YAMAHA FZS600 FAZER (1998-2004) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"In many ways the older Fazer is better than the new model"

Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Riding

"In many ways the older Fazer is better than the new model"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

In many ways the older Yamaha FZS600 Fazer is better than the new model; much more midrange oomph, better weather protection, more upright riding position. But it does look kinda 80s disco from some angles and it's also a bit greedy on fuel. Otherwise, teh Yamaha FZS600 Fazer is a versatile all-rounder with great brakes and a reliable motor.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

When you push the Yamaha FZS600 Fazer to the limit, which is easy with those R1 brakes upfront, it dives a little bit and loads up the front end. It waggles a bit, but the handling is generally confidence-inspiring and if you take it steady you could ride to Budapest on a Yamaha FZS600 Fazer and feel no severe aches or pains.

Engine 4 out of 5

There's just under 100bhp in the Yamaha FZS600 Fazer's detuned, Thundercat 600cc, four cylinder engine and that's plenty for backroads fun, as well as motorway commuting if needs be. The Yamaha FZS600 Fazer delivers its power in a wide spread and the 6 speed gearbox is there if you feel like playing tag with sports bikes. 

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The Yamaha FZS600 Fazer is a fairly well made motorcycle, and except for the black painted downpipes rotting away, or the brake calipers seizing up, the Yamaha FZS600 Fazer doesn't suffer big problems. It can rack up very high miles with regular servicing. Apart from its thirst for fuel it would make a great despatcher's motorcycle.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

There are loads of used Yamaha FZS600 Fazers out there and all make a good choice as a first time `proper' bike, or a general weekend toy for the rider who values an upright riding position more than 150mph performance. Yes, it looks a bit dated, but the Yamaha FZS600 Fazer offers real world biking for as little as £1500. Find a Yamaha FZS600 Fazer for sale

Insurance group: 12 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

There's room for proper waterproofs under the Yamaha FZS600 Fazer's seat, the brakes are outstanding and the half fairing may look a bit Star Wars 1978, but it works well. Pillion grabrail, stainless steel exhaust silencer and centrestand help make the Yamaha FZS600 Fazer a practical motorcycle. 

Owners' Reviews

43 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA FZS600 FAZER (1998-2004) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA FZS600 FAZER (1998-2004)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 4.0 out of 5
4 out of 5

The machine that keeps on going!

