2015 Yamaha FZ-07 | First Ride Review

2015 Yamaha FZ-07_14
The Yamaha FZ-07 joins the FZ-09 in offering a lot of value at a low price.

Yamaha runs a tight ship. Rather than offering a huge cross-section of new models to fulfill any need or desire, the tuning-fork company’s lineup has been focused on just two or three models per category. Supersport? YZF-R1 and YZF-R6. Sport Touring? FJR1300 and FJR1300ES. Adventure Touring? Super Ténéré and Super Ténéré ES. Not too surprising, considering the relatively slow growth in those categories as we drag ourselves out of the Global Financial Crisis. Ah, but wait—what’s this? There has been new interest and solid growth in Sport, the catch-all category we assign to motorcycles that are neither supersports nor pure sport-touring machines, bikes like Yamaha’s FZ-09. This naked and sporty 2014 triple went platinum even before it arrived in dealerships in 2013, and as I write this Yamaha still can’t build them fast enough to satisfy demand.

2015 Yamaha FZ-07
The 2015 Yamaha FZ-07 has a uniquely rakish style with broad appeal.

The FZ-09 succeeded because its three-cylinder engine and fresh neo-streetfighter styling got everyone’s attention, and then its sub-$8,000 price sealed the deal. If it worked once, why not again? Enter the Yamaha FZ-07, yet another rakishly styled naked bike well suited to commuting and “playful” sport riding, without the scary commitment to hard-core knee-dragging or risk-taking that many assume comes with fully faired supersports. And once again the FZ-07 sets the hook with its price point, this time a tick under $7,000.

Both the FZ-07 and FZ-09 began life domestically and in Europe badged MT-07 and MT-09, ostensibly for Master of Torque, not coincidentally the title of a Yamaha anime cartoon series starring several of these “crossplane” crankshaft bikes and their good guy/outlaw riders dashing around in what seems to be downtown Tokyo (but just can’t be because there’s no traffic). Episode 1: Idle Roughness. Seriously. Check it out on YouTube. Anyway, that Master of Torque sobriquet is no joke when it comes to the FZ-09’s power output, as the triple makes 110 horsepower and 63 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel, and 55 lb-ft from 3,600 rpm all the way to 10,500. That’s no torque “curve,” that’s a pancake. Yamaha says the FZ-07’s parallel twin makes 75 horsepower and 50.2 lb-ft peak at the crank, and no doubt when we get one back here in Rider land it will show off a similarly flat curve, as the bike’s all-new liquid-cooled 689cc engine was also engineered to be a Master of Torque.

2015 Yamaha FZ-07
Seating is mostly upright but accommodates aggressive riding quite well.

At its heart is a 270-degree crankshaft that gives the engine some character from the uneven firing order while enhancing low to midrange power. A gear-driven balancer shaft takes care of the vibes this would otherwise transmit to the rider, since the engine is a stressed member in the tubular-steel frame, and the cylinders are offset 7mm to reduce piston-to-cylinder friction (a lá YZR-M1 and FZ-09). Up top is the usual DOHC 4-valve-per-cylinder head, but with practical 24,000-mile valve inspection intervals, and down below a six-speed transmission with ratios specifically chosen to eliminate the need for frequent shifting. Yet with 11.5:1 compression and a redline of 9,900 rpm, the engine is far from slouchy at high revs.

A pair of 38mm throttle bodies deliver the juice, and Yamaha made an effort to give the engine good fuel economy on regular gas, claiming an average of 58 mpg. It doesn’t hurt that it weighs less than 400 pounds wet, according to Yamaha. I didn’t have the opportunity to verify either at the introduction in Seattle, Washington, and across the Puget Sound on Bainbridge Island, but if the former proves true when we get our hands on one, that would give the bike a tidy range of about 215 miles from its 3.7-gallon tank. Nice.

2015 Yamaha FZ-07
The FZ-07 twin has a 270-degree crankshaft, and the cylinders are offset 7mm to reduce piston to cylinder friction.

