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FZ-09 ECU Hacking Continues

Look like (fingers crossed) the ECU should be back in it’s rightful place by this time next week. Unfortunately, Yamaha (Denso, more correctly) changed the connector type and pins on the FZ-09. Not an issue for most, but it complicates issues when trying to source components to create a flash harness. It will happen, but it’s going to require more legwork than originally anticipated.

That said, Chris was able to x-ray the ECU to get a look inside…in addition to poking around the maps. We settled on a few parameter changes (no fueling at this time, of course – that comes later):

1. Speed limiter has been disabled. In stock form, the ECU employs a combination of throttle and timing retard to limit top speed to 132 mph. In fifth gear, the ECU limits throttle opening over ~10,000 RPM. In sixth, it’s over ~9,000 RPM. This has been removed for development purposes only…

2. Timing retard has been eliminated in gears 1 through 4. Basically, Yamaha tries to soften the power delivery in the lower gears. This should really wake the bike up (and loft the front wheel even easier…I’m getting giddy anticipating the added stonk).

3. Deceleration fuel cut has been disabled. In layman’s speak, the stock ECU mapping turns the injectors off during decel. However, there are different settings for each gear. For example, in second gear, decel over 4,500 RPM is fuel-less. In third gear, it’s 4,250 RPM. This ‘feature’ has been eliminated to reduce engine braking. Yamaha does this on many of their bikes, and Flash Tune’s ‘hack’ has been known to work wonders on the R1 (and others). I’ll hold my breath until I get some seat time, but this should reduce the jerkiness many people are noticing when they transition from open throttle to closed and back to open.

4. Quick shifter logic has been enabled. Still need to figure out the wiring/hardware side of things, but having it turned on is the first step, naturally. This bike is going to absolutely LOVE a quickshifter!

In other news, some developments on the Tech Spec Gripsters: Tech Spec tank grip designs – have YOUR say!

I have some more progress from the past week to report, but have patience.  All this typing takes away wrenching time…

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Prototype Penske shock – getting close.

Some new happenings on the suspension front…actually, the back. Back as in shock 🙂

Here is the first prototype shock built – I apologize for the grainy photo. It was the best I could get. This is an 8983 ‘Double Clicker’. It sports low speed compression and rebound damping adjustment, preload, and ride height adjustment. And of course, the spring rates and base damping are custom spec’d for each rider…nothing off the shelf here!

The stock shock spring works out to be a 560 lb/in rate. Going to take a trial or two to settle on a proper rate, but as you can probably guess, we’ll be going stiffer.

So for those who aren’t familiar with aftermarket shocks, here’s the rundown. The black collar with the multiple holes is the preload collar. This end attaches to the swingarm, so you’ll have full easy access to the collar for adjustments. Same with the reb rebound knob. No stooping down on your hands and knees and reaching up inside the swingarm on this bike. That will be cool!

The compression adjuster is, as usual, on the reservoir. The final mounting location is still TBD, and the next prototype will likely include swivel fittings to make hose routing easier. At this point, I’m expecting the reservoir will mount under the tail or on the back side of the passenger peg mounts. Given the tight confines under the seat (that nice void in front of the battery is where other markets get the ABS module, so it’s off limits).

So rather than just jump right to market with this shock, we’re going to hone a few areas to make sure everything is bullet proof…hose length, reservoir mounting location (and hardware, if necessary), spring rates, and base damping. In terms of configuration, we’re also working on an 8975 (no reservoir or ride height adjustment) and a piggyback reservoir (going to be a real challenge, though).

I’ll provide more updates and photos as things progress, but I wanted to feed you guys some information. This is a major step forward in ‘fixing’ the FZ-09!

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FZ-09 Tech Specs Gripster Tank Pad Development

Spent some time today working out how some Tech Specs might look for the bike. I’ve used these on my past God-knows-how-many bikes and really like them. They provide a nice grip for the pants (especially non-leather pants), prevent sliding forward under hard braking, protect the tank from scratches, and (IMO) look pretty cool. So, as a dealer, we have full access to their catalog. However, no options yet. Let’s make out own!

After a few rough templates, this is kinda where things stand.

Initially, the ‘LOW’ and ‘HIGH’ patterns presented themselves as the most obvious options. However, after staring at the bike for a while, it became clear that there was another bend in the tank can be seen under certain lighting conditions. Enter the ‘MID’ option.

The ‘LOW’ option works well for me personally in a commuting/cruising position (or heavy braking). The ‘HIGH’ option provides good coverage for aggressive riding where the legs are moving around the tank. I’m the long-leggedest of the bunch here (31″ inseam), but would imagine taller riders would use more of the ‘HIGH’ option more frequently.

