I own a 2006 FJR, now with around 35,000 miles on it. I did an Iron Butt this summer, drove from St. Louis to Seattle in 2 and 1/2 days last summer, and put ungodly amounts of time and miles in the saddle. The seat was the first thing I fixed, as the girlfriend and I were thoroughly uncomfortable on the stock seat after just a few hours. One trip to the Dragon in the first month of owning the bike made the need for a new seat abundantly clear -- on the ride home, we were having to stop every hour at the end due to discomfort. And we previously toured ~15k miles/year on a Triumph Thunderbird, so we have experience with time in the saddle.
Yamaha makes a 'comfort seat' with gel in it, for the cost of ~$380. I considered that, but was nervous about the gel. As an avid bicyclist, I've found that gel seats really aren't all they're cracked up to be, and a hard leather saddle, once it's broken in and molded to the exact contours of your butt, is amazingly more supportive and comfortable.
So I decided to have my seat re-made. I read lots of reviews of the major custom seat players out there -- Russell Day-longs are considered the cream of the crop, but the production time was months away and we had our first tour coming up. Corbins get mixed reviews -- you either swear by them or swear at them, as the saying goes. I finally settled on Bill Meyer Saddles out of California; I followed his instructions, took pics, sent the seat in, and had it back in about 2 weeks. I had him add about 1" to both the rider and passenger seats, which completely eliminated our knee discomfort, and had the heated option to the rider's seat. The whole thing cost me about $400 shipped, and long days in the saddle are no longer a problem. After we got the seat done, in fact, my girlfriend made a comment about her butt going "a little numb" -- when we were about 90 miles from home, at the END of a 6,000 mile, two week tour to Banff. If that's not a glowing recommendation, I don't know what is! :)
BTW, if you review the custom manufacturers and are interested in Bill Meyer Saddles, be sure you don't mistakenly send it to RICK Meyer Saddles. Feel free to compare Rick to Bill, but read the reviews carefully. Rocky (the owner of Bill Meyer Saddles) got our seat dead-on on the first try; we have been extremely happy.
One other caveat; if you get a custom seat, and have to draw a chalk line on the saddle where your butt meets the seat, it's best done if you can have someone hold the bike upright while you sit on it -- don't just set it on the center stand. I did the center stand, and as a result felt like I was sliding forward on the seat. To compensate, I pushed myself back a bit too far on the seat when drawing the chalk line, and as a result I now feel like the seat pocket is too far back, maybe by 1-2". I don't blame BMS at all, it was my fault, they recommend having someone hold the bike up, I just didn't have that option. And I'm sure they'd fix it if I really wanted them to, but it's not a huge deal, and in fact when I'm really wicking it up on the sport side it does let me feel like I can really hunker down over the tank.
Just re-visited here and saw the other comments, so I thought I'd do a bit of a follow-up (I wrote the original review above).
I haven't been out on any extended tours since my last write-up, but I have begun my modifications. I did some research into changes to the mirrors, but didn't find anything that did what I wanted, so I'm just getting used to the mirrors I've got.
I purchased some Heli Modified Risers, which make a significant difference for my wrists. They bring the bars up and back a bit, and are also more adjustable than the stock set-up. I'm still not quite as upright as on the cruiser, but less 'leaned forward' than I was. They also have mounting slots for a GPS or MP-3 or whatever.
I haven't ordered a seat yet, but I plan on going with the Bill Mayer saddle before next season. Many choose the Russell Day-Long, but my tastes go towards the Bill Mayer. I don't doubt that either would be a HUGE improvement, but everybody has their own personal shape and there are less expensive modifications (like AirHawk seat pads or even just bicycle shorts).
Another add-on I'm seriously considering is a true cruise control from Motorcycle Cruise Controls (http://www.mccruise.com/index.html). Pricey, but built for bikes and likely to add even more miles per tank as well as the usual convenience.
The point here is that you are STARTING with a comfortable, well-sorted out, functional, sophisticated, fun bike and there are ways of further refining and tuning it to your personal tastes.
You can get extenders for the mirrors for a reasonably low price, and they are easy to install. I did so on my Bandit 650, and it really improved the visibility to the rear. Try "Twisted Throttle" on the web.
Hi guys, I just read all of your posts. Thanks! Very helpful. I am planning a monster trip to Alaska this summer, 6000 or so miles over three weeks. I currently ride an '05 Venture and have been eying the FJR 1300. Sounds like the transition issues were on the margins and some of the things I talked about. My buddy and I have been known to rack up some monster miles in a day, 500 - 800. We've sworn those off for this trip, but who knows with all that sunshine. I'm looking at a new '09. Any thoughts? Any thoughts about days over 300 miles? The seat and pegs are the two I picked up on above...
I bought a new '09 FJR1300A last January, and I love it, except the seating position and bar relationship. The seat is extremely uncomfortable after about an hour, and the bar position puts too much pressure on my neck and back, and kills my butt and knees.
I plan to put on a new seat, probably a Sargent, though I wondered if anyone had tried the Yamaha gel seat? I had a Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom 2 bikes ago, and used the factory accessory gel seat, and it was reasonably comfortable.
I'll have to also get the Helibars Risers to get the bars up and back as much as possible, so I can get more upright.
Everything else I really like. It gets good mileage, as much as 40 mpg on a level road at 80. At 65-70 under most conditions, it will get from 42-50+mpg. It's extremely hard accelerating, but very smooth and handles very well. It doesn't matter whether one or two up, it does everything about the same, with its adjustable suspension, even the mileage. It's very stable at high speed and doesn't take long to get there. If I can get the seating and bars worked out, it will be incredible.