You can pretty much forget about riding the FZ-07 to conserve fuel, however, because it’s so darn fun to wring its little neck. Light in weight and quick handling, the bike’s comfortable ergonomics and ever-present torque lend themselves to all kinds of hooligan antics, or just squirting from corner to corner without thinking much about what gear you’re in or feeling pressured to go really fast. The spread of torque is incredibly broad, the engine sounds and feels great down low and in the midrange, and there’s a surprising amount of screaming kick on top as well. This is the most versatile engine I’ve experienced in a long while, in fact, and it just may best anything else in this size range. I even liked it better than the more powerful FZ-09 for its less urgent feel and more linear throttle response.

Faced with a dizzying array of electronic engine, suspension and braking modes on many modern motorcycles, the FZ-07’s lack of these complications is a refreshing change (and partly responsible for its low price and weight). No throttle-by-wire, no ABS, not even any adjustments to the KYB 41mm fork or single rear shock except 9-position rear preload. Yamaha has calibrated the suspension for comfort and commuting and given it a generous 5.1 inches of travel at each end, and I spent the entire ride with the rear preload on just the second setting. I found it compliant yet controlled enough for my 200 pounds and some pretty spirited riding, enabled by the miraculously dry day and mysteriously twisty back roads on the lightly inhabited island. Bumpy sections could upset the back a little when I was on the brakes, and the shock could use a little more rebound damping for my weight, but all-in-all the suspension settings seem pretty good for most situations. The rear shock is laid-out horizontally and mounted with progressive linkage between the engine and welded-plate steel swingarm, which is  looped-up on the right side (asymmetrical) to clear the stubby muffler for the 2-into-1 exhaust.

2015 Yamaha FZ-07
All new meter displays speed, rpm, gear position, clock, fuel gauge, dual trips, average and instant fuel mileage, engine temp., air temp., fuel reserve tripmeter and a range of warning and indicator lights.

The triple disc brakes are nicely done as well, with floating wave rotors and opposed 4-piston pots up front and a single-piston floating caliper in back. Both levers are adjustable, and while the feel at the front lever is a little soft, the bike can still be made to stop quickly.

The FZ-07’s taller handlebar and wide seat make it reasonably comfortable for long rides, and by narrowing the seat in front Yamaha was able to make the 31.7-inch-high seat seem much lower—I can flat-foot it at stops with my 29-inch inseam—yet the distance to the lowish footpegs gives the FZ-07 plenty of legroom underway. Nevertheless it takes some work in a tight corner to touch the pegs down, and the bike handles really smoothly and sticks quite well on its 120/70 and 180/55-ZR17 radials.

The FZ-07 will come in Rapid Red, Pearl White or a very nice looking Liquid Graphite with contrasting blue wheels and frame. Accessories include a rear rack, comfort seats and several soft and hard luggage options and trim pieces. I can’t wait to get one back here in California to put through its paces—the FZ-07 is one of the most fun and interesting motorcycles to come to the U.S. in a long time.

2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Specs
Website: yamaha-motor.com
Base Price: $6,990
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 80.0 x 68.6mm
Displacement: 689cc
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 55.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 24.8 degrees/3.54 in.
Seat Height: 31.7 in.
Claimed Wet Weight: 397 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gals., last 0.7 gal. warning light on
MPG: 86 octane min (high/avg/low) NA

2015 Yamaha FZ-07
The FZ-07 is just at home prowling urban streets as it is on backroads.
2015 Yamaha FZ-07
Tubular-steel backbone frame supports the engine as a stressed member.
2015 Yamaha FZ-07
“Asymmetrical” steel swingarm design stylishly provides clearance for the muffler.
2015 Yamaha FZ-07
Dual floating disc brakes up front have opposed 4-piston calipers.
2015 Yamaha FZ-07
Liquid-cooled, 689cc twin provides a very broad spread of torque.
Yamaha FZ-07
Yamaha FZ-07


  1. A modern bike without even the option of ABS strikes me as a cynical exercise. Especially since, if it’s sold in Europe, it does have ABS there.

