WORDS: Marc Cook
As a larger-than-average middleweight naked bike, the Yamaha FZ8 has been a success, competing with 600s and beating them with good, old-fashioned displacement. For 2013, the 779cc naked, based largely on the FZ1, gets select updates to improve its sporting capabilities and to remedy its one styling miscue: the muffler. Yes, the muffler.
Replacing that decidedly understyled silencer is a new item with a contrasting end cap and a revised heat shield. FZ8 owners no longer have to explain that, no, nothing has fallen off, it’s supposed to look that way. Other styling upgrades include a matte gray/matte black scheme—different than the matte gray/black offered this year—with a new saddle highlighted by “suede-like” side panels and textured top surfaces.
Mechanical changes focus on the suspension, which was non-adjustable before and quite softly sprung—presumably in an attempt to make newer riders more comfortable. The fork now has full adjustability—spring preload, compression and rebound damping—while the shock gains both a stiffer spring and newly adjustable rebound adjustability. Yamaha says the suspension components are not the same as on the FZ1, nor could the company confirm that both fork legs will have damping circuits. In the current bike, both legs have springs but only one leg has damping components, a weight- and cost-saving measure.
Yamaha left the FZ8’s four-valve, inline-four engine alone for 2013, choosing instead to update the fuel-injection calibration for “quicker revving power character” and a “more direct and linear feeling from the throttle to the rear wheel.”
Available in February, the 2013 FZ8 retails for $8890, a $200 bump over the ’12 bike.