BORN in 2001, the Yamaha FJR1300 sports tourer has stood the test of time, continuing to evolve thanks to plenty of research and development, which has seen a range of improvements to ensure it remains current in its category.
It’s an instantly recognisable ride, and that leads us to a funny story that we just have to share. While undertaking the photo shoot for the popular Yamaha, we were approached by a senior motorcycle Highway Patrol officer, who was ironically, on an FJR1300.
He wanted to know what we were up to, given we were in a pedestrian area. After a brief explanation, and some bike discussion, he mentioned that HWP officers can choose between the BMW RT 1250 or the Yamaha FJR1300. You can guess his personal choice.
The 2020 edition has a plethora of goodies on board, including the 1298cc silky smooth fly-by-wire inline 4-cylinder engine, electronic suspension, heated hand grips, height adjustable seat, and an easy to read digital/analogue/status dash.
There’s also switchable traction control, LED adaptive headlights, and cruise control, just to mention a few of the others. The engine, coupled with Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) delivers smooth power and sports performance.
The numbers are very impressive, at 141.5hp, while generating a massive 134.4Nm torque. The power and torque are fantastic, and from around 2000rpm there is a kick from the engine similar to hitting boost in a turbo road car.
Fuel delivery is outstanding, and the 6-speed transmission moves through the gears like butter. The slipper clutch makes the lever light and downshifting smooth, while the addition of the sixth gear means that it now has a real overdrive.
That also bodes well for better fuel consumption, and we averaged about 5.5-litres/100km. Factor that into a 25-litre tank, and the end result will see you achieving mid 400’s out of a tank.
The sound from the standard pipes is quite distinct and it lets you know you’re sitting on something special. You can actually release the assisted clutch from standing and the bike will roll of the line without any hesitation, and then apply throttle and away you go.
Switching between S (Sport) or T (Touring) modes adds approximately 30 per cent more snap in S mode, according to Yamaha. It is noticeable, and you would save on fuel in the latter setting too.
The riding position is upright and seat is quite wide and comfortable. Your feet tuck up underneath you and the fairing does its job, keeping the wind off your lower body and legs, with no load on your wrists.
Your passengers are well catered for too, with a slightly elevated wide comfy seat, and a grab rail for added security and safety. The 2020 FJR feels very solid, if not a little heavy at standstill, but it does weigh 292kg wet.
Once you’re moving though, it becomes lighter and it turns very nicely. While it’s easy to manoeuvre, it always remains predictable and planted. The ride is awesome and one of the first things you will notice is how it smooths out all road surfaces.
The suspension is impressive, as is the handling, largely due to the 12-way adjustable settings. You can select from Hard, Standard or Soft and then there are three options up or down in each.
You can also select from one up, one up with luggage, two up or two up with luggage, and the FJR1300 will adapt.
At times, it’s easy to forget that you are on a tourer, as it goes through corners like a sports bike and launches out as quick as it turns in. When you accelerate the speedo flies through some pretty big numbers very quickly.
The stopping power is predictable and there is no dipping under brakes either, thanks to the 320mm dual front rotors and the 282mm single at the rear. The back brake works well and has great feel.
Given the weight and size of Yamaha’s FJR1300, we did think the front discs could have been bigger though. You can have your 2020 Yamaha FJR1300 AE in any colour you like, as long as it’s Gun Metal with chrome pipes.
But, if you’re looking for a sports tourer that performs more like a sports bike, you should definitely consider this beast, with pricing starting at $27,999 plus on-roads. The lockable panniers come standard.
Our test bike was provided by Yamaha Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Yamaha FJR1300 AE, contact your local Yamaha dealer. Pictures courtesy of Mushroom Owl Photography.