The traditional one
Sports tourers always used to be sportsbike-shaped, but lower, longer, heavier and built for comfort. Yamaha’s longstanding FJR1300 typifies the breed. It’s the true mile-muncher of our bunch and knocks at the door of being a fullblooded tourer... but not quite because it’s remarkably handy in the bends when you want to scratch a sporty itch.
Journeying north on the A1, A66 and M6 to reach Scottish mountain road heaven might be monotonous, but the FJR1300 cocoons you in com-
fort. Electronically set the screen just so, dial-in the cruise control, select Touring mode, soften the suspension and life is peachy. Unlike the taller machines here, the Yamaha can cramp legs for taller riders, but the FJR has a cossetting, natural riding position.
Buttery-smooth power and torque pour from the 144bhp, 1298cc inline four-cylinder motor and there’s not a vibration or buzz to be felt through your body or ipad sized mirrors. The 296kg Yamaha stamps out bumps in the road and delivers truck-like stability.
Our 264-mile hack from MCN Towers in Peterborough to our overnight stop in Moffat includes fuel stops for all of our bikes, except the FJR1300. Returning 55mpg on a steady run the Yamaha’s 25-litre fuel tank (by far the biggest here) gets you the furthest in one hit.
We hit the sinuous A702 to Edinburgh and expect the FJR to be left behind, but it punches well above its weight. Switchgear buttons take you to a hard suspension set-up and a sporty throttle, transforming it into an accurate-steering sportsbike with superb brakes and ample ground clearance. It simply shouldn’t handle this well, but that’s what makes it so impressive.