This is Part 3 of our report on the Yamaha FZ-10. Take a look at Parts 1 and 2, as well as our report from the press launch. Obviously, we are impressed by the performance of the FZ-10, but what is it like to live with?
The adjustable suspension offers plenty of range to set up the bike for comfortable street riding. Just back out the compression and rebound damping on the fork and the shock … make sure your rebound is controlled (not wallowy), and you can take “track day stiff” suspension to every day comfortable (if not plush) suspension.
The overwhelming impression this bike gives is one of high performance capability. This is one of those bikes that could simply dominate a track day on a closed course under a skilled rider. It has the horsepower, broad torque spread, suspension and handling to do so. The vast majority of riders who purchase an FZ-10 will never come close to its performance limits.
Although we wouldn’t describe the fuel injection as snatchy, throttle response (even in the Standard mode) is very quick. Coupled with the huge torque available at moderate rpm levels, the FZ-10 can leap forward right now! It can be a bike that a less skilled rider will find difficult to ride in a fluid manner, unless they are riding very conservatively. If you push the FZ-10, you need a pretty substantial skill set to find a good rhythm.
When you find a rhythm on the FZ-10, however, the bike is truly a beast. Viciously quick with more lean angle available than you can reasonably use on the street, with powerful, progressive brakes. The stiff chassis, together with the race-level suspension, means a good rider can go very, very quickly on an FZ-10 along a twisty road.
As a commuter, the FZ-10 has one significant drawback, i.e., fuel economy. This is an extremely thirsty bike. Ridden with even moderate aggression, don’t expect to get more than 32-35 mpg. Mileage gets even worse when ridden hard. You will be looking for a gas station well before you reach 150 miles on a tank.
The seat is firm, but reasonably comfortable on longer rides. Wind protection is negligible stock, so we would recommend a small windscreen and hand guards to add a bit of comfort for those commuting or doing light touring.
The FZ-10 is a thrill machine. It is literally a superbike with upright ergos and no fairing, with a touch more mid-range torque. It lifts the front wheel under hard throttle in the first two gears (whether you want it to or not), and provides a performance envelope so huge few riders will ever approach its limits.
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