First Ride on the Yamaha FZ10

EDIT//

Looks like I’m going to have to edit my article later as I just learned some SHOCKING news from Greg Sharp (thanks for pointing it out)… Yamaha has ditched their conventional A, STD, B mode with this bike and effectively reversed it. B mode no longer being the “rain” mode…It’s now what A mode used to be: full power. So I’ll have to ride it again today in B mode.

END EDIT//

So, I got a chance to play on the new Yamaha FZ10 today (MT10 for you Europhiles). It’s a bucket of fun.

And a quick disclaimer: I am not the person riding in these photos…I took these photos of the World Champ, Scott Russell today. :)

The bike looks like garbage. I’ll just lead in with that. I don’t know what the hell Yamaha was thinking when they designed it. That actually seems to be a bit of a trend lately with Yamaha and their new line up of bikes. Like the FJ09. It too looks like a recycled can. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it! The FZ10, not at all to be confused with the FZ1, because that’s a COMPLETELY different mo-sheen, also appears to be made of post-consumer products.

The FZ10 is a completely new motorbike constructed of…well…recycled cans and Yamaha bits. It’s got the tail light from an FZ09, the controls of the Super Tenere, the motor from an R1, Johhny 5’s face, and who knows what else.

johhny 5 is alive
“NO DISASSEMBLE!”

Anyways, about the bike…I rode it at Utah Motorsports Campus with the Rickdiculous Racing school. Let it be known that the elevation at the track is 4400 feet…so everything petrol powered is at a significant loss of power compared to sea-level. As I set to roll out, knowing that the FZ10 has the powerplant from an R1, I looked at what mode it was on. It was set to A mode. I briefly considered putting it on standard, but then I said to hell with it and left it on A…then turned the traction control off. :)

Off I went.

I ALWAYS do exactly 3 roll-ons to heavy-brakes before I go out on track. It’s just something I do. It’s especially good when riding new-to-me bikes so I can get a feel of how the brakes work. The first thing I noticed is that the brakes WORKED. Very good feel, very nice pull on the lever.

scott russell

I hit pit out and immediately pulled a wheelie onto the track.

scott russell wheelie

Or, at least, that was the intention…except, the bike didn’t pull nearly as hard as I was accustomed with the new R1. I barely got any lift on the front at all. *flop*

I was warned ahead of time to keep my toes up, as it was foot-peg drag-happy. And on my warm up lap, that’s exactly what happened. It actually made me jump! I wasn’t expecting to deck out footpegs on my warm up lap. I’m always super easy going on my warm up laps…even when using tire warmers. In this case, I was not using warmers and I was riding the stock Dunlop Q3 street tires…all the more reason to be super ginger on my out lap. “Great,” I thought, “I haven’t even gotten through one lap, and my heart rate is up.” Haha!

Being EXTRA mindful of that, I pressed on. I did about 25 laps in a row, thinking about how to word everything I wanted to write about the bike…with the occasional interruption of a toe slider touching the ground, or the metallic grind of a footpeg kissing the pavement… it was slightly unnerving, considering I was barely pushing 50% of my comfort zone. If that. :/

scott russell draging toes on the fz10

The brakes on the bike are fantastic. They’ve got every bit of stopping power you’d expect from a sportbike…that is, if the ABS is disabled. Shane had ridden the bike before me, and he said that the ABS was pretty invasive, so he pulled the ABS fuse altogether. So when I rode the bike, ABS was disabled. The bike will easily do stoppies into corners. And once you figure out the power band, it will easily do wheelies out of slower corners.

scott russell world superbike champion

The bike handles well. It feels very much like an upright, under-powered R1. The suspension up front was REALLY stiff, and a few clicks of compression had to be taken out right away. The rear was a bit softer, and both compression and preload were added to the rear. The wheelbase feels a bit on the shorter side, so the bike turns in very quickly. Especially trail-braking into corners.

