when ridden hard. You will be looking for a gas station well before you reach 150 miles on a tank.

The seat is firm, but reasonably comfortable on longer rides. Wind protection is negligible stock, so we would recommend a small windscreen and hand guards to add a bit of comfort for those commuting or doing light touring.

The FZ-10 is a thrill machine. It is literally a superbike with upright ergos and no fairing, with a touch more mid-range torque. It lifts the front wheel under hard throttle in the first two gears (whether you want it to or not), and provides a performance envelope so huge few riders will ever approach its limits.

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  1. austin zzr 1200 says:

    Just test-rode one of these things. Learnings:
    1) Grin machine
    2) Not good for Texas
    3) Even with three settings, fueling is still Yamaha hair-trigger
    4) FZ07 probably just as fun (haven’t ridden it yet)
    5) You dont notice how ugly it is when you ride it. But its still too ugly to buy

  2. Duncan J Thomas says:

    Interesting comments…
    I am the owner of a 2014 Aprilia Tuono that I have put 20,000 miles on as of now.
    I thought this might be tempting as a next bike but we get the watered down version here in the states.
    Even in it’s latest euro-4 compliance it makes over 10 hp more. It also comes in better looking and more practical versions in the UK.
    I feel the US is no longer looked at as a market leader so all we get is the lame left overs.
    The US moto-media also seems shy on being critical on weaknesses and overstates what is merely acceptable.
    The problem is lack of sales here in the US. This is further hampered when a company doesn’t give us the best they have to offer .
    It is illegal to re-flash here in Cali so things need to work right out of the box.
    I don’t have much desire to “fix” a new bike anymore. How much extra cost is it to have great brakes (steel braided lines and decent pads), top notch suspension (at least as a option), perfected fueling (seems Triumph and others can do it). A few hundred more?
    If you go to The Euro Yamaha site and look at their models, the tons of factory accessories available and then compare to what we have it is a real shame.
    Also, the Euro bikes can all be test ridden, a big plus in getting me to dig for my wallet as I want to have a idea of what I am getting before I sign on the dotted line.

    • Neil says:

      We don’t ride like the Europeans do. I see almost no motorcycles on the road here in the Northeast. It’s all cars and SUVs and pickups. In Paris and Marseilles two weeks ago there were scooters and motorcycles everywhere. On EVERY sidewalk corner, cruising through traffic, parked by cafes. My Facebook Thailand friends ride all the time. The U.S. culture is a car culture and a smart phone culture. Kids have smart phones and or weed (etc now) and they are lazy compared to my Dad who worked summers in a boatyard 12 hours/six days.

  3. WSHart says:

    Some people claim that our complaints about the bike being stupid ugly and poor mpg fall on deaf ears at Yamaha. These people claim we are beating a dead horse.

    Maybe the horse is a zombie. It looks like one. Ridiculously hideous. Why buy a bike a bike that grotesque and that also delivers crappola mpg? Oh wait! Ego.

    If you’re happy with the “styling” and the piss poor mpg, buy one and be even more content.

  4. SpS says:

    I ride a tuned -10 w/Penske suspension. Phenomenal bike for the money. I understand not liking the looks, but there is no denying the performance.

  5. Dave says:

    Love my FZ-10, put some Shad hard bags on it and that fools so many people it’s funny. One of those rare bikes that gets into your soul when you ride it.

  6. Artem says:

    I suppose that all guys do not buy yzf r1.

  7. austin zzr 1200 says:

    Having worked for a Japanese conglomerate/ electronics company (beginning with S), I suspect that the American divisions reading these negative posts are nodding their heads. Their Japanese overlords are too afraid to lose face by confronting the styling department to deliver the feedback in an actionable way. This is one reason why Japan, Inc. has lost its edge.

    • Dave says:

      I think both the Japanese and American know the same thing: the US market potential isn’t great enough to design a unique model for. As much as we complain, this styling direction has continued for many years now. If it weren’t working to their satisfaction, they’d have changed their direction by now.

    • Neil says:

      It’s 2017. The Beatles were a LONG time ago. The bike looks edgy and fast and it is. Will it get little kids staring at it out the back window of cars? Yes. Old guys checking out the NEW look of what they used to ride? Yes. People stopping to chat at a café and ask what’s the such and such? Yes. Art is subjective. Dali. Matisse. Van Gogh. To each his own. How does it ride? I had an 02. This is like my 96 VFR meets the 02 FZ. Great riding machine. It looks like, yeah, a machine.

