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Riding for Flow in 2019

It’s easy to get lost in spec sheets, counting miles, or tracking lap times.  Fun, for sure, but not what really makes us tick.  The Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi spent his life understanding flow, how it’s achieved, and why it’s a necessary component of a fulfilling life.  Spend time studying his work, however, and you’ll realize that many live without experiencing it.  What is it and why is it so elusive?  You’re going to need some two wheel therapy to figure this out.

Mother Nature answered your call with crystal clear skies, fair temperatures, and a propensity to ad lib.  The effervescence of late spring transports your soul, each smell conjuring some long-forgotten familiarity.  Lush, vibrant forests give way to fields of floral-spotted wild grass in full bloom.  Meandering waterways abut rolling hills populated only by those sporting four legs or wings.  This rapid-fire immersion in nature’s innocence was enabled by shaking things up – a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance. The stage has been set.

An unfamiliar road opens up, and it’s yours.  Tempting as it is to turn it into your personal race track, you yield.  You’re not carving pristine tarmac.  The road has substance – character, gravitas, history.  Every bump, crack, and imperfection conveys a song.  As with the best performers, the road’s account is dynamic, adapting to the audience all the while retaining a personality.  Listen to the story.  Feel the song.

Shaking things up is good, but not when it comes to your equipment.  Ironically, these rides demand a splash of instinctive routine.  The well set up bike disappears under your control – perfect lever reach, a sorted suspension, intuitive braking, and the seat you forgot about.  Downshifts are coupled with the perfect metering of throttle.  The thrum of the engine is felt but never fatigues.  The exhaust announces your intentions but never incriminates.  The melding of rider and machine is symbiotic, culminating in a dance to the road’s song.  Dance.

Eventualities arrive and the song ends, the dance slows to a stop, and reality returns from the periphery.  These moments don’t arise often, and frankly, that’s by nature’s design.  Their spontaneity increases the allure of happenstance and rewards flexibility.  Moments of flow may be fleeting, but they bind us together like a cosmic superglue.  How will you find your flow this year? Leave a comment and share your flow.

‘Unliking’ Facebook

Some customers have noticed our sudden disappearance from Facebook.  No, we’re not going out of business!  What gives?

The move appears to be sudden because we didn’t advertise this.  But, it’s a been a process that has taken over one month to complete.  Frankly, it’s been a long time coming.

Spoiler alert:  we’re not a fan of Facebook.  For years, we avoided the social media platform for a plethora of reasons.  We only created a social media presence a few years ago in an attempt to better connect with the loads of customers who use Facebook as their primary means of communications.  We were skeptical it’d magically provide boatloads of new customers, but hey, we’re about experimentation and trying new things.

We never realized those ‘boatloads’ of new customers.  Was our skepticism warranted?  Maybe.  We are blessed to have a solid following of customers, and most continued to email, call, or contact us on various forums.  It’s worth mentioning that we didn’t go ‘all in’ on Facebook, so it’s likely a harder push would have yielded more traffic.  The marketing numbers are out there and Facebook continues to be a solid performer.

So why did we leave?  Well, at the expense of sounding like a broken record, we just simply don’t support the social media giant’s business practices.  There’s no shortage of bad press for Facebook these days, and many of us saw this coming.  As motorcyclists, we’re all sensitive to distracted driving, whatever the cause.  But we’ve encountered more and more people who are seemingly ‘plugged in’ all the time…not just behind the wheel.  Like any new technology, we’re still not sure how this will play out in the end – whenever that is.  How are our social lives being affected?  Are we more disconnected now that we’re all uber-connected?  How are our families and children being affected? How are our societies as-a-whole being affected?

Stoltec Moto doesn’t employ any psychologists or sociologists, so we’re not qualified to answer those questions.  However, we ARE motorcyclists, and one thing motorcyclists rely on (to some extent) is FEEL.  And the bottom line for us is that something just doesn’t FEEL right.  Whatever it is.  So until we figure that out, you won’t find us on Facebook.  As always, you can contact us here.


Authorized Fork Service Provider!

Unsure of your ability in revalving your forks?  You’re not alone!   We understand that not everyone wants to dig deep into their forks’ internals to eliminate brake dive, that pogo stick action, and improve ride quality.  While we’d love to provide this service again, we’re focused on developing and retailing the finest suspension products you can obtain for your ride.  That said, we heard your pleas!

