Yamaha FZS1000

Bikes that make you go hmmm….Yamaha Fazer 1000

OK, here it is… we’re going to be contentious here and put our arses on the line and claim that the capable Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer is a bike that does make us go: ‘Hmmmmmmmm…’

We’re not saying we dislike it, but we’re also not saying we really love it either and (whisper) we don’t think it’s anywhere near as good as its smaller stablemate, the FZS600 Fazer….

It’s here, then, that we should start. The little Fazer 600 won hearts and minds when it was launched in 1998. Here was a quirky-looking machine, with a beautifully carburated, de-tuned Thundercat motor, big tank range, functional half-fairing and instruments and great handling and brakes. It was also pretty damn cheap and was – arguably – more capable than its peers the Suzuki Bandit and Honda Hornet.

From this success in the middleweight class, it stood to reason Yamaha would try it in the larger, 900cc/1000cc/1200cc category, where machines such as the Hornet 900 and Bandit 12 lurked.

Strangely it took until late 2000-to-early-2001 for Yamaha to launch the FZS1000 Fazer and reading from the brochure you’d expect it to be a shoo-in for success. Think of it…nestling between those tubular double-cradle frame rails was the 998cc engine form the YZF-R1, and it wasn’t de-tuned that much: it was down to around 140 rather than 150-claimed bhp…

FZS1000It could also handle and had the awesome Blue-Spot brakes, then being used on both the R1 and baby brother Fazer 6 and it had a big 21-litre tank. OK, we said it handled but even at the time both front and rear suspension was on the soft side, but then so was the suspension on the Hornet 900 and Bandit 12.

It’s worth mentioning the opposition now as we’re about to come to the price of the bike. While the new, updated Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit was around £5999 and the Honda X-11 (another ‘hmmmm’ bike) was £6950, and – even the big, bulky, bruiser the Kawasaki ZRX1200R was £6395 – Yamaha saw fit to price the new Fazer Thou’ at the end of Y2K at a wallet-busting £8039 OTR! Jaws dropped…

Yamaha, it seems, were trying to market the bike ‘away’ from the opposition and claim it was an ‘alternative sports bike’, something you’d choose over an R1 because you wanted something more comfy. Sorry Yamaha, the soft suspension made that idea a no-no, nor was it a two grand better bike than the likes of the Bandit 12, either…

To be fair, Yamaha were quick to realise their mistake and by the end of 2001 the bike was priced at less saltier £7234 before dropping still further in 2004 to £6639. That’s better…

With this sort of price tag we could now evaluate the bike properly and enjoy it for its attributes: it’s a nice, fun bike with plenty of grunt and power, but you need to rev it more than you did the likes of the Bandit motor or the ZRX. It was, perhaps almost agreeing with Yamaha with hindsight playing a slightly different game. That said, you can tour on it, have fun on it, but – some people just don’t seem to love it, like they did the Fazer 6. It can, also, be a bit scabby quite quickly if you don’t look after it – so remember to order lots of TLC if you buy one.

With bikes sold in the UK from late 2000 through to 2005, there are plenty out there and many have high miles showing how bulletproof the bike itself is. Your bottom dollar is around £1500 for a rough one, rising to around three large for a well-looked after model.

If you want one, do remember that the suspension was soft almost 19 years back, so will not have improved with age, while the finish was never that of an £8K bike and that the character was around half that of the Fazer 6…

Price: £8039 (Dec 2000) Engine: 998cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 20-valve four-stroke inline four. Power: 140bhp @ 10,00rpm. Torque: 78lb.ft @ 7500rpm Front suspension: 43mm telescopic fork. Rear suspension: Monoshock. Front brake: 2 X 298mm discs, 4-piston caliper Rear brake: 268mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Kerb weight: 230kg (claimed) Seat height:  825mm Fuel capacity: 21-litres. Top
speed: 160mph (est) Colours: Black, blue, red, silver, yellow.