Yamaha’s super-tourer could be a bargain buy
What we said then
‘The launch of the FJR1300AS in 2006 brought criticisms of the clutch leverless system… two years on and the system has been altered subtly, and for the better. Other notable changes include: a new ABS system, throttle pulley; scratch-resistant screen; reshaped handlebar grips and black dash surround. The standard and semiauto models get refinements that put them closer to BMW territory. It’s up to you which gearshift system you prefer; gimmick or no gimmick, the FJR is a likeable choice.’ MCN launch report | June 4, 2008
But what is it like now?
The FJR is one of those bikes that seems like it’s been around forever and in many ways, as I’m reminded on leaving Wheels (01733 358555) aboard this 2009 AS model, that’s a good thing. It takes a few moments to re-acquaint myself the auto system (using either paddle-style up and down buttons on the left bar or, as I prefer, the footshift, but without a clutch lever), but once on the move the FJR is familiar, grunty and effective.
Launched way back in 2001 as the successor to the much-loved FJ1200, the FJR13 had a tough act to follow. Initial reservations about its looks aside, the bike has taken on the 1200's mantle and evolved to cement itself as pretty much the benchmark, largecapacity, Japanese sports-tourer. There’s good reason for that: with 141bhp it’s brisk, powerful and torquey. Its low-slung handling is secure and sportier than most and with an electric screen, shaft drive, ABS and, often, factory pannier kit, it ticks all the touring boxes. If looked after, it’s robust and durable with no mechanical gremlins and it’s decent value, too.
This one's aged well…
This example is a 59-plate AS automatic version showing 32,500 miles. As such it benefits from the 2008 improvements to the auto system plus ABS and uprated screen and despite dating back to 2009 could easily pass for a bike half that age. It rides perfectly, the engine is fresh, crisp and faultless and the auto system is a doddle that takes little acclimatisation. Age-related wear, meanwhile, is limited to some expected grot on the mainstand and a little peeling paint on the shaft drive housing and around the top yoke.
…and it wants for nothing
Big tourers are often slathered in accessories so this FJR, in being virtually standard, is refreshing. That said it wants for nothing. It’s got the factory-fitted, colour-matched, topbox and panniers, factory heated grips and tank pad, standard mainstand and unmarked stainless exhausts, plus it has a sensible stainless rad guard, slightly tacky stainless master cylinder cap (although the stock one is underneath) and a useful sat nav mount.
Although not as glamorous or gadgetladen as some rivals, the FJR has always impressed for its effective, no messing, durable and dependable approach. In short: it just does it. No wonder it’s lived so long and is so popular with organisations like limotaxis, the police, rescue services and more. As a used buy they can be even better yet. With just 32k miles under its Continental tyres this example is barely run-in, fully-loaded and not much over £5000. Personally, I’m not that fussed about the auto box and would be happy with the standard version. But whichever way you look at it that’s a helluva lot of bike for the money.
32,000 miles on the clock and it's barely run in Auto gearbox This auto version of the FJR won’t be to everyone’s taste but the good news is there is a geared version. There's no real price difference in the used market.