We are proud to announce that Washington Cycle Works in Washington, NJ is now Stoltec Moto’s authorized installation center.  These guys have been road racing and building customer bikes for the better part of 20 years.  Most importantly, they are a small family-owned and operated shop who value honesty and integrity above the bottom line.  We don’t take our recommendations lightly, but Ron and crew are amongst the best people in the industry.  They know their way around a bike’s suspension!

Contact us about your suspension needs and we’ll help coordinate installation with the good folks at Washington Cycle Works!

15+ R1 Radial Master Cyl Retrofit on FZ-10

Happy Friday, everyone:

That’s right…the 2015-2016 R1 Nissan 16 mm radial master cylinder works with the line kit. Making a minor adjustment to the top line with a new fitting and a different hose length. But much to my surprise, we were able to re-use the line! Pretty cool considering that you can upgrade the lines now and retrofit the radial m/c down the road when funds exist. No need to buy a new line and remove anything under the tank!


How about that switch? Well, good news again: it fits! Still waiting on a lever to be 100% sure everything aligns and functions properly, but it looks like we’re a go.

Here’s a view from the cockpit showing the line and harness. The switch is oriented 90 degrees from it’s factory location, so the harness loses some slack. However, there is enough before the wire clamp that you can redistribute the wiring a bit. No binding from lock to lock.

Again, this brake line here has a different m/c fitting and line length up top, so the production kits are going to look a little better up top!

FZ-10: How do we slow this thing down?

Site has been quiet, but there has been plenty of action to report out on. Took some time off with the family to hang out at the Jersey shore for a week (no, Snookie wasn’t there), so that delayed this progress report. But without further ado:

Stainless Steel Brake Lines
No pictures to show and tell quite yet – still tweaking a couple fittings and hose lengths/routes. What we hope to be the final prototype should be here by Friday. But, what I’ll say:

  1. Stock lines are a mix of hard steel lines and soft rubber lines. We’re going to replace the hard lines throughout. A bit of work up front, but a cleaner install in the end. Plus, it’ll save the customer money.
  2. Stock lines have 6 flare fittings due to the hard lines. We were able to cut the final count in half down to 3. Fewer potential leak points are a good thing – and these are readily accessible instead of buried under the tank!
  3. Net weight savings are in the 1.2-1.3 lb range. Not bad for just a line swap!

Pictures to follow during the next progress report – but we’re getting very close to being done. Oh, and a friendly public service announcement – if/when you do this swap, do yourself a favor and just remove the radiator. It isn’t that much work, and you’ll thank me later. Those radiator fins are the most delicate I’ve laid my hands on. Good Lord…

Version 2 of the rear shock should be back by the end of the week. We may need to make another final tweak to the layout because the R1 has more tool access around the shock (the FZ-10’s passenger pegs are closer to the shock than on the R1). The bike has been down in pieces for the better part of 3 weeks while we sort some things out, so regrettably, no ride reports – yet. Stay tuned.

Stator Cover

As you may recall from an earlier post in this thread, the FZ-10 has a larger flywheel and a different stator than the R1. As such, the FZ-10 requires a taller stator cover. So unfortunately, this necessitates a new design. Unless of course you’re man enough to retrofit the R1’s stator and flywheel – I’m quietly trying to talk myself out of ruining the FZ by trying this…

Turns out that adding a perimeter spacer to raise the cover or adding more material to cover will price this thing WAY out of the market. Therefore, Eric @ Woodcraft and I have been going back and forth on the right path forward. Right now, we’re looking at this:

Although it’s not as bullet proof as the R1’s billet aluminum cover, there are some positives to this. First, it’s going to cost much less money. Like, a lot less. Second, installation won’t require removing the stator cover. Third, repairing crash damage won’t require removing the stator cover. Not that removing the cover is a particularly difficult task, but why sign up for more work that is necessary.

We utilized a similar design on the FZ-09 – and yes, we’ve crash tested it. It worked flawlessly.


Here is an overlay of Woodcraft’s current R1 rearset on the FZ-10:

As you can see, the FZ’s foot pegs are lower – much lower than the R1’s aftermarket kit. About 2″ lower and 5/8″ back in the [U]lowest position[/U]. In my opinion, this is going to be too aggressive the typical FZ-10 owner. The comfort of the bike is a major appeal, so detracting from that would seem to be a major misstep. Correct me if you disagree.