  8. Gary says:

    The look of the FZ10 has grown on me … especially with the accessory windshield. Unlike the FZ09, which is coyote ugly. Heinously ugly. Slap your mama ugly.

  9. Ken House says:

    The bike is only ugly from the front, and even then I suspect that it would grow on me over time.

    As for gas mileage, most riders don’t mind stopping with me on my old FZ every 120 miles. I’m generally ready to stretch my legs at that point anyway.

    The FZ10 is competitive with the top sport tourers of the day because it is simpler, far cheaper, and darn near indestructible. If you can’t live without turn-activated cornering lights, then shell out the extra $7K for the KTM GT.

    I enjoyed this long-term review and it’s frank assessments. While you may have overemphasized the issue of “overkill for the street” (3 mentions, I believe), it is a valid point. Even my old heavy carbed Gen 1 FZ1 has a performance envelope that totally exceeds the limits of street riding. I agree that it’s no beginner bike. It’s funny in that my old FZ has wooden brakes too. Needs different pads, I suspect.

    Two mods that I recommend are Michelin 2CT tires and suspension upgrade from Traxxion Dynamics. The difference is amazing.

    • randy says:

      I just got back from a multi day ride on a bike with a 4.4 gal tank and decent mileage. It sure stinks stopping when you don’t need to stretch but don’t know if you’ll run too low for comfort if you go exploring or find some roads that must be run again and again if need be.

  10. Bud says:

    All of the comments should be about the fantastic performance and how we are all eager to ride or buy one of these. Instead, they are about how much we dislike they styling. Yamaha, are you really indifferent/oblivious to this?

    • Tim C says:

      Whap whap whap, poor horse


    • Bob says:

      Why should Yamaha care? Globally, the -10 is selling great, and the media loves it. If you’re a cranky old guy who doesn’t like the new-fangled styling, buy something else – this bike isn’t for you.

      • Bud says:

        If that is right, and sales are strong (I have no idea), that’s all that matters. What’s your source for global sales numbers?

        And what makes you think I am either cranky or old. It was just an observation about the reaction here and my assumption that it is indicative of how the bike is being received in general.

        • mickey says:

          My dealer has had one sitting on the floor for a year now. Not selling too well for him.

          I think you are maybe thinking Super 10, it’s an ADV bike lol

    • randy says:

      I’ve bitten on ugly bikes before. You only see the top of the tank and instruments when you’re riding. I’m more about range and handling. 1 outta 2 ain’t bad.

  11. Tim C says:

    Opinions about this bike:

    Optimist: The glass is half full.
    Pessimist: The glass is half empty.
    Realist: I think this is piss.

  12. Frank says:

    Only 150 miles on a tank of gas. That’s too little for touring, but it’s not a touring bike is it?

  13. Jim says:

    Looks like a decent bike but I’ve already decided it’s the KTM Super Duke 1290 R for me. Too little, too late Yamaha. When us old guys get rid of our 1000rrs we shouldn’t be expected to give up the extra ponies.

    • Tim C says:

      And at this level honestly the Speed Triple may not have the same sauce but is quite refined….

    • I had a FJ-09. I asked a Yamaha salesman for a quote on a new black FZ-10, despite my prejudice against its looks. He never called. I bought the first Super Duke R in town instead, nicely equipped. Can’t say I’m disappointed!

      • Pacer says:

        I am biased, but the Super Duke is the best option for a performance roadbike. There are a lot of great bikes out there, but if you are not going to the track five times a year I dont think there is a better option.The FZ-10 appears to be extremely good as well, and considering price a very good option. Just not the ultimate.

        • This class of motorcycles is tremendous. A great combination of flexibility and power. Stuff like top shelf suspension, full electronic suites, cruise control, and the like. One thing that you don’t always hear people talk about is the dealer situation. Not everyone cares, but I try to factor my local dealerships into the situation. So for me, the Aprilia would be out of the question (though is probably the top pick in the class), for example. My favorite local dealer sells KTM, so, no brainer…

          • Pacer says:

            Yeah, all the bikes in this class are really good. What is cool is that manufacturers are all taking their own design philosophy to the same destination, the ultimate performance road bike. In the past the performance bikes were all measured by their lap times. We, the people with the wallets, are no longer as focused on this (there are still Super Sports for those who are), and are being rewarded with some great options.