31 May 2015 by Alistair Doran

I'd say this bike is a workhorse. A yellow and black, screaming, reliable, suprisingly not-so-slow, easy to maintain workhorse. It's the first bike to never let me down at any point, perfect for my height (5ft 10) and even though I don't want to,... Read more it can (at times) put a smile on my face. Don't get me wrong, it's by no means the fastest bike in the world, but we never bought it for it's world record setting abilities did we? On normal roads however, this thing can keep up with your 600cc mates no problem (albeit to their shame!) First bike? I'd certainly recommend, it may even keep you tied into the Yamaha brand, potentially placing your interest in a Thundercat/Thunderace and onto an R1 if that's your thing.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
The bike is pretty decent when it comes to ride quality. The upright riding position isn't too taxing on the lower back, you'll only notice this after roughly 1.5hrs straight use. My MOT examiner said he thinks the dive on the front forks is a little much and I agreed the same, so I topped up a little more than the recommended 470ml the manual says and it seems to make them a little more firm. Brakes on the other hand can be a problem however. The front ones are fine, they will give you little trouble, but the rear is prone to seizing if it's not used that often, or is left out in bad weather (silly me) - the water runs down into the caliper and left untouched will seize a pot or two. This will require a garage to overhaul if you don't have the necessary tools to pop the pots out and can be a nightmare. On a plus side however, parts aren't that bad for the brakes, with seals costing as little as £3 per seal (Wemoto) or if your caliper makes a homeless man look a million dollars, invest in a rebuild kit (£59.99 - Wemoto) - Alternatively, invest in a Yamaha R1 rear caliper as it's a direct swap and looks the same as the front.
Engine
4 out of 5
Bomb proof. Need I say more? Look after the oil levels and it will keep you moving. The only gripe I've had so far is the carb-to-head rubbers cracking up. Yamaha know when they have you by the balls, so expect to pay £80 for 4 small pieces of hose. I won't lie, it stings, so keep the bike covered during the winter.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
I'm not a grease monkey by any standard, so one of the first things I look for in a bike is how reliable it is; the more reliable the motorcycle, the less I will by paying a mechanic to keep me on the road. I've known from past experience that this bike was bomb proof, and when I got offered one for the paltry sum of £800, I jumped at it. Low and behold, it's a choice that's paid off big style; the bike has never broken down (touch wood) and starts first time every time. It's is a great choice for those who are looking for a work horse or for your first bike. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of corrosion albeit small spots that are purely cosmetic, but for a guy who has his bike ungaraged 365, what would you expect?
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
The bike is like any other; keep an eye on the oil levels and it'll keep on going. Wear and tear on the shoes and other consumables is dependent on how often you ride, but it's recommended that you go over you bike at least once a year (mines is a few weeks before MOT time) to make sure everything's as it should. Servicing isn't that bad if you can do small things like oil and air filters yourself, and leave the harsher stuff (in my opinion) like shims, valve clearances etc to an experienced person.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Not much to expect really, this bike was built in a time where equipment meant speedo and tachometer. Nowadays you have the entire works as standard. It can record trips and tell you the time, and warns you when the fuel is low. Actually no, I'm lying, it offers pretty good space under the seat - I once managed to fit 2 x fish suppers and a smoked sausage supper under the seat - gotta feed the family after all!
Buying experience

I bought mine privately for £800 from a friends dad - He provided me all the documentation he had and I was able to trace the bike from when it was first bought. He was the 2nd owner, the first only owning it for 2 years. He then sold it to his step son who was in the army, who then proceeded to take it to base and leave it out during a cold harsh winter. He subsequently never paid his stepdad, who then took the bike back in it's sorry state, fixed it up and then fell in love with a ZX6R, so had to get rid of it. That's where I stepped in, and I'm kinda glad I did!

5 out of 5

Still Brilliant

30 June 2014 by ranorthe

Onto my 3rd one now. Just look at the figures, this is faster and more powerful than a Hornet, a GSR and will even run wheel to wheel with a Z750. Reliability is spot on and I've found a new use for mine - green laning, yes really. I had a BMW G650X... Read more for 2 years, it was great off road but I got fed up of being burnt off by Audi and BMW TDi's - well not anymore! The FZS600 will tackle most easy green lanes with no problems at all, I've found the wide tyres to be great in sand. The only thing to watch for is drop offs, still the exhaust makes a good bash plate :o)

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

First big bike and I absolutely love it!

21 January 2014 by AcidOllie

Well, this was my first big bike I purchased and I was umming and arrring for ages over which type to go for but I am so happy with what I've ended up with. It has brought me nothing but joy and is a pleasure to ride all day long. I have had no... Read more mechanical issues whatsoever. It is 14 years old but feels brand new. If you ride it sensibly you can get 200 miles for £20.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
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4 out of 5

Great all rounder

27 December 2013 by shuey

I havent had this bike long but I must say Im very impressed. Its a great little commuter with enough power that you dont get bored. Very easy to service and I hear they are capable of doing big mileages with regular servicing. Foot pegs are a bit... Read more too close to controls but other than that no complaints. Would I buy another? yes but the 1000cc would I recommend a friend to buy one? yes

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
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4 out of 5

