The original Yamaha FZS600 Fazer was a simple but effective idea. Put a detuned Thundercat engine in a simple frame with cheap suspension and then sell loads of them. The bike went through several changes up until 2003 when European emissions laws cut the fun short.
With a few tweaks to the formula including a new catalytic converter, Yamaha came back with the FZ6 Fazer in 2004 and it wasn't bad at all.
The updated Fazer was well put together and performed in all sorts of situations. It's old rival, the Suzuki GSF600 Bandit, was left behind with its antique styling and carburettors, and the updated Suzuki GSF650 Bandit that came out in 2005 was pretty underwhelming too.
The main threat to the Fazer came from the Suzuki SV650 which was also a lot cheaper but its V twin engine was less refined. The Honda CBF600S, although competent, just didn’t have half the entertainment value.
The Yamaha FZ6 Fazer looks sharp, has a brilliant motor, excellent handling and offers huge versatility. Towns, twisties and long treks… it can do it all. A great all-rounder.
Back in 2005 we ran an FZ6 Fazer for a year on the MCN Fleet. It passed through many team members' hands, including in restricted 33bhp form suitable for new riders at the time.
In 2008 a suite of new colours was released - black, silver and blue are meant to echo the unfaired FZ6 and larger FZ8.
Watch: Yamaha FZ6 Fazer takes on Triumph Street Triple, Honda Hornet 600, Kawasaki Z750, Ducati S2R 800 and Suzuki GSR600