FJR1300A First Ride Impressions - Wrist Twisters
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post #1 of 54 Old 07-20-2008, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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FJR1300A First Ride Impressions

So I find myself with a 2007 Yamaha FJR in my garage tonight after a whirlwind weekend adventure. It had 480 miles when I bought it, has 825 after the trip home, so here's my 345 mile test ride review...no new pics yet but here's one I posted earlier just to set the stage...



This is the first full fairing bike I've owned, and the largest displacement at 1298cc. Also the heaviest, at 582lbs dry weight, the most horsepower at 145 and the most torque at 99ft/lbs. First driveshaft bike, and first with ABS, so I guess it holds the record for most firsts as well.

It holds 6.6 gallons of gas so that puts "wet" weight in the 625lb range. You can definitely feel the heft when walking it and backing up, but once moving it feels perfectly balanced, even from parking lot speeds. I thought the Honda ST I rode felt heavier, as have several cruisers I've tried, not to mention a Goldwing.

The engine is pure refined power, just a bit of trans whine, a low powerful hum from the exhaust, and instant response in any gear. It's a 5 speed, but no issues with missing a 6th gear as 5th will pull strongly from 1500rpm to a supposed 154mph top end. It's a jet express on the highway, I had a hard time keeping it to 70mph, liked to creep up to 80 and beyond. Twist the throttle open at 60 and in a short breath you're pushing 100. The stock exhaust is fairly quiet, you can hear it but it's secondary to the experience, might consider aftermarket slipons eventually, but I don't want to lose the stealthy sound, loud pipes just wouldn't seem right on this bike.

The transmission is very precise and exact, I wouldn't call it silky smooth, more of a solid mechanical engagement. First gear is low, decided that it doesn't like to downshift to first when moving, have to come almost to a stop before it engages without a major clunk and jerk. The driveshaft was totally non-intrusive, quiet and no backlash, guess they engineered that out of shaft bikes in the many years since I rode my last one.

The suspension is adjustable front and rear, forks were dialed to medium and the rear has a two position "soft" and "hard" lever, which I left set on soft. The ride is firm but compliant, bumps that would have kicked me out of the seat on the 919 were soaked up easily with no drama. I didn't get a complete feel for the handling yet, it was raining for the first 150 miles so I took it very easy, the second half of the trip was all freeway so I only got to experience on and off ramps and a few high speed sweepers. My initial impression is that while it certainly isn't tossable or flickable like my 919, it handles very well for its size and negotiates high speed curves like it's on the proverbial rails. I weaved and swerved a bit when I had open road with no traffic, it doesn't respond instantly to a push on the bars like the 9'er, it more just goes where you point it, takes a line and follows it without question.

The brakes are very strong, has a "unified braking system", I'll let the spec guide describe that:
Standard equipment Unified Braking System w/ABS: The front brake lever activates six of the eight front braking pistons; the rear brake pedal activates two rear pistons and the other two front pistons — for balanced anti-lock braking in all conditions.
Can't really feel the unified braking action, just stops very well for a big bike.

The cockpit and controls are excellent, instrumentation is outstanding with an analog tach and speedo, reading to 9000rpm and 180mph respectively. The speedo starts with 0mph at the 6pm position, 70mph is at 9pm, with 180 at about 2pm, so when you're going 55 it looks like you're going about 30 compared to my 919, and feels like it too. The other gauge pod is digital, very legible even in bright sunlight and includes a clock, odometer, two trip odometers, temp gauge, ambient temperature, fuel gauge, real time mpg and average mpg. I felt totally spoiled with so much info in front of me, kept watching the mpg and how different speeds affected it, got 44mpg for the whole trip averaging 70-80mph. The brake and clutch lever are adjustable, strong pull on the clutch lever, and equally strong return spring on the throttle grip. A cruise control will be added in the near future.

The windshield is electric and the first owner had installed a National Cycles V-Stream windshied, it's a few inches taller than stock and several inches wider. I enjoyed the electric function, controlled by a thumb switch on the left side next to the high/low beam switch. With the windshield all the way up I could look through it, although I had to hunch down just a bit to not have the top edge split my view. The top position on the highway makes a totally dead air pocket, in fact a bit of a vacuum that pulls you forward slightly and keeps air from circulating through your helmet. It was useful for hunkering down in the rain and passing semis through dirty air but I got hot and had to crack my visor when the sun came out. All the way down gave full blast and pushed me back, most of the time I kept it a few inches from the top, which allowed me to look over it, created a neutral air pressure zone, gave me some airflow through my helmet but still kept most the pressure off my body and helmet. I'm going to try the stock windshield for comparison's sake, just to make sure it's not better suited to my height than the V-Stream.