That said, this is the current design:

It’s hard to tell what changed based on that view alone, but the new low position is about .75″ higher and .625″ back when compared to stock. As of today, the pegs can be adjusted 1.5″ higher (from the low position) to answer your canyon carving or track day needs.

We’re working on getting some parts printed within the next couple weeks so we can see how it all feels. My gut says 0.75″ higher in the lowest position will be OK on this bike since there is a lot of leg room. For fear of completely sidetracking this thread, I’ve created a new thread dedicated to the rearsets – feel free to weigh in here: Woodcraft Rear Sets – Your Opinion is Needed!

FZ-10 Crash Protection Development

Did some parts bin jockeying last week with some of Woodcraft’s goodies.. First order of business was to try out the R1’s axle sliders. Figured it was an easy swap considering the R1 and FZ-10 use the same axles. Success!



As you can see, the standard spools are also a direct fit (no surprises there).

Tried to assemble the standard R1 frame sliders, but the pucks interfered with the bodywork. However, the standard puck we used on the FZ-09 and FZ-07 works perfectly. Working with Woodcraft to pull a part number and get some kits boxed up and ready to go.

Next up was to try the R1’s engine covers…


The other side wasn’t so fortunate…

Didn’t grab a shot to show it (SORRY!), but the R1 cover is about 13 mm too shallow. Apparently, the extra flywheel mass we kept reading about was added onto the actual flywheel. Surprising or not, this necessitated a deeper cover. Working with Eric Wood at Woodcraft to figure out a work-around. Have two good options on the table to make this happen pretty quickly, so stayed tuned.

Except for the LH stator cover, things never go this easily. Thank God Yamaha really did just convert an R1 for us. Makes our jobs easier!

As we get part numbers pulled, we’ll add these parts to our web store. Stay tuned to the forum for a group buy or two to kick things off.

On another side note, tried to install the Yoshimura FZ-09 fender eliminator. It looked sooo close. I’m told that close only matters in horseshoes and hand grenades. A shame, because the Yosh kit is really quite top notch. Great light, adjustable signal mounts (and removable!), and perfect fitment. I spoke with Yosh last week and they should have something soon. If that doesn’t work out, Stoltec will make one.

FZ-10 Stock Shock Technical Review

The jury has deliberated and the verdict is in on the shock. Meh. In fairness, it’s leaps and bounds beyond that of the ‘lesser’ FZ’s. By a long shot. But that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past three years.

First, the shock is identical externally to the R1 with one exception: The R1 has ride height adjustment while the FZ-10 does not. Despite what we’ve read in the press, the FZ-10 shock has the same spring according to our measurements. Both bikes use a spring that spec’d out at ~475-480 lb/in. Makes you wonder what they were thinking since the FZ has a heavier steel subframe, factory option luggage, and a greater probability of a pillion rider. Really – have you seen the R1’s seat? I’d rather walk.

Our prototype shock is being built next week, and we’ll start testing with a 550 lb/in spring rate for a 195 lb geared rider. Pro racers typically run 600-650 depending on the circuit and track conditions, so that should give you some perspective on how poorly sprung the bike is. So I’ll reiterate: if you weigh more than about 150 lbs in gear, the stock spring is too soft. And really, that weight is being generous. The pain you’re feeling on large bumps is the bike plowing into the bump stop as it bottoms out. A heavier spring will fix this issue.

The damping is another matter altogether. Penske ran the shock on the dyno yesterday for us.

The results are interesting. Well, maybe not since the performance is identical to the R1. But either way, there are some points that are worth mentioning. We’ve found a lot of people ‘feel’ something makes a difference, but the data doesn’t always support it. The placebo effect is real. Let this be our guide.

There’s a lot of stuff to make you cross-eyed here, so bear with me. I’ve left the image at full resolution and quality, so feel free to click on the image to zoom in.

  1. The range of adjustment is shown in the top/center. This highlights the range of adjustment you get and full open, full hard, and mid point on compression and rebound.
  2. The graph immediate to the left (still on top) is our spec for the FZ-09. This shock dyno curve was chosen to highlight a known ‘good’. Plus, the spring rate that shock was valved for is very similar to our target for an average weight FZ-10 rider.
  3. The next row down shows runs to highlight the variance that each adjustment affords. Low speed compression on left, rebound on right.
  4. The bottom three graphs show the high speed compression test. On the left, rebound was full soft, LSC was full hard. In center, both rebound and LSC were full hard. On right, both rebound and LSC were full soft.

