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2013 Yamaha FJR1300A Review

October 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Motorcycle Reviews

Yamaha first introduced its FJR1300 sport-touring motorcycle to the U. S. market for 2003. Since then, a number of subtle changes have been made, but now for the 2013 model year, a host of significant updates have been incorporated in the new FJR1300A. Styling is slightly more aggressive, with swoopier one-piece cowlings in place of the three parts found on earlier versions, and there’s a new headlamp design outlined by LED strips. The redesigned electronically controlled windscreen has more travel, and there are now manually adjustable cowling vents which can be set in two positions. Changes to the potent 1298cc DOHC inline four powerplant include new throttle bodies, intake stacks and the air filter assembly. Steel cylinder sleeves were exchanged for lighter aluminum sleeveless cylinders and new more-durable piston rings lessen friction. The exhaust has been simplified, with two catalytic converters rather than the previous four, and the ECU’s fuel and ignition maps are updated. Yamaha states that these changes added three horsepower and three lb-ft of torque, for a total of 144 hp at 8,000 rpm and 102 lb-ft torque peaking at 7,000 rpm. The aluminum frame saves weight compared to steel. Yamaha changed the fork to an adjustable unit with a new aluminum piston rod and plunger and stiffer spring rates. The right fork leg controls damping, while the left leg only has a spring. At the rear, a single revised shock has new damping and spring rates and adjustable rebound damping and stepped preload. Twin 320mm front brake rotors with four-piston Nissin and a 282mm solo rear disc provide stopping power, and linked or “unified” ABS is standard. The new dash holds an analog tach, digital speedometer, fuel gauge, digital clock, and power-mode indicator. To the right, an LCD panel displays the odometer, two tripmeters, ambient and coolant temperature. Riders may also choose between readouts of fuel mileage and range, riding time, gear selection, heated grip setting and windscreen position. The FJR now comes with three-position heated hand grips, hard saddlebags, an adjustable two-piece saddle, adjustable handlebars, a 12-volt power outlet and locking dash storage included in the price. Seat height is adjustable to 31.7 or 32.5 inches and full-face helmets fit in the saddlebags. Available accessories include a large top trunk, tankbag, comfort seat, larger windscreen and frame sliders.

    Riding Impressions

Hot or cold the engine starts instantly, without need for a cold-start control, warms quickly and idles smoothly. Although low-end power is not the strong point of a DOHC engine with four valves per cylinder, it’s possible to lug it down to 30 mph in top gear. Between four and five grand, the FJR begins to make lots of power, so hang on from there up to the redline at 9,500. Also new is Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCCT, or fly-by-wire throttle). This enables Yamaha’s D-drive, traction control and flawless electronic cruise control. With D-drive riders can select T (touring) and S (sport). Both settings deliver the same maximum power, but T slows the rate of throttle opening, which is helpful on wet, slick roads. In S mode throttle response is noticeably faster. Clutch lever pull is fairly stiff, but it is easy to modulate and engages smoothly. Yamaha continues with a five-speed transmission, although fifth gear is sufficiently high that rpm aren’t excessive at Interstate speeds, and that shaft final drive is silent and carefree. With a 6.6-gallon gas tank a range of over 250 miles is feasible. New manually adjustable engine cowl vents can direct warm air outward from the rider, while in cooler weather the vents may be set to aim warm air toward the rider. The power windscreen mechanism now offers a wider range of heights and remains in its set position when the engine is switched off. Wind protection is noticeably improved, and a duct which directs air in front of the rider reduces buffeting and that feeling of being pushed forward by the wind at high speeds. We found the seating position to be relaxing and saddle comfy. Taller riders may find that leg space feels slightly cramped, but raising the seat to the higher position improves that. Bridgestone BT-023 radials, a 120/70-17 front and 180/55-17 rear, are standard. Traction is good on both dry and wet roads, the tires don’t chase rain grooves, are stable at speed, and feel confidence inspiring when leaned over in corners. Braking is easily controlled, strong and fade free. The ABS is unobtrusive and only intervenes when it’s really needed. Suspension is plush but well sorted and provides good wheel control. Mid-corner bumps don’t upset the chassis, and at high speed the FJR remains stable. Wet weight, ready to ride is 637 pounds (add 2 pounds on California models), which is several pounds lighter than before. The bike feels substantial, and initiating left-right transitions requires some effort. However, once tucked into a turn, the FJR1300A rails through the corner gleefully.

    Who should consider this bike?

This is not a motorcycle designed or intended for beginners. Because of its weight and high horsepower, only experienced intermediate riders ready to move up, and advanced riders who are already familiar with riding large, heavy and powerful machines should consider this motorcycle.

    Competitive models

Honda ST1300, Triumph Sprint, Kawasaki Concours 14, BMW R1200RT

    Summary of review and pricing

Yamaha’s FJR1300A continues to exhibit quality in design, components and construction. The bike quickly feels familiar, has few shortcomings and with a competent rider can deliver stunning performance in a capable sport-touring platform. MSRP is $15,890 with luggage, which it’s only $300 from the previous model. The only color offered is Stone Gray. Photos: Yamaha, Brian J. Nelson

    Specifications

Base Price $15,890 Model Year 2013 Manufacturer Yamaha Model FJR1300A Categories Sport-touring or Street-bike motorcycles Fuel Capacity 6.6 gal. Engine DOHC inline four Transmission Manual 5-speed

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Author: Tom Robertson (12 Articles)

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