Power delivery on the bike….feels very much like a twin. It even sounds like a twin. It’s geared pretty short too. You can go through 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gear pretty quickly, as I did riding on the East Course at UMC.

scott russell doing sick wheelies at UMC

Honestly, I expected more. I’m a really big fan of the FZ1. I’ve spent a lot of time on them, both stock and heavily modded versions. I’ve been saying for the last year or so that my next dedicated track bike IS going to be an FZ1. I’m also a super huge fan of the FZ09 with it’s wheelie happy, torque-monster triple cross plane config motor. The riding position of the FZ10 is pretty much exactly the same as the FZ09 and very identical to the XSR900, which I’ve also spent some time on. Immediately after riding the FZ10, I jumped onto the FZ1 for a direct comparison…Better ground clearance, similar power, albeit from your typical inline 4, rather than the Cross Plane 4 that the FZ10 has, so it’s delivery is completely different. The 1 is less wheelie-happy than the 10 is with less torque. The 1 is more stable through corners. The 1 is far less ugly.

yamaha MT10 first look

I’m not exactly sure why Yamaha made the FZ10. It seemed like it created quite a stir…but after having ridden it, it’s about as pleasing as the new Skully helmet that everyone has. ;) It’s kinda pointless, really. I mean, Yamaha already has all the bases covered with the FZ07, FZ09, and FZ1. There’s even the older FZ6 and FZ8. I’m sure there’s more FZs lurking about as well.

It’s a fun bike, don’t get me wrong…but it’s nothing new. It’s nothing amazing. It’s not filling any motorcycle category holes…But it sure is ugly.

grumpy cat

EDIT TO ADD//

The FZ10 has a few trinkets that make it kinda neat:

-It has 12v power built in.
-3 levels of adjustable traction control.
-3 power modes

Comments

comments

11 thoughts on “First Ride on the Yamaha FZ10”

  1. Hi: thanks for your review. You probably weren’t aware that ‘A’ mode is now the softest whereas ‘B’ mode is the one where the throttle response is more direct. Yamaha switched their designation for A & B compared to previous offerrings. Also, the North American fz 10s make about 8-10 hp less than the european ones. Euro mt10s make about 140 rwhp stock. Our model is restricted, probably for our stricter noise regulations. The dyno curve shows our fz10s stop gaining hp at close to 10000rpm, wheares the euro models build power to close to redline. I got my fz10’s ecu reflashed at 2 wheel dynoworks in Kirkland WA and the bike went from 131 to 149 Rwhp. It runs amaziy, way smoother than stock.

    1. i wasn’t aware when i first reviewed it. i am now! haha! and i rode the bike again last week at chuckwalla (in B mode) with a full system, flashed ECU, full ohlin’s suspension, and rear sets…the bike is proper fun now!

  2. This is a great bike and love the looks.
    I was disappointed with the actual hp, as its posted at 160 it actually dyno’s out at 127. My fix was a Hindle pipe, Rotobox Carbin fibre rims, and Brakes discs. We’re at 141 hp and dropped about 40lbs. The ergonomics and handling is fantastic, an absolute blast bike to ride.

  3. I have not ridden the 10, but I’d like to! And I will agree with the writer… it is kind of ugly. It looks as though Yamaha is continuing on the Transformer Toy look. Reminds a little of the B-King.

    What I’m looking for a good reason to replace a 2003 FZ1 – something with dramatically better performance and comfort, and good bang-for-the-buck… and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…

  4. Just bought one. Grey. I don’t mind the looks at all, I kind of like it in fact. Coming off an FZ1 I loved and several others (R6 trackbike, GSX-R1K, R1, Super Duke….) I gotta say, I love the new FZ10 and it’s not even broken in yet. Very happy with the purchase. Best bike I have ever own by a very wide margin.

  5. B mode stands for Brutal…… It is a completely different animal. Your views will suddenly change about bike….. Trust me.

  6. Interesting. Im glad for this review! I had been really excited for this bike, but if Im not going to be blown away by it, then Ill just stick with my gsx-s750.

  7. Thanks for the write-up. I found it informative and I appreciate hearing your honest opinion. You and I discussed the FZ1 at a T-Hill Apple track day in May and reading this cements my decision to keep my FZ1 for track days (old guy here). I do lust after that CP4 though.

    While the 10 may be ugly, the more I look at it the less I’m repulsed by it. Plus I’ve always like the look of Johnny 5. I could use a more torquey street bike with new technology (ie – abs, ride modes, TC, etc.)

    -Aleks

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