Great. Translation?

  1. First, take notice of the rebound test plot on the center right. For those who are unfamiliar with these graphs, the positive sloping lines are compression and the negative sloping lines are rebound. Since the rebound adjustment was varied with run (4 click increase per run), you’d expect to see some increase in rebound damping on those negatively sloped lines. However, you’ll also notice that the compression curves varied as well. Why? Simple. The jet in the main piston effectively increases compression damping when rebound is increased. Conversely, compression damping is reduced as rebound is reduced. It’s important to note that the rebound adjuster’s effect on compression damping is actually greater than the LSC adjuster. It’s hard to explain without showing the internals, but take my word for it. The numbers don’t lie.
  2. Note the HSC runs across the bottom. You’ll see that the individual runs overlap on each sheet (six runs in total). This is because the HSC adjuster doesn’t actually do anything in the speed ranges we’re able to measure (10 in/s is pretty fast). As mentioned above, the rebound and LSC adjustments have a larger effect.
  3. Now, divert your gaze from the shape of the curves to the actual values at various shaft speeds. You’ll notice that the overall range of adjustment is limited and the magnitude is substantially less than the FZ-09 control shock.

Blah, blah, blah…are we done here? The take away is this:

Spring – too soft for most riders.
Rebound – sufficient range, but tied to the compression circuit.
High speed compression – minimal/no effect.
Low speed compression – works, but is overshadowed by the rebound adjustment.

Re-springing and revalving isn’t out of the question, but we’re still limited by the design of this shock. The relationship between rebound and compression won’t go away without substantial modifications.

FZ-10 Deconstruction

It’s about that time: deconstruction. What better way to ‘use’ a new 800-mile old bike? Take it apart.

First order of business is to get the shock down to Penske for a dyno baseline. It arrived there last Friday, so hopefully have some data back this week.

Not much to report on yet, but for those who embark on this project, I recommend removing the rear wheel to gain extra clearance. I was surprised to see they kept the hollow bolts from the R1.

While we were back on the swingarm, figured it was a good time to verify fitment of the Pitbull Trailer Restraint system. Given the age of the bike, Pitbull didn’t have fitment information on the bike. Based on what we know, including the fiche, took a gamble on the R1 pins. Perfect fit. JB-R and JB-L.

If you trailer your bike to the track and haven’t heard of this kit, do yourself a favor and check it out. Your life will improve for the better. You’ll never wonder if your bike fell over inside the trailer or if the straps on your open trailer loosened up in the rain. Your looks will improve, you’ll make more friends, and your dog’s farts will stop stinking. Winning all around!

Since the rear suspension, or lack thereof, prevented the bike from being ridden, it seemed like a good time to address the other deficient area of the bike: brakes!

Complete removal of the lines – rubber and hard.

Typical of all ABS bikes with the servo under the seat, there are a lot of lines and joints. The plan is to eliminate the hard lines completely unless an insurmountable challenge presents itself. Reduced number of leak points, easier installation (once you remove the hard lines – the flare fittings can be hard to get at), and less weight.

Unfortunately, getting the lines off, requires removal of the airbox and lowering of the radiator (though no coolant was drained). The worst part was getting those damn scoops off. I’m a little disappointed in how fiddly these bits are. I though this level of bastard was reserved for, and monopolized by, Triumph. Live and learn. Here’s a few shots of the bikes innards for the curious amongst the audience.

If anyone has any questions for requests for pictures/information while it’s apart, PM me. I’ll do my best to accommodate.

FZ-10 on the dyno

Somehow, some way, I managed to put around 800 miles on the bike during the first week of ownership. A few good rides, some commuting, and some dyno time. The honeymoon doesn’t appear to be waning. Rather, it’s intensifying. I’d like to scrounge up another $13k so I can buy a second bike – this would give continuous ride time while the first bike is disassembled for R&D, maintenance, etc. Joking aside, I love the bike. As I mentioned earlier, it’s they combined the best features of a Speed Triple, an FZ-09, and a VFR and then improved on it a bit more. The more I ride it, the more in love I become. Nice job Yamaha!

