FZ8 Tail on FZ1


New Member
Bit of a long post, but it might come in handy for those of you who are in a similar position, or who want to do an FZ8 swap. Here's my FZ1 journey:

Back in 2019, I was commuting about 100 miles a day on my GSXR-1000, which is basically full track spec minus street fairings and lights. It was taking a toll on the bike, and on me physically, so I knew I had to pick up something with better ergonomics. I wanted something that was sporty however, so ultimately I landed on an FZ1 as my prime target. Not much longer later, I picked up an '08 for $1900. It was in rough shape, but nothing was majorly wrong, and I was confident I could repair the problems.

Photo from teh day I bought the bike, sitting next to my GSXR-1000.

The first order of business was to solve the mechanical issues the bike had - a kinked fuel line, nasty chain and sprockets, broken fasteners, new tires, cleaning up shoddy wiring work, brake flush, coolant flush, oil change, and valve check.

Finally, it was time to begin the mods:
- Vortex rearsets (gp shift)
- StompGrip tank pads
- Ram Mount
- Speedo Healer
- Gear indicator
- ZX6R mirrors
- Double bubble tinted windscreen
- Carbon fiber front fender (the existing one was pretty beat up)

Of course, you can't upgrade a bike without taking it to the track and sorting out the suspension and such. I popped her track cherry at Willow Springs. It was a pretty windy day, but I managed to dial in my suspension and had a solid few sessions mixing it up with some wera 600cc riders - they had me in the corners and under braking, but I had a power advantage.

The trackday made me painfully aware that I was due for a suspension and brake upgrade, so of course, on with the mods!

- '04 R1 forks, calipers, and master cylinder
- Speigler Braided lines
- New brake pads
- Airbox mod
- XplaneR1 tune

A few months later in late October, I made my way to Northern California to ride ThunderHill East. At the time, my GSXR-1000 was in the process of being converted to a full-time race bike, so it was sitting in parts in the garage. My GSXR-750 track bike was also having some clutch issues, so I tossed the FZ1 in the trailer as my backup bike. Sure enough, about halfway through the day, my 750 wasn't really behaving, so I threw it back in the trailer and brought out the FZ1. I had Dave Moss give the suspension a quick once-over, then headed out to the track in A group and started shaming some S1000RR riders. With every lap I was growing more and more confident, passing riders on slicks, backing it in to corners, the works. Unfortunately, that led to me discovering the bike's key weakness.

Down the back stretch, I hit my braking marker at the bridge and started to feed in brakes. Suddenly, the bike developed severe headshake and sent me into a tankslapper at around 130mph. I did my best to recover, but there was no saving it, so I laid her on her left side and tried to "surf" her into the runoff area. Unfortunately, the left rearset caught a crack in the pavement and flipped the bike, which sent me flying. I was mostly OK, although a bone-bruise on my heel made it hard to walk for a couple months. The FZ faired decently well, however the plastics were definitely busted, so I was in for a long-haul repair.


The biggest hurdle in repairing the FZ was in sourcing parts - outside of buying new OEM parts, it's nearly impossible to find good condition bodywork for the FZ1. I got lucky with the front fairing - a local had just converted his bike to a naked, so he gave me a box of parts including the nose fairing assembly, headlight, trims, and a handlebar (score). The tail however proved to be much harder to find, so in the end I decided to risk it and aim to do a FZ8 tail swap.

Around this time, I finally moved into my own place, which put a 1-2month hold on the project, during which time I kept ordering more and more parts.

- '15 R1 rear shock
- Motopowerpuck
- carbon fiber
- FZ8 subframe
- FZ8 rear seat
- FZ8 front seat
- FZ8 carbon fiber tail fairing
- Motodynamix tail light + turn indicators

The repair process was tedious, but here was the process I used:

Initial setup & Tank Mounting

1. Strip all bodywork
2. Pull all electronics and wiring from rear subframe.
3. Install FZ8 subframe
4. Pull tank bracket from FZ1 Subframe, and attach it to fuel tank. Set fuel tank on bike and get it into position with the bracket properly aligned to the Fz8 subframe.
5. Drill 2 pilot holes through the FZ1 tank bracket into the FZ8 subframe - use a couple screws to hold it down and keep it aligned.
6. Remove tank and bracket, use grider/sander to remove paint from bracket and subframe
7. Reinstall bracket using your drilled holes as guides, weld around edges, remove screws and spot-weld the holes shut for added strength.
8. Reinstall tank and check fitment.

