Despite being built “with comfort in mind,” the FZ8 is still very nimble and fun to ride in the canyons. According to Steven Butler, an employee of Yamaha’s testing department, “The nimble handling characteristics in the tighter sections of road are attributed to the bike’s newly designed engine and narrower 5.5—inch rear wheel”, which is wrapped in Bridgestone BT—021 BB sport—touring rubber that was built specifically for the FZ8, provides ample amounts of grip and should offer great wear life. And aside from its slight tendency to shake its head as you shift gears at speed, the FZ8 is extremely stable.
The 310mm brake discs of the FZ8 may be 10mm smaller than that of the FZ1, but in terms of getting the bike stopped, they do a phenomenal job. Like most Yamaha brakes, the Sumitomo calipers provide a crisp first bite and a smooth linear feel as you come to a stop.
And despite the naked bike design, the FZ8 is rather pleasant at speeds floating around 60 mph, with only minimal wind blast to the rider’s upper body. But since the route for the FZ8 intro didn’t include the freeway, we are still curious as to how comfortable the bike will be in a headwind at higher speeds; something we will surely pay attention to when we get a bike to test further. Thankfully, Yamaha’s accessory division already has for sale — alongside other products like frame sliders, engine guards, a center stand, seat cover and lower cowl — a flyscreen for added wind protection. Another thing we’d like to test is fuel mileage, since Yamaha claims you can put just over 200 miles on the 4.5—gallon tank.
Yamaha already has for sale...
Yamaha already has for sale a number of accessories for the FZ8. One of the more popular pieces is sure to be the center stand, which makes parking and working on the bike a breeze.
Yamaha stuck with the less-is-more...
Yamaha stuck with the less-is-more design concept when designing this gauge cluster. Despite its smaller size, the cluster is easy to read and features all the usual indicators.
As previously mentioned, Yamaha had a number of objectives in mind when they set out to build the FZ8. Most importantly, the manufacturer wanted to build a bike that was sport—oriented, but still comfortable and easy to manage. By way of the 2011 FZ8, they have done just that. With its comfortable ergonomics, engine characteristics of a literbike and handling characteristics of a smaller displacement machine, it is as versatile as they come. Even more, it’s the perfect arsenal for an urban assault — just as Henry Ford designed the Model T to be.
And just like the Model T, you can have the FZ8 in any color you want for 2011, so long as it’s black. SR
2011 Yamaha FZ8
Type: liquid—cooled inline four—cylinder DOHC four—stroke, 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x stroke: 78.0 x 53.6mm
Compression ratio: 12.0:1
Induction: Mikuni EFI w/motor drive sub—throttle/TPS, 35mm throttle bodies
Front tire: 120/70—ZR17 Bridgestone BT—021F BB
Rear tire: 180/55—ZR17 Bridgestone BT—021R BB
Rake/trail: 25 degrees/4.3in. (109 mm)
Wheelbase: 57.5 in. (1460mm)
Seat height: 32.1 in. (815mm)
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal. (17L)
Claimed wet weight: 467 lb (212 kg)
Fore more information about the FZ8, visit www.sportrider.com/magazine/1105