That said…if you’re interested in a set of Tech Spec pads for your FZ-09 and want to have a say in the final design, see here:

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FZ-09 Suspension – Progress!

…time for more project progress. Today was a busy day!

Forks have been disassembled on the bench, but did some cataloging today and figured I’d share some photos so everyone can see what Yamaha did to us. As we’re all aware, the FZ-09 is only adjustable for rebound damping and spring preload. Effectively, there is a one ‘real’ or ‘full’ cartridge in the adjustable leg (sans compression adjuster in the fork leg, though) and one ‘dead cartridge’ in the other leg. Basically, the dead leg contains a spring, preload adjuster mechanism, oil, and a dummy cartridge (w/ top out spring) to keep the fork from coming apart when the front wheel comes off the ground.

Adjustable cartridge on bottom, dead guy on top. Note the extra holes in the top leg (top and bottom). These holes render this cartridge useless from this point onward…

Fork cap differences, adjustable on left:

And a few views of the stock pistons and shims:

And for comparison’s sake, what’s in (or not in) the other leg:

Initial baseline on the fork springs show a rate in the 0.75-0.77 kg/mm range. I’ll have the exact number nailed down soon, but the bottom line is that this confirms what we all knew – the springs are soft. My first crack will likely be 0.90 kg/mm for my weight.

More progress on the other end! Here are a few more development sneak peeks…

The guy on the left is really just for comparison’s sake. As you can see from the photo, the threaded body is on the end that would be shrouded by the tank and frame. This would make preload changes all but impossible. Still, trying to get a feel for what combination of parts will get something that at least fits on the bike. This is only the start of the development process, but naturally, it’s a critical first step.

Given the backwards configuration of the FZ-09 shock, we’re going to be looking at something like this:

The red adjuster is rebound and the silver jam nut is what you loosen to adjust the ride height; the spherical bearing mount in this photo is turned out quite a bit. The clevis mount shown under the shock is what we’ll need to use for the FZ’s lower mount. All of this is standard fare for a Penske shock. However, the preload adjustment (the black threaded body and gold collar) is on the bottom here (compare with the first picture, above). This has been done on a few other oddball shocks in the past…

Oh, and I realized I forgot to post another piece of ‘history’ from another post…the curb weight of the bike. Yamaha claimed 414 lbs ‘ready to ride’; this bike measured 420.5 lbs wet (212 lb front / 208.5 rear or 51:49). So Yamaha’s ratio was spot on…even if a little low.

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FZ-09 Brain Surgery

While the shock is off and the bike is sidelined, it was a good time to send the ECU off to Flash Tune. These guys are experts when it comes to Yamaha ECU’s, so there shouldn’t be any issues hacking into it. This will give us, and customers, a nice way to make adjustments directly to the ECU without the need for a piggyback controller. Tuning YCCT parameters, speedo adjustments to compensate for gearing changes, mode modification, and of course fuel/spark changes will all be within reach. Looking forward to seeing what’s inside!

But first, gotta get to the ECU, which is located on top of the airbox, under the fuel tank. Someone PM’d with a few questions on doing this, so here are some photos for those unsure how it all comes apart. Pretty straight-forward, but it’s highly recommended to run the bike as low on fuel as possible to lighten the tank. Don’t run it dry, though…Stoltec’s towing fees are through the roof!

1. Remove both side scoops. These hide a tank mount on each side. Remove one screw and two pop rivets per side. To remove these pop rivets, depress the center button and then evenly pry around the outside ring/base. New rivets free of dirt should easily pop right out. Here is a view looking down at the insides of the scoops (tank removed). Note the frame bosses where the tank mount.

And here is the mount on the tank (one on each side). No need to remove the upper two bolts, just remove the bottom.

2. Remove the plastic trim panel at the front of the tank. The rubber trim peels off and the panel is secured with four pop rivets – same as on scoops. Here are the parts off the tank:

3. Remove the two side bolts followed by the two bolts at the back of the tank after the seat is removed.
4. Time to disconnect the harness, fuel line, and vents from under the tank. This is easily done if you lift the tank up and slide back a couple inches. You can rest the tank directly on the rear mount casting (silver). From the side, you can see the connections you’ll need to disconnect.

As always, it’s recommended to remove the fuel line with no residual line pressure. Let it bleed down if the bike was running or the pump was primed. The longer you let it sit, the better. Still have a rag handy for the little bit of fuel remaining in the hose. That’s pretty much it.

Now that the tank is off, you can see the front shock mount alluded to in a previous post. Will definitely be easiest to reinstall the shock with the tank removed!