My legs and hands were protected by the fairings and mirrors, felt a bit of heat from the engine in slow traffic and 90 degree heat, but not as much as I expected, really not an issue. The mirrors are large, mounted well out to the sides and provide a clear view behind and to the sides. Some vibration in the mirrors at higher speeds, 80+, but all in all quite good. The foot pegs are rear set, fairly sporting position, but comfortable and roomy. The seat is two pieces, the rear lifts off first, then the front. The front section has a high and low setting, I kept it on low for this trip, will experiment with the other setting but I felt comfortable the way it was set. The seat has a firm cushion, not cushy, but supportive, way better than the 919 of course.

The bags are great, all open with the ignition key, when unlocked the side bags lift right off and don't leave any mounting hardware visible. The side bags swing down and have retaining straps inside, also came with nice liners that can be used for duffle bags. The top trunk is huge and nicely hinged, really feels like a trunk when you open the lid. It mounts to the rear rack and comes off readily as well. Haven't tried it yet but it looks easily capable of holding a full face helmet. Gin also says the trunk backrest is quite comfy, she only got a short ride between rain storms, but says the rear seat feels luxurious compared to being on the back of our other bikes. There's also a storage box on top of the left front fairing which has a power outlet inside for accessory power.

The "Black Cherry" paint is beautiful, deep metallic burgundy/merlot color, really glimmers in the sunlight. Fit and finish is outstanding, body seams are straight and true, no major squeeks or rattles. I've already removed the helmet sticker on the gas tank and the "Grim Reaper" tank protector that the first owner applied. It needs a good detail after a rainy trip home, I removed the bulk of the bugs from the paint and windshield, will give it a good wash and wax as soon as the weather allows.

That's about all I've got for now, I'm sure I'll add more as I gain experience, looking forward to that task!

Oh yeah...

I LOVE THIS BIKE!!

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post #2 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 03:42 AM
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Great stuff here -- nice write-up Scott. The FJR is a heck of a bike. You're right about it being a bit more nimble than the ST13. It's lighter and has a lower COG. It also actually looks fairly decent with the bags off, as opposed to the ST13 which looks like a motorcycle abortion without its bags.

This bike and the C14 rule the roost in the dedicated sport touring class. It used to get some bad knocks for heat, but I think they solved that in the 06 or 07 model year. There is a very active FJR Owners forum at www.fjrforum.com. Just keep your skin thick over there -- it can be pretty nasty there at times.

Oh, I'm curious, how is the insurance on this one?

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post #3 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 05:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
Great stuff here -- nice write-up Scott. The FJR is a heck of a bike. You're right about it being a bit more nimble than the ST13. It's lighter and has a lower COG. It also actually looks fairly decent with the bags off, as opposed to the ST13 which looks like a motorcycle abortion without its bags.

This bike and the C14 rule the roost in the dedicated sport touring class. It used to get some bad knocks for heat, but I think they solved that in the 06 or 07 model year. There is a very active FJR Owners forum at www.fjrforum.com. Just keep your skin thick over there -- it can be pretty nasty there at times.

Oh, I'm curious, how is the insurance on this one?
Thanks Ken, the bike does look good without its bags, like a big sportsbike. I've been checking out the various FJR sites, also found http://www.fjr1300.info/ , full of helpful information. The heat problem was supposedly solved with the updated model in '06, and I was stuck in stop and go traffic on I-69 because of a wreck for about 10 minutes, watched the gauge go up a couple of clicks but did not feel what I would call excessive heat from the engine.

I'll find out about insurance this morning, rode it home on the seller's insurance, hadn't planned to go buy it this weekend so I was unprepared with my own insurance. I'll post up what full coverage costs as soon as I get a quote.

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post #4 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 05:07 AM
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Chris(fjr919) is a wealth if information. Excellent ride report.

