The first thing I noticed was how well the wind protection works. The old bike would shake my head around like it was in a clothes dryer. The only buffeting I'm receiving now is around the elbows and the shins. I rode it to work this morning in 52 degree weather and the only place I really felt it was on the lower part of the legs.
Actually let's go back a minute. The real first thing I noticed before even releasing the clutch was how high you sit up on this bike compared to the old one. It's even more like flying now. I like that unobstructed feeling. The seat was rock hard but is breaking in nicely. Every day it seems a little more comfortable.
The bike is nimble. At the very end of my commute to work there is a long sweeping curve to the right and a slightly shorter bend to the left. I found myself taking these two curves at a slightly higher speed with infinitely more confidence. It's the same for doing a u-turn on our street or just turning the corner at an intersection. This bike just feels much more balanced. The riding position also keeps my legs tucked in against the tank.
I rode up to Denver on Saturday (I got the bike Friday). It was in the mid-80's and I noticed that my right calf wasn't cooking. The old FZ1's engine would get really hot in the warmer weather so this was a nice new feature. While in Denver a member of the Bandido MC pulled up next to me at a light and said, "Let me take a look at that bike." Paused for a minute and said, "Nice." I wish I could have gotten a picture of the bike he was on. A big, older Harley with hard cases and long horn steer horns across the front. While there I also picked up a new Shoei GT Air, a very nice helmet with some great features my 10 year old Arai does not have. And it's got a racing stripe so, you know, it'll make me faster.
A few gripes about the bike are: like the '02 doesn't have self-cancelling turn signals, a feature my '97 Vmax does have. There is also a buzzing at 5000 rpm and above that sounds like the fairing or windshield are loose (neither one is). And the biggest problem would be the EFI apparently has some government mandated "fuel cut" feature so that every time you shift the power drops for a microsecond and causes a slight jerk. Apparently there's a fix for that although it's an expensive one.
Overall, I'm feeling pretty pleased with the purchase. I still get sentimental looking at the pictures of the '02 bike though.