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Yamaha's Fazer becomes even more brutal

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March 22, 2006

Yamaha's Fazer becomes even more brutal

Yamaha's Fazer becomes even more brutal

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March 23, 2006 Way back in the Northern hemisphere autumn of 2000, Yamaha released the Fazer 1000 – a more upright, naked version of its R1 1000cc supersport machine for riders who wanted maximum power but didn’t want the "praying mantis" riding position because they spent a goodly proportion of their time on city streets. Over the last few years, as competition has increased in the 1000 supersport category, the R1 has evolved considerably while the Fazer has had only minor revisions. At the Salon Moto de Paris last year, Yamaha showed two versions of an all-new Fazer - a naked streetfighter ‘N’ model sporting a cutting edge headlight design and the faired ‘S’ model with half-cowl and R1 style lights. Both models reach the showroom floor this week, with an all-new aluminium frame and swingarm with optimal balance between torsional, lateral and vertical stiffness for a great-handling, responsive ride … oh, and 150 bhp in your right hand and a mid-range that’s 7% stronger than the already brutal R1! Wheeehaaaa!!!!

Yamaha has tuned the legendary 20 valve fuel-injected R1 supersport engine for astonishing real-world performance and bolted it into one of the trickest streetbike chassis yet. The result is awesome to behold – a squat, muscular powerhouse with styling that emphasises the concentration of mass around the engine, right down to the slimline rear end and stubby midship silencer.

The light yet stiff, sweet handling chassis combines with aggressive ergos and a 51 per cent front wheel bias are designed to put the rider in total control. Helped by a pair of Moto GP derived USD forks with separate rebound and compression damping.

Launched at Intermot in 2000, the original FZS1000 Fazer – more commonly referred to in the motorcycle world as the Fazer 1000 – has come to be regarded as one of the most exciting high-performance all-rounders. With its strong and flexible engine performance, excellent rider and passenger comfort, and the ability to perform well in almost any riding situation, the 1,000 cc Fazer has established an excellent reputation.

Since its launch many developments have taken place, both in the world of machine design, and also with respect to the demands and expectations of today’s sports and supersport riders. In order to satisfy the changing requirements of the marketplace, Yamaha has redesigned the faired FZ1 Fazer using the most advanced engine and chassis technology it has available , much of it from the latest R1.

At the same time as offering a truly exhilarating riding experience, this new sports model is also a remarkable all-rounder, offering a whole new level of versatility. With a specially-developed high-torque engine and lightweight aluminium chassis, the faired FZ Fazer can handle everything from secondary road carving through to commuting and touring.

Featuring the same R -based engine and aluminium chassis, this muscular one-litre sports bike is built to deliver class-leading performance in the mid-range, combined with excellent day-to-day versatility. And with radical new bodywork and compact dimensions, this stylish new roadster has more street presence than anything else in the naked class.

Yamaha’s designers set out to create two high performance machines that would offer a truly outstanding and emotive riding experience at typical ‘real world’ riding speeds. In order to achieve this goal the base 2005 R1 engine has been re-tuned to develop a massive pulse of mid-range torque for instant throttle response and truly exhilarating performance over a wide range of engine speeds.

At the same time, the stock R1 gearing has been reviewed, and gears 5 and 6 now run with revised ratios in order to optimise the outstanding mid-range punch of these muscular new one-litre street bikes.

In addition to the specially developed engine and gearbox, Yamaha have designed a completely new cast aluminium chassis and athletic new bodywork that have been developed specifically for the new FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer.

The new FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer are designed to appeal to a diverse group of riders, including owners of the existing Fazer 1000, and also riders of other large capacity naked and faired sports bikes.

With its combination of an R1-based engine, an advanced and lightweight cast aluminium chassis, and exceptional real-world versatility, the new FZ1 offers exceptional levels of engine and chassis performance, and for those riders looking for a high specification sports bike that offers extra longer-distance comfort, the faired FZ1 Fazer fits the bill perfectly.

Another target group for the new FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer are those supersport riders who are rediscovering the versatility and excitement of modern sports bikes. Drastic changes in the traffic environment in many European countries – including new speed limits and higher insurance costs – are already affecting many supersport riders’ attitudes. With its R1-like levels of acceleration together with remarkable driveability and an awesome mid-range punch, these new one-litre sports bikes are designed to appeal to those riders who appreciate that excitement, passion and emotion can also be experienced at real-world speeds.

