When the dealer gave me the bike, all I could think of was my colleague, Martyn Dey’s experience of the 2006 model in last year’s RBLR1000. Martyn liked the reliable and predictable ride but felt it was all a bit uninspiring during his epic 1,000 miles around Scotland in tearing wind and rain.
With Martyn’s comments in mind, I wasn’t going to expect much from the Yamaha but it soon became apparent that it actually suited me.
My usual commute into work is about a 60 mile round trip over a variety of road surfaces from fairly well maintained motorway and A-roads to not so well looked after B-roads, which on my Honda CBR600RR can get a little bit tiring on occasions but with the Yamaha FJR1300 I found the ride to be very comfortable indeed, soaking up the minor imperfections throughout Bucks and Herts road network. It is also unbelievably easy to ride at slow speed making town riding and manoeuvring a cinch. All in all the FJR1300 felt very planted even on water logged motorway riding.
The 1300cc engine was very powerful but without being intimidating, making the commute easy and relaxed affair rather than a struggle. I did find that the throttle was slightly too snatchy when in sports mode and that it could have done with the addition of a sixth gear for really long distance mile munching. The fifth gear was fine, but I found that I had to constantly change down to overtake.
The FJR comes with a host of gadgets and toys which make the experience all that more comfortable. The heated grips come with controls to adjust the intensity of the heat output as well as a variety of different heat settings. The other toy which some may find useful, depending on your height, was the electrically adjustable screen which allowed an adjustment in its height to combat wind turbulence and buffeting. A word of warning though, I am 6ft tall and the screen just didn’t go high enough for me, at the top setting it still threw the air straight onto my helmet making long motorway journeys tiring. An aftermarket Vario touring screen may fix this issue but if you’re paying £13,000 odd for a motorbike, you’d expect an adjustable screen to adjust to your height.
The jury is out on the aesthetics of the FJR1300, personally I love them. It is big and imposing and has awesome LED running lights which helped drivers spot me coming (you would hope). Others in the office thought it looked like a barge and it is a big bike but with all the gadgets and room, it’s a bit like putting on your slippers, smoking jacket and relaxing into your Winchester chair.
Overall I am very impressed with the FJR1300. I normally ride a sporty CBR600RR but found the FJR to be a most comfortable and easy ride without too much fuss
- Unbelievably easy to ride at slow speed
- Powerful without being intimidating
- Heated grips are fantastic with different heat settings
- Very planted even at high speed on water logged motorways
- Sports and Touring mode – throttle too snatchy when in Sports mode
- Could do with a sixth gear for long distance mile munching
- Not enough adjustment on the electric screen