Good all rounder

19 November 2013 by Anonymous

I've owned my Fazer for nearly a year now. I split my riding time between two bikes, both very different. The Fazer has great ergonomics, the screen works suprisingly well, its a true no-fuss workhorse of a bike, happy to plod along in traffic... Read more doing the commute to work or be let loose in a frenzy of high revs along country roads, an excellent all-rounder of a bike. Standard suspension is ok, it's capable of hustling along very quickly, its not an R1 in the handling stakes but it can hold its own for sure, and the Blue spot R1 calipers can stop it very quickly too. One critism i do have is the front end feeling vague with little feedback, but there is still a decent amount of grip with the Michelin Pilot Road 2's so nothing to worry about. I get 55-60mpg, reliability in 10 months/4000 miles has been exceptional. I can't fault the Fazer or how its put together, considering its age there's little to no corrosion, and the engine is a peach, using no oil at all despite being 15yrs old now. Shame the gearing(lower gears) is not longer as standard gearing makes it quite a revvy bike, but go changing the front sprocket to +1/+2 teeth and you lose all the sprightly feeling this bike has, so my advice is to stick to standard gearing, Yamaha got it perfectly matched to the engines torque curve from the factory. Tbh, put aside the vague front end complaint and the poor headlights and you have one of the best all round bikes out there for less than £1200 you really can't go wrong. Add heated grips and a Givi top box like i have and its got everything you need from a bike. Sadly the only thing it does lack is charactor, but many IL4's do so its horses-for-courses, my Ducati Monster will always be my favourite because it has charactor and is interesting, but its not a commuter's choice, and its not a distance machine either. Fazer does both of those and more. I guess its just one of those bikes you take for granted, because it does everything day in, day out, without fuss or expense, and you only really truly appreciate it when you've sold it and then look back and realise just how good it really was!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Update after 8mths ownership

08 September 2013 by Anonymous

So i've used my FZS600 Fazer for about 4000 miles now and have a few things to say about the bike. I've experimented on various front sprocket sizes, the standard 15tooth, in normal riding you will be holding the clutch in to knock down 2 gears at a... Read more time when slowing down(instead of 1 gear and blipping the throttle) as the gearing is just too short and its pointless changing down 1 gear when there's just 400rpm difference. But, this is where its a compromise, because the engines power curve suits this gearing better than any other when you want to make progress. The bike blitzes through the gears when your on the boil down those country roads. So then the 16 tooth front sprocket gives a slightly more relaxed engine feel, but dulls the experience a bit as the bike isn't as frantic, which is nice but then it doesn't pick up as quick in any gear when you open the throttle to gain some speed quick so to make progress you need to drop a gear where the 15 tooth could pull it. And the 17 tooth, yes this does fit! I had 2 turns of the chain adjustment nuts on the swingarm to get the chain freeplay right. NOTE, fitting a larger front sprocket affects the chain freeplay, so don't just set it to 30-45mm and ride, sit on the bike and push down to check that it isn't getting too tight, because it will if you set it using the book measurements!!! When riding, the 6th gear on the standard setup is now equivalent to the 5th gear, so 6th feels like an overdrive. The bike feels much more 'normal' with the longer gears but sadly the engine can't pull the skin off a rice pudding so you lose alot of the bikes original frantic charactor and 'busyness. MPG went up about 3mpg so for motorways and longer journeys this is a good setup but the charactor the bike had will be severely dulled.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Fazer 600 03 reg

26 February 2013 by zikrijaxxx

Hi guys This is my second review since 2010. Just bought my second Fazer 600 2003 model.... “what a bike"!!! It has had 2 previous owners, 20k on a clock, have done around 3k on it mainly motorways and really cant fault it. If you are after comfy,... Read more reliable but also fast bike then you dont need to look any further. Also would like to mention that i managed to hit 144 mph few times which is much higher then the original speed on the paper. It might be because i ALWAYS use VPover Shell petrol and Sport Castrol oil however i found this rather impressive:) Absolutely love it! Ta

