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somejello

FZ-07 or R3 - Could use some input

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somejello
Hi guys, I'm having a bit of a dilemma. I posted a similar thread on an R3 forum and now I'm looking for input from people who own the FZ-07. Here's a little bit of background:
 
I took the MSF course right out of high school when I was 18. I did really well and ended up buying a 2003 zx6r a few months later. This was a stupid idea looking back on it. My only experience with bikes was the MSF course, and I actually ended up buying a bike that I ended up working on as much as I rode it. This really ruined the experience.
 
Nevertheless, after a good month of fear and a couple drops later I was able to get comfortable with the 636. I wouldnt call myself experienced at all, and I actually only put ~2500 miles on it in the little more than a year that I owned it. This was partly due to the fact that I was constantly working on it and I was also too nervous to ride it at first.
 
Fast forward to now and I ended up selling the 636 to buy a new bike. I'm excited to get something new that doesn't need any work. I'm definitely downgrading in terms of power because I want to start again and get something I'll actually learn on. My only problem is that I can't decide if I want to completely start back at the 300 class, or if my limited experience with the 636 will aid me enough to go with the fz-07...
 
In all honesty I ended up getting pretty comfortable with the power of the 636 towards the end, I just really wanted something smaller to get more experience on. I felt like I was learning how to survive on the 636 rather than learning to actually ride. Something physically smaller would be a plus as well. I didn't realize how big supersports were until I saw one up close, and I also didn't realize how high they sat off the ground. At 5'7" with a 30" inseam I couldn't quite get both of my feet down flat on the ninja, which made me lose a lot of confidence when I first started. I was about an inch away on both sides, so getting only one foot down was extremely easy, but I still wanted to feel firmly planted.
 
Essentially my main question is this, will I be okay only downgrading to the fz-07? Should I actually go for the R3? I'm going to sit on both of them tomorrow to get a feel for them, but I can't test ride them so I'm not able to feel the actual power of the two. I also know that there's restrictor kits for the fz-07 that can limit the bike to 48hp, which I would definitely be interested in. If someone could provide me information with how that would work in the US, and also if its something I could install myself or if I'll need to take it to a dealer to get it done.
 
I hope this isn't a confusing mess. I think I may be over thinking a bit.

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SkH
How do you ride? Conservatively? Aggressively? Do you do a lot of redlining? What is the fastest you've gone on your ninja?  Where do you ride?  Rural, twisty area?  Urban/city?  Do you do any track days?

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rewplayff
I like the fz07 especially in the city, Perfect city ripper in my opinion. But on the twisties I miss the high rev scream of smaller, racier bikes. Not to say the fz can't hang (its very capable) but its different. Again, just my opinion

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fz07fanboy
I have the FZ and Ninja 300. The 300 is an awesome bike. I can tell you that the Ninja 300 seating is not very aggressive. I love riding it in the canyons and find myself riding it more than my FZ. The biggest reason for this is because of the slipper clutch. The FZ engine breaks so hard that you can inadvertently lock up the rear wheel when downshifting if you don't blip the throttle first to match up engine speed. I've done this a few times but plan on getting a slipper clutch when they come out for the FZ. Also on the road its more than capable. People always try to downplay the smaller CC bikes because they won't keep up doing over 100 mph on the roads. Well, you don't need to do that anyway. Another thing I can say about the 300 is that its very forgiving power wise. I find it very satisfying when going into corners and exiting corners you don't have to necessarily worry about getting just the right about of throttle. I don't want these comments to seem like I don't like my FZ. I love my FZ because of the power that it does produce.

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username
Many people on this site have bought the FZ-07 as their first bike. I bought it to learn on and I have little to no experience on a bike. I didn't go through a riding course. The bike isn't scary by any means. You give it throttle and you need to pay attention to your front wheel but it's not going to flip right over on you. Before putting the EJK in the throttle response was a bit jumpy but still manageable. After the EJK it was silky smooth. Handling is very nice as far as i can tell. Some say the suspension is garbage for the front suspension but I don't know what good suspension is so it seems ok to me. Riding position is comfortable more upright than your crotch rocket. A friend hopped on my FZ-07 and said that if feels almost like sitting on a dirt bike. You really can't go wrong with this bike. If you road the R3 after your big boy 636 you probably wouldn't be content with it for that long. You'll enjoy the FZ-07 for much longer. People always were saying start off on 250's and what not but screw that you would get tired pretty fast and upgrade soon after regardless.