The objective for the dyno was pretty straight-forward: determine what differences (if any) exist between the various ride modes and traction control settings. The three modes felt identical in power output, but clearly the throttle maps vary. The FZ-09, by contrast, reduces power by approximately 10% in B mode (the softest map on that bike).

93 degrees F air temperature
50% relative humidity
93 octane fuel
All runs done between 205-220 degrees F
Bike is completely stock
665 miles on the clock at start of test
10w40 Yamalube non-synthetic oil (used for break-in). Oil/filter changed at 100 miles and then again at 618 miles. Chain adjusted and lubed at the 618 mile service.

As (unfortunately) expected, the stationary front wheel disabled the TC system and tripped a CEL. So, no way to quantify the effects of TC on power output. Until we figure something out…

Otherwise, we did about 5 runs per mode. What you see here is the best of each mode.

Unfortunately, time was limited and we didn’t have enough left to access an ignition lead to pull RPM (and torque). However, I was able to back-calculate the RPM based on wheel speed and obtain torque readings as shown here. Please be aware that the RPM and torque trace are calculated!! There is some inherent error in the dyno, with the actual circumference of the rear tire, etc. This is only shown to give a feel for the actual torque curve. So reader beware!

The curves passes the sniff test based on my seat of the pants. Torque picks up pretty strong at ~4,000 RPM which matches the feel from the saddle. From there, the bike makes about 75% or more of its peak torque to redline. There are a couple bumps along the way, but the ~8,000 RPM peak matches up with the reality-distorting rush from the saddle. But again, reader beware – this data was calculated!

For those who don’t like to read:

For reference, a stock FZ-09 puts out 104 whp on the same dyno. This number is well within the expected range. As such, it’s a little confusing that the FZ-10 is putting down the power that it is. Euro MT-10’s have pulled numbers in the 138-140 whp range, but I’ll withhold judgment until we get more data (both MT and FZ). One data point it hardly a trend, but a 160 hp (crank) bike typically puts out more power at the wheel. A stock 150 hp Ducati MTS 1200 makes about 130 hp at the wheel.

Before the topic gets sidetracked, let’s avoid discussions of dyno error, operator error, etc. until we have more data from other bikes on both sides of the pond. Hopefully, this power rating doesn’t follow in the footsteps of the 2006 R6 redline debacle. Perhaps the output is a function of some TC/CEL do-loop trickery…

Either way – the bike rips. Numbers be damned.

2017 FZ-10 – Stoltec’s Thoughts

Oh, that sound! How else can you make your driveway sound like Moto GP’s pit lane? You could buy an R1, but then you’d have to figure out how to ride it for more than 20 minutes at a time. The FZ-10’s battle cry is fierce, even if subdued. If a V4 played a musical instrument, it’d be the djideriedoo and it’d sound like the crossplane crank CP4. What a treat!

It’s been a few days since I picked up the bike and I’ve gotten a lot of questions on what I thought. Not necessarily being lazy about it, but I wanted to hold my tongue until I’ve had enough time to write fitting review. Often times, riders get a little euphoric with that new bike smell. I’m no different. At the same time, I’ve been blessed with owning, riding, and working on some really neat bikes over the years. Some have been better than others, but in general, they’ve all gotten better over time. Progress is good – usually.

As it stands, I’ve put about 300 miles on the machine since Sunday morning. I’ll cut right to the chase: I wasn’t blown away at first. Before you label me jaded, spoiled, or disillusioned, allow me: I am jaded, spoiled, and disillusioned. This may not surprise many of you reading this, but I share the same affliction as you. I cannot leave anything alone. I’ve been in a fortunate position that the business allows me access to some really knowledgeable industry-insiders. Experience has also guided my interests, personal taste, and mechanical aptitude. Learning new stuff every day, but I’m at a point where I can generally spot what will work for me and what won’t. I’ve spent a lot of time and money obtaining this experience.

All this is to say that the FZ-10 is a very natural progression from the last FZ project bike: the 2014 FZ-09. Within ‘reason’, no expense was spared on that project – both in time and money. Simply put, it was awesome in nearly every way. Although it was a little buzzy and lacked wind protection, the suspension and chassis were dialed in for my riding needs. The brakes were track-capable with excellent feel. The slipper clutch transformed the bike. I can go on, but I won’t. This is about the FZ-10.

