Launch impressions: "When you push the Yamaha Fazer 600 to the limit, which is easy with those 'Blue Dot' 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."
Yamaha Fazer 600 - what does it ride like now?
With limited suspension adjustment (post-2000 models have variable damping in their forks) the Fazer is a bit wobbly in the corners and the Sumitomo calipers shared with the R1 quickly overwhelm the forks when you brake hard. But where on some bikes this is an annoyance, on the Fazer it makes you giggle and adds to the amusement factor.
There's just under 100bhp in the Yamaha FZS600 Fazer's detuned, Thundercat 600cc, four cylinder engine and that's plenty for backroad fun, as well as motorway commuting if needs be. The Yamaha FZS600 Fazer delivers its power in a wide spread and the six speed gearbox is there if you feel like playing tag with sports bikes.
Yamaha Fazer 600 - what's the drivetrain like now?
The inline-four is beautifully smooth and has that lovely mid-range pull you get with an old 'long-stroke' unit. It’s not revvy or buzzy like the FZ6’s engine, it’s just silky smooth and full of drive. The gearbox may be showing its age (the linkage is notoriously sloppy when worn) but it clunks into gear with a reassuringly solid feel and the bike is more than happy to break the national speed limit when asked.
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.
Yamaha Fazer 600 reliabiliy
We've got a whopping 52 Yamaha Fazer 600 owners' reviews on the site, and the bike scores 4.6 stars out of 5 overall, with the same score for build quality and reliability. This is an incredibly high score, meaning it's safe to say you can depend on the Fazer 600.
Minor issues include the Fazer lacking more modern equipment such as more electronics, but this is an old bike now. You can't expect the world. Its value more than matches its spec.
Yamaha Fazer 600 common problems
Early ignition barrels aren’t very strong. Check it works smoothly and that the ignition key works the fuel cap and seat lock. The headlight bracket bends if the bike is in an accident and few people replace it, so always check the fairing looks square on the bike.
The steel swingarm can trap water and rot around the chain adjusters, so inspect this area well for any obvious rust damage. The Fazer has a 110/70 front tyre and as a result tyre choice is limited. You can fit a 120/70, but this can interfere with the mudguard.
Yamaha Fazer 600: A mechanic's take...
By Chris Spinks, Chief Instructor, Metropolis training school
"The key factor when buying a used FZS600 Fazer is seeing if it goes into second gear. First gear on the Fazer is quite short and the jump to second puts a lot of strain on the gearbox. This can cause the second gear selector fork to bend and that leads to a really stiff change and eventually a broken gearbox. On a cheap bike such as a used Fazer, that can write the bike off as replacing it is not economically viable as a complete gasket kit costs £500. That said, when I destroyed my Fazer’s gearbox on a trackday I bought a new motor for £400 and swapping them over was fairly simple.
"The sprocket retaining nut is a classic Fazer fault and well documented. The nut comes loose, the sprocket slides off the shaft and then sits on the threaded part of the output shaft. People think the clutch has gone and rev the motor, which causes the sprocket to strip all the threads off the shaft! You can slide the sprocket back on and spotweld it in place, but you need to be careful not to overheat the seals. As long as you fit the nut correctly using the locking washer you should be fine, although Yamaha did release a deeper threaded nut and this sorts the issue.
"The lights on the Fazer are poor, but on the 1998/9 model the bulb vibrates and creates a white powder that fills up the lenses. This is impossible to remove and makes the light even worse. Some owners change the loom to convert the Fazer to twin headlights, which is very easy but you need to tilt the main beam down or it will fail an MoT.
"After 15,000 miles the shock will be duff. I’d recommend getting the forks rebuilt and buying an aftermarket shock. Don’t be tempted to go for a stiff fork springs, I’ve found softer ones works better.
"When it comes to the finish the paint likes to flake off from the engine’s fins, so don’t jetwash the engine, and check the downpipes.
"The motor is totally bulletproof, but the cam chain tensioner can need changing and it is a nightmare to get to.
"At the end of the day, a well looked after Fazer is a brilliant buy and totally reliable. At the training school we would see them cover over 65,000 troublefree miles with only oil changes."
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.
If you're looking at the Yamaha Fazer 600 specs and wondering what else to consider, we'd suggest the 1999 Suzuki SV650, 1998 Honda CB600F Hornet and 2001 Ducati Monster 620.
Insurance group: 12 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
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.
As our owners' reviews state, don't expect much compared with a modern motorcycle, but for its value on the used market the Fazer 600 is still an absolute bargain.