  14. Jdilpkle says:

    Yamaha listen up. Put the spiked soy sauce down. Move away. We got about 1000 years of motorcycling experience here on this site. THAT bike is too ugly to own for about 800 of those years. I, and many others, wouldn’t hesitate to buy it if it wasn’t for it being so UGLY. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – but – behold – that’s the epitome of an ugly motorcycle. Too bad. If you at least move it towards looking even like the FZ09, I’d at least take a closer look. You can do it.

    • Geoffrey Hill says:

      Right. Think 1000 years is way low though. Get the Plasticrap off it, Bench saddle.

    • Bob says:

      Awww, you think your opinion matters? Isn’t that cute!

      Get over yourself fast, because apparently you didn’t notice that the market left you behind a while ago.

  15. Don says:

    By the time I add up the cost of getting rid of all the ugly bits I’m ready to move on to a different daydream. Sigh.

  16. Craig says:

    You want nice styling naked and perfect fuel injection… then look at the Triumph 765… for some reason… they have the throttle connection spot on and the bike itself is beautiful and is the best street bike there is that is capable on the track. Insurance… cheap!

  17. John S. D'Orazio says:

    I bought mine back in February. Now several thousand miles in, I am very, very pleased with the bike. I have the grey with yellow wheels version as pictured here. Unfortunately, I have not yet seen a photo of this color combination that does it justice. It looks great and is very striking. As to performance, I had the ECU flashed, added a cat eliminator exhaust and a few other mods to really open up performance. Fast, comfortable, easy to ride and loaded with features. Even an old guy like me can appreciate the capabilities of this machine. R1 for the street? You bet!

  18. MotoMaster39 says:

    I think that they could revise the styling pretty easily on the few body parts that it has. My main issue is that they went waay too minimalist with the area around the engine, so most casual observers are gonna asume that you totalled your new R1 and this is the end result.

    The grey bodywork looks good, but the egg-salad-yellow wheels definitely rate a W.T.F. The bike would look a million times better with the same grey bodywork, and black wheels.

    • Bob says:

      Egg salad yellow? Have you actually seen one of these in person?

      If anything, the wheels are more green than yellow…

  19. ROXX says:

    Who the hell is buying these ugly things?

    Seriously, I hope it has a warning signal for you to get off before it transforms into Decepticon!

    • Bob says:

      UK is sold out, for one example, along with several EU markets.

      It’s not doing quite as well here, because Americans are conservative old fools with no eye for progress.

      • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

        well, now we know who the Yamaha shill/ fanboy is in the room, thanks for the clarification

  20. Grover says:

    Make it as fast as possible and as ugly as possible and expect success in the marketplace. Do 5 year old children make these marketing decisions?

  21. arrowrod says:

    In the “old” days, Japanese manufacturers used California designers. Apparently, not anymore.
    All I want is a a Honda CB1100 style bike weighting 400 lbs, with 100 HP.

    • Bob says:

      Hate to be the bearer of reality, but that’s never going to happen. Emissions laws have all but killed the idea of a 400-pound motorcycle.

      The closest you’ll get is something like an XSR900 (430 lbs wet) or a Thruxton (448 lbs dry).

      Deal with it.

  22. Tim C says:

    This horse is in really sad shape by now but…

  23. Tim C says:

    “Although we wouldn’t describe the fuel injection as snatchy” because we are moto press and don’t want to piss off Yamaha too bad but this has been going on for several generations of bikes now and is quite inexplicable given Yamaha’s general high level of technical ability.

    GRRRR Yamaha come on!!!

  24. Walt says:

    I currently own a second generation Yamaha FZ1 and love it. I have been following the FZ10 from the rumor mill to current production. I really want one However, I can’t get over the fugly looks, in particular the front end.