    I would love to hear their logic and have tied to actuary tables.

    • ABS is more a marketing gimmick than anything. If you are relying on ABS to avoid an accident perhaps you should not be riding a motorcycle.

      Learn how to ride defensively and learn how to avoid an accident offensively. The key is learning how to ride a motorcycle properly.

      But hey, if it make you feel all safe and cozy then so be it.

      • “Learn how to ride defensively and learn how to avoid an accident offensively. The key is learning how to ride a motorcycle properly.”

        I agree with every word of that, but it doesn’t change the fact that ABS works. If it saves your life in just one panic stop it’s worth the $500.00 you paid for it. I’m not saying everyone must or should have it, but for what it costs, we should have the option.

        If the Luddites had there way, we would all still be walking everywhere we go.

        • ABS is a nice option, but I would prefer to spend less & forgo it. My 2013 Yamaha FZ1 stops quite nicely sans ABS. The more options added the higher the price tag. I prefer to see affordable scooters that newer riders can learn proper braking skills. ABS can mask a riders deficiencies in braking.

  2. So, when I’ve read this and other reviews, I have to imagine Yamaha executives wailing and gnashing their teeth about how the -07 has gotten better reviews by far than the -09. If I was in the market for a new bike, I would not even consider the FZ-09, I’d run to the -07 and enjoy.

  3. Very good write-up on the new Yamaha Fz-07!! Sounds like Yamaha did a great job. A lot of bike for the asking price,especialy one that can perform and gets good fuel mileage,

  4. I spent 4 years on a 750 twin from the age of 16 on. It was the perfect size to learn defensive riding on the streets of Detroit. I have been wondering when a 3/4 liter twin would emerge. This bike is perfect for gaining skills & power enough to prevent out growing. I would recommend this bike for any rider looking for their first bike. If this is standard Yamaha fare than this should be a rock solid reliable scooter.

  5. Well, from all that I’ve read, the FZ-07 is a great bike in many ways. It’s light weight, old fashioned throttle cable, 5+ inches of travel front & rear, great braking and ground clearance just begs me to make it the everything bike. I need to commute daily, grab ‘stuff’ from the supermarket on a whim, ride back roads with friends on the weekends, and, travel on occasional weekend getaways. Why not add: a MadStad adjustable tall windshield, Yamaha soft molded, expandable saddlebags, some sliders front rear & center and a rock guard on the bottom- just in case we run into some ‘more than dirt’ dirt roads? Sure, the FJ-09 might have that covered, but, for $11,000 before adding a thing- I think I prefer the simplicity of the Fz-07. And, the comfort, and, the seemingly lower price for accessories.

    I already own the ultimate street fighter (Triumph Street Triple R), which- in theory- I could commute on, I don’t want to add a windshield, or, saddlebags to it. I’ve already removed the passenger footrests, and, installed a cowl over the pillion seat, so, it’s the wrong bike for the job!

    I’ve read some of the forums on the FZ-07, the nakedness makes an oil change ridiculously easy, and, I suspect that all maintenance is relatively simple. Add in 25,000 valve adjustment intervals, a narrow frame, almost 60 MPG and the cornerstone of my commuter bike is in place. I think the FZ-07 will become the de facto ADV bike of the average guy- and, a surprisingly good one at that.

    Just think about it for a little while- the concept grows on you, all while providing an awesome hooligan ride that can wheelie in the first 3 gears!

    • I agree, I intend on turning this bike as my own version of an ADV moto.

      Hepco and shad make hard cases for it already. I saw a picture of an fz 09 with full side/top cases and it looks awesome.

      Now I got to decide what color to get, graphite or red? tough choice. I kinda like the color frame a la Ducati.


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