Looking for a cost effective litre bike that’s a very capable all rounder? You’ve might have just found it!
Launched in 2001, Yamaha’s FZS1000 Fazer 1000 initially promised a lot but once the road tests were in, it was obvious that it fell short in the expectations of many. That was mostly down to the fact that the Fazer was going to use an R1 engine, but hidden in the small print was how the R1 power plant was to be retuned for the big sit up and beg Fazer. The rest of the bike also came in for some flack, weight was 208kg and to keep costs down there was no alloy frame, instead it was more of a pumped up Fazer 600 chassis that graced the litre bike. The Fazer 1000 is ageing well though, the earliest 2001 bikes are now 16 years old, and on the whole most have survived pretty well. There’s more love for the Fazer now than there’s ever been and, away from race track press launches, comparisons to the R1 and other mismatched tests, the Fazer shines in the real world.
It’s easy to see where Yamaha scrimped. The suspension is very soft at both ends but, with the bikes getting older, many will have had shock replacements and forks overhauled. There’s plenty of knowledge on the web too if you fancy having a go yourself. Prices for honest bikes in good shape start at around £2,000. The Fazer had a production life of four years, so there’s plenty to pick from.
What’s it like to ride?
If you like big bikes you’ll love the Fazer 1000. Hop on board and you could be mistaken for thinking you’d just sat on an adventure bike; it’s a very similar stance with its high saddle, wide bars and sensibly placed pegs. Find a sweet spot on the choke lever, prod the starter and the Fazer burbles into life. There’s nothing fancy about the spec, the most glamorous components are the much talked about ‘blue spot’ brake calipers. They are still great brakes but lack the urgency of a contemporary R1, which uses the same bodies. This is probably down to the fact that it’s trying to haul up those 208kg, although it might also be down to the master cylinder?
With so many owners complaining about the soft suspension you might wonder what all the fuss is about? Sure, if you’ve just stepped off something more modern it does feel a bit soggy, but nothing that’s too nasty. The engine is the biggest talking point. There’s no shortage of power and with quoted figures of 135bhp being bounded about it’s easy to see the appeal of the Fazer. Compared to the R1 donor bike, Yamaha trimmed some bhp from the upper rev range and shaved some horses away from the lower rev range too. There’s still more than enough in the middle though, the red line on the analogue clocks sits at 11,500 revs, pin it into first gear around this figure and 80mph will greet you on the speedo face. The Fazer is a really practical package, the headlamps are brilliant, there’s pillion grab rails and even a centre stand is standard issue.
Mile munching on motorways is something that the Fazer does with ease. It’s hard to think of any other machine from this millennium that offers you so much bike, for so little money.
What to look for when buying a Fazer 1000
We spoke to Vinny Styles, sales manager at Wheels Motorcycles, Peterborough, and he said: “Not too many Fazers remain totally stock, aftermarket items like luggage, higher screens and bellypans are worth having, stumpy exhaust silencers and race replica paint work are less in demand. The engine is very exposed and can lose its shine on high mileage examples, but on the whole overall finish is usually very high.
“The biggest issue that affects the Fazer 1000 is the EXUP valve, it’s prone to seizing up. It’s easy to spot if it’s not working as it will ride like a wheezy 600cc. Some aftermarket exhaust headers do away with the EXUP valve completely, some owners think this is a bad idea, others swear by the mod, so do your own homework.”
What goes wrong with them?
We spoke to Chris Tombleson at Grumpy 1260, they service bikes and break a few old bikes for parts. He added: “The engine likes a drop of oil but don’t be alarmed by this. If you do lots of urban riding then oil consumption can be less than if you travel up and down the motorway on a regular basis. There’s a sight glass in the righthand side of the crank case, so it’s dead easy to check if you need to top up or not.
“With five valves per cylinder, big services will take a bit longer, which means that they’ll cost a bit more. The EXUP valve is a weak spot, it’s worth keeping it tip top. We’ve also fitted ignition advancers to plenty of these. It’s a cheap part to find on the internet and the norm is for a four degree advancer to be fitted as it sharpens the delivery up no end, and even aids your mpg figures. It’s a worthwhile mod. There’s a few options for sorting out the rear shock. A shock from a 2CO R6 is a common swap, the only downside is a decent one will set you back around £150. Beyond that they are solid bikes.”