By April 17, 2010

I Log 10,000 Miles on my 2009 Yamaha FJR1300A

Ten months ago I purchased Apollo, my 2009 Yamaha FJR1300A.

Ten thousand miles later, I have a few thoughts on what has been an almost perfect motorcycle for me.

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I bought my FJR with 0.0 miles on the odometer from Fredericksburg Motor Sports and started commuting immediately.

The Good

  • Great for highway commuting. The vast majority of my mileage has been highway commuting. My speeds vary from 45MPH on up to 80MPH given the tempo of traffic and road conditions. The FJR has plenty of power in just about any RPM range. I have used this to my advantage when escaping lane incursions or managing lane merges.
  • Just enough protection from the elements. My FZ6 was a little lean on protection from the wind and rain; my BMW K1200LTE had way too much. If you don’t have a big enough windscreen or faring you get hammered by the elements. Too much protection and you burn up in the summer and feel totally disconnected from the road.The FJR’s adjustable windscreen and full (but sport-oriented) faring is “just right.”
  • 600 pounds of feathers. Yes, the FJR is about 150 pounds more than my FZ6, but it carries its weight very well. Although similar in weight to my R1150R, the even balance of the FJR makes it feel very nimble at low speeds. When you commute on a bike, creeping along at less than 5MPH can be a challenge. A heavier motorcycle with a high center of gravity can be hard to keep upright at slow speeds, and it is quite possible to drop the bike if it leans too much one way or the other. The FJR’s sport bike geometry helps me stay in control more easily than with the top-heavy K1200LTE or the “base heavy” R1150R that caused a lot of low-speed swing in the front.
  • Reliable and low maintenance. Aside from my initial 600 mile service (done after six days of riding), I’ve done all of the maintenance myself. I’ve already gone through a front tire, and have a rear tire on order for our trip to Tybee Island, Georgia this May. In contrast, the 2004 BMW R1150R would have run me almost $2000 in recommended BMW maintenance in the same period of time, and I couldn’t have done any of it myself.
  • Very comfortable for two people (2UP) riding.. After spending a week on Tybee Island, GA with Sedagive? last year I knew I wanted to do more 2UP riding. My FZ6 was great for myself, but I wanted to make sure my motorcycle was both powerful and comfortable enough to do longer-distance trips on the highway. The seating position is ideal for us — Sedagive? has plenty of room on 600+ mile jaunts, but isn’t so far away that we feel disconnected.
  • Plenty of electrical power for accessories. At one point during the winter I was running heated grips, heated gloves, and two 55W auxiliary headlamps in addition to all the stock electrical needs. My FZ6 would have never been able to run all of that without the battery going down. I’ve wired an auxiliary fuse box underneath the seat, but the stock setup includes a 12V adapter for things like a GPS or mobile phone charger.

The Bad

  • Road noise is pretty high, especially on the highway without the windscreen extended. I run a taller, aftermarket windscreen during the winter, and the buffeting can be bad. The stock screen makes for a smoother ride, but there is a LOT of road noise at highway speeds. I always wear some sort of hearing protection, and for now I am back to using my Howard Leight Max earplugs.
  • Not enough storage. I wish that the motorcycle was designed to accept standard side cases. The stock ones are way too small and I think I have lost cargo capacity vs my FZ6, even with the massive 55L Givi Maxia topcase mothership installed. The stock side cases are too small to put my riding pants (or even Sedagive?’s tiny tiny pants) inside. This means we have to decide between carrying our helmets and putting our hot, bulky riding gear in the top case, or locking our helmets up to leave our hands free but walk around in our hot, bulky riding gear. This is a major “miss” for a sport touring bike designed for 2UP riding.
  • An emergency flasher switch that’s hard to use in emergencies. Like I said, the vast majority of my riding is done on the highway. When I ride into a traffic jam, accident, or construction zone I like to throw on my emergency blinkers. Approaching cars from the rear may be traveling VERY FAST, and the flashing lights may help them notice me. Unfortunately the flasher switch is on the right grip on top of the starter button. This makes it a little difficult to turn on in an emergency situation, and even more difficult to turn off. Essentially, I have to keep even pressure on the throttle and then roll my thumb up and backwards in order to slide the switch off to the right. What’s wrong with making the flasher switch a big ass button on the left handlebar like on my BMWs? Seemed simple enough, and something you could actually get to in an emergency.

The Ugly

Honestly, nothing. The things I mentioned above are small issues compared to some of the other bikes I owned. Yes, I wish the wind noise was less, but it’s manageable. I don’t know if it’s possible to have a perfect balance of isolation and “connectedness,” so it’s just something I have to live with.

I absolutely love the bike and it’s a great fit for how I like to ride. My only regret is not buying it immediately after my FZ6 and going through three other motorcycles along the way. But then again, without experiencing the pros and cons of those machines I may not appreciate my FJR as much.

Here’s to another 10,000 miles.

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2 Comments on "I Log 10,000 Miles on my 2009 Yamaha FJR1300A"

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  1. Dave Alvarado says:

    So I’m five years late to the party, but I got there eventually. I just picked up a 2009 FJR1300A, just like Apollo but with 16k of someone else’s miles. Mine is bike #10 overall for me and the 4th in my garage at the moment, but the other 3 are going up for sale. Yamaha hit it out of the park with this one.

    • DrFaulken says:

      Congrats man!! I’ve loved mine, and lament not being able to ride more due to the weather. I hope you log a hojillion miles on yours. :)

      Your conclusion was the same one I had. I owned 4 bikes when I bought the FJR and was down to one in no time.

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