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.
See how the FZ6 Fazer compared to the competition in an MCN group test from 2007