GO­ING UP A GEAR

Yamaha’s up­dated FJR1300 gets its long-over­due sixth cog

Motorcycle News (UK) - - New Bikes - ANDY DAVID­SON STAFF WRITER andy.david­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

‘The shorter gears makes for quicker ac­cel­er­a­tion in the lower half of the gear­box’

Two days of blast­ing around Spain’s Alme­ria race track and chas­ing twisty tar­mac through the gor­geous, sun-drenched sur­round­ing moun­tains wasn’t the test route I’d imag­ined for the Yamaha FJR1300 launch. But the Ja­panese firm reckon they’ve got tour­ing and com­fort nailed so to show off the new per­for­mance-fo­cused up­grades we ditched the straights and tasted more fruity cor­ners than a Müller yo­ghurt fac­tory could have sup­plied!

The FJR’S big up­date is the long- awaited (and over­due) sixth gear. It also gets Yamaha’s new Slip and As­sist clutch, LEDS front and rear, adap­tive cor­ner­ing lights for peek­ing round bends, a re­designed tail unit, tweaks to the dash, and now has Dainese’s D-air Street airbag sys­tem as an op­tion.

De­spite the tangle of tight switch­backs we did get the op­por­tu­nity to test sixth gear on the few straights that con­nect the Span­ish moun­tains, and it’s a wel­come ad­di­tion. Yamaha have clev­erly pulled this off with­out hav­ing to re-en­gi­neer the crankcases by us­ing he­li­cal cut gears in­stead of straight cut and com­pletely re­design­ing the gear­box to be more compact and lighter than the old one. The ben­e­fit of the shorter gears makes for quicker ac­cel­er­a­tion in the lower half of the ’box, while of­fer­ing a tall and vi­bra­tion-free sixth for cruis­ing com­fort and econ­omy.

Yamaha’s new Slip and As­sist clutch – first fit­ted to the 2015 YZF-R1 su­per­bike, and now per­me­at­ing through the range – keeps the FJR set­tled dur­ing ag­gres­sive down­shifts, help­ing to stop the rear-wheel from lock­ing up as you carve down a moun­tain pass. Yamaha say it will dra­mat­i­cally im­prove harsh brak­ing for fast cor­ner­ing, al­though I’m not sure how many own­ers will be rid­ing their FJR that hard. But it is handy on such a big bike, where the ten­dency un­der hard brak­ing is to trans­fer weight to the front wheel and lock up the rear. The new mech­a­nism also equates to a 20% lighter clutch lever ac­tion, which is good news for left hands ev­ery­where.

The re­designed tail unit now sports LED lights, as does the head­lamp which also now boasts posh adap­tive cor­ner­ing lights. The sys­tem uses in­for­ma­tion from the FJR’S in­er­tial mea­sure­ment unit (IMU) to iden­tify when the bike is cor­ner­ing. When lean an­gle in­creases more than 5-de­grees past ver­ti­cal, it fires up the lights to il­lu­mi­nate the bend ahead. The dash has also been tweaked with a new anti-glare screen.

FJR lovers will be glad to know that Yamaha have also pro­duced a top box which is com­pat­i­ble with the pan­nier sys­tem, some­thing that wasn’t pos­si­ble be­fore as top box and pan­niers to­gether put too much stress on the sub­frame.

There are still three FJR mod­els to choose from: A (£13,299), AE (£14,799) and AS (£15,499). All three get Yamaha’s new Slip and As­sist tech and pan­niers as stan­dard but only the AE and AS model get the cor­ner­ing lights, up­side­down fork and elec­tron­i­cally ad­justable sus­pen­sion, leav­ing the A model with a con­ven­tional fork-set up and man­u­ally ad­justable sus­pen­sion. The AS model has the Auto Clutch sys­tem which does away with the clutch lever in favour of thumb and fin­ger pad­dles for click­ing through the gears. It still comes with a gear lever though, just in case your left foot feels left out.

A host of up­dates make the FJR even bet­ter on the straights, and in the cor­ners too

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