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FZ-09 ECU: Hacked and Tuned v1.0

I know you guys have been drooling for some ECU updates and I’ve been dragging my feet. Well, finally sat down and decomposed my notes into something useful (I hope).

Ignition Timing

From the factory, there are two ignition maps per drive mode. One map covers gears 1-2 and another covers gears 3-6. Although there are different maps for each drive mode, the ignition values are presently the same between across the drive modes. In other words, ignition timing is constant from mode to mode; it only varies by gear.

In gears 1-2 the factory map pulls timing between 1-2 degrees in a few places. Generally though, the bulk of timing retard is <15% throttle. Yamaha focused the timing retard in the 800-1400 RPM range and 3000-5500 range. There are a few other sporadic areas, but these are the concentrations. Yamaha employs similar tactics on many of their bikes, so this isn’t surprising. Given the affected regions, it appears they were trying to soften the initial throttle tip-in (despite what many riders have commented on).

For the purpose of this first exercise, the timing in the higher gears was used for gears 1 and 2 in an effort to increase throttle response in A mode only (STD and B timing modes were unaltered). The only exception were a few areas at about third throttle in the higher rev range that were smoothed out. The factory maps had some spiky inconsistencies (current thought is possibly for emissions).


Typical FI layout on the fueling – fueling varies by cylinder and separate maps for TPS vs RPM, MAP vs RPM, Delta TPS vs RPM (by gear). Fueling maps are not customizable per ride mode. No changes were made to fueling at this time since we’re still running the stock exhaust and the A/F on the dyno was pretty flat. There are no obvious lean spots on this particular bike, so no effort was focused on fueling, yet. For those doing custom mapping on engine/exhaust work, this is the real deal. You’ll have full adjustment in more ways than you can shake a stick at.

Throttle Maps

It’s a pretty simple concept, but this is an area that I really enjoy. YCCT requires a throttle map to effectively communicate your wrist’s actions to the throttle butterflies. Yamaha has separate throttle maps for each ride mode, but they also have separate maps by gear. This is, in effect, how the bike’s speed limiter works. In fifth gear (STD and A), the ECU won’t allow full throttle over 10k RPM; in sixth gear, it’s 8500 RPM. These restrictions have been removed, so if you have the balls and real estate, you can try and best 132 mph. B mode does something similar, but it never allows full throttle. Full wrist rotation delivers 70% throttle. Naturally, less throttle = less power (10 hp per dyno)

As we’ve all surmised by riding these bikes, STD mode is essentially a linear throttle (50% throttle turn opens butterflies 50% – though still ramps up progressively), B mode is a slow turn throttle (50% turn opens butterflies 1/3), and A is a quick turn throttle (50% turn opens 61%). A delivers nearly full throttle at around 85% throttle.

The throttle maps for STD and B were left alone, but A was converted to a purely linear map (1:1). This has an interesting effect in the sense that the factory map (all modes) has a slower take up at small throttle openings and then ramps up very suddenly to the quick turn throttle. Basically, you get a little less opening than you command, but as speed builds, that relationship inverts and you quickly get more than you bargain for. So the new map comes on a little stronger under ¼ throttle and then goes completely linear through WOT. If you found A mode a little jumpy, this is a major contributer.

Other cool modifications

Eliminate fuel cut on decal (reduces engine braking) and default to a specified ride mode (as opposed to STD).

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve been yammering along long enough…how does the bike FEEL?”

In short – SWEET! I’ve been riding around on the new map for about a week trying to document the changes and summarize my thoughts. But immediately after pulling out, the reduced engine braking was instantly recognizable (and appreciated). This feature certainly won’t replace a slipper clutch, but it does a decent job of emulating it. Case in point, I’ve ‘accidentally’ downshifted effortlessly into first gear. The smooth transmission certainly helps, but quickly blipped downshifts are second nature. The difference is night and day. This certainly helps smooth out the on-off-on throttle transitions through the twisties.

The combination of eliminating the timing retard and advancing the throttle in the <25% range (literally, just a couple percent, nothing huge) really livens up the bottom end. This bike is a MONSTER (not like it wasn’t before). If you’re into wheelies, be prepared. But most importantly, smoothing out the timing inconsistencies and linearizing the throttle really make this engine smooth and easy to modulate. “Buttery smooth”, “Electric”, “Telepathic”…pick your cliché. This engine really allows you to outride the stock suspension…

So looking forward, there are a couple areas I’d like to refine before taking this mainstream. First, I’d like to soften the initial throttle response (in A). Contemplating pulling timing in low throttle (<6%) and/or reverting to the old <25% throttle map (leaving the new linear map >25%). This should please just about anyone who didn’t like the ‘urgent’ power delivery in A mode.

The pins are still the pacing item in getting this project moving along. Because the ECU is completely new, the required pins aren’t readily available, yet. So, although I’d love to be able to tweak some things on the fly, that just isn’t in the cards at this time. I’m planning to send the ECU back in a week or so once I make some more progress on the shock development.

All in all, I’m very excited by the results and am looking forward to tinkering. I’m envisioning a true quick turn map (ditch B – who needs it?), a good all-around A map, and maybe something silly like a launch control map. Who knows?

Closing comments: the smoother power delivery and better control really meld nicely with the fork upgrades and the new rear shock. The bike is more composed in every single way. No more bucking and seesawing as you whack the throttle, bury it into a turn, and rinse/repeat. As fun as that was, this is better. Much better. As usual, stay tuned for developments.

