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Yamaha FJR1300 Review 2016 - YouMotorcycle
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Yamaha FJR1300 Review

Yamaha FJR1300 Review 2016

In production since 2001, the FJR1300 is a stalwart in the Yamaha roster. Never one to rest on its laurels, the secret behind the motorcycle’s fifteen year run is three generations of continuous development. For 2016, Yamaha has added a new 6-speed transmission, new slipper clutch with assist, LED head lights and tail lights, and revisions to the instrument cluster and tail section. After spending a week on the sport touring icon, Wobbly Cat offers an in-depth and comprehensive Yamaha FJR1300 review.

Yamaha FJR1300 Review Intro

Within the first 1/10th of a second of seeing a new person, our mind forms a first impression based on our evaluation of their face. With equal speed, my first impression of the FJR1300 was it was a nice looking bike, and a bit on the heavy side but comfortable. It would handle well enough, but not as sharp as a sportbike.

As I climbed on, I was surprised how tall and wide the seat was, and how heavy it was to just lift it off the sidestand. These things combined, made it very difficult to duckwalk the Yamaha FJR1300 in the parking lot and near impossible to back the beast up.

Yamaha FJR1300 Review - dashboard

However, as soon as I started going with both feet on the pegs, the 635 lb monster magically feels light and nimble. Accelerating from a stop, I expected more torque. Upon realizing I was in “T” (Touring) mode, I immediately switched over to “S” (Sport) mode, and this livened things up – a lot! Again, it felt like it shed more weight.

I realized that the bike is like a moose: big, but it can move pretty quick! Time to get the Yamaha FJR1300 review started.

Yamaha FJR1300 Review - front

Creature Comforts

The seat was ample and plush, the handlebars wide and high, and the foot pegs low. I felt little to no fatigue after riding for an hour. The windscreen adjusted electronically by 5.1″ vertically, ranging from full wind in the chest to just the top of my helmet. I’m 5’7” and I didn’t notice any turbulence on my head at the highest position.

My wife pillioned with me a few times and found the seat was very comfortable. She liked that the passenger seat was at the same height as the front seat. The seat height is adjustable from 805mm (31.7″) or 825mm (32.5″). I was able to lower it by following the user manual, but duckwalking still required a lot of effort.

Yamaha FJR1300 Review - left hand clusterI loved the user interface for the dash computer. Very intuitive and easy to use from the left handlebar cluster.

The cruise control was amazing when droning on superslab. Like Ron Popeil used to say, “Just set it, and forget it!” If you had a long stretch of highway between say, Toronto and Montreal, this would be a godsend, keeping your throttle hand relaxed instead of tensed for hours at a time. The large 25L tank also keeps you from worrying about constantly finding gas stations. My real world results were about 325 kms between fill ups. The bike’s “T-Mode” is said to reduce fuel consumption.

The factory heated grips (standard since 2012) were easily controlled by the up and down buttons on the left handlebar, with low, medium and high settings. They were just another feature designed to keep the rider comfortable and relaxed.

Yamaha FJR1300 Review - rider

Sometimes comfort is a lack of something, and in this case, vibrations were happily non-present. I also didn’t feel much wind on my legs as the fairings also did great job of redirecting the air, which would also help keep the rider drier in wet weather. In rain, one would also benefit by raising the windscreen, changing the engine mode to touring, and cranking up the traction control.

The factory lockable matching sidecases are capacious, each fitting a full face helmet – very handy not only for carrying things, but for protecting your helmet at your destination from theft and the elements. Conveniently, the panniers are quick-release and use the same key as the ignition.

Yamaha FJR1300 Review - rear quarter

I soon discovered an unexpected benefit of riding a large vehicle with a big front, double headlights and a large windscreen, plus a wide rear with two side cases: I got more respect on the road. People would actually leave me room when I signaled and cars didn’t change lanes into me! This is coming from a Honda CBR1000RR as my daily ride.

The FJR 1300 even has a kitchen sink. Well, sort of. The left fairing has a small glove box with a 12V cigarette adapter. This was perfect for me to power my GPS which attached via suction cup to the 25 L (6.6 US gal) tank.