So with the tank off, this is what we were after:

Hopefully have it back within the next two weeks…

While under the tank, figured it was a good time to have look into the airbox and see how fancy Yamaha got. Pretty impressive!

Pretty amazed at how many leaves this thing sucked up in only 350 miles…

Here’s a better look at those staggered velocity stacks we’ve all been reading about. Pretty neat.

Looking at the underside of the lid, you can see two resonators…one on each side of the filter. The clean side is fed by a breather, but the dirty side is not. At this time, no one outside of Yamaha likely knows if the Helmholtz chamber is there for sound suppression or resonance tuning for power. If/when the laundry list of projects on this bike dies down, it would be interesting to see if removing the clean chamber has a noticeable effect on either. Gains are likely to be minimal (if any!), but curiosity has killed this cat before…

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Suspension work starts now…

First real order of business is to start disassembling the bike before any changes are made. With the large number of changes planned, there is no sense in throwing things on just yet when the very basis of the bike is going to change.

Missing something?

Hmmm…what went here?

Oh yeah!

The FZ-09 Achilles’ heel.

The good news is that the shock comes off in a few minutes without rotating the subframe. The tank didn’t even need to be removed, though it looks like reassembly will be much easier with the tank off.

So what you see is what you get with this shock (not much). Ramped preload collar and rebound adjustment (made through frame access). This shock is atypical in the sense that most shocks have the preload adjustment on the top of the shock. This, of course, was done for the sake of packaging on Yamaha’s behalf. No worry, though. Kawasaki used a similar approach on a few of their shocks, so Penske already has access to the bottom preload collar setup.

The plan moving forward will be to develop all three of Penske’s shocks for this bike:

  • 8975 – Low speed rebound, low speed compression, and spring preload adjustments. No reservoir – but keep in mind this is NOT an emulsion shock like of the competitors!
  • 8983 – ‘Double Clicker’. Same functionality as the 8975, but adds a reservoir (remote or piggyback depending on what we can fit) and ride height adjustment.
  • 8987 – ‘Triple Clicker’. Same as 8983, but adds high speed compression adjustment. Penske makes fancier shocks for the race guys, but this is top of the food chain for street and most racers.

I hope to have a dry shock in hand soon, but we’re waiting on Penske now. With the final dirt track race of the season this weekend and the Orlando show this week, resources are thin. Still, the sooner the better. Anxiously awaiting the dry shock to check fit/interferences and determine the shock linkage rate.

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FZ-09 on the Dyno

After a full week of short rides here and there, trying to break it in, figured it was time for the dyno. Not only did I want to see how the power output was, but was also curious about the three drive modes and how the power was affected.

Strapped to the dyno, ready to rock.

Strapped down, ready for the first run on the Dyno Jet. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to pick up the RPM, so the runs logged road speed and A/F.

All in all, the findings were in line with what a 115 hp bike should put down to the wheel. Like all good triples, the power curve was nearly perfectly linear, though it does favor the midrange.

Dyno plot – A, B, STD modes

As you can see, the STD and A maps are identical in power output. B mode is down ~10-11 hp over ~6,000 RPM. This reflects what you feel in the saddle. Also impressive is the A/F ratio. The peak and dip down low results from rolling in hard off idle and is normal for the dyno. But, importantly, it stays nice a flat throughout and enriches a bit as the revs build. Yet again, this reflects what you feel when you twist the go stick. Nice smooth power, with no inherent lean spots. Well done Yamaha!

The dyno will be revisited once a few more miles are on the bike to look at gear by gear comparisons…

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FZ-09 Project Bike – The Saga Begins


I plan to use this space as a way to communicate not only the direction I personally think the bike should take, but also a way to test the waters on future product development. So without further ado, some catch up over the past two weeks. Some of this has already been shared on the site, though.

5 miles on the clock, freshly uncrated and test ridden post-PDI:

As delivered – brandy new!

There are some definite good elements to the bike’s design, and others, that are less so. I wasn’t sure how I’d like the bike in person, but I think it’s fair to say the overall effect is good. Some of the Triumph owners have reported the overall build quality is ‘cheap’. I think a lot of that banter results from direct Japanese competition. That said, there are some obvious areas of cost cutting. For starters, the LH switchgear and shift lever look a bit unfinished or flat out cheap. Same thing with the horn. But the rest, IMO, looks pretty well sorted.

One of my favorite styling elements (flame if you want) is the tail light. Yes, it floats and kinda looks like an afterthought. However, I personally dig the look. The tail light pattern is also a nice touch:

Factory running lights – loving that pattern.

No need to rehash the ride review here, but I’ll leave it with this…the 847 cc engine is a real gem. Triumph better be paying attention!