The Yamaha FZ-07 quickly became a favorite of motorcyclists and motorcycle industry publications when the bike launched in 2014. It was called the FZ-07 in North America until 2017, when Yamaha changed the name to MT-07 to match it’s name in the rest of the world. Everyone knows that, but how much do you really know about one of Yamaha’s most popular motorcycles? Here are five things you probably don’t know about the FZ-07 / MT-07.
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1) It’s a 690cc motorcycle, except in the land down under
The FZ-07/MT-07 is a 690cc motorcycle almost everywhere in the world it’s sold, regardless of what name it goes by, with two exceptions: Australia and New Zealand. In those two particular countries, the FZ-07/MT-07 is 655cc.
Why? Because Australia and New Zealand have graduated licensing systems. That means new riders have limits on what motorcycles you can ride, based on how many years of experience they have riding. Yamaha designed the FZ-07/MT-07 to be a motorcycle for beginner to intermediate level riders, and they knew that you can’t buy what you can’t ride, so they redesigned the bike specifically for compliance with motorcycle laws and restrictions down under.
2) The rear suspension is a key part of the design, even if it’s barely noticeable
The rear shock is laying down, tucked under the seat of the FZ-07/MT-07, and that’s not by chance. Even though you barely even notice the shock, it’s actually a key part of the motorcycle’s design. Yamaha’s engineers designed the shock exactly as it is for two specific reasons, both aimed at making the FZ-07/MT-07 beginner-friendly.
The rear shock’s set up keeps the wheelbase short. The wheelbase is the distance between the front axle (what the front wheel spins on), and the rear axle (what the rear wheel spins on). The shorter the wheelbase, the less long the bike is, and the easier it is to steer and handle.
The secondary benefit to a shorter wheelbase is that it means the bike is overall less long, which makes it not only lighter, but it also keeps the weight centered and close to the rider. This all comes together to make a lightweight motorcycle that handles very well, is forgiving, and beginner-friendly.
3) Unfortunately, the FZ-07/MT-07 makes 40% less horsepower than the bike it replaced
The FZ-07/MT-07 replaced the old Yamaha FZ6. Unfortunately, the newer 700cc makes 67 horsepower and 50 ft. lbs of torque, whereas the old FZ6 made 94 horsepower and 47 ft. lbs. of torque. That’s 40% less horsepower in the newer Yamaha. What gives?
It all comes down to the engine’s configuration. The FZ-07/MT-07 uses an in-line twin cylinder engine, meaning two cylinders of roughly 345cc each. The old FZ6 uses an in-line four cylinder engine, meaning four cylinders of roughly 125cc each. Together the four smaller cylinders can create more horsepower than the two bigger cylinders can, even though the two bigger cylinders are over larger when combined. Power in numbers.
There is one saving grace for the FZ-07/MT-07 though, which is that, in order to make more power, the old FZ6 does need to be revved up higher. When you’re riding an FZ6 you can tell you’re on an in-line four cylinder engine, which are typically known for high RPM “buzzy-ness”. In comparison, the FZ-07/MT-07 makes it’s power at nice low RPMs. More on that, ahead…
4) The in-line two cylinder motor kinda feels like a V-Twin
The motor isn’t all bad on the FZ-07/MT-07, even if it does make less horsepower than it’s predecessor. The engine has a 270 crankshaft and the two cylinders fire at an irregular interval. Firing like this not only helps to harmonize inertia inside the engine, but it makes the motorcycle feel more like a V-Twin and has the low end torque to go along with it.
FACT OR FICTION:
There’s a rumor out there in the FZ-07/MT-07 circle that the “MT” designation in the MT-07 name stands for “Master of Torque”. Is this really true? Let me know in the comments what you think, and whether or not you’ve heard this before. Also, if a sales person at a dealership walked up to you and called it the “Master of Torque”, would you think that name was kind of corny? Let me know.
5) The FZ-07/MT-07 was supposed to kick off a whole new platform of motorcycles
The FZ-07/MT-07 wasn’t meant to be a one off, it was meant to be the start of something, just like the Yamaha Bolt, which had launched the year before FZ-07/MT-07. The Bolt became it’s own platform, with a base model, C-Spec, R-Spec, and Scrambler all based off of it.
Yamaha wanted to do the same thing with the FZ-07/MT-07, they even commissioned a café racer version to be designed, and it was rumored that the café racer version would be available as early as 2015. Here we are in 2020, and it’s obvious that this never actually came to life. That’s too bad, because the FZ-07/MT-07 is an all-around excellent machine, and we’re all left wondering what happened.
6) The front brakes are the weakest link
Motorcycle publications from all over the world have expressed how much they love the FZ-07/MT-07, but motorjournalists from both The Daily Telegraph and Motorcycle Consumer News pointed out the same flaw with the motorcycle: the front brakes aren’t great.
I took the FZ-07 out for a spin and found that the brakes felt a little wooden and the brake fluid looked a little dark. Definitely time for a brake flush. That’s when I made an interesting discovery. One of the screws that holds the cover on the front master cylinder was completely rusty, as if moisture was coming into the master cylinder, but, there shouldn’t be any moisture in there. DOT-4 brake fluid gets compromised and no longer performs as it should when it gets too much moisture. Could this be a common issue among FZ-07s / MT-07s?
After the brake fluid was flushed, the FZ-07 brakes did feel much better, though I have to admit. They still weren’t perfect.