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SkH
I actually own both bikes. Here are a few differences between the two without mentioning the obvious difference in engine size.  And yes, I do understand comparing both bikes normally shouldn't be done as they are on two different levels, but the TC is asking, so I'm doing it.
 
A statement I make for one of the bike is in comparison to the other bike, unless I specifically mention another motorcycle by name.
 
FZ07
 
-Better slow speed (5mph) riding. In fact it is incomparable. The difference is night and day. You ride the FZ07 at low speed, having to do U-turns, parking lot navigation, etc it just feels like a big bicycle.  Then you do all that on the R3 and it feels like something that really wants to fall flat on its side.
 
-Powerful torque. Even though you own a ZX6r, I don't know if that bike can easily lift its wheel on 1st or 2nd on power of torque alone.
 
-Better gas mileage.  I seem to be refilling the R3 more often.
 
-easier maintenance on certain things such as changing oil and easier mods such as changing out exhaust, replacing headlight bulbs, front turn signals. All due to the fairings on the R3.
 
-Better engine sound after exhaust change.  I have a Yoshimura R77 full systems on both the FZ07 and R3.  And I really hate the way the R3 sounds.  The FZ07 has a lower, deeper sound.  But besides that, the R3 has this annoying "putt putt" idle sound.  When I removed the baffle for the R3, revving sounded better but the idle putt putt got even more annoying so had to put the baffle back in.
 
R3
 
-Very light. Only 30 lbs or so lighter, yet the bike feels drastically lighter than the FZ07. Getting off and walking the bike, you will notice even more on how light it feels. This also translates to much easier/quicker leaning on twisties. The r3 feels better leaning on curves in general.
 
-Better highway riding.  Has a windscreen and you can rest your chest on the tank.
 
-Must be redlined to feel the full power. In fact, I enjoy riding the R3 more because of how I have to redline it. Coming from the FZ07 where I only give it to about 7k rpm, and then that's it, redlining the engine on the R3 is a very fulfilling sensation. 
 
-Clunky shifting/shifter.
 
-Made/designed in indonesia, so you'll notice the fit and finish isn't as nice as the Fz07 (Japan). Such as the swing arm, you'll see horrible and I mean horrible weld points.  Also some of the hardware looks even cheaper than whats on the FZ07.
 
-The one point where it is easier to mod than the fz07 is the tail-section. The tail access for fender elimination and taillight switching is so easy compared to the fz07.  It just requires you to remove both seats, unscrew a divider plastic, and remove the storage tray and that's it.  Instant fender removal by unscrewing 4 bolts.  The fz07 on the other hand... yeah, don't want to talk about it.
 
-Many people mention that the tires suck on the R3 and recommend to change it out to something better.  
 
-Slightly better horn placement in the respect that you won't accidentally honk your horn like on the FZ07.  Does not have a hazard switch though.
 
 
IF I had to choose one between the two, it would be the FZ07.  Other than it obviously being stronger, I love naked bikes in general.   But I do love redlining the R3 up through the gears.  That is a nice sensation that can't be replicated on the FZ07 no matter what.  
 
 
 
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fromthecage
As a first bike, FZ-07 owner, I think the FZ-07 will be the best choice after reading your story. The R3, as nice as it is, will be too much of a downgrade for you after putting 2500 miles on that 636. With the FZ-07, you will be able to become comfortable with low speed maneuvers, comfort in riding, and all the other things you possibly missed out on starting out on the 636.

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snowdriftless
....Essentially my main question is this, will I be okay only downgrading to the fz-07? Should I actually go for the R3? I'm going to sit on both of them tomorrow to get a feel for them, but I can't test ride them so I'm not able to feel the actual power of the two. I also know that there's restrictor kits for the fz-07 that can limit the bike to 48hp, which I would definitely be interested in. If someone could provide me information with how that would work in the US, and also if its something I could install myself or if I'll need to take it to a dealer to get it done....
I don't have experience with the YZF-R3 so my comments will be specifically about the limiter kit. I bought one for my bike as the FZ-07 is my first motorcycle. I bought it from a company in the UK of Ebay. The company offers a 33 BHP and 46.9 BHP kits, I went with the 46.9 BHP kit. The kit is easy to install and includes all the parts you need. It is placed on the throttle cable holder on the throttle body. It limits the amount you can twist the throttle so the most you can twist the throttle is half the range of an unrestricted throttle. 
As you indicated that you dropped the bike a few times I would lean to getting the FZ with a set of frame and axle sliders. It could be expensive to replace the plastic on the YZF-R3. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions about the limiting kit.

