The history of Yamaha FZ bikes
Back in 1984, Yamaha released their first FZ bike, the FZ 400R. With a similar design to the Yamaha FJ1100 and an Inline four-engine, it quickly became the standard for the Yamaha FZ series. From 1984 to 1999, with the introduction of the FZ 400 Fazer, the FZ 400R saw multiple improvements.
A large majority of the FZ series introduced in the 80s were based on the 400s design. Although there would be constant advancements, the FZ series focuses on lightweight bikes that are a joy to drive. This is in part due to how efficiently they can be handled.
Yamaha FZ specifications
The fuel tank capacity of a bike is one of the most important considerations any biker should make before splashing out. Due to the range of bikes in the FZ series, you could expect a capacity anywhere between 12L to a sizeable 20L.
Although it offered a lightweight design, the FZ 600 FAZER had one of the largest capacities in the FZ series with a 19L fuel capacity.
Perhaps the most memorable component of any bike, the engine from the FZ 400R to the FZ 700 rarely changed. A four-cylinder design was the most common choice, but the valves per cylinder would vary from bike to bike.
The FZ 750 featured 5 valves per cylinder whereas the first FZ bike, the FZ 400R typically had 4 valves per cylinder. Liquid cooling was the choice for most FZ bikes, which helped them remain quiet and allowed the biker to rev higher.
There is a range of suspension systems across the FZ series. The most enduring style was Yamaha's Monocross suspension unit - although lightweight, this suspension unit provided excellent shock-absorbing performance suitable for a range of different terrains.
The telescopic forks used for front suspension were so popular that they became the standard for most FZ series bikes. You could expect incredible levels of balance with decent rebound damping force.
Rear disc brake augments were found on most FZ bikes achieving improved braking performance over a lot of their competitor's disc brakes. The Bosch anti-lock braking systems ensured bikers had full control over their bike.
The front-focused anti-lock braking system was extremely common across the '80s and '90s and the FZ 400R is just one example of this. With the FZ braking system, riders could expect better stability and a gradual but powerful stopping mechanism to avoid any accidents.
Yamaha motorcycle key features
A decent fuel injection unit can lower your fuel costs by improving the bikes engine combustion efficiency. Thankfully, the Yamaha FZ bike series featured an impressive fuel injection unit that was exceptionally efficient.
With a 149 cc 4 stroke, the single fuel-injected engine was the standard in almost all FZ bikes, you didn't need to look far for more fuel-efficient riding. A decent fuel tank and fantastic fuel efficiency capacity made the Yamaha FZ a favourite.
Lightweight Monocross suspension unit
Yamaha's patented lightweight suspension unit offers shock absorption across their entire FZ range. The rear suspension unit ensured that you could easily find a comfortable riding position no matter where the Yamaha FZ rode.
Negative LCD instrument cluster
One of the most iconic features of the FZ series is its negative LCD display module. The dark background with bright lettering is an iconic design. A negative LCD will show all the information needed such as your fuel gauge and current speed. Almost all bikes in the Yamaha FZ series use this iconic display.
The development of Yamaha bikes
Yamaha FZ 400R
The FZ 400R focused on handling, offering riders an accessible but powerful bike suitable for the winding roads of England. First released to the wide market in 1984, the FZ 400R offered a straight-four engine alongside an innovative large bore but short-stroke design.
In 1988, it also got a boost to its DOHC engine performance, which provided a pretty impressive 12,500 RPM. The liquid-cooled four-cylinder engine was a sign that Yamaha was planning on enhancing performance across their entire FZ range.
It wasn't until 1997 that we saw a new 400 series bike from Yamaha. The 400 Fazer was a little different to its predecessors as it featured a stripped-down design. It sadly didn't catch on as quickly as the 400R series, leading to its discontinuation in 1999.
Yamaha FZ 600
Although not as popular as the FZ 400R, 1986 saw the release of the lightweight FZ 600. Based on the previous generation of FZ 400Rs, the 600 was known for its small wheelbase and sleek design. Due to its size, it was a perfect entry-level sport-touring bike.
The Yamaha FZ 600 had a liquid-cooled 4 cylinder engine with a decent 4 valves per cylinder. Show a single shock suspension was found at the front of the bike with 36mm Kayaba Forks Air Pressure supporting the rear wheel.
Yamaha FZ 700
Produced between 1986-87, the Yamaha FZ 700 was a cruiser type bike that provided impressive performance. The liquid-cooled, four-cylinder engine offered around 9,500 RPM with a potential top speed between 120 - 130 MPH.
Due to the US 1980s motorcycle tariff hiking up import costs on bikes with over 700CC, Yamaha limited the Yamaha FZ 700 to 698 CC. Although this disappointed some bikers, it ensured that the Yamaha FZ series was still an affordable and accessible motorcycle range.
Once an incredibly popular option, especially in India, the FZS-FI perfectly balanced the older designs with modern convenience. Still maintain some traditional key features such as the negative display, the Yamaha FZ S FI was instantly recognisable across Yamaha showrooms.
The LED headlight offered reasonable illumination for late-night drives, with individual bulbs for low and high beams.
One of the most modern features and one that showed how much had changed in FZ bikes was Bluetooth technology. The Yamaha Motorcycle Connect X allowed drivers to keep track of all their journeys with ease.
Yamaha FZ Parts
We all at Sumo Rubber understand the challenges in keeping these old bikes up and running. As motorcycles develop, so do parts and some are just not economical for Yamaha to produce. This is where we step in and offer you quality reproduction and OEM parts to help you service and restore your bike.
Our selection of Yamaha FZ parts is slowly growing with demand, so if you can't find the part that you are looking for, please email us. Meanwhile, you can start your project with Haynes Workshop Manual for Yamaha FJ600, FZ600, XJ600 84-92, YX600 Radian (USA) or a set of new footrest rubbers, fuel tank petcock seals or headlight dampers.