Have I found the bike within? FZ1 Stock vs FCE vs ECUnleashed vs Both

Riding in on my way to work this morning, the question danced across my mind: Have I finally found the bike within my bike? That bike that is smooth, predicable, and ride-able?

Perhaps I have.

I first rode my step-father’s 2008 Yamaha FZ1 and loved it. It was the sportiest bike I had ever ridden to that point and it, by comparison to my 2006 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883, was sporty. Yet it was also practical for around town and long(er) trips.

After returning from that wonderful trip, within a week I had posted my Sportster for sale on Craigslist, and within a month or so I had purchased a used 2006 Yamaha FZ1 from a nice gentlemen in upstate New York via eBay. I was very excited to get the bike and really enjoyed its power and handling.

Relatively soon after buying it I started playing with the suspension and geometry to get it to handle better and at the beginning of the next season I did my best to set-up the suspension right. Also, soon after I got the bike I noticed that the throttle response at roll on was rather snatchy. I thought, and had hoped, the Ivan’s FCE (Fuel Cut Eliminator) would resolve this. After receiving an FCE via a generous Christmas gift, I installed it and liked what I felt.

Within just a few months of having this bike I had taken the time to adjust the suspension and geometry and also try to make some fueling modifications. My tweaks would work for most of that season, but as I got more experienced riding a sport bike, I started to want a better cornering experience. It took some time, but I figured out that I couldn’t trust my bike while it was leaned over because the throttle was so snatchy that I was afraid it would push me right out of the turn when I rolled back on the throttle. With that feeling, I couldn’t lean over as far and I would drive one or two gears higher than I wanted in order to not be in the meat of the power range when I rolled back on.

I began to question the FZ1. And I listed it on Craigslist several times but (perhaps thankfully) was unable to sell.

At some point I couldn’t take it anymore, I either needed to fix the problem or sell it. Since selling it and buying a new bike was out of my budget, I decided to try the ECUnleashed service. They should really advertise more, because I think I came across them rather accidentally on an FZ1 forum. The result was bike-saving, in that I didn’t feel the need to immediately sell my bike any more. It even seemed to increase my fuel economy while increasing the power and smoothness.

It was a lot smoother. As I got still more comfortable with it I still felt some of that snatchy throttle though. So, one morning before work I decided to put my FCE back in.

Three commutes later, with some rides through the Blue Hills, brings us up to the question posed at the beginning of this post. It seems, at least for now, that the combination of the ECUnleashed ECU and the FCE has resulted in a much smoother power delivery throughout the rev range of my 2006 Yamaha FZ1. I wish I could have sold my FCE to cover some of the cost of the ECU service but alas, I will take a better behaved bike.

My initial thoughts are that the FCE removes a bit of the Unleashed-ness making the bike feel a little less raw. This means that the bike is slightly less exhilarating, but much smoother and predicable mid-corner, which is what I have been shooting for all along.

In short here is my evaluation of the 2006 Yamaha FZ1:

  1. Stock – Sell it!
  2. FCE – Keep it for a while
  3. ECUnleashed – Keep it for a longer while
  4. FCE + ECUnleashed – Keep it (at least until your needs or wants change)

I now feel that I have a nice, predictable, yet powerful platform on which I can continue to fine tune various aspects to hone in on a better riding machine for my needs. Before, I didn’t want to try to build on top of a faulty foundation, but now I feel better about the idea of spending some money on certain accessories since I should get some return out of them.

Thanks for reading and happy riding.

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