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post #5 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 05:31 AM
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Congrats Scott and great write-up! I'm truly jealous....maybe I should go bike shopping.




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post #6 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
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I rode it to work this morning, chance of afternoon thunderstorms but I can leave it here and take the pickup home. Need to get it cleaned up and detailed after the wet road trip yesterday. Luckily the taxi world is calm this morning, if anybody needs me I'll be in the shop. :001_smile:

Riding in this morning was my first real chance to experience it in town without rain to worry about. I need to amend a couple of my comments from my initial ride impressions now that I have a bit more experience...

It was inaccurate to say that first gear is low, it will hit 60mph in 1st, not exactly low gearing. It also will downshift smoothly into 1st from about 15mph on down, just a matter of matching revs. I think my initial impression was due to it being so different from the 919 and also my lack of experience with shaft drive.

I had also said that it doesn't respond quickly to handlebar input. While that may be true at highway speeds where it tracks straight ahead like a locomotive, at city speeds, 25-45mph, it reacts very well to input, will swerve on a dime to avoid potholes, idiot drivers on cell phones, and the such.

Another update to my original report, in addition to the previously mentioned instrumentation, it also has a gear indicator, a feature I find useful and reassuring. The headlights also have individual adjustment knobs and while I haven't ridden at night yet, would appear to be extremely bright.

Now, off to wash and wax.

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post #7 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 07:58 AM
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Excellent write-up. You're killing me. Here I am looking for an adventure-tourer, and I've got you singing the praises of this Yammy, and I see a C14 at church yesterday. What's a guy to do????????


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post #8 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brevity View Post
Excellent write-up. You're killing me. Here I am looking for an adventure-tourer, and I've got you singing the praises of this Yammy, and I see a C14 at church yesterday. What's a guy to do????????

Buy a KLR and an FJR?

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post #9 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 08:27 AM
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SG,

Awesome comprehensive first day review! If this taunting thread doesn't get locked down soon I won't be able to stand it anymore and I'll have to get one too!

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post #10 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
Oh, I'm curious, how is the insurance on this one?
$652/yr from Progressive for full coverage, $1000 deductible, multi-vehicle discount applied. 919 costs $313/yr for liability only.

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post #11 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Is it just me or do we need a dedicated "Sport Tourer" forum, instead of the current combo "cruiser/tourer" one? There have been several threads recently about Sport Tourers, never quite sure where to put my posts, anyone else have an opinion?

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post #12 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 11:12 AM
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Great write-up - sounds like it's surprisingly nimble, maybe even not a chore to drive for the daily grind? That'd be pretty impressive, if so. I'm sure you'll have a better feel for that after a few more city miles.

Making me crave some touring!

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post #13 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuedeGopher View Post
Great write-up - sounds like it's surprisingly nimble, maybe even not a chore to drive for the daily grind? That'd be pretty impressive, if so. I'm sure you'll have a better feel for that after a few more city miles.

Making me crave some touring!
Definitely not a chore, greatly enjoyed my ride to work this morning. I'm sure the 919 will feel left out for the next few weeks since I'm in love with my new ride, but there will still be plenty of times when I want to go ripping about on the 9'er!

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post #14 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 11:32 AM
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Great Report!

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post #15 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 12:00 PM
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Congrats on the buy my man. Looks like a hell of a bike. Isn't I-69 just the most exciting ride ever, lol. I do it all the time from the Fort to Indy. I bet it sure is a comfortable ride on that luxury yacht of a bike.

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post #16 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 12:01 PM
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Good for you Scott!!! sounds like you found yourself a winner!!!

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post #17 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Congrats on the buy my man. Looks like a hell of a bike. Isn't I-69 just the most exciting ride ever, lol. I do it all the time from the Fort to Indy. I bet it sure is a comfortable ride on that luxury yacht of a bike.
Yeah, has to be one of the most boring slabs out there, but it went by quickly and comfortably on the new machine.

Just finished cleaning it up, I'll tell you there's a whole lot more to wash and polish than the 919! I only washed and dried it and took over an hour, I can see that a complete detail and wax would be a day's project. Not a bad way to spend a day though.

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post #18 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbeau1960 View Post
Yeah, has to be one of the most boring slabs out there, but it went by quickly and comfortably on the new machine.

