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According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, a total of 186 motorcyclists were killed in 2014 in traffic crashes, with 3,207 injured. The total number of motorcycle accidents decreased by 4.2 percent from 2013, but fatal motorcycle accidents rose 5.1 percent.

Motorcycles can be dangerous even when in good operating condition, but if there is a defect, the danger rises significantly. Yamaha recently recalled over 22,000 late-model FZ-09, FJ-09, and XSR900 motorcycles because of a potentially hazardous handlebar issue. The handlebars can become loose, increasing the risk of a crash and related injuries and fatalities.

Yamaha Recalls Late-Model Machines Due to Potential Handlebar Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety recall report, which was issued on March 31, 2017, Yamaha recalled the motorcycles because of a painting issue. In affected machines, “the lower handlebar holder may have been painted improperly during manufacturing.” In addition, the bolt threads on the same holder may not have had an adequate thread-locking agent applied.

As a result, with regular wear and tear, or if the motorcycle undergoes a strong impact at the handlebar, the paint on the lower handlebar holder may be damaged and eventually wear off. This creates a space between the holder and the mounting surface, reducing the security of the holder. With engine vibration, the stud bolt can loosen or fall off. That would cause the handlebar holder to come loose, which could result in a loss of control of the motorcycle.

Such loss of control could easily cause a rider to crash and suffer severe injuries and/or death.

Motorcycles affected by this potential defect include 2015-2017 models. Yamaha has encouraged consumers to take their bikes to the nearest Yamaha Motorcycle dealer for repair. Technicians will replace the handlebar lower holder with a part that was properly painted with a new thread lock agent applied.

Yamaha is supposed to be notifying owners of the recall, but consumers can also call Yamaha customer service at 1-800-962-7926. They can also contact the NHTSA hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to for more information.

Riders Should Stay Alert to Potential Defects

It is not uncommon for riders who crash on motorcycles to file a claim to try to recover damages if someone else was at fault in the crash. Riders may also, however, file claims if something went wrong with the bike.

Examples of potential product defects include motorcycles that have been improperly manufactured, as was allegedly the case with these Yamahas. Perhaps there was a defect in the manufacturing process, how a part was attached, or perhaps the design of a certain part of the motorcycle was defective to begin with.

Users can detect potential problems by staying alert to strange noises prior to a crash, wobbling sensations, or other changes in the bike’s normal operation. Crashes that seem to occur for no good reason, because the rider suddenly lost control, should also be suspect, as they could have been caused by something that went wrong with the machine.

Common defects include problems with the braking system, transmission, engine, fuel line, and tires. Other parts that may operate incorrectly include shock absorbers, chains, pedals, toe clips, and throttles.

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