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Ergonomics. VFR 800 VS Yam. FZ1

36782 Views 26 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  VictoriaVFR
Dang, get whatever bike you like. I'm 33 and regularly ride with guys up to age 50. We all have R1's and routinely ride 6 hours plus. He doesn't seem to whine much.
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I'm 42 and I'm looking at both the VFR and FZ right at the moment...I've ridden both and in fact I sat on both just yesterday. So I'll give you my impressions:

The FZ is a taller bike, with a higher seat (33" vs. 31.7"). So taller people may prefer it for that reason 'feels better' for them.

Ergonomically, once you're riding, the two bikes feel very close. Although the VFR has a reputation for being the most ergonomic sport-tourer around, the FZ has a very upright position, and perhaps even a shorter reach from seat to handlebars.

OK, I just looked up the specs online; here they are:


seat-to-handlebar: 28.8"

seat-to-footpeg: 18.1"

effective handlebar rise: 6.1"

seat-to-handlebar: 28.1"

seat-to-footpeg: 19.3"

effective handlebar rise: 9.5"
So my impression is confirmed. The handlebars on the FZ1 are a bit closer and higher, and even shorter people might prefer those ergos of the FZ. I thought that the VFR bars felt a bit lower and further away, and thought that I'd probably buy some Helibar risers if I went with the VFR.

And the FZ is not only taller, it has a larger gap between seat and pegs, so taller folks will no doubt feel more comfortable there as well.

On the other hand, I'm not tall, and I felt fine on both bikes. If I buy the FZ, I'll probably have the seat shaved down an inch, but otherwise it's fine.

My biggest decision between the two is not the ergos, but which type of bike do I want?

Do I want a naked FZ with that stonkin' engine?

Or do I want a more expensive, full-faired, lesser powered bike, but with the added safety feature of ABS?

What it really comes down to is this: do I want uber-performance, or safety? I haven't completely decided, and I'd be happy to hear others' opinions about this so that I can stop flip-flopping and make up my mind....
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I currently own an FZ1 with multiple riding buds on VFR's. Here is what I know and the reason I bought an FZ1 over the VFR:

1. FZ1 valve adjust at 26,600mi vs. VFR at 16,000mi

2. FZ1 mpg is in the 46-48mpg zone while a 99 VFR bud gets 44mpg... another on a 02 VFR gets 38mpg for the same corners/straights.

3. Even though a more relaxed riding position, I can ride it faster and harder than if on one of my buds bikes.

4. Fully adjustable suspension on the FZ1.

5. FZ1 is cheaper.

6. The FZ1 is more powerful but has a smoother power delivery.

The VFR is fuel injected though... I would wait to see what the SV1000 is like if fuel injection is important to you. Add a lower fairing for $500 and still be $1k under a VFR.


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I ride the earlier VFR the 750, and I am a short ass at only 5'5" and I find the VFR fits me well as they are a reasonably compact bike. What this all tells me is I don't think a person of 6' or more would be comfortable for long distances on the VFR, they would be too cramped. The seat to peg dimension mentioned above would be the key one - you would have your legs bent a lot more than on the FZ1 or what I do being shorter on the VFR. I fitted helibars to mine to reduce the reach across the tank. You can't pull the seat forward like in a car so I had to bring the bars back to be truly comfortable. Try them out and choose the one you feel good on. If you are tall, I doubt it is the VFR even though they are marvellous bikes.


You guys are leaving out one other bike. The YZF600R. As good ergo's as the VFR (Maybe better). easily as powerful as the VFR, great seat, and a steal at only $6999. Great bargain, great all arounder. I normally do 600+ mile days on mine all season long (MO should hire me to write a long term evaluation, as I think I may be one of the mileage leaders on this bike. I have 45,000 on my '98 as we speak.)

All in all it's an excellent motorcycle that does everything perfectly. I'm 43 years old, and I have no problem riding this bike long distance at all. Definitely worth considering.
I'm 52, and 6'-2", and do three / four day rides on my '99 VFR. I did put helibars and a sargent seat on it, but it is great for 300+ mile, two lane rides.

I've just bought a '03 K1200RS, as I'm interested in longer tours, and it fit the bill closest with hard bags, heated grips, big smooth motor, and shaft drive.