Install tail fairing & seats

1. The FZ8 tail sits a bit higher than the FZ1 tail, and at a more aggressive rake. In order to solve this, use an angle grider to chop off rear mounting brackets.
2. Clean and prepare the removed brackets for welding, as well as the area they will be welded to.
3. Using a level and various bits of wood, mock up the appropriate tail location, then use magnets to reposition the mounting points to the subframe. (you will need the tail light installed into the rear fairing for this - the brackets you need to modify are for the tail light, not the fairing itself.
4. Tack-weld mounting brackets and reinstall tail fairing.
5. Modifications to the FZ8 rear seat will also be necessary to lower it and match the new rake angle. I ended up shortening the two front L brackets, and chopping about .75" off of the plastic on the bottom to lower the rear of the seat - I used zip ties to mock up the plastic until it sat right, then used fiberglass to reinforce it once I was satisfied.
6. The FZ8 front seat is normally held on with 2 bolts that are somewhat hidden under the rear of the seat cushion. It's annoying to install/remove them, so I chopped the latch mechanism off of the FZ1, as well as the latch from the FZ1 seat, then through a process of trial and error adapted it to the FZ8 seat and subframe. This mostly was just a matter of mocking up, trimming as necessary, tack-welding and testing, until satisfied.
7. Uninstall everything again, do your final welds and cleaning, then paint the welds/subframe for rust protection.
8. Reinstall the wiring harness and various sensors/electronics. In my case, because of the R1 rear shock install, I had to get a bit creative with placement - a couple small brackets were made to help.

Removing the covers and padding from the seats is necessary for these above steps. I ended up installing some gel pads and custom covers on my seats once I was satisfied with the fabrication.

At this point, the fabrication is done, so I did a complete assembly of the bike to ensure that everything fit properly, that nothing is binding, etc.



New Member
Next up is bodywork - I'll spare you the details here, but I had a few small dents in my tank to fix, plus various flaws in the carbon fiber parts and nose fairing. I also wanted to mask off a part of the carbon fiber tail. I used some high end rattle-can filler primer instead of busting out my spray guns here.

While in the process of getting painted, I took a bunch of parts to my local powdercoater. I wanted to black out most of the silver parts, and have my wheels recoated to look new again.

I also removed my exhaust system with the intent to polish the pipes and repair the busted muffler. I quickly discovered that the pipes had a number of dents in them that stood out like a sore thumb when polished, so I sanded the pipes down and coated them with some flat black high-temp paint. I disassembled the muffler, cut about 1" of damaged material off, sanded down the carbon fiber and re-cleared it with high-temp clear, then reassembled and repacked.

I also took the time to install a dedicated power line from my battery to the front of the bike, activated by a relay so that it only draws power when the bike is turned on - this relay feeds the motopowerpuck wireless charger, and my LED pods.

Other smaller parts were removed and repainted as well:

On to the painting! I had originally wanted a white FZ1, but at the time they were hard to find, so this was my opportunity. I went with a 3-stage pearl white. This was a garage job done with Harbor Freight guns - the finish wasn't perfect, but after wetsanding/buffing/polishing/waxing, the final finish turned out well enough. It's an old bike and I wasn't going for a showroom finish, but I got pretty close:

With everything painted, the final steps were to reinstall everything, clean everything, and do a final mechanical check that everything was working properly. I discovered that my high-beam switch is broken, and replaced a few bolts that had stripped heads, plus an oil change, brake flush, wheel balancing, etc.

I also wired up some EL wire to come on with the tail-light, it adds a bit of flair to the rear end and covers the masking line between the carbon fiber and paint.

So here she is in all her glory:

I hope you enjoyed my build - It was tedious, dirty, and frustrating, but the end result was well worth it.


I'm a fan of everything - except those Nilights. I've had to many fill with water, even after disassembly when brand new and siliconing every seam.

Also, what would of been really slick: instead of the red EL wire...use amber and have that be the rear turn signals.


New Member
I'm a fan of everything - except those Nilights. I've had to many fill with water, even after disassembly when brand new and siliconing every seam.
I ran a set for 2 years commuting in the bay area - the got a few drops of water in them occasionally, but nothing that harmed the electronics or anything.

Also, what would of been really slick: instead of the red EL wire...use amber and have that be the rear turn signals.
That's a Motodynamic tail light, it has integrated turn signals:

I didn't see the need for more indicators, plus it would have been hard to split that EL wire in two pieces and have it look as clean as it does now. At night the subtle red glow really lights up the carbon fiber - it's hard to capture in pictures, but it looks pretty epic.


New Member
Wow. What a story! Amazing write up, thanks for sharing. Bike looks awesome too. I got. Question, what are those turn signals you have in the front?

you also seem to be a man with a plethora of knowledge. DIY to the max

John S

New Member
Thank you for sharing. Have a 07 low sided it last year , had full leathers on so I was fine Bike was a bit of a mess . Replaced the bars , windscreen, electronics but went mad max with the tank dent and some various scratches using black duct tape to mask the issues. Your story has me motivated to do it right . I will be adding some Vortex rearsets as the stock peg setup is not ideal for track days . I’ll post something along the way . Wrenching in Denver !