Tag Archives: yamaha motorcycle demo ride

2013 Yamaha FJR 1300

I can start off right now and say that this motorcycle really isn’t my cup of tea. I’m not saying it’s a bad motorcycle. Actually to be completely honest with you, it’s a pretty cool motorcycle. But I’m a cruiser guy. I like to lean back and put my feet on floorboards. I don’t see floorboards as being an option on this motorcycle anytime soon. If you’ve read my blogs, you know that I’m a big fan of V-twin engines. So I’m going to try to have an open mind when I write this blog.

This motorcycle falls under the category of sports touring. It comes equipped with two removable saddlebags. Behind the seat is what looks like some sort of docking surface for possibly installing a trunk or just tying down some soft bags. One of the key features of this motorcycle is the ability to adjust the height of the windscreen. Adjusting the windscreen is a matter of pushing a button located near the left handgrip. Nice! The foot pegs are little bit towards the rear wheel, making you lean forward a little bit to ride the motorcycle.

It has been a long time since I’ve been on a motorcycle with an in-line four cylinder engine. I really forgot how fast these engines will rev-up. Not that V-twin engines rev-up slowly, but they definitely don’t rev-up as fast as an in-line four. Back in the day, I owned a 2002 Suzuki GSXR 750. Yellow and black, it looked like a big bumble bee. That motorcycle was pretty damn fast and fun to ride. I’m going to go out on a limb here. I think the sports touring segment is for people who are leaving the sport bike segment. It seems like a natural transition. You’re not quite ready to give up your crotch rocket, but the effects of bending over are starting to take their toll on your body.

The engine in this motorcycle produces somewhere around 145 HP. I don’t know what it makes at the rear wheel, but it can’t be too far away from 145 HP. The engine is a water cooled horizontal in-line four cylinder with a displacement a little south of 1300 cc. I felt no vibrations or a buzzing in the bars. Much of the engine is concealed in the bodywork. This engine has four valves per cylinder with dual overhead camshafts. This is a pretty good combination to keep an internal combustion engine aspirated. It also has technology from Yamaha’s efforts in Moto GP delivering fuel to those four cylinders.

Turning the throttle shows that Yamaha hit the mark because the engine provides a very smooth power delivery all the way through the rpm range. No jerking, no delays and no indication that anything was amiss. Obviously, I didn’t get to run the engine near red line on the demo ride, but the power delivery was predictable and exhilarating. I would imagine if you were to take this motorcycle out on an interstate the engine would show its true nature. I’ve got a feeling it’s a beast.

This motorcycle comes equipped with three disc brakes. The standard configuration is used, two up front and one in the rear. Incorporated in the braking system is ABS. I’m a big fan of ABS, I feel that ABS makes any motorcycle a lot more safer to operate. The brakes are not linked which is not the end of the world. But I’m also a big fan of linked brakes. I get a lot of arguments from people saying that ”if I knew how to ride a motorcycle I wouldn’t need ABS or linked brakes.” Well I’m going to err on the side of caution with my ABS and linked brakes. The lever for the front brake is adjustable. The ability to adjust the lever provides the operator to position the lever for a better feel when operating the front brake.

This motorcycle is somewhere around 650 pounds. Although it’s not at sport bike weight, it is still pretty nimble. The seat height is very close to 32 inches. Seat also seems extra-large meaning long and wide. Also, the material covering the seat felt weird. Maybe it’s some type of waterproof material. From axle to axle were looking at approximately 61 inches. The motorcycle felt very stable at the speeds I was riding it.

Instrumentation panel provides you with an analog tachometer on the left. A digital speedometer is dead center. A multi-function display is located on the right. I was unable to determine all the things the multifunction display presented the operator due to the fact I didn’t know how to work everything. I was able to display whether it was in sport or touring mode. Only bad thing is you can only change the modes why the motorcycle is stopped. One very important standard feature on this motorcycle is cruise control.

The suspension is fully adjustable both front and rear. Which makes a lot of sense because I’m sure the purchaser of this motorcycle is going to be tinkering with the suspension set up. Also, as the weight load changes on the motorcycle you’ll need to adjust the preload and possibly the dampening. The steering is very quick and nimble. The handgrips seem a little close to each other, but remember I’m used to riding cruisers.

The five-speed transmission worked flawlessly. The foot shift lever position was perfect for me. No toe-heel-shifter on this baby. The clutch is completely bathed in oil. The clutch is also hydraulically assisted and felt very smooth during its operation. The position of clutch lever is also adjustable. I guess putting a six speed gearbox on this motorcycle is a dumb idea due to the torque curve produced by the engine.

This motorcycle holds approximately 6.6 gallons of gasoline and gets approximately 39 miles per gallon. So let’s do some math 6.6 times 39 equals you’re going to have to go to the bathroom before you run out of fuel. Oh one more thing, this motorcycle has shaft drive. I’m a big fan of shaft drive. Chain drive is for people who like to get dirty. Belt drive is for people who haven’t totally weaned themselves off of the chain. Shaft drive is for us lazy Americans.

The riding experience of this motorcycle was exhilarating. There’s plenty of power tap. The steering was a lot quicker and more precise than what I’m used to. I did enjoy leaning the bike hard through the expressway on and off ramps. That’s something I normally don’t do because I’m worried about scraping the floorboards. I felt pretty comfortable even though there’s a forward lean when riding this motorcycle.

But too much time on this motorcycle would have sent me to the chiropractor. This is not the motorcycle’s fault, this is me suffering from “old dude syndrome.” Then we have the problem of a 30 inch inseam on a motorcycle with a 32 inch seat height. Again this is not the motorcycle’s fault, I guess I should’ve eaten more fruits and vegetables as a wee lad. I don’t know if the motorcycle can be lowered or there is some type of lowering kit that can be purchased. I guess I should’ve got that information.

The one thing that I had to learn quickly about riding this motorcycle is I had to match the gear position with the engine rpm. So going through the gears in the transmission was an integral part of riding this motorcycle. Yep, that little lever thing down by the right foot peg is going to be used a lot when riding this motorcycle. Not quite what I’m used to riding a cruiser type motorcycle with a V twin engine. If I’m not in the right gear I just turn the throttle, it may chug a little bit, but sooner or later everything’s cool.