The new FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer are powered by a specially-tuned version of the latest R1’s 998 cc in-line 4-cylinder engine that has made its name as one of the most impressive performers in the one-litre supersport category, on the road and on the race track.

This free-revving, short-stroke 998 cc fuel-injected engine has already established a reputation amongst supersport riders for its remarkable performance as well as its wide spread of torque and outstanding reliability, and therefore the designers agreed unanimously that this was the ideal basis for these new models.

The typical usage characteristics of both the FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer will be significantly different from the R1, and for this reason the development team have made a significant number of changes to the stock R1 engine. However, this new engine is designed to deliver the same extreme levels of excitement and exhilaration as the R1!

The basic architecture of the FZ1 /FZ1 Fazer engine remains virtually identical to the base R1 unit: it is a 998 cc liquid-cooled DOHC in-line four-cylinder 5-valve engine with fuel injection, running with bore and stroke dimensions of 77 x 53.6 mm. And with identical crankcases, pistons, cylinder and cylinder head, the R-series heritage is clearly evident in the genes of the new engine.

Owners can rest assured that the advanced technology that has made the R1 such an outstanding success comes as standard equipment on this new high-performance street bike. Some of the features that are carried straight across from the R include lightweight forged pistons, a highly rigid closed deck cylinder design, linerless directly coated cylinders for excellent heat dissipation, and FS (fracture-split) connecting rods.

Nevertheless, although the new engine benefits from plenty of the R1’s thoroughbred genes, its advanced technical specification differs in crucial areas. In order to create a high performance powerplant that produces even stronger mid-range torque, a significant number of changes have been made.

One of the most significant changes seen on the new engine is the use of a completely new flywheel design. It is this feature in particular that helps to boost the mid-range torque output of the legendary 998 cc engine, giving it class-leading acceleration and remarkable throttle response in every gear.

With a crank inertial mass that is a full 40% higher than on the R1, the new flywheel design is one of the main factors in creating an engine with outstanding all-round performance combined with a truly exhilarating and exciting character.

The rear wheel drive force has a major influence on the character and performance of every motorcycle. Evaluating this facet of a bike’s character is often left to the subjective opinions of road testers, but the actual value of rear wheel drive force can be accurately calculated by using a formula that quantifies the relationship between the torque value at the drive axle, the ratio of a specific gear, and the rear tyre diameter.

As previously stated, a major goal of the design team was to create an engine that would offer superb performance characteristics in the mid-speed range. This has been achieved by focusing on attaining the most desirable rear wheel drive force values in the chosen speed range. Factors that have a positive influence on the engine character include the greatly increased crank inertial mass; the new-generation EXUP; revised 5th and 6th gear ratios (compared with the R1); the lower 11.5: compression ratio; and the use of a 90/50ZR 17 rear tyre with an external diameter of 622 mm.

All of these features have worked together to increase rear wheel drive force by 7% in the crucial mid-speed range when compared with the R1. To the new model’s rider, this increased rear wheel drive force translates into truly exhilarating acceleration in the mid-speed bracket that is experienced in the typical urban/suburban riding situation. And out on the highway, this 7% increase in drive force makes for outstandingly strong roll-on acceleration.

Another of the major advances is the adoption of fuel injection, which replaces the BSR37 carburettors that were used on the 2005 FZS 1000 model. The injector is a four-hole two-way design featuring a long plate-type nozzle which ensures efficient fuel delivery across a wide engine speed range.

This advanced system uses the same intake structure as the R1, and benefits from a sub-throttle valve actuated by the 32-bit ECU which constantly adjusts the sub-valve to match rpm and throttle opening.

By optimising the intake air speed, this sophisticated fuel injection system helps to achieve optimum volumetric efficiency, and in doing so it makes for excellent driveability – particularly in the low to mid-speed ranges.

Another important feature which has been developed in order to achieve stronger performance in the important mid-speed zone is the stainless steel chamberless 4-into-2-into-1 exhaust pipe design and short silencer.

