Urban Warriors: Master the Streets with these Street Fighter Beasts - 2016 Yamaha FZ-07 vs. 2016 Kawasaki Z800

Urban Warriors: Master the Streets with these Street Fighter Beasts - 2016 Yamaha FZ-07 vs. 2016 Kawasaki Z800

Posted by Team Motorcycle on Jan 6th 2016

If you’re stateside and you love hooligan-style motorcycles, chances are you’ve been sneering at the neutered selection of standard two-wheeled machines that keep hanging around showroom floors like hairs in the shower. Why have street fighters been so abundant in the U.K. but have eluded the U.S. market like a terrorist that eludes a satellite?

Fortunately, politics and manufacturing costs could only keep such virile machines at bay for so long before our cries for justice broke open the jaws of customs. Fret no more, urban warriors. No longer will you be doomed to pine over U.K. street fighters via the Interwebs like you would mail order brides. These torque-y beasts have finally reached the west side of the pond, as the motorcycle industry execs have figured out the importance of the alternative middleweight commuter segment. We are the land of the free, after all, and we wouldn’t be true to our independent heritage without two masterfully built urban street fighters like the 2016 Yamaha FZ-07 and 2016 Kawasaki Z800.

The Z800 is new to the U.S. for this year, but the FZ-07 is returning after its initial debut in 2015. Both have their perks. The FZ-07 is light and affordable whilst the Z800 has more than enough low to mid-range torque to grant any rider plenty of obtainable power when needed in traffic or on mountain roads. Both also have upright-seated positions and rider friendly ergonomics that go easy on the joints and back, and the Z800 has a little legroom for the taller riders.

Though these bikes have many similarities, they couldn’t be more different. In fact, the Z800 has a slightly beefier engine than the FZ-07, with an inline-4 powerplant that boasts a 3.48% higher compression ratio than the FZ-07’s “crossplane concept” inline-2 cylinder engine. However, the FZ-07 has that addictive twin-style thump that would make R1 owners proud.

The Z800 will cost a bit more at an $8,399 m.s.r.p. compared to the FZ-07’s $6,990 m.s.r.p., but the heavier price tag means the Z comes with KYB upside down 41-mm forks and mechanical rear monoshock–both of which are fully adjustable for both rebound and preload, which the FZ-07 doesn’t offer.

If you’re a Yamaha fan, the FZ-07 will save you a bit more money on insurance and gas, as it’s considered a standard motorcycle with a fuel efficient engine that gets 58 mpg with a 3.7 gallon fuel tank; that’s a whole lot of miles without stopping!

What we love so much about the Z800 is the aggressive styling cues stolen from its sportier Z1000 and ZX-10R predecessors like the sleek, black tail section, edgy graphics, and Z-influenced taillight. You can get one in either metallic spark black or flat ebony, but both colors will no doubt inspire the night rider in anyone stuck in every day traffic.

While the Z800 out-accelerates the FZ-07, it might also out brake the FZ-07 as it’s equipped with ABS whereas the FZ is not. But the FZ-07, whose roots can be traced back to the M1 GP bike, still has a massive bite with floating wave-style 282mm brake discs in front and a 245mm disc in the rear compared to the Z’s smaller 277mm discs in the front and a 216mm disc in the rear. As both bikes offer incredibly strong high-tensile steel frames, digital instrument displays and lightweight, effortless handling, their modern prowess makes pressing the ‘like’ button difficult on one more than the other.

Our only caveat is the Z800 didn’t quite make the specs to comply with the California Air Resources Board, but it is available in 49 other states and that will do for now. Whether you’re a sucker for Z800’s power or logically attracted to the FZ-07’s function, but bikes have capability to satiate your street fighter hunger.

This year, the market is ripe with opportunity, as both bikes have potential for customization, and regardless of whether you choose the Yamaha or the Kawasaki, we guarantee you won’t regret either choice, as both will leave you salivating for more miles, more felonious impulses and more one-ups in bench racing stories that result in speed dashes to the dealership–minus the hairs on the shower of course.