Just finished cleaning it up, I'll tell you there's a whole lot more to wash and polish than the 919! I only washed and dried it and took over an hour, I can see that a complete detail and wax would be a day's project. Not a bad way to spend a day though.
There are few things in life that provide a better feeling of accomplishment than doing a full wash / dry / clay bar / polish / wax / detailing of a fully faired motorcycle! It's a full day's job on the Goldwing!

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post #19 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 02:37 PM
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Congrats Sbeau! Very nice looking bike and an excellent ride report. Any cross country trips planned yet?

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post #20 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Any cross country trips planned yet?
Might ride to Iowa this weekend, will see what the weather brings. Lots of ideas but no firm plans for long distance touring yet, but it will come!



Here's some shots I took this evening after getting it all cleaned up today...

Holcomb Gardens at Butler University



Hinkle Fieldhouse



In front of our house...feel free to mock the liberal



And our way too full garage


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post #21 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 05:33 PM
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What an awesome lineup to have in the garage!

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post #22 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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What an awesome lineup to have in the garage!
Don't lie, it's the two old Treks on the wall that really caught your eye!

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post #23 of 54 Old 07-21-2008, 07:38 PM
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Don't lie, it's the two old Treks on the wall that really caught your eye!

Of course...what did you think I meant?

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post #24 of 54 Old 07-23-2008, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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I went by the local Yamaha dealer this afternoon to check on the remaining warranty and to transfer the bike into my name in their system. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the '07 FJR's have a Two Year, unlimited mileage warranty, my bike is covered until 06/06/09!

The cute lesbian service writer convinced me to let them do the initial 600 mile service, I was just going to change the oil myself and in fact had already bought the filter and Yamalube Synthetic oil. They also change the differential fluid at the first service though, as well as checking everything and making all the necessary adjustments, thought it was worth it to have it done by the dealer since it's not that expensive. There's also an open top box mount recall, guess they add a reinforcement plate under the rack mount to keep it from breaking under heavy loads.

While I was there in the service department I noticed two other FJR's, a burgundy '07 like mine and a blue '05. Both bikes were totally loaded with every electronic gizmo you can bolt to a motorcycle, heated grips, GPS, radar detectors, bike mounted intercom, the whole gamut of goodies. I asked her if those were customer's bikes, she said the blue one belonged to the dealership owner and the '07 belonged to the Colts defensive coach. Both bikes had the Throttlemeister throttle lock bar ends, after checking out I believe that's the way to go.

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post #25 of 54 Old 07-23-2008, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbeau1960 View Post
The cute lesbian service writer convinced me to let them do the initial 600 mile service, I was just going to change the oil myself and in fact had already bought the filter and Yamalube Synthetic oil. They also change the differential fluid at the first service though, as well as checking everything and making all the necessary adjustments, thought it was worth it to have it done by the dealer since it's not that expensive. There's also an open top box mount recall, guess they add a reinforcement plate under the rack mount to keep it from breaking under heavy loads.

While I was there in the service department I noticed two other FJR's, a burgundy '07 like mine and a blue '05. Both bikes were totally loaded with every electronic gizmo you can bolt to a motorcycle, heated grips, GPS, radar detectors, bike mounted intercom, the whole gamut of goodies. I asked her if those were customer's bikes, she said the blue one belonged to the dealership owner and the '07 belonged to the Colts defensive coach. Both bikes had the Throttlemeister throttle lock bar ends, after checking out I believe that's the way to go.
You are in great company!

The service writer certainly impressed you. You showing up on that amazing bike probably made her rethink life's plans. After getting the extra year warranty bonus you made a great call to go first class on service. Especially since it will be mine next year.

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post #26 of 54 Old 07-23-2008, 04:36 PM
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Scott, don't rule out the real vacuum powered cruise controls. They have the throttle locks beat hands down. I had this one on the ST13 and it was fantastic!

http://www.mccruise.com/

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post #27 of 54 Old 07-23-2008, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dream View Post
The service writer certainly impressed you. You showing up on that amazing bike probably made her rethink life's plans. After getting the extra year warranty bonus you made a great call to go first class on service. Especially since it will be mine next year.
Don't think she's changing teams anytime soon dream, but she was cool and I liked dealing with her. I figure I'll let the dealer service it while it's under warranty, I know from my days in the auto dealership that if you have some service history they're much more likely to help you out on questionable warranty repairs.