P1: Vice? I have no vice, I'm as pure as the driven snow!
P2: Yeah but you've been drifting
 
All the gear all the time!

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somejello
@skh I ride pretty conservatively I'd say. I never took the zx6r anywhere near its potential and hardly rode it above ~100mph. I've never gone to any track days but it's something I've wanted to look into just for fun. Thanks for the detailed comparison, I'm surprised that the FZ-07 feels better with slow speed maneuvers compared to the lighter R3.
 
@rewplayff A "city ripper" type bike actually sounds pretty enticing to me. I don't do a lot of serious riding or anything so I'm fine if the FZ doesn't perform as well in the twisties. As long as it can hold its own in the canyons I'm fine.
 
@fz07fanboy Your post started to shift me back towards the R3 lol. Things like a slipper clutch aren't a huge issue to me. Since my zx6r was a 2003 model it didn't have any ABS or a slipper clutch or anything, so I eventually just learned proper downshifting on that/blipping the throttle. 
 
@username Thanks for the input. I noticed that a lot of people are buying this bike as first time riders so that has helped. One of the things I was worried about was keeping the front wheel down, but from what I can tell you actually have to try to get it up?
 
@fromthecage So you think 2500 miles is enough on the 636 to be alright with the FZ? And yeah I'm looking forward to the physical size reduction from the 636 to the FZ. I was supposed to make it to the dealer today so I could sit on one but I may have to wait until another day. I'm not too worried yet though because I'll be waiting until at least October/November to make my purchase.
 
@snowdriftless Yes! You're the guy who I saw post about it. So you were able to get it installed easily by yourself then? Does it come with instructions, or are there any floating around somewhere? I tried searching but I didn't come up with much. This is 100% something that I'm going to buy if I go with the FZ. 

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RapidFZ
The FZ-07 is my first bike. I had a mini bike when I was a kid but I wouldn't consider that as any experience. I bought my FZ-07 a month before my MSF class and I rode it a bit on the side streets around my house. It was very easy to learn on this bike and now almost three months later I feel very comfortable riding it. Unless you know that you will be happy with the amount of power that the R3 has I wouldn't get it, especially with the experience that you have had with the 636. At times I feel that I want more power from the FZ-07 but I know that will lead to trouble and I can't afford losing my license.

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wcgryphon
Bought the FZ-07 as my first bike a week after completing the MSF course and getting my license. No experience using clutch, never even sat on a motorcycle before the course. Finally passed 600 miles this week after 2 months.
 
This is absolutely a beginner "friendly" bike. I could live in 3-4k rpms all day long up to highway speeds, very manageable torque to get going but never too much to feel overwhelming. I got the throttle control down pretty early and this is a very gentle bike as long as you don't twist too hard. I've just started opening her up a bit now that I'm more comfortable (I think I got it over 8k rpms!), but seeing as you already have riding experience, there's no reason to get anything less unless you like the R3 more (style, seating position, etc.).
 
If I had started on anything smaller (was also looking at Honda CB500F), I have no doubt I would start to get bored and want to upgrade. I was skeptical at people who said "don't bother with the 250's/300's, you'll just get rid of it in 4 months." I totally believe them now.

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somejello
Bought the FZ-07 as my first bike a week after completing the MSF course and getting my license. No experience using clutch, never even sat on a motorcycle before the course. Finally passed 600 miles this week after 2 months. 
This is absolutely a beginner "friendly" bike. I could live in 3-4k rpms all day long up to highway speeds, very manageable torque to get going but never too much to feel overwhelming. I got the throttle control down pretty early and this is a very gentle bike as long as you don't twist too hard. I've just started opening her up a bit now that I'm more comfortable (I think I got it over 8k rpms!), but seeing as you already have riding experience, there's no reason to get anything less unless you like the R3 more (style, seating position, etc.).
 
