The FZ1’s front end was upgraded...
The FZ1’s front end was upgraded with DP Brakes brake pads, Spiegler stainless steel lines and an Avon Storm 2 Ultra tire, while Race Tech refurbished the fork’s internals.
The FZ1 has seen numerous take-off tires over the years from various sources, and we replaced the quite-worn set that was on the bike with Avon Storm 2 Ultra tires. The Storm 2 is Avon’s high-mileage sport-touring tire, with a Multi compound Super Rich Silica (SRS) tread that has a medium compound in the center of the tire and a softer compound on the edge. A third compound lies underneath those and improves the bond between the tread and the tire carcass. The company offers a free road hazard warranty against puncture or accidental damage, a nice bonus with sport-touring tires especially. MSRP for the 120/70 front and 180/55 rear combination is $436.
The Arrow Race-Tech slip-on...
The Arrow Race-Tech slip-on has a removable baffle to meet European homologation requirements, making it nice and stealthy. The high-quality exhaust has a carbon fiber clamp and titanium-wrapped silencer. Note also the Race-Tech modified shock, Spiegler rear brake line and Avon Storm 2 Ultra rear tire.
Engine modifications were limited to an Arrow slip-on exhaust combined with a jet kit from Ivan’s Performance Products. The diamond-shaped Arrow Race-Tech canister allows the exhaust to meet strict European sound requirements (using a “dB-killer” insert) without being excessively large. The low-mount mid-pipe is made from stainless steel, while the canister is available in carbon fiber, titanium or aluminum finishes. Installation was simple enough, although the mid-pipe has no clamp or spring attaching it to the stock header, making for a slightly loose fit. The jet kit from Ivan’s Performance Products ($120) includes new needles and main jets, and requires drilling two of the small air passages in the carburetor throats slightly larger. We also modified the airbox lid as per the kit’s instructions, which called for removing part of the inlet snorkel. The kit reportedly cures several of the FZ1’s issues, including vibration at light, steady throttle, lazy throttle response and flooding when parking overnight. While there are not many parts included in the kit, the installation is quite detailed and took most of a day including removing and reinstalling the carburetors. Interestingly, when we had everything buttoned up the needle-and-seat assemblies began leaking; we replaced them with OEM parts sourced from Simi Valley Cycles.
The FZ1 suspension got the full Race Tech treatment, including Gold Valves and stiffer springs for the fork and shock. Aside from fluid well past its use-by date, the suspension’s internals looked to be in good shape.
A ride on the refurbished and upgraded FZ1 confirmed why we have always liked the original carbureted version so much: It’s a comfortable, powerful standard that is every bit as versatile as the new super-standards tested elsewhere in this issue. Our modified unit does everything the stocker did, but better. The Race Tech-modified suspension is firmer, with spring rates better matched to canyon duty, yet still plenty plush for everyday use. The DP Brakes pads and Spiegler lines offer crisp braking feel with nice progressive bite. The Avon tires offer plenty of grip for the FZ1’s intended use, along with light, neutral steering characteristics. The dyno shows a healthy increase in power, especially considering the few modifications we performed, and part-throttle response is quite improved.
This chart shows horsepower...
This chart shows horsepower and torque with the dB-killer bung removed from the exhaust. The top-end and midrange are significantly stronger than stock, and we are still playing with some of the carburetor settings to smooth the bottom-end.
The first generation carbureted FZ1s were offered from 2001 to 2005, and have held their value well — expect to pay between $3200 and $4500 for one in excellent condition, depending on mileage, age and modifications. Now that we’ve got the FZ1 back in the garage, and Kento is um…older, all we need is some soft luggage and he’s all set to go.