    • austin zzr 1200 says:

      and there it is, folks. A willing, qualified buyer with cash in hand, thwarted by pretentious, junkyard styling. There is a way to do junkyard right (think steampunk, the original Vmax not Pacific Rim) and Yamaha is blowing it

  25. Tommy D says:

    A comment on Yamaha’s fueling – I own a bunch of bikes. BMW K1600, Ape Tuono Factory, Yamaha R1… The Yamaha fueling is just horrible. It’s like an on/off switch and trying to do maintenance throttle mid corner is close to impossible in A or B mode. Graves flash, Graves progressive throttle tube and a drop of one tooth in the front final drive gearing has helped. I’m sure that the FZ-10 could get some love with a flash and some minor changes to help with its snatchy throttle response.

    I do love my R1 for trackdays

    • paquo says:

      it was the same on my gen 2 fz1, tuned all of the bad stuff out with the same kind of solutions and ended up with what a liter bike should be BUT it went from something like a 160 mile range to 110

    • dale says:

      I have 2006 FJR1300 and though loving its solid performance, still hate the throttle response, especially on lower gears. At low speed it makes it harder to maneuver especially on AE model (electronic control clutch).

    • Neil says:

      It’s not easy passing emissions, plain and simple. Good fueling means you leave the fuel on more at throttle closed and the EPA does not want to do that. On my Honda 919 I would use my wrist to NOT close the throttle all the way. I just backed off and it was fine. I found that I really didn’t need my old habit of chopping the throttle shut all the time. I also learned to ease it back on again. – Performance and economy? Cars are using modern turbos to do this.

  26. Auphliam says:

    I love how, on cruiser articles, people come out of the woodwork to scream “POSER!” and damn them for valuing looks over performance…then on an article about a bike that is pure performance, everyone complains about the looks. LOL

  27. Wendy says:

    I have been riding since 1972 and this bike is well outside my skill set. Not to mention the insurance costs should be astronomical. Thanks Yamaha, but not for me.

  28. KenLee says:

    All this model line is called MT in Europe, but FZ in US- any idea, why? This particilar one is mix of great performance with cheap looking design. Crashed R1 rebuilt in barn by Lego Technics and Transformers enthusiast. It’s not bad looking bike with some distinctive industrial impression, but can’t compare to great techno-sculptures as Brutale, or Streetfighter, or even detail focused, line precursor: MT 01.

  29. gt08 says:

    Maybe we should write our commentary in Japannese to be understand by Yamaha and the other (Honda Kawasaki Suzuki)
    Hey Kawasaki bring here the ZRX1200 from Home. Pleeeaaassse !
    I’m 47 and to young to ride Harley.

  30. Dino says:

    Looks like a Transformer with a couple screws loose, so it can’t quite make it back to the shape of a real bike.

  31. austin zzr 1200 says:

    Still too ugly to own

    • Bob says:

      Says a guy who’d rather look at a bike instead of ride it. LOL.

      • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

        dude, i ride a 650 v-strom, ok. I’ts not like I spend a lot of time looking at it, but I commute on it most days. So, stick to something that you know about, whatever that is…

  32. beasty says:

    Head pipes and the collector/udder look like they were sourced from the nearest scrap yard. Third pic down.

    • dt 175 says:

      Yamaha makes (beautiful) musical instruments too. that zorst is a yuge part of this bike’s performance equation and it COULD look sexy but that would add 4-6 grand to the price. and it would still be a matte grey/yellow-wheeled bitsa…

    • Bob says:

      Blame the R1 for that. The exhaust was never meant to see the light of day.

  33. Jim W says:

    Hard to imagine a worse color combination on an already fugly bike! And the exhaust is HORRIBLE

  34. Rocky V says:

    I know it’s sales –but why not make a 1978 Gs 1000 a 1973 cbx– i know Honda has the newer CB but it’s not for me –nor is the Yamaha

    • Provologna says:

      I’m sure you meant “1979” CBX, right? ’79 had those hideous plain nylon (ugh!) swingarm bearings, upgraded to needle bearings in ’80. But the ’79 has more aggressive cams (softer in ’80 for stiffer emissions standards).

      My favorite would be an ’80 in gloss pitch black (very rare) with OEM Sport Kit, Denco 6-1 header, jetted carbs, and of course cams from a ’79. Damn, wish I had one. Hearing this bike on the cam is better than a wet dream.

    • Bob says:

      So you want to reverse nearly forty years of performance engineering, safety and reliability in the name of style?

