SPORT CLASS-Y TOURING LUXURY CRUISING
The new 2016 FJR 1300 ES comes stacked with some features I really didn’t expect in a sport cruiser. Firstly, ES means “electric suspension”. It also means Extra Smooth. But maybe it should have been an “SST” model, for Super Sport Touring, which it is anyway. In this sport cruiser there is nothing lacking in the sport department.
At a first glance, you see saddle bags, a full fairing with an slightly larger wind shield, and the bike looks sleek and low. I was expecting a heavy bike where the engine size was needed to get the thing moving. Well, that is definitely not the case here. It feels like as though it’s longer than and a crotch rocket in the wheelbase, and it is, but it doesn’t handle like that at all. It holds corners like a magnet even at slower speeds. The weight is center-balanced, and feels low and matched with the electronic suspension will make any corner, bump or road condition as smooth as you could ever want.
With the foot pegs normally located for a sport bike, it didn’t feel uncomfortable at any time. The seat is a bit wider and slightly more plush than a sport bike that will help on the longer trips. No numb bum for me on this one.
When I straddled this bike, I immediately felt the little bit of extra room and a bit of weight, from the previous bike i just rode, the Yamaha XSR900. 2 completely different bikes. When I left the parking lot I noticed the extra weight right away but also found that when I got this cruiser into a corner, it felt like a perfectly balanced machine when leaned over. I felt super confident in the first few corners which turned into a big fat smile for the rest of ride.
The bike comes with two modes, Touring and Sport. I started the first ride in touring and quickly switched to sport. The difference wasn’t massive, but it was noticeable in the immediate roll on of the throttle. Touring was a slightly gentler approach to acceleration and sport felt more like it would be if there weren’t any choices of modes. I left it in sport mode for the duration of the review EXCEPT for an afternoon when the clouds rolled in and dumped a wall of wetness. I’m not an experienced rain rider, but I did feel safe when I switched back to the touring mode and softened the suspension to the plushest setting.
While braking in the rain I was happy to know that this bike has an incredible feature where both brakes are initiated from the foot brake. I never locked up and I never had to touch the front brakes on the now slippery freeway. Being on a hot freeway on a hot day when it first rains is kinda freaky knowing that its the greasiest time for a street bike. I got thru that section with tonnes of confidence, and it made the bike even more attractive to me, as now my mind starts to think about the perfect bike for me if I bought a bike.
After riding home and playing with the features, including the application of the cruise control, I felt like I had been unknowingly going thru my motorcycle life with a massive target on my back. I’m 51, an extreme sport participant throughout my life, I’m in great shape, and feeling younger by the day and always staying active … and then BAM! A bike that was built exactly for me. Comfortable seat, upright riding position but still a bit forward. Great styling with places to carry gear and things, like cameras and other gadgets. It even has a lockable box in the fairing on the left side, where you can put your keys to your house, your phone, and a bit more. Plus it has a car charger plug to charge your phone while you’re riding.
Good weight for long treks and smooth tracking on the freeway, yet loads of power and features, like cruise control, that make the ride sooo much better. The heated grips didn’t get used in a real situation but I did try it out and can only imagine how sweet that will be when the time comes.
This bike was built for me, not you, me. But you will feel the same when you get on this thing.
The FJR 1300 has been around for many many years. It hasn’t changed at all really except for this year when the added the electronic adjustable suspension and a few upgrades in the lights, going to LED. The engine is the same but the gearing is updated to a 6 speed. The interesting thing here is that Yamaha engineers put a larger six speed transmission in the same space of a 5 speed trany. That was a huge feat and was accomplished by late nights, caffeine and chocolate bars… not really but, I’m amazed what engineers can do these days. From what I understand, they condensed the gears by making them slightly thinner and adding an angle to the cogs and even one gear was stacked on top of another, where it slips out to be engaged. I laugh at my attempt to explain, that was me trying to understand the specs and put it into laymen’s terms.
Yamaha’s exclusive Chip Controlled Throttle “YCC-T”, a ride-by-wire system that provides crisp, seamless throttle response. Add onto that the cruise control and cruising on this is so smooth. For 635 pounds, there is no delay in acceleration. Clean power everywhere, multi adjustable electronic suspension, super comfy seat, combined front and rear ABS brakes, new LED lighting front and rear and a neat feature that I never got to see in action was the new lean angle lighting on the fairing. It allows you to illuminate the corners, with LED lights, as you ride through them.
So without any hesitation, I’ll have to say that this bike is pretty sweet. It is an epic long distance touring machine and a really comfortable daily cruiser.
Of all the years the FJR1300 has been in production, this by far the best rendition of the bike over all the years it’s been in existence.