I'll try not to put too many miles on it before you take possession :001_smile:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
Scott, don't rule out the real vacuum powered cruise controls. They have the throttle locks beat hands down. I had this one on the ST13 and it was fantastic!

http://www.mccruise.com/
That's a really slick set up Ken, thanks for the link. Not sure about $821 + shipping from Australian though!

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post #28 of 54 Old 07-23-2008, 05:48 PM
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True enough - luckily there are US-based resellers There are a couple of other brands, like Audiovox, but the McCruise is the most popular.

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post #29 of 54 Old 07-24-2008, 07:08 AM
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I had a buddy who fabbed a universal cruise control (for cars) onto his VTX. He did a great job installing it and loved it. Swore he'd never use a throttle lock again.

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post #30 of 54 Old 07-24-2008, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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I'm going to have to do some more research on the various options for cruise controls, even the Throttlemeister locks aren't cheap at $140.

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post #31 of 54 Old 04-18-2009, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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About time to update this thread after 9 months. I finally got some quality riding time in yesterday, chose the FJR for the inaugural ride. Spent an hour getting it all washed and polished, checked all the fluids and tires, filled it up with a fresh tank of premium and hit the road.

Didn't have time to get too far from home but enjoyed a little 75 mile jaunt into the country and back. I'd been considering selling the FJR over the winter, had convinced myself that maybe we weren't the long distance touring types and thought I could put that money to better use elsewhere. Not so sure after an afternoon in the saddle, this is a hell of a bike and I think I'd better enjoy it a while longer before deciding to move on. It only has 1200 miles on it now, just barely getting broken in.

Man that bike is deceptively fast! It'll hit 100mph in 2nd gear so wide open runs don't last long. No noise and speed sensation like the 919, it just goes and next thing you know the speedo is well into dangerous territory. I set the rear suspension on "hard" yesterday and hit some curves, maybe a bit rough on that setting for winter scarred city streets but perfect for smooth country blacktop. Another nice day today, think I'll head over to a couple of the cycle stores and check out some boots and accessories.

Oh yeah, by the way....our tavern manager just got a brand new BMW R1200GS adventure bike, I got to ride it for the first time yesterday. Cool machine, unlike anything I've ever ridden, kind of a giant powerful dirtbike that handles really well on pavement. It's matte black like my 919, bad ass looking bike! I mention this because I'd been considering selling the FJR and buying Ginger and myself used BMW adventure bikes, she's in love with the genre and I've been keeping my eyes open for a nice G650FS for her. Dustin's R1200GS is so much different than the FJR though, not sure I'd want to trade one for the other. Now having both...

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post #32 of 54 Old 04-18-2009, 08:33 AM
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hey scott congrats on finding that sweet looking bike... fast and comfortable is a great combo...



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post #33 of 54 Old 04-18-2009, 05:54 PM
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Great. Now I've got bergmann envy. Thanks.

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post #34 of 54 Old 04-18-2009, 06:10 PM
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Scott, consider doing an IBA SaddleSore 1000 this summer. You'll gain a huge new appreciation for the FJR and it'll help you decide if touring is in your blood. It's a lot of fun, quite a challenge, and very rewarding too. Just a thought...

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post #35 of 54 Old 04-18-2009, 11:03 PM
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Glad you're giving her a chance - though no matter how good the deal is, how much use overides all

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post #36 of 54 Old 04-19-2009, 06:46 AM
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Local dealer has a black non -A for around 14,500. Anyone seen a better price?

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post #37 of 54 Old 04-19-2009, 06:59 AM
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A local dealer here still has a new '07 on the floor marked down to 10K.

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post #38 of 54 Old 04-19-2009, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonhead View Post
Local dealer has a black non -A for around 14,500. Anyone seen a better price?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
A local dealer here still has a new '07 on the floor marked down to 10K.
Bought my '07 in 2008 with only 400 miles for $9500. Figure if I decide to sell this year I'll ask $10,000.

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post #39 of 54 Old 04-19-2009, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Or maybe more...http://kansascity.craigslist.org/mcy/1129605488.html

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post #40 of 54 Old 04-19-2009, 09:56 AM
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Dayum. What to do about the 5400 I still owe on the niner.

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