      Have you tried a Harley, sir? They make plenty of options for folks just like you…

  35. Butch says:

    Nice muffler . . . . .

  36. johnny ro says:

    I stand in garage and stare at my 1994 XJ600SFC curves and lines and then walk around it for another angle.

    Obsolete? yes. Ugly? no. 60hp? Enough.

    I will never consider an FZ10 when they are at bottom of depreciation curve. Or, new.

    Some of the small Chinese stuff has mildly attractive lines, mostly not sold in US.

    • Tony says:

      I’ve a 1997 XJ600S and I think the same way. Old? yep. Ugly? Nope. Only 60hp, yeah that’s enough for me. I wouldn’t buy this new bike either, too much performance, and too little mpg, but evidently I’m not one of the group that they’re making this bike for either.

      • todd says:

        One of my favorite bikes is my 1982 XJ650RJ Seca. Old? Yep. Ugly? Nope. Only 74hp, yeah that’s enough for me – with shaft drive to boot. There is nothing about this FZ10 that appeals to me and I prefer Yamahas.

  37. Tommy See says:

    This bike is a rocket on steroids. I`m so excited to see the new XT 700 or Super Tenere.
    Or why not the Tracer 07 in America !

  38. gt08 says:

    Why so ugly ???
    Yamaha remember the FZ-1
    I understand it a formidable bike, but can’t look at !

    • bartman50 says:

      What I don’t get is that many of these new fuel injected bikes get really crappy mileage. It’s like the engineers don’t spend any time in making them more efficient and depend on the catalyzer to clean up the emissions. I’ve owned many liter plus carb equipped bikes that got well mid to high 40’s in terms of mpg. Even my ZX11’s which were carb’d got in the mid 40mpg. And the first gen FZ1’s I’ve owned did as well or better.
      I recently owned a Kawi Concours 14 that got dismal fuel mileage.
      The only bikes on the market that seem to be engineered to both perform as well as get great mileage is BMW. I got high 40’s on my R1200RT and I understand that even the 6 cylinder K1600GT/GTL gets in the upper 40’s and low 50’s per gallon. Time to clean things up.

      • Dave says:

        The issue is performance. All of these bikes have solid, fixed-timing cams. If you want to get 150bph/liter you must configure the engine to be most efficient at high rpm. You must then make a ton of fueling/spark timing compromises to get the thing to run acceptably at low rpm. 600cc SS bikes get dismal mileage for this reason too. The BMW’s are tuned much less aggressively, hence the better mileage. Tune an engine to make good low end torque and a modest hp peak, and you’ll have a very rideable engine with great mileage. See Honda NC700 and it’s 70+ mpg.

        Oh, and that catalyzer/collector box on the bottom of the bike is ageing like fine milk. Yuck!

    • bartman50 says:

      What I don’t get is that many of these new fuel injected bikes get really crappy mileage. It’s like the engineers don’t spend any time in making them more efficient and depend on the catalyzer to clean up the emissions. I’ve owned many liter plus carb equipped bikes that got well mid to high 40’s in terms of mpg. Even my ZX11’s got mid 40mpg as well as my first gen FZ1’s.
      I recent;y owned a Kawi Concours 14 that got dismal fuel mileage.
      The only bikes on the market that seem to be engineered to both perform as well as get great mileage is BMW. I gor high 40’s on my R1200RT and I understand that even the 6 cylinder K1600GT/GTL gets in the upper 40’s and low 50’s per gallon. Time to clean things up.

  39. wjf says:

    I don’t get out of bed for anything less than motogp spec power and handling

  40. Bill N says:

    With the momentum the current Japanese styling trends carry, I don’t see them ever returning to what I consider attractive.

  41. mickey says:

    I recently had the opportunity to test ride one and if money were no object, I would own one just to roll it on above 4 grand up to near redline and listen to the glorious music it makes, roll off the throttle down to 4K and repeat. Again and again. Other than that it didn’t make much sense to me as an all around motorcycle. Then again I am old and slow which has been pointed out many times lol

  42. bmbktmracer says:

    Please wake me when Yamaha makes an attractive-looking motorcycle.

  43. MIGUEL ZEDRX says:

    Not only a thirsty bike, but also a hungry one. Ready to eat my drivers license.

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