If I had started on anything smaller (was also looking at Honda CB500F), I have no doubt I would start to get bored and want to upgrade. I was skeptical at people who said "don't bother with the 250's/300's, you'll just get rid of it in 4 months." I totally believe them now.
Haha it's funny because I actually just got back from the dealership, I was able to make time to stop by and sit on both the R3 and the FZ-07. I also sat on the cbr300r and the KTM RC390 as well just because lol. Surprisingly, I wasn't able to flatfoot any of them, not even the R3 with it's narrow little seat. Kind of a surprise considering how close I was to footing my old zx6r... 
Nevertheless, the FZ-07 felt amazing to sit on. It was a really weird experience sitting on it, but I liked the ergonomics. I felt like I was sort of sunken in to the engine instead of perched on top like the traditional supersport feeling. I was close enough to getting both feet down, and even so it was super easy to hold up.
 
The R3 did look gorgeous though, but in the FZ's defense the R3 was parked right in front of the dealership with all of the sun shining down on it.
 
Overall the FZ felt really nice to sit on. Kinda felt like a big bicycle  :D
 
Some pics from the dealer, sorry that I didn't take more than one pic of the FZ... It was between other bikes and I was super nervous the whole time about knocking something over:
 
r4n5etW.jpgF24b8ne.jpgn7rHg7K.jpg
oLvzlfs.jpg

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aeisan
There are some great responses already in this thread. I probably can't add much more value here, other than to maybe offer this one opinion...
 
"Niceties" such as a slipper clutch are all well and good, but if you are truly trying to learn how to ride, I'm a tad old school and think you should learn correct technique before adding assistance features such as a slipper clutch or ABS, etc.
 
That's just my opinion, and there are plenty of good arguments to the contrary. Just don't think I saw that point of view in this thread yet. :)

Life is good on 2 wheels!

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ratlab
i have both bikes as well-i wish when i was starting out there was a bike as good as the R3.for those of us that like small cc bikes the r3 is a pretty big step forward.shifting is good,power is decent,more torque than the 250's i've been riding,handling is terrific-frame,swing arm, and forks are a huge improvement over the rest of the class.bike is budget,but with power commander,pipe,the usual suspension mods and some decent tires the R3 is a ripper bike.40+ hp and 360 lbs wet with a little weight savings.95% of all of us couldn't ride that bike to it's full potential.the 636 retarded your growth as a rider.step back to the R3 and you will become a much better rider,and be able to use more of the bike's potential.the R3 is much more rounded bike than the FZ-better wind protection,gas milage,riding position,lighter,and lower. i think the FZ is also a safe option,but a niche motorcycle,a fun naked bike with good,flat powerband and a funky riding position.on a side note,i was at greg spears shop today dropping my 250 off for some work,and what that guy can do with a R3 is amazing.

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wcgryphon
I have to add, now that I've had time to get accustomed to the bike, the ergonomics is one thing that I'm not thrilled with. The seat starts numbing my ass and I find myself slouching most of the time (but that's probably just my bad posture). I used to sit closer to the tank, but then it was just riding up into my crotch, especially on breaking. I've started sitting further back on the seat (almost touching the back seat) and it's been better. But the butt still gets sore on rides longer than 20-30 min. I might have to look into the Yamaha comfort seat. YMMV.
 
For reference, I'm 5'11" 180lbs.

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somejello
@aeisan I would actually prefer learning to master a bike without those aids to be honest. It's something I like about both the R3 and the FZ-07, the lack of riding aids. Good technique is something I really want to lock down.
 
@ratlab Another really good opinion that has me leaning towards the R3. As far as the 636 retarding my growth, that's one of the reasons why I was debating on going back to a 300. I wanted to be able to ride a 300 completely to its limit before upgrading. Gain as much experience as I possibly can and then move up you know? And you're referring to Spears Enterprises/Racing in Manteca, CA right? I saw a thread on the R3 forum of a tune he did on someone's R3 as well as a dyno video and it was pretty sick. Manteca is a little over an hour away from where I live, and if I were to get an R3 I would definitely take it to him for a tune after fitting an aftermarket exhaust.