The length and diameter of the new exhaust system have been selected to enhance the characteristics of the versatile new engine, while the new ultra-short silencer features highly-efficient hexagonal shaped internals which incorporate a 3-way catalyser with an O2 (lambda) sensor. The sensor constantly monitors oxygen concentration inside the exhaust, and relays this information to the intake system, which adjusts the fuel supply accordingly. This system ensures highly efficient engine performance at all running speeds and conditions, and also enables both models to exceed EU3 requirements.

In addition to its technological benefits, the short muffler also makes for a condensed silhouette, and in doing so it helps emphasise the models’ compact and concentrated appearance.

The EXUP (Exhaust Ultimate Powervalve) is the industry’s most advanced exhaust gas management system, and has been used successfully for many years on various Yamaha road and race machinery.

By controlling exhaust gas flow rates by means of a valve, the Yamaha EXUP system prevents ‘blow back’ caused by pressure within the exhaust coinciding with the intake and exhaust valve overlap period. The EXUP system fitted to both the FZ and FZ Fazer is a further development of the R1’s compact EXUP design, and features a steel valve located just beyond where the four header pipes merge into one.

By boosting low to mid-range torque, the EXUP valve contributes to the models’ outstanding driveability in the most commonly-experienced mid-speed range associated with typical all-round usage.

To complement the internal engine modifications that are aimed at enhancing the 998 cc R1-based engine’s power delivery characteristics, the engine runs with revised 5th and 6th gear ratios in order to optimise rear wheel drive force in the most commonly experienced speed range.

Another significant difference between the R engine and new FZ1 /FZ1 Fazer powerplant is the adoption of a lower compression ratio, which is down from 12.4:1 to 11.5:1 by adjusting gasket thickness.

At the same time, Yamaha’s engineers have also developed new camshafts with milder profiles which, together with all the other specific features, make for superb flexibility combined with a truly exciting riding experience.

For consistently strong running performance the new FZ1 /FZ1 Fazer are fitted with a large capacity curved radiator with a coolant capacity of 2.5 litres. Equipped with dual ring fans, this high-efficiency design offers a radiation capacity of 29 kW for effective heat dissipation in all conditions.

The wide range of technical changes featured on the new models has helped to create a new class-leading sports bike engine. Delivering 150 HP at 11,000 rpm – together with extremely high levels of rear wheel drive force, these new motorcycles are designed to offer riders the exhilaration of a supersport machine combined with the day-to-day versatility of a street bike.

The new FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer benefit from a completely new cast aluminium frame which has been designed to match the performance characteristics of the re-tuned 998 cc R1-based engine.

The compact new frame is 89 mm narrower than the 2005 design, and has been manufactured using Yamaha’s pioneering metal mould casting system which allows its designers to build in an idealised rigidity balance for excellent handling qualities. This is achieved by varying the thickness of the aluminium in one millimetre increments to obtain the desired levels of rigidity in any one place.

For example, rigidity around the head pipe and swingarm pivot are at the highest level, while a degree of balanced flex has been deliberately engineered in at strategic points to enhance feedback from the road surface. By doing so, the engineers were able to create an all-new lightweight frame design which offers the optimum balance of vertical, torsional and lateral rigidity.

A newly designed slimline aluminium subframe incorporates the passenger footrest bracket mounts, further reducing weight and also ensuring that the clean lines of both models’ rear ends are maintained.

Just like the YZF-R1, and also the YZR-M1 MotoGP winning bikes, the new FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer utilise the slant-block 998 cc in-line four cylinder engine as a fully stressed member on the new aluminium frame.

Rigid mounts are used at a total of six positions, with two mounts on the rear of the cylinder head, and four mounts at the upper and lower crankcase and the rear of the engine.

This proven method, where the engine is ‘hung’ from the frame, makes for high levels of vertical rigidity, which is a key factor in achieving optimum handling performance, and especially for high levels of stability during braking.

Another feature – that was originally developed for the YZF-R1 – is the extra-long truss-type aluminium swingarm. At 624 mm long, the new swingarm is 45 mm longer and is also more rigid than the 2005 design. The new swingarm is manufactured using Yamaha’s exclusive ‘CF die-cast’ aluminium casting method which has enabled us to manufacture light and strong aluminium components.

The benefits of the long swingarm include a reduction in the negative effects of chain tension on driving force, and this type of swingarm is also associated with excellent handling and suspension characteristics.