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Good but not amazing

08 February 2013 by Anonymous

I own a '98 fzs600 fazer, totally standard with 30k miles. I've had it a few weeks now so have got used to its pro's and cons. As a commuter its fantastically suited to this role, except for a clunky 1st-2nd gear change(common fazer complaint on... Read more forums) the rest of the changes are super smooth up and down the 'box, and always easy to find neutral. It starts and idles smoothly on choke, and once warmed up for 30 seconds is happy to run without choke and revs cleanly off idle in near zero degrees celsius. Brakes are excellent at the front, rear is ok. Headlight is rubbish. Common mod is to run a wire from the spare dipped beam feed(blue connector under the tank) directly to the righthand H4 filament bulb. So both headlights are on in dipped instead of just the left one with its H1 bulb. I run R&G heated grips and the charging system is fine with the slightly extra load. Fuel gauge is good, stays at full for ages then drops quite quickly down to empty, Needle goes just under empty before the reserve light comes on, then you have about 30miles till you run out of fuel. Average(very approx.) 55mpg or 180+ miles between fill-ups. Engine has a decent powerband at 8k which is great but sadly makes lower rpm torque seem lacking/not enough in comparison when in fact it is for most situations. Be careful not to get caught out overtaking tho as you will need to drop 2 or 3 gears quickly to get rapid acceleration burst(gears are spaced about 500rpm different so its quite close ratio gearbox). Its an engine that suits everyone, i tend to stay at lowish rpm, but others will get a thrill staying in the high rpm power. Suspension is very good as standard, fuss free, doesn't dive much under heavy braking, certainly doesn't bottom out like my 2011 Sv650 did! Overall its a bike that you grow to like more and more, and appreciate that it can do everything you want a bike to do without fuss, and the 80's looks it has are in fact half the reason i chose it! Paint is nice and thick on the tank and black powder coated frame is tough and long-lasting.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Clutch plates?

21 June 2012 by grendle

Does anyone know if the clutch plates for an American FZS600 after 2004 will fit the British FZS600. Yamaha didn't sell them in the US until 2004 (I presume,) but I've got a 2000 model from England (I think.) I live in the Caribbean and can only get... Read more parts from the US sent here. Love the Fazer - it wakes me up in the morning and I can't wait for work to end so I can ride it again.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Poor Dead Fazer

10 June 2012 by Skinbeatersam

This was my first big bike, and was well loved. I bought a 2000 for £1150 and it seemed fine. It performed well and was very very accommodating to me as a new rider. The power was there in the high revs, but pretty sparse lower down. This makes... Read more it a good winter hack cos you are less likely to spin the rear wheel in adverse weather, unless you are totally ham-fisted and deaf. Annoyingly, mine developed a stutter/shudder that had the mechanics scratching their heads. I discovered on a Forum that this is something that some Fazer's develop and no one really knows why. However, before it did that, it was a fantastic bike, perfect for the new rider, confidence inspiring and fun when you thrash it!! I often had remarks that it was a great bike from fellow road users. I would recommend it as a bike although it needs stainless steel downpipes, a louder end can, headlight mods's (riding at night was never fun) and braided hoses. If you can find one like that, with no engine troubles, then snap that bad boy up!!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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Engine
3 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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Read all 43 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued 2004
Original price -
Used price £900 to £2,500
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 12 of 17
Annual road tax £58
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 95 bhp
Max torque 61 ft-lb
Top speed 135 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 55 mpg
Tank range 130 miles
Specification
Engine size 599cc
Engine type 16v, in line 4, 6 gears
Frame type Tubular steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 790mm
Bike weight 189kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 298mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1998: Yamaha FZS600 Fazer launched.
2000: Yamaha FZS600 Fazer S appears, same bike, jazzy paint.
2001: Yamaha FZS600 Fazer gets new carbon look instrument panel, painted fork sliders.
2003: Yamaha FZS600 Fazer discontinued in UK.
2004: Last of the `03 registered UK model Yamaha FZS600 Fazers sold.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha FZS600 Fazer motorcycle review - Side view
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