"Why I don't mod my Yamaha FZ6." Boy, am I going to get flamed for this thread. But here it goes.
Since having my new FZ6-2005, I have read with enjoyment endless threads of how bikers have tricked-out their bike - be it an FZ6 or other models. I have found it fascinating reading and picture-viewing of the after-market products they have added or changed to their bike. With each such product, a little voice whispers in my ear, asking if I should add that mod too.
"Each to their own", they say. Then, here it is: For me, a pragmatist, I don't have any use for high-performance components that my non-track riding could ever warrant. Although I have been able to do the typical tricks (wheelies, stoppies, fishtailing, speeding) - I instead don't bother with them in general practise.
I am not a seasoned rider at all, but, as a design engineer, I love the concept of motorcycles. They are brilliant machines. Just the counter-intuitive notion of riding on an unbalanced (in static state) posture of only two wheels, is mesmerizing. Then the gracefullness of riding around a turn with the bike yawed over is virtually spirtual. (But I digress - I really am writing in praise of the "perfection" of the FZ6 in its stock state.)
Now, if I may, let me relish in the stock design of this bike. IMHO, I think the engineers at Yamaha have done a virtually perfect job of designing and spec'ing the components on the FZ6. (In fact, for what each bike model is trying to do, I have rarely found faults in other models either - although so many other models and types are not suited to me and my riding.) While the components of the FZ6 are not "top notch", they are "good enough", and while that statement may sound denigrating, it is actually a compliment for the bike's "sensibility" and "rationality".
So what is the FZ6 to me? Well, I choose this bike cuz:
- To be used as a workday commuter and weekend sportster.
- Comfortable for long rides, sporty for short rides.
- Easy to ride, easy to maintain.
- Reliable mechanics (EFI fueling).
- Durable (light weight, plastic fairings, panels and fenders).
For what I wanted, the FZ6 fits the bill. So modding isn't necessary for me. (If I wanted a faster bike I should have gone with a FZ1, or a R6 for a sporter bike, or ... etc, etc).
So, in being true to what a FZ6 is meant to be, and is, here is why I won't be modding the FZ6:
- The windscreen is perfect in that it is wide and tall enough to deflect the wind off my chest, but it is short enough to allow undisturbed (quieter) air to flow to the helmet. Anything quieter would be a "full height" shield which then would slow down the bike.
- The tires are perfect in that their rubber is sticky enough for grip but not so much that it diminishes the life span. Besides, I don't drag my pegs enough to warrant any more glue on my tires.
- The "winking" headlights certainly look odd. However, had both lamps been on in running mode, then the electrical load and gas consumption would rise (50 Watt bulb needs about 0.3 Hp, which increases fuel consumption about 2% under normal load). There is even an increase in cager-awareness of the winking headlamp, cuz of its oddity.
- The stock muffler is perfect. The stock muffler produces about 90 dB under full load on the FZ6, while high performance slip-ons increase the noise up to 100 dB while only improving power by about 2 Hp. As I don't need any more horsepower, I prefer the advantage given to my ears with the quieter pipes.
- I am keeping my catalytic converter. I am proud that my bike is polluting the air by one third of my automobile. Why reverse the environmental friendless of any bike by ripping out the "cat". Again, I don't need the extra 2 Hp that the cat robs.
- I don't need a PowerCommander. Again, cuz I don't need the extra 2 Hp at the expense of increased fuel consumption and air pollution.
- I am keeping my rear fender. This is not an R1 so who am I kidding. On the other hand, the full fender makes cleaning the bike easier after coming out of the rain.
- I don't need a seat cowling, as it would only be something to add weight, collect grit, and preclude the addition of a pillion or tail bag.
- I won't remove the flashers for flush mount units. The flush units look cool, but they also have reduced visibility from offset angles - dangerous.
- I won't change the sprocket size. While different sprockets can increase torque, it is at the expense of increased fuel consumption when at highway speeds. Again, I don't need a wheelie at each stop.
That being said, I will fess up and disclose what I have done to my bike (but it is not modding, I tell ya!):
- Added heated grips, so I can ride 12 months a year.
- Added frame sliders, to save money later if the inevitable happens.
- Added a tail bag, to carry rain gear (which is mandatory on the northern West Coast).
- Added extra bar-end mirrors, to eliminate blind spot behind my tail.
- Added tank pads, cuz it makes squeezing a cold tank more comfortable.
- Removed manufacturer labels, (okay, so that is a real mod - but it is free).
Now, let me apologize to all those modders on this forum. (Just between you and me, I am impressed with your industrious skill.)