That concept has now become reality in the new 2014 Yamaha FZ-09
(known as the MT-09 in Europe). Intending to showcase the engine first and foremost, Yamaha chose a naked sportbike as the initial platform (of course, the fact that naked sportbike sales in Europe are one of the few that hasn’t taken a nosedive in the worldwide recession doesn’t hurt either). The inline-three-cylinder powerplant displaces 847cc through a somewhat oversquare 78.0 x 59.1mm bore/stroke, with the three pistons forcing an 11.5:1 compression ratio. With each crankpin set at 120-degree increments, it follows the crossplane design of the evenly spaced journals with an eye toward eliminating inertial torque and providing quick-revving, linear power characteristics in the low-end and midrange. A counterbalancer to cancel out the primary rocking couple rotates at the same speed as the crankshaft.
Yamaha is claiming 65 ft/lbs of torque, which is more than the claimed figures for the BMW F 800 R, Ducati’s Monster 796, the Triumph Street Triple, and even the Yamaha FZ8, which will be replaced by the new FZ-09.
Yamaha’s YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle setup with three different riding modes controls the EFI that sports an uneven intake funnel length setup (cylinder #1 – 102.8mm; cylinder #2 – 82.8mm; cylinder #3 – 122.8mm) to help improve throttle response in the low and midrange and provide its own unique intake roar. The six-speed transmission is extremely compact, almost resembling a cassette transmission normally found in supersport machinery. Down below, a three-into-one under-engine exhaust features connector pipes to even out the exhaust pulses and enhance midrange performance.
The frame and swingarm are aluminum, cast using the precision controlled-fill die-cast method utilized in the YZF-R6 chassis, with the swingarm mounted externally on the chassis. Wheelbase is rather short 56.7 inches, and the rear suspension sports a horizontally mounted single shock; both front and rear suspension feature adjustable rebound and spring preload. Wheels are new, and are claimed to weigh .85 pounds less than the comparable items on the FZ8; tire sizes are 120/70-17 front and 180/60-17 rear. Ergos are more spacious and upright than the FZ8 as well.
But probably the two biggest aspects with the new FZ-09 will be its full tank wet weight—414 pounds, a massive 53 pounds less than the FZ8, and lighter than most of its comparable rivals—and its sticker price of $7990. We’ll be riding the bike soon, so stay tuned for a First Ride update.