The 2016 Yamaha FJR1300AE or as its known in the States FJR1300ES
I recently had the good fortune to try out the new Yamaha FJR1300AE at AMI (Adventure Motorcycles Ireland) in Gorey. I called in and Gary had no problem handing over the keys to the beautiful silver specimen that was sitting outside, glistening in the sun. The new version has six gears that fit into the old gearbox as a result of some magic by the Yamaha Engineers and the gearing has revised ratios for more even spacing. The bike has electronically adjustable suspension which adjusts at the push of a button. It gives you the option of soft, standard or hard and the choice of one or two up, with or without luggage. The windscreen is easily adjustable through a range of over five inches, also at the push of a button.
The first impressions of this bike are of a truly modern Sports Touring bike with bang up to date instrumentation that is clear and easily read. In Sports Mode this bike is sharp and swift. You are left in no doubt that there is plenty of power at the throttle. The clutch is as light as a feather and gear changes are very smooth. Yamaha’s unified braking system makes for a confident stop and there is the added security of ABS and traction control. There are plenty of gadgets and gizmos like new Angle Sensitive LED lights that light progressively at an angle as you corner, and the buttons and controls are easily accessible and feel like they are positioned in just the right place. It feels intuitive. My favourite gizmo is the Cruise Control. It is simple to use. I took the bike out on the Motorway immediately to give it a go and it is faultless with a little button low on the left handlebar with a recognisable icon in the shape of a speedometer to turn Cruise on. The Set / Resume buttons are equally well positioned and very easily reached and comfortably useable.
On the left handlebar, the button with up and down arrows on top is to adjust the wind-shield and you can see the set and resume for the cruise. The round button underneath switches Cruise Control on.
You may wonder why I consider the cruise control a favourite. Motorcycling is a hobby and there is nothing better than a challenging road with a series of bends and a good surface. Nice scenery and nice towns and villages to stop and enjoy a coffee in, are also a big plus. So why am I interested in cruise control? To get to the nice roads, nice towns and nice scenery you sometimes have to cover long distances on highways / motorways and cruise control takes a lot of pressure off the wrist and arm when you are in the saddle for extended periods. Hilton Hincks (HB Motorcycles, Waterford), well known in Biking circles in Ireland, once told me that one of his hints for touring in Europe was to watch the weather forecast and use the motorway network to relocate swiftly if the area you happen to be in is suffering from bad weather. It’s very good advice that I have put into practice and cruise control is a very useful tool where covering longer distances is concerned.
Ride this bike on the back roads in Sports mode and you will enjoy its great balance and power. You will look forward to the next corner or series of corners because it is a highly competent sports bike. Switch to Touring and while things tone down slightly it still has plenty of torque and power and will whisk you along for many miles thanks to its 25 litre fuel tank. At a claimed 6.2 litres to 100 kilometres or in old money, about 45mpg, it should be good for over 240 miles (386 km) between re-fuels.
I don’t know of a word in the English language that indicates something that is urgent and relaxed at the same time. If there is, it should be used to describe this bike. It is so relaxed and easy to ride with a comfortable riding position. It does everything you want with no fuss, and when you want to liven things up, it will instantaneously implement your desires. The shaft drive and ride by wire aspects of this bike are elements contributing to the instant crisp reaction to the throttle commands. Its multi-plate, assist-and-slipper wet clutch allow super smooth gear-changes. Power is available in abundance from the liquid cooled inline four cylinder 1298cc engine.
I found the seat to be both firm and comfortable at the same time, and was surprised how much leg room there was. I am about 5’10’’ or 11’’ and while I had plenty of room I could securely get a foot down. While it’s a big bike at 292kgs (644lbs) and you feel the weight until you are moving away from a stop. Then a nice feeling of balance is the most noticeable impression. The only thing that I was disappointed with was I had to bring it back! I could easily see myself being spirited across continental Europe, or any other continent on this bike. An autobahn in Germany? Maybe a set of twisties in the Alps. I think this bike could do it all and if you’re ‘Significant Other’ so chose, I think both would be happily accommodated on this bike. For one up touring, I fancy the hard side cases would be plenty. Depending on how many pairs of heels, outfits, make-up and combinations of shampoo and conditioner were required, you might have to consider a top box. My ‘Significant Other’ can cross Northern Spain on foot with just what will fit in a modest rucksack. I think the side cases would do us both perfectly well!
If you are in the market for a new bike, I would seriously suggest you take a good look at this new FJR. If you are looking for a sports bike and think you can manage without the extras that come with the electronic suspension, you can get the bike for about 18.5k. If you are looking for a Sport Tourer of a phenomenal class, gather your euros and get yourself the bike with electronic suspension, the FJR1300AE.It will set you back a little over 21k, a sizeable chunk of change, no doubt . If long distance touring is your intention, and your ambition to do it in comfort, this could be the investment of a lifetime, and one that I highly recommend.