It’s taken me three days to figure out why I wasn’t enamored during the first ride. As it turns out, it’s because it feels so much like a very well prepped bike that it was a seamless transition. Yes, there are wrinkles that can be ironed out and personalized, but in general, Yamaha nailed it. While the FZ-09 always went rowdy, eager to lift a wheel, and generally, act a fool, the FZ-10 is different. Somehow, a 160 hp super naked doesn’t feel excessive. In fact, it feels [i]just right [\i]. Listen, we all know designing motorcycles isn’t easy business. The sheer number of bikes on the market and iterations within each model is testament that we’re always in search of something better. Performance, comfort, balance, fun, or some combination thereof.

I can’t help but imagine that the FZ-09 was designed by a younger group of engineers and test riders on a more limited budget. These folks wanted something brash, and damnit, they got it. In spades. The FZ-09 punches far above its weight, and its runaway sales success further solidify that claim. The FZ-10 by comparison seems to have been designed by a more <ahem> mature group of engineers. I’m not talking about Goldwingers and FJR-lovers. No, I’m talking about people who value things other than an ability to wheelie for an entire tank of gas. The best analogy I can use is that the FZ-09 makes power like a two-stroke dirt bike: immediate with near instant throttle response. The FZ-10 feels like a four stroke. Though undoubtedly faster, it is easier to ride and lets you focus on things other than keeping the front wheel on the ground and in line with the rear.


What can I say that hasn’t already been said? It. Just. Plain. Works. But more importantly, the rest of the bike agrees with the engine’s intents. The result is a powerplant that works well from 2000 RPM to redline. Like other crossplane engines before it, there is a gentle thrum to remind you that you’re not on some run of the mill inline four. It’s different than a V4, but the effect is similar. Smooth torque delivery, great traction, and minimal vibration. I’m at a loss for new words, so I’ll fall back on the ubiquitous ‘Freight Train’. As the miles are adding up and the engine is breaking in, the performance is surely improving. Acceleration in the first four gears is breathtaking.


Gearing, and spacing within, is well suited for the street. Great tractability in town or on the backroads. Relaxation at highway speeds. Lever feel is light and direct, but I’ll admit that there is a hint of notchiness that I hope disappears with age. It’s not crunchy per se, but it isn’t Honda-smooth. It’ll be nice if the Yamaha quickshifter from Europe is plug n’ play. We’ll see.

The slipper assist clutch takes a light pull. Less than the FZ-09 and more in line with the XSR900. If I’m picking nits, I’d say the back torque tuning could be a bit less for my personal taste. It’s not as seamless as the $1,000 Suter I had on the FZ-09, and it feels a bit behind the XSR900 in terms of engagement smoothness. Of course, the bike is new. We’ll see how things loosen up.


Now that they’re bedded in, I can confirm that these need help. The R1 gets a radial master cylinder, stainless steel brake lines, and different calipers. Although the brakes are effective, initial bite is soft and the lever isn’t as firm as a proper sportbike. Needless to say, this will be one of the first areas we address.

Haven’t had to test the ABS, yet. Hopefully never.


Without question, the chassis geometry and design is the best in the FZ lineup. If that surprises you, you’re probably in over your head. It provides good feedback while cranked over without getting upset with mid-corner surface imperfections. Steering is light at low speeds, and stable at high speeds (in fairness, that is partially due to the electronic steering stabilizer). The whole package works so well that it doesn’t take long to forget about the bike. Or, I should clarify: it doesn’t take long to forget what the bike is doing underneath you. We’ll play around with some things on the chassis, but it’ll be more out of curiosity than necessity.


Seat height feels ‘right’ for me and my 31” inseam. Not quite flat footed, but not on my tippy toes, either. Right, wrong, or indifferent it feels like how I like my bikes to feel. Or, how I’ve been programmed to feel. Either way, this is a welcome improvement over the low seat height on the FZ-09.

Leg room is ample – no cramps during the first 100 mile break-in ride. It’s too soon to say if the pegs are too low for track usage, but time will tell. Reach to the bars is a touch on the long side for me if my butt is pushed back onto the flattest part of the seat (right up against the odd little bump). Scooching forward eliminates the stretch for me. Bars are a great bend at what feels to be a great width and pullback. I suppose we’ll work with Woodcraft to make another set of the clip-on adapters, but I’m not sure it’s out of necessity. The FZ-09 left me feeling like a parachute on the highway, but not on the FZ-10. Well, I suppose that’s only partially true: speeds over 90 mph exert a bit of pressure of my chest. But, it’s never too much to handle since that curious looking windscreen actually does a great job of deflecting a clean blast of air away from the torso.