Yamaha FJR1300 Review - side

Power and Handling

The FJR is well-balanced and boasts a smooth and potent 1298cc DOHC, 16-valve, liquid-cooled inline 4 power plant. It is surprisingly easy to maneuver at parking lot speeds. The power delivery via shaft drive is very smooth and predictable, and in Sport mode (S-Mode), very responsive. S-Mode will let you make the most of the Yamaha FJR1300’s 102 ft-lb of torque at 7,000 rpm, and 141.5 hp @ 8,000 rpm.

The suspension is soft and the fully adjustable 48mm forks offer 135mm (5.4″) of wheel travel up front, while monocross rear suspension offers 125mm (4.8″) of wheel travel in the back. Railroad tracks and small to medium potholes go nearly unnoticed. When I headed out of the city and started hitting twisty roads and picking up the pace, I was still able to have fun, just not at a sportbike pace. It held it’s line well in sweepers, but I struggled more with tighter, technical turns. The low footpegs were easy to scrape. The relaxed seating position became a liability as I wasn’t able to leverage my body over the front like I would on a sport bike. Going around corners required a lot of effort – tipping in had to be more deliberate. Hanging off didn’t have as large of an effect.

The good news is that stopping was never a problem, with the Yamaha FJR1300 review bike’s capable 4 piston dual 320mm rotors and standard ABS. The front and rear brakes link via Yamaha’s Unified Brake System (UBS). Squeezing the front brake lever activates the UBS and applies some rear brake force to a varying degree, and vice-versa. This means more stopping power when braking with one foot or one hand only.

Yamaha FJR1300 Review

Downsides

My main criticism of the FJR 1300 is it’s sheer mass. It’s hard to move in the parking lot under your own power, and heaven help you if you ever drop it and need to pick it up! The heft was also noticeable when I picked up the pace in the tight turns.

Final Thoughts

Comfortable. Luxurious. Refined. Heavy.

The FJR 1300 wasn’t designed for the track or offroad, so you can’t treat it like it was. It is meant to be a comfortable long distance tourer, and at this it succeeds. It has a comfortable seat, relaxed riding position, cruise control, spacious sidecases, a smooth powerful engine, a large 25 litre tank, and is comfortable for passengers. This is a bike you can ride all day long, and not walk like a cowboy when you get off.

Specifications

Engine: 1298cc, DOHC, 16-valve, liquid-cooled inline 4
Bore/stroke: 79.0 mm × 66.2 mm (3.11 in × 2.61 in)
Torque: 14.1kg-m (102 ft-lb) @ 7,000 rpm
Horsepower: 105.5 kW (141.5 hp) @ 8,000 rpm
Rake/Trail: 26 degrees / trail = 109mm
Forks: Fully adjustable, 48mm, conventional style forks with 135mm (5.4″) of wheel travel
Brakes: Front – Dual 320mm front discs with Nissin 4-piston calipers with ABS & UBS
Rear- 282mm rear disc brake with single piston caliper with ABS & UBS
Drive: Shaft drive
Fuel capacity: 25 L (6.6 US gal)
Curb Weight: 288 kg (635 lb)
Storage: Front – small 1 L compartment (in fairing) with 12V / 30W DC power outlet
Rear – 2x Quick-release, locking, colour matched, 30 L side cases, same key as ignition
Windscreen: Electronically adjustable by 5.1″

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About Wobblycat

Wobblycat is an avid motorcyclist and freelance photographer specializing in motorsports photography. In the summer you’ll find him riding his 2007 Honda CBR1000RR or turning heads on his 2005 49cc Honda Jazz Scooter. His awesome wife Wigglycat also rides her 1993 Honda CBR 600 F2. Find @wobblycat on Twitter and Instagram.

5 comments

  1. I agree FJR 1300’s main issue would be its mass but wow. what a beautiful motorcycle. I have become an instant fan.. now off to saving so maybe one day I can lay my hands on this beauty.

  2. Nice “overview”; not too detailed, but I imagine there are other reviews lurking around the web.
    One thing I’d be really curious to know is, has anyone tracked the weight of this bike over the years to see how/why and when the extra pounds got added? I’ve ridden a 2012 and I didn’t get the same “bloated” sensation that Wobblycat reports?

    Happy New Year!

    • Hey Mike, the 2016 is actually 7 lbs lighter than the 2012 you rode… but you’re on something huge, aren’t you? A Valkyrie? That would give you much different perspective than Wobbly would have coming from a CBR1000RR. His daily bike weighs 200+ lbs less than yours does. Everything should feel like a moped to you! haha

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