Yamaha has been one of the strongest companies in the motorcycle scene over the past few years, the resurgence beginning with the release of the wonderfully fun MT-09. That was followed by the MT-07 and then the all new R1 which has certainly raised the bar for other brands. There’s just one thing missing that we’d really, really like – a new super naked.
There’s no doubt the Yamaha R1 is a killer machine but it’s sole flaw in many people’s eyes is that it’s a superbike. It’s designed for the track which means it isn’t the most comfortable machine around, especially for those taller in stature. Such an issue is easily rectified with a more casually arranged naked motorcycle.
Some might argue that the MT-09 fits that bill and while it’s a great bike, it is made to a price whereas a headlining super naked would come with all the best components the R1 offers, just in a more upright riding position. The MT-09’s engine is great, but there’s no disputing that the R1’s engine with its cross plane crankshaft has a special place in the motorcycle world..
The current FZ1 model was launched back in 2006 and has had only very minor modifications since then. Its biggest failing is that it still uses the pre-big-bang engine that makes the current generation R1’s so unique among current literbikes. No doubt Yamaha has saved big amounts of money in not updating the bike, but that goes hand in hand with mediocre sales, too. Given the upcoming Euro IV emissions, Yamaha’s hand will likely be forced regardless – either by discontinuing the model or giving it the upgrade it deserves.
Given how popular and hard fought the super naked category has become, it’s highly likely that Yamaha will give the FZ1 some love in the near future. The foundations are there in the new R1 – all that’s needed is some tweaks to the geometry, a retune of the engine to be more focused for street riding and some minimal fairing design and no doubt Yamaha would have a hit on their hands.
Pretty please, Yamaha?