The mirrors work well, but still show more of my elbows that I’d like, even when adjusted all the way out. An easy fix. My only ergonomic complaint so far is with the clutch lever. A $13,000 bike should have two adjustable levers. The reach is just far away enough for my size 8-8.5 fingers that it takes some effort to smoothly downshift. Getting back to the clutch and slipper, I expect a proper lever will alleviate some of the initial concerns. I’m just programmed for a closer clutch lever. The brake lever isn’t bad, but comfort puts me in between two settings. Such is life, but it’s easily rectified.

The seat doesn’t offend me – yet.


Traction control works, and from what I can tell so far, pretty smoothly. Cycling from off to level 3 (most intrusive), you can feel the electric nannies intervene. However, the effect isn’t intrusive. Pretty pleased.
The D-modes are different than what Yamaha did on the FZ-09. Here, the softest is STD, followed by A, and then B. Naming convention aside, I find the throttle control best in STD. It’s a bit soft off the bottom if I’m being honest, but it works well after that. Engine braking feels pretty good all around. A and B get more aggressive, which is OK in the ‘up’ rev. Down, however is very abrupt. Without seeing the maps, it’s hard to say if the engine braking is too abrupt, the throttle maps are too aggressive, or if the decel fuel cut is the culprit. I’m picking nits here, though. Because really, I could ride all day in STD and never complain. Again, it just works. And it works well.

Cruise control. Get some! Love it. Nothing else needs to be said.


I appreciate the standard power port behind the headlight. In today’s smartphone world, this should be standard on all bikes.
Haven’t had a chance to use the headlights at night, but the days are getting shorter and this will happen sooner rather than later. To my eyes, it looks like the FZ-10 lifted the headlights from the R1 and lumped them closer together. The taillight is the same as the FZ-09, which I always liked. And the turn signals – good Lord! It’s about time they ditched those ancient pumpkins and moved to LED…
Strictly subjectively speaking, I think the bike looks better (and smaller) in person than it does in the photos we’ve all seen on line. That goes for the black, too. I was set on the Armor Gray until I saw this in person. It really looks very good – excellent fit and finish. Even if you don’t care for the styling, you have to give Yamaha credit – it’s a different approach.


You didn’t think I’d forget about the suspension, did you? Fully adjustable at both ends (with high speed compression on the shock). Thankfully, Yamaha didn’t stray too far from the R1 here. I’ll be honest though: the first ~100 miles were embarrassingly unproductive from a suspension standpoint. The ride was overly harsh, traction was limited, and steering effort was sub-par. One gravel road was so harsh and chattery, I had to turn around. Turns out, in all my excitement, I forgot to check the dealer’s work. The result? How about 67 psi in the front tire and something so high that none of my tire pressure gauges would register on the rear? Trust but verify. Lesson learned, thankfully not the hard way.

With that behind us, tire pressure was corrected to something more streetable: 33 psi front and 36 psi rear (cold). Not looking to hit the track, so this was an attempt for a good street starting point. As expected, it took the chatter out and made things a lot better. Grip, feel, ride quality. Good.

Happy to report that the FZ-10 shares none of the FZ-09’s woes. We actually have damping (of both varieties), and the spring rates are reasonable for a general all-purpose machine. If you have any issues, it’s probably your fault – not the bike’s. However, all is not perfect. Much like the XSR900, Yamaha took the FZ-09’s inadequacies and took the solution a bit too far. For my 190 lb self (in gear), the suspension defaults to harsh, even with the damping optimized. If you only ride on the track or smooth roads, you’ll probably be ok with the damping (assuming the spring rates work for you). Fortunately, I know someone who can help…stay tuned!

All in all, what an amazing machine. It reminds me an awful lot of the Speed Triple, which is a good thing. This shouldn’t be terribly surprising given the similarities in wet weight, dimensions, torque, and ergonomics. Now that I’ve gotten through most of the ‘critical thinking’, I can set about enjoying the bike and fixing some of the small concerns. But rest assured, those concerns are relatively minor and easily fixable. Yamaha really hit this one out of the park. Like the old FZ1, but better.

Rather than take a bunch of photos, I figured it’d be best to use a video. Hope this helps paint a better picture of the bike.

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