Despite the Japanese stable of Yamaha being led from the front by the lusty sports models of the R1 and R6, the most significant piece of machinery was the best-selling FZS Fazer. But does the new Fazer weigh up?

By Brett Hamilton

Despite the Japanese stable of Yamaha being led from the front by the lusty sports models of the R1 and R6, the most significant piece of machinery was the best-selling FZS Fazer. But does the new Fazer weigh up?

Even in the track-dominated market of South Africa, the Fazer found a solid placing. However, as with any model, Europe is where the markets are found, exploited and shaped. And, with the introduction of the Euro 2 emission regulations, Yamaha had to bow to the ruling few and discard the ever-faithful Fazer.

And so, we were introduced to the all-new FZ6 Fazer and the unfaired FZ6. The first batch of greener bikes from the boys in blue, and probably one of the most significant models to be launched in 2004.

Both models are powered by the 600 cm3, in-line four that propels the R6. Power is quoted as 68 kW at 12 100 r/min, which is almost 10 kW up, but at over 1 000 r/min higher than the older Fazer model. And, with torque figures at 57 N.m at 10 400 r/min, as opposed to the 56 N.m at 7 900 r/min of the older model, the newer Fazer model will may not be such a huge improvement over its predecessor.

More power, yes, but at much higher revs; not very smart for a middleweight commute. And the new Fazer may also lack the bags of wide power provided by the previous model.

Significant changes have also been made to the chassis, where Yamaha hoped to improve the already stable and energetic handling of the older FZS. The old steel double cradle made way for a newly designed die-cast aluminium diamond frame that makes the wheelbase 25 mm longer, at 1 440 mm, the seat height 5mm higher at 795 mm and brought the weight down by 2 kg to a claimed 187 kg.

Soft suspension and cheap brakes plague most commuting motorcycles and the new Fazer is no different. Budget twin 298 mm, two-piston caliper discs are fitted at the front with the rear coming in at a close second with a single 245 mm disc. The 43 mm telescopic forks and monoshock rear should be adequate though.

However, will all this effort to make up for the costs of putting a slightly-less-than-stylish exhaust under the seat to bring the styling up to modern European standards? It probably will, but only because it will be more affordable.

As mentioned before, the Fazer will also be accompanied by an unfaired version, called the FZ6. Basically the same motorcycle, the FZ6 boasts Italian styling (MV Agusta Brutale), on a shoe-string budget.

What makes the Fazer a special motorcycle is that despite dubious finishing quality, and standard components, on a less-than-perfect road, you will be able to comfortably keep up with any other two-wheeler.

The Fazer’s predecessor boasted a large amount of usability, comfort and all-round loveliness and the new Fazer will be no different. The only thing is: will it be better?

Original article from Car