I kept the VFR though...
My last bike was a '97 VFR, current ride is a 1200S Bandit, Prior to that I had a ZX10, K100RS, R100RT, GPZ 750, V1100S sabre, and a bunch of Harleys, The ergo's on the VFR weren't bad for me @ 6'2- 250 lbs, and 45yo, Comfort/distance wise I did 5-6 hour rides with no trouble, stop and go on the freeway was hard on my wrists and elbows, but not as bad as the other sportbikes I had. The FZ1 ergo's are similar to the Bandit, which is just about perfect for me and my riding style, and I'd recommend it over the VFR if comfort/performance is the only criteria. I'd look at the ZRX1200 also, the Bandit/ FZ1/ ZRX ergos and price are all pretty similar.
I have been sport riding for 19 years and have been at the scene of many accidents that could have been avoided with ABS. The problem is when a car comes out of a side street, or jams on the brakes in front of you. even expierienced people use too much front brake and go down. The ABS is great for the real world. So my advice about the ergonomics is you will feel more comfortable sitting on your bike than possibly laying next to it on the street.
I am 6'3" and I was disappointed by the FZ1's ergos. the upper body posture is excellent, but the pegs are too high and rear set, affording little relief at the knees. That knocked the bike completely off my wanted list, never to be returned to it.

The VFR has a VERY comfortable riding posture, much more so than my ZX-12R.

I have ridden my ZX-12R on 8 hour rides but they have always been back roads, not highway drones. I can't stand to ride the 12 more than 50 miles on the interstates.

You might want to consider the ZZR1200. very comfy, very fast.
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Both are superb bikes, so i doubt you'd be disappointed either way. However, as a 52-year-old-owner of a VFR, I have to confess that it is the most comfortable bike I've ever owned. I'm short (5'8"), so I may not be the perfect test subject, but, as Bike magazine said in their 01/02 review of the VFR: "You could ride twice around Jupiter and get off with nary a twinge. The human shape, it seems, has evolved specifically to fit VFRs."

The trick to understanding the VFR is that it's not the most comfy on the showroom floor. It gets comfy when you get it on the road and lean on the tank, taking pressure off your arms. A tankbag can increase the lean area if you adjust it right.

That said, the FZ1 is a spectacular machine. Again, Bike, obviously one of my favorite pubs, ranks the Yamaha R1 engine and the VFR engine as the best two motorcycle engines ever built (in that order).

To be honest, I don't think you can make a mistake here.

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Ironcially, my last bike was a VFR800 and my current is a FZ-1.

The VFR was comfy enough I suppose, though if you have a gut the tank will poke at you until you either get rid of the gut, or sell it and buy an FZ-1.

If you get my meaning. :)
Over 6 foot but enjoy a sporting approach to motorcycling? Don't be forced to weigh comfort for longer riders over sporting ability. Get yourself an Aprilia Futura and never look back!
And now to Muddy the Waters

Sprint ST - same basic ergos as the VFR with another 1.5" rise on the bars (like factory Heli's). Combined with a decent factory seat and a low vibration engine, guys tend to rack up the mileage on these babies.

Z1000 – Surprise, Surprise – High seat height, but man does this thing feel agile and mobile. Practically disappears beneath you ala Honda 919. Orange is hot, baby!
Er, Don't know what year your friends VFR's are, but after the initial check, my VFR never has another scheduled valve adjustment. Maybe a big selling point, maybe not.

I'm 6' 3" and fit my bike just fine. Last march took a trip from Seattle to Las Vegas in 3 days, was long, but fun. I wasn't uncomfortable except for the cold. I do have a Corbin saddle, Helibars and was wearing kevlar winter/wet pants which added a little cushion, still was a long, fun ride. Even with a 36" inseam the VFR doesn't feel short to me, but I'm young and can still touch my toes, so maybe I don't fit the "mature rider" demographic.

Thanks for the input. To further confuse the issue, I also am considering the Suzuki Bandit 1200S and Katana 750. Both are relatively cheap and both are more stretched out. Any feedback would be appreciated. Darrell.
With GenMar risers and a Corbin seat, the ergos of the VFR are perfect. I am 6'2" and 61 years of age and 500 mile trips are comfortable from start to finish. The VFR is pure quality also.
The VFR goes better in the twisty bits when you start pushing the pace. My hard-riding buddy complains about his Fazer grounding down hard parts in corners. No such problems on the VFR.
Re: And now to Muddy the Waters

Oh man!, you have a z1000?.. I haven't even seen one yet in person! How is it?... please give details. This bike is very close to convincing me that I, somehow, someway... -need- a 6th motorcycle! :)
LOL. That's an excellent point, and very well put, thanks.

I just read an online comparo of ABS brakes vs. regular brakes. On dry pavement, experienced riders stopped in about the same distance on bikes with either ABS or regular brakes (of course, this was a test, not a real-life emergency situation).

But, on wet pavement at 60 mph, riders with ABS consistently stopped in 200 feet while riders without ABS stopped in 320+ feet, an average of 120 feet further! Even the riders involved were surprised by the results.

Given those numbers and your advice, I'm now leaning toward the VFR w/ ABS....
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