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FZ-09 Project: Hide the horn

In between playing around on the suspension, I set about fixing something that has irked me from day 1: that blasted horn. To my eyes, the placement is terrible and the gaudy silver ring doesn’t do the front of the bike any favors. I was originally planning to design/fabricate/sell a simple kit to relocate this horn, and then I figured out an easier solution…

Now you see me:

Now you don’t:

While the tank was off (and then on and off and on and off and on again), the left scoop stuck out to me as a great place to put something…if only we had something. I started focusing on the forks and noticed that damn eyesore of a horn had to come off just to use the triple tree lift. Hmmm…horn in one hand, empty LH scoop. I wonder.


Sure as shitfire, it fit! Even better? The factory horn bracket required NO modifications. Make up a short jumper lead, remove the factory horn mount on the lower triple tree and voila! If you’re so inclined, I’ve detailed it here:

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FZ-09 Fork Spring Ramblings

Spent a bit more time on the bike today testing out the forks springs and heavier oil. The roads were wet, so I really wasn’t able to wring it out. Despite the wet roads, I pointed the bike to some very bumpy, twisty roads to see how she handled.

Surprisingly, the forks handle little bumps decently. They don’t disappear like a well-revalved fork, but it’s manageable. It’s now squarely in how the bike should have come from the factory. Rebound is now working pretty well with the heavier oil. Low speed compression is a little soft, but it’s workable at a reduced pace. High speed compression, though, is a little on the ‘firm’ side. It feels more like a track bike than a road bike, but as mentioned, it’s manageable. For those who live outside of PA and have smoother roads, 10 wt oil should be a great starting point. I will likely give 7.5 wt oil a shot before jumping into the shim stacks.

That said, the rate feels wonderful. Diminished brake dive, more feel, much more composed. This is the result from a few hard ‘panic’ stops (60-70 mph with the rear wheel grazing the ground):

Have about 22 mm remaining. Since I’m running 2-3 mm too much oil (thanks Doug!), correcting will add a bit more travel. All told, the 0.90 kg/mm springs will be great for riders in the 195-210 fully geared range (maybe a bit more/less depending on riding style). At this point, I plan to stick with this rate and leave them in – even for the track.

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FZ-09 Fork Springs and Tech Specs

After nearly a month of the FZ being down and apart, opportunity came knocking today: 60 degree weather, sunshine, and a fully-functional bike. Didn’t even need to don the heated gear (sweet!).

First order of business…the forks. As mentioned earlier, I weigh about 178 lbs in the buff. Fully geared up (with street clothes underneath), I weigh in at about 204.5 lbs. I have three sets of springs earmarked for ‘spring rate development’ (0.85, 0.875, and 0.90 kg/mm). Based on what was learned about the stock springs and the valving, I decided to jump right to the 0.90 kg/mm. Rider sag is currently 40 mm with 1.5 bars of preload. Oil weight was increased to a 10 wt Motul to add additional damping. Due to the lack of a service manual, I took a stab at the oil height (currently set for 150 mm). Still have plenty of travel left, but admittedly, I only got about 30 miles in on smooth tarmac.

Long story short: the spring rate feels great, there is still remaining rebound adjustment (unlike the stock setup), and the high speed compression damping is finally here. It does feel a bit soft on low speed compression, but it’s better than stock. Brake dive is now very manageable and the bike is much more composed. Increased feel through the front, which was expected. The thicker oil really quelled the pogo stick activity and provides good feedback. Is this ready to set lap records? No. But, for the money, the improvement is substantial.

Tomorrow will be the day to dig a bit deeper. So, in summation: sag ‘works’, 10 wt oil is a definite improvement, and the oil height is in the ballpark. After tomorrow’s note taking, revalving the stock internals is hot on the agenda.

On a separate topic…

Tech Specs. The results are really good on this bike. Some bikes don’t have enough coverage to really get the grip you need out of a set of tank pads. NOT a problem on this bike. Braking is effortless now (certainly combined with the firmer fork springs). Legs and knees feel velcro’d to the tank and really improve transitions and hard braking. As to be expected, of course. So for those on the fence, take advantage of the group buy. These will be in stock after the group buy, but now is a good opportunity to save a few bucks. Anyway, enough salesmanship in the build thread. They work. Me = happy.

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Shocks, Forks, and Bars Oh My!

Yeah, it’s been a busy week. It’s always amazing how time consuming it is to run a group buy…and then do two simultaneously! On top of a fistful of little FZ development products (hush hush) and regular/recurring business activities. My head is spinning.

That said, the forks are back together at the moment with a set of 0.90 kg/mm springs and 10 wt oil. It’s going to be a few days before they’ll be road testing (still waiting for ECU), so I regretfully need to continue the tagline “stay tuned”. But, once we can identify a good initial preload setting, we can take the new length and get some custom springs wound (2-3 week lead time for the first article pieces). The 10 wt oil is a shot to get more damping out of the stock internals, but that’s just that – a starting point. Once we get the oil weight, oil height, and spring rates figured out, we’ll have them available for sale. Then on to revalving the stock cartridge…and then, a fully adjustable fork.

On the shock side of things, there is some progress to report. For those who haven’t seen it, see here: Headed to Penske tomorrow to work out some of the kinks and move toward finalizing the design. To say the packaging is tricky on this bike is an understatement! But have faith…it will get worked out.

On another front (pun intended, again…don’t forget to tip your waitress on the way out!), here is a glimpse into something we’ll look at a little later on (after the suspension is baselined):  

The stock tank, triples, and headlight assembly are going to make clip-on use challenging, so I believe these will be a decent solution at putting more weight over the front end. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good source of supply for these. 1-1/8″ clubman bars are like unicorns; this particular bar was OE on the Buell 1125CR. More details to follow on this.

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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.