test and pictures by Adrian Percival
bike, tourer, everyday commuter or track day surprise,
this is the Fazer 1000! Here we have an R1 in disguise, a
'Q' bike or a wolf in sheeps clothing; it's a bike that can
do everything and anything you throw at it and it just keeps
coming back for more..
So what is it exactly?
The Fazer powerplant is
aesthetically the same motor as the R1 (old version of course!)
and puts out a respectable 143PS at 10,000rpm instead of the
150 of the sports bike. But where the Fazer differs is in
the torque output, with 10.8kg-m of torque at 7500rpm which
is about the same as the R1 but at whole 1000rpm less. It
also weighs in at 208kg making it a little bit on the heavy
side by some other bike comparisons, but that isn't a factor
when you ride it.
So a stripped down R1 eh?
Well no not really. It won't keep up the pace on the same
stretch of twisty road as an R1, but that really isn't what
this bike is all about. The Fazer 1000 is a truly sensible
bike which makes perfect sense, it's no slug on any road,
yet it's not a loony sports bike! The Fazer 1000 is, and has
been, designed to be a muscle bike from the outset and scores
top marks here. There's torque by the bucket-full from the
bottom end and this makes high gear riding very easy. It's
fast by anyone's standards and super comfortable with it.
Also there's stable handling and pretty good protection from
the top fairing. All this adds up to a bike that can be used
day in, day out in any conditions.
you look at the Fazer motor you will immediately
see it's an R1 lump, but that's where things change for the
FZ1000. Smaller 37mm carbs feed the engine now instead of
the old R1's 40mm ones, a heavier crank and a lower compression
ratio for smoothness and an alloy head instead of a Magnesium
one. All this adds up to better bottom end power and a super
smooth delivery all the way through the rev range.
Take a look at the frame
of the R1 and then look at the Fazer. Gone is the alloy beam
frame, what we have here is a tubular steel chassis. This
frame houses the motor on link style rubber mountings making
the combination even more smooth and vibration free. Add the
new style alloy swingarm and the conventional 43mm front forks
to the equation and you get a refined bike which is still
right up there in the realms of good handling. The front forks
have dual rate springs and are fully adjustable, the rear
shock gets pre-load, rebound and compression adjustments.
What's it like on the road?
First impressions when you
get on the bike are of comfort and a relaxed riding position,
the bars are reasonably high and wide and the seat is low
which gives you a feeling of sitting in the bike rather than
on it. No uncomfortable twists or bends, no prising you off
it at the other end of the trip; this is a bike you can ride
a long way on and be utterly comfortable all the way. The
seat height may be a bit higher than usual but Yamaha do a
lower seat option which may well be worthwhile for some. Instruments
are standard analogue set-up and are easy to both read and
use. Looking behind you will take a bit of getting used to
as the mirrors are set pretty high and wide on long arms,
great for filtering as they will clear most car mirrors by
on the road the Fazer 1000 feels almost nimble and
silent, there's no crunching from the gearchange, not much
engine noise and no raspy bark from the exhaust. Yamaha have
made changes to the gearbox on the FZ1000; there is a new
gear linkage which seems to aid in smooth changes and a different
lightweight clutch to feed the power to the rear wheel via
a slightly higher ratio sprocket than the R1. Power on and
accelerate and you will see just what I mean, creamy smooth
and feeling pretty docile up to about 8,000rpm, then the R1's
trait starts to show a bit as the Fazer rockets forward at
an alarming rate all the way to the redline! It's a powerful
bike and like most litre class sportsbikes will point at the
sky if you wind it on hard in the lower gears. Of course you
don't have to ride it like that all the time, the Fazer is
perfectly at home riding in the neutral zone up to 8,000rpm
using the torque and power in the mid range to quietly and
efficiently whisk you along wherever you want to go!
Riding on open roads the
Fazer is a dream, long sweeping corners can be taken without
fuss and bother and the long travel suspension soaks up most
of the bumps on the other roads. I usually ride a similar
route with all the bikes I test, so when taking the FZ1000
down my personal favourite stretch of 'B' road and encountering
the usual bumps and ridges I was pleasantly surprised at the
way the Fazer reacted, or didn't as I meant to say! On many
occasions and on many bikes I have had to make a point of
avoiding certain ridges or bumps, not so on the Fazer. It
was totally composed and did not react to any type of undulating
or bumpy surface. The FZ1000 was completely smooth and unfazed!!
is also up on a par with most sportsbikes as the
FZ1000 keeps the renowned R1 front discs and calipers so stopping
the somewhat weighty Fazer is no problem at all. Under hard
braking you get full feel and control, there's no squirming
on rough or bumpy surfaces as the suspension is still soaking
it all up and nowhere near bottoming out, all in all you get
the feeling of quiet confidence in any situation.
The Fazer 1000 is no lightweight
by todays standards, at 208kg dry it is some 30 + kg heavier
than it's sportsbike counterparts but that doesn't mean you
feel it though. With those wide bars and low seat and its
sheer brilliant handling you just don't feel how heavy it
really is. Corners and real road riding is what this bike
is all about, with lots of torque and power, and this style
of this bike if Yamaha had make it any lighter or as flimsy
as a sportsbike it really would have defeated the object.
The FZ1000 has all the attributes
of the R1 and yet does not inherit any of the drawbacks. If
you appreciate performance and handling for real word riding
then the Fazer 1000 is the bike for you. Yamaha do lots of
stuff for it to, a higher screen, panniers, belly pan, and
fairing lowers are available but not from Yamaha. There are
not very many bikes that you can go out on for a 500mile ride
out and when you get back you don't feel tired or aching,
you can on the Fazer, it's tough, comfortable, stops well
and has plenty of power, just right for the real world...