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fz07fanboy
This isn't to bash anyone as far as thinking ABS and slipper clutches will hinder you. They won't. I'm all for knowing how to ride properly and techniques but you need to decide what you feel can be good safety features and having a slipper clutch and ABS are great options. I've been riding 14yrs, 6 bikes (2001 Suzuki Katana, 2002 Kawasaki ZX-9R, 2001 GSX-R 1000, 2012 Honda CBR 250R, 2014 Ninja 300 SE ABS, 2015 Yamaha FZ-07. Having some of these features can help build confidence as well as help you learn to ride better. I spoke to Hardracing.com and they said a slipper clutch is in the works and when it does come out, better believe I'll be swapping out my clutch for it. Why, because I like to ride hard and accelerate and brake the last minute sometimes all while down shifting and it can be hard to down shift, use front brake and blip the throttle while using the front brake. You came from a 636 but by reading what you wrote, you were only getting use to it. To me you seemed to be hindered from learning more than you could have. I still don't get how you can't flat foot any of the bikes. I'm 6' 1" 190lbs. The 300 holds its own the twisties with a good rider and will keep up just fine in traffic on the freeway.

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snowdriftless
@snowdriftless Yes! You're the guy who I saw post about it. So you were able to get it installed easily by yourself then? Does it come with instructions, or are there any floating around somewhere? I tried searching but I didn't come up with much. This is 100% something that I'm going to buy if I go with the FZ. 
 
Yes, It was easy to install by myself. This
 shows you where the plate attaches around the 7:08 mark. All you need to do is Remove 2 screws, put in the limiter plate, line everything up, put locktite on the screws, and screw the thing in. That's all you need to do. I can see if I can do an example or guide to doing it.

P1: Vice? I have no vice, I'm as pure as the driven snow!
P2: Yeah but you've been drifting
 
All the gear all the time!

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fromthecage
As much as I agree with @ratlab about the R3 helping you to become a better rider, I worry that your previous experience with the 636 would allow you to get bored with the R3 too soon. I agree that pushing the R3 to the limits would be a blast. Unfortunately, most of the time riding the bike will be far from it's limits. The FZ has that usable fun factor. In saying that, the R3 would be the better learning bike, however I think it will be quickly outgrown by someone who had begun to get comfortable with a more powerful bike. Had there been no previous motorcycle experience or very limited rides on a low powered bike the R3 would be my recommendation hands down.

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somejello
@fz07fanboy I have no idea but I was pretty surprised. Maybe I'm wrong on my inseam? My pants are anywhere from 30"-32" in length so I just went off that :/ I was actually pretty close with the FZ, but the pegs were sort of in the way of going straight down.
 
@snowdriftless That seems easy enough to do. The ebay picture made it look much more confusing, because all it shows is some random metal plates...
 
@fromthecage I really wish I could just try both of them out. I don't know of any dealerships around me that do test rides, and I don't know anyone who actually owns both of these bikes.

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thestache
@somejello try moving all the way up on the seat on the FZ-07, I am 5'6" with a 29" inseam and flat foot it with no problems

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jake
I'd go with the one that you are drawn to more, no one can make the decision for you. I have a Buell firebolt and the FZ and happy I have both. I'd like to get a few more some kind of dual purpose is something I'm seriously thinking about.

2015 FZ-07 2003 2014 GSXR 1000

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snowdriftless
@snowdriftless That seems easy enough to do. The ebay picture made it look much more confusing, because all it shows is some random metal plates...
Yeah, They just show a bunch of the throttle plates they offer for a bunch of different bikes. I will try to get a picture of it this afternoon. Maybe an install guide too.

P1: Vice? I have no vice, I'm as pure as the driven snow!
P2: Yeah but you've been drifting
 
All the gear all the time!

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fromthecage
@somejello where about are you located? A lot of times, Yamaha will set up demo days at dealerships so that people can try out their products. Most every time, the R3 and the FZ-07 will be present. Keep an eye on local dealer promotional events so that you may get to try each bike out.

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somejello
@snowdriftless That would be awesome if you could do that.
 
@fromthecage Fairfield, CA. Essentially in the Bay Area. I used Yamaha's demo day search on their site for places near me but no results came up. I could try searching again though and see if things have changed.
 
@thestache Lol maybe I was sitting on it wrong. I didn't nudge right up to the tank, I kinda sat a little bit back on the seat.

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