1992 Yamaha FJ1200 from New Zealand
Reliable, fast, comfortable. Do you really need an FJR?
When I bought the bike with 34k on the clock, the original rear shock absorber had no damping left, it was like sitting on a trampoline -> replaced shock unit.
Clutch oil reservoir seal leaked rendering clutch inoperable -> replaced seal (after a very exciting low-speed ride to the bike shop).
Front brake oil reservoir seal leaked -> as above :)
Although not really necessary, I also replaced the clutch plate because it was slipping a bit in second gear when hit hard.
Although it did not happen for me, I could see that the connection to the clutch slave had leaked in the past, apparently a common problem on these bikes.
The front brakes always felt a bit spongy, perhaps there was air in the lines due to previous events with the brake oil, but it was not enough of a problem for me to ever bother fixing - instead I became accustomed to giving them a little preliminary pump-squeeze every time just before I wanted to brake.
Originally I got the bike because I wanted a 'big bike'. I was living in Japan where it is incredibly difficult and expensive to get a license for bikes over 750cc, and now that I had got the license it was going to waste. What I really wanted was an FJR1300, but my wallet did not agree. So I was delighted to discover that the FJR had a predecessor which was still a solid touring bike, but way way cheaper. I thought I would just settle for an FJ until I could afford an FJR.
As it turned out, once I got my FJ set up with some nice hard-luggage, I couldn't think of what an FJR could do for me that the FJ didn't already do, so I stuck with it.
This seems to be one of those bikes that develops a loyal following, with great reliability and comfort. Plenty of power: my particular bike dyno'd at 105hp, my friend said it can do 220km/h but I wouldn't know about that. Plenty of torque: trundling around town at 40km/h in top gear (1500rpm) is no problem at all. In fact it would be quite feasible to only ever use 1st and 5th gear. Load it up with luggage and wife and it doesn't even notice. It's already quite heavy which makes it not so great for getting around tight city streets, but on the open road where it belongs that weight gives it a nice stability for long-distance cruising. Mine had ABS which saved my skin once. A clock on the dash and fuel meter are nice features. And on top of all this you get great comfort, and wind protection. The only downer is that it's a bit heavy on fuel - I really think it could use a sixth gear.
On the other hand, at 100km/h in fifth gear the engine rpm is about 4k, and somehow at that rpm the vibrations seem to cancel each other out and there is a real smooth sensation, which I really liked.
The seat is really comfortable, and the indentations in the sides of the tank fit just right for the knees (even me at 6'3") allowing you to keep your legs closer together, which I find greatly reduces how tired you feel after a long trip.
The biggest drawback for me about this bike was that I lived in Tokyo, the worst place in the world for a mile-eater like this, especially an air-cooled one in summer when the heat from the engine while waiting at traffic lights was pretty severe. That was only while stationary though...
It was also a bummer from a fuel mileage point of view, there are so many traffic lights in Tokyo, one time I experimented by turning the engine off while waiting at every light, and got an extra 70km out of a tank of gas.
Anyway, when I moved back to New Zealand I brought my FJ with me, and it was a totally different story here!!
Interestingly, what brought me to this site today, was that I am moving back to Japan, and will probably get another FJ! I have been looking around again but I still think they are the best value-for-money long distance bike around.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th August, 2009