Yamaha showcases new motorcycle, off-road lineup
Yamaha offered a lot to be excited about for dealers and consumers at its national dealer meeting in mid-June. The FZ-09 was the highlight unit for the motorcycle line, while features were added to motocross and ATV models.
Last to be unveiled during the dealer show at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino was one of Yamaha’s biggest surprises of the night, the new FZ-09. The bike features a fuel-injected 847cc liquid-cooled, three-cylinder Crossplane Concept crankshaft engine on an aluminum frame.
First unveiled as an engine-only concept at Intermot in the fall, the powerplant offers smooth, linear torque. The bike, which was introduced by three-time AMA SuperBike champion Josh Hayes, includes Yamaha’s YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle system, D-mode with three throttle position settings, adjustable suspension and variable throttle intake lengths.
At only $7,990, the FZ-09 has broad appeal as a low-cost model.
“The Crossplane crankshaft inline four-cylinder engine that’s in the R1 is derived from our world championship-winning MotoGP bike, and hence, the Yamaha engineers designed the Crossplane Concept three-cylinder engine to have the same kind of power or similar kind of power feel as the Crossplane crankshaft inline four, yet in a more compact, narrow package in the FZ-09,” said Bob Starr, general manager, motorsports communications, Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. “It’s very, very narrow; it’s very compact; it’s very lightweight; it has tremendous torque; it’s high horsepower, yet it’s efficient, and the price is unbelievable.”
The FZ-09 replaces the FZ-08 with vast improvements, in that the new model has more horsepower, more torque, less weight and price tag that’s $800 lower. Besides the new Viking side-by-side (featured in the Focus section), the FZ-09 drew the most buzz in Yamaha’s display area.
“I like the new three-cylinder motorcycle. I think that is really cool. I’m not sure where the market is for that, but evidently Triumph found it. They’ve sold the heck out of the Speed Triple,” said Dean Owens of Owens Cycle in Yakima, Wash. “We’re not a big street bike dealer, but we’ll be able to [sell it].”
Jonny Johnston, owner of Cambridge Motorsports in Cambridge, Md., believes he’ll surely have an audience for the FZ-09.
“I think it’s a replacement for a lot of our pure sport guys that can no longer afford $11,000, $12,000 sport bikes, the guys who thought years ago they maybe wanted an R6 or an R1, or whatever, and realize they can really afford something like that that’s fun to play with,” he said. “That’s Crossplane crankshaft, so that says it for itself with Yamaha’s technology. I think it’s a win-win situation. It’s very narrow, so the bike stays narrow. It’ll fit a lot of different people.”
The FZ-09 hits dealerships in September. It will be available in Liquid Graphite or Rapid Red.
A “bread and butter” model for dealers, as Starr describes it, the Grizzly 700 has been updated significantly for 2014.
The new Grizzly 700 FI EPS features improved comfort and new engine settings. Its 60mm wider tread width and longer suspension stroke both front and rear offer more comfortable low-speed riding. The EPS provides new settings to improve the balance between light steering and reducing negative feedback while maintaining optimum positive feedback.
At the heart of the 2014 model is a 686cc engine with a new four-valve head and an improved 10.0:1 compression ratio (up from 9.1:2). The four-valve combustion chamber produces low-rev torque and instant throttle response while improving fuel efficiency, a point that stuck out to Arlen Mickelsen of Superior Outdoor Power in Superior, Neb.
“The one thing the farmer usually complains about on all models, all manufacturers — not Yamaha, not Honda, all of them that they put out — fuel economy. They really, really complain about it,” Mickelsen said. “Yamaha came in with a 30 percent reduction in fuel [consumption]. That’s a big deal; that’s really a big deal. This will be the first manufacturer that I’ve seen address this problem ever, and we sell other manufacturers.”
Other features include redesigned wheels with the inner lip rolled in, new Maxxis tires, a digital instrument panel, steel cargo racks that haul 99 pounds in the front and 187 pounds in the rear and a center-mounted, heavy-duty trailer hitch that can tow more than 1,300 pounds.
“I like the redesigning of the Grizzly 700 because we sell a lot of those, and it’s been out quite a few years. It needed some upgrading, and they did a lot of changes to it,” commented Chris Creel of Laurel Yamaha in Laurel, Miss.
EPS and non-EPS versions are available, with prices modeled after 2013 MSRPs. The EPS models start at $9,499, while the non-EPS units start at $8,899.
“That’s good because pretty much the ATV customer that lives in the South, they’re not wealthy, wealthy people. The pay scale’s not that high, so [Yamaha] needed to do that, and I’m glad that they did it,” Creel added.
All 2014 Grizzly 700 FI models will be manufactured at Yamaha’s factory in Newnan, Ga., for distribution throughout the world. The Grizzly comes in Steel Blue, Hunter Green, red and Realtree AP HD camo.
In the sport ATV category, Yamaha brings power gains and improved handling to the YFZ450R.
The 2014 model’s fuel-injected 449cc engine uses titanium five-valve cylinder head technology with new cam profiles and a newly designed exhaust system. The fuel injection system also features a 42mm Mikuni throttle body and a 12-hole injector, along with Idle Speed Control (ISC).
Exclusive to the YFZ450R is the industry’s first assist and slipper clutch on a stock sport ATV. This reduces clutch level effort by about 25 percent, while increasing clutch plate pressure for positive engagement and reducing the engine braking affect.
The body has been restyled to include a seat that’s narrow in the front and wide and padded in the rear. Redesigned rear fenders offer smooth side-to-side transitions. Previously only available on Special Edition models, the popular quick-release fasteners that allow for no-tools installation and removal of the fenders are now standard on all YFZ models.
The wheels, set at a 49-inch motocross-spec width, have been redesigned with the inner lip rolled in. Maxxis tires offer 20 inches of rear clearance and 21 inches in the front.
The narrow front frame allows for increased A-arm length, reducing changes in camber. The front KYB shocks offer 9.8 inches of travel, while the rear swingarm provides 11 inches. The fully adjustable 46mm KYB piggyback shock absorber adds excellent handling, according to Yamaha.
Available in August, the YFZ450R comes in Team Yamaha Blue/White or Blaze Orange for $8,599. A Special Edition Crimson Red/Black model with dealer-installed GYTR black front grab bar will retail for $8,949.
YZ450F and YZ250F
Yamaha didn’t leave all of its off-road innovations to its four-wheeled vehicles. It also improved its YZ450F and YZ250F, rebuilding both from the ground up.
Both models have all-new looks, engines, chassis, KYB SSS suspension and mass centralization.
The YZ450F uses its rearward-slanted engine design its had since 2010, while the YZ250F now receives the same treatment with its new fuel injected four-valve head powerplant.
“That’s a major, major investment to do that, of course, to have a completely new product,” Starr said about the motocross bikes.
Both models are available in Blue or White/Red and are supported with GYTR and Genuine Yamaha Parts and Accessories, including a GYTR Power Tuner. The YZ450F was expected to arrive in dealerships in late June for $8,490, while the $7,490 YZ250F will hit showrooms in October.
Though no new Bolts were shown at the recent dealer meeting, dealers were able to test drive the cruiser and order the R-Spec model. The Bolt was originally slated to be unveiled at the dealer meeting, but its launch was moved up to March when production advanced.
So far, Yamaha has been impressed with the unit’s success. The OEM has been making an effort to bring demo rides of the units across the country, so dealership staffs and customers alike can have a chance to experience the ride themselves.
“It’s been a long, long time that we’ve had a product that’s as successful out of the gate as that one is,” Starr said.