146 13050 +2013 Yamaha Fz09 Three Cylinder Revealed+
Yamaha caused quite a stir at the Intermot show last October when it unveiled an unusual display that combined an R1 engine, an M1 MotoGP engine, and a concept engine surrounded by wires called the “P3 Concept”. At the heart of the display was an inline three-cylinder powerplant utilizing a crossplane crankshaft like its R1 and M1 cousins—with a rather ominous statement that “this advanced new, light, slim and compact 3-cylinder engine will shape Yamaha’s future motorcycle lineup.” At the show, we managed to get an interview with Yamaha’s Senior Executive Officer Kunihiko Miwa (who just happened to be the project leader of the original 1998 Yamaha YZF-R1), where he stated that, “The triple was the best solution using a cross-plane crank design.”
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.