The main focus of the design team was to create a new kind of high performance sports bike that offers new levels of driveability. With this goal in mind, the FZ1/FZ1 Fazer’s frame geometry was carefully chosen so that it will deliver what Yamaha describes as athletic handling performance. Furthermore, both models have been designed to deliver plenty of feedback for truly enjoyable handling in a wide range of situations, from urban commuting through to corner carving along country roads.

A key factor in ensuring that both the FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer deliver excellent real-world handling is the 51% front wheel weight distribution, and this has been made possible by shifting the engine forwards by 21 mm compared with the existing model. The caster angle has also been reduced to 25 degrees – one degree less than the 2005 FZS 1000, and front fork offset is now 25 mm – a full 10 mm less than the 2005 model, and 5 mm less than the R1. The 51% front wheel weight bias – combined with a compact 1,460 mm wheelbase, 25 degree caster angle, 25 mm fork offset and 109 mm trail – make for responsive and agile sports handling qualities.

Another major contributory factor in any motorcycle’s handling characteristics is the riding position, and on both models a great deal of effort has gone into creating a position that enhances handling performance, while at the same time delivers superb comfort.

The new fuel tank is shorter than the FZS 1000 design, and this, together with the longer rider’s seat, allows the rider to sit 49 mm further forward on the bike. Furthermore, the handlebars are 25 mm lower and 10 mm closer to the rider, while the footrests are 6mm higher and 27 mm further back than the 2005 layout.

This much more sporty forward riding position makes a positive contribution to both models’ agile and responsive handling qualities, and by positioning the rider closer to the front wheel, it also enhances the feeling of control.

In addition, the combination of the new slim cast aluminium frame and the forward riding position allows for excellent knee grip, to give enhanced ergonomics and a more involving and rewarding riding experience.

The new upside-down front forks are the same diameter as those fitted to the YZF-R1 and feature 43 mm flex-resistant tubes for excellent suspension characteristics and smooth action over their entire 130 mm stroke.

One of the key features of these new forks is the fact that the damping functions are separated between each leg. The left fork leg contains the compression damping valves, while the right leg carries the rebound damping mechanism. By separating the front fork’s compression and rebound damping functions in this way, each set of valves in each fork tube needs only to accommodate the oil flow in one direction, making for simplified settings.

This system has already been used successfully on Yamaha’s YZR-M1, and is another example of how sophisticated racing technology is transferred to Yamaha’s road machines.

The new braking system reflects the FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer’s high performance potential, and so an extremely high specification design has been fitted. Dual front discs are 320 mm diameter – the same as the R1 – and these large-diameter discs are gripped by radially mounted 4-piston calipers. The MOS X 64 calipers are extremely resistant to deformation during braking, and subsequently this advanced system delivers excellent braking performance and accurate control.

At the rear wheel a lightweight 245 mm disc is slowed by a single-piston pin-slide type caliper which gives plenty of feel and a progressive action.

Even more supersport technology is evident in the lightweight 5-spoke wheels, which are the same specification as the R . Their advanced design incorporates varying thicknesses of metal at different places, and it is this feature that makes them both light and extremely strong.

The front wheel runs with a 120/70-ZR17 tyre, while the rear wheel features a 190/50-ZR17 tyre which plays a major role in achieving the models’ extremely high levels of rear wheel drive force.

The compact new multi-function instrumentation consists of a digital speedometer situated on the left, and an analogue tachometer on the right. When the ignition is turned on the backlighting comes in slowly, and gradually gets brighter over the first few seconds. And, like the R1, the new instrumentation features a brightness adjuster.

Also new for 2006 is a lightweight battery, and an immobiliser is fitted as standard equipment.

Every aspect of the new FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer has been designed to create a compact and concentrated muscular feel which draws the eye towards the engine as the focal point. The new cast aluminium frame appears to grasp the engine, and it seems that everywhere you look on this machine, it is crammed full with functional and beautifully-finished components.

This muscular and athletic character is particularly pronounced on the FZ , and the fact that this model is naked accentuates the compactness of the engine, chassis and bodywork, and emphasises the bike’s brutal and aggressive image.

The centralisation of mass of these high specification sports bikes is further emphasised by the forward riding position and the short fuel tank, and everything from the short silencer to the compact instrumentation and slim tail unit enhance the concentration of power.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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