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Premium Member
2008 FJR/AE
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199 Posts
I think I would prefer an A. With an ES, you're stuck with the OEM suspension, although adjustable, still stock parameters. With an A model I can replace the stock with a Penske (or your favorite aftermarket brand) and have a suspension that is set up for me specifically. One man's opinion...
 

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Premium Member
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4,165 Posts
I think I would prefer an A. With an ES, you're stuck with the OEM suspension, although adjustable, still stock parameters. With an A model I can replace the stock with a Penske (or your favorite aftermarket brand) and have a suspension that is set up for me specifically. One man's opinion...
People always say that, but how many do?
 

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Super Moderator
2007A, 2013A
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9,804 Posts
I have 2 A models and do not regret not getting an ES. Always solo, max of 40 lbs or so extra when traveling. 185 lbs. Switch to HARD with luggage, SOFT without. I prefer stock suspension. Will be removing a Penske rear shock this winter, way too harsh for me.
 

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Super Moderator
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4,183 Posts
Nope. Have an A from before there was and ES. I never jonesed for a replacement because of that. Once you dial in a suspension, it's pretty much set except right before a ride that changes loads (solo to passenger). Given the OEM suspension bits that you start with, that's minimal anyway. Going to improved aftermarket is also easier/cheaper without ES.
 

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Registered
FJR1300A 2008
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2,115 Posts
UCSE5,

I have an A. I would pass on the ES because (1.) I like my suspension mods, and (2.) the sky-high cost of replacing those parts on an ES (OEM only) when they wear out or fail. When the day comes that the factory does not make your suspension parts any longer, you are stuck with a problem. If I did not plan to keep an FJR very long, maybe an ES would be okay, but I look 'way down the road when buying. YMMV.
 
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8 Posts
I recently purchased a '19 A with about 11K miles on it. I actually wanted a '22 AE that the dealer had, used with 130 miles on it but I waited too long and it was sold. The A I got was allegedly owned by an older guy and I kind of believe the dealer as it had some huge chicken strips on the rear tire, the front was new. It has an Ohlins shock and the dealer said some unknown work done on the forks, he believed it was Race Tech for some reason. Anyway this thing rides like a dream, both solo and 2 up. I also noticed that when I'm riding fast bumpy sweepers it doesn't wallow like my stock '12 A did. So, to the question posed by the O/P, I guess I wouldn't hesitate to buy either an A or an ES if the deal is OK.
 

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522 Posts
Just about every reply suggests it's a personal preference and how much each individual enjoys tinkering with the settings. I can see both sides of the coin but would also suggest factoring the types of roads you personally anticipate riding the majority of the time. Long stretches of highway might have you setting up one way. Tight, decently maintained twisties might dictate another. Rougher roads such as in colder climes with stretches of frost heaves still another. Regular rides that has you seeing combinations of each I think is where the ES shines.
 

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Premium Member
2016 FJR1300AK
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231 Posts
I was asking myself the same question and went back and forth over and over and finally decided on an A (bought Ivan's '16 FJR). I prefer the A for the reasons mentioned above.... less to go wrong when things go wrong, you can adjust the suspension to your likings more and overall it seems that once you set your suspension, you don't change it that often.

I did swap my suspension within a couple weeks of getting my bike... a Penske triple clicker on back and Traxxion Dynamics AK-20 internals. I think it's pretty safe to say that it's about as well set up suspension-wise as any FJR out there.

I do wish my A had the cornering lights as they are kinda neat looking, but not a deal breaker.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the look and performance of the USD (upside down) forks that the ES model has over the conventional, and somewhat antiquated RSU (right side up) fork setup on the A model.

This is my A model bike.... :D

Wheel Tire Fuel tank Vehicle Plant
 

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532 Posts
I looked at both A & ES versions w/both of my FJRs. Initially, I wanted the ES model, thought it would be pretty cool to have that ability to adjust the suspension on the fly. Then I thought about it because once I set my suspension, I rarely adjust it so... what's the point of the ES? Really, none for me. And then there's the additional costs at the point of purchase as well as when the parts may need to eventually be replaced. Even when I have a passenger, all I need do w/the A model is flip the handle under the seat and that always seem to work just fine.

Lots of folks freak out over suspensions, adjustability, etc. Well, I'm 5'10" & 230 and I've never bought aftermarket suspension pieces for any of my bikes in my 45+ years of riding. I also have never had my suspensions ever set up by a professional, w/proper sag and such. I simply hop on and ride, adjusting by smidges here & there w/compression, damping and rebound until I'm comfortable. Pretty much set it and forget it. YMMV.

My brother's FJR is an ES model and he loves the adjustability but this is way high tech for him so it's kind of a novelty and I'm not even sure he really knows what he's doing w/it! Either way, if two equivalent bikes were presented to me, one an A model, one an ES model, I'd still take the A model.

Good luck!
Lee
 

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2018 FJR1300ES/2022 FJR1300ES
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3,532 Posts
This. Riding interstate and then getting into highly technical twisties in the same ride makes one appreciate ES. I tend to keep my bikes in warranty and run them to 80-100,00 plus miles over 4-5 years or so. If I was going to keep one forever, out of warranty, I might look at another A, though I’ve never had an issue from my ES’s.
Just about every reply suggests it's a personal preference and how much each individual enjoys tinkering with the settings. I can see both sides of the coin but would also suggest factoring the types of roads you personally anticipate riding the majority of the time. Long stretches of highway might have you setting up one way. Tight, decently maintained twisties might dictate another. Rougher roads such as in colder climes with stretches of frost heaves still another. Regular rides that has you seeing combinations of each I think is where the ES shines.
 

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2018 FJR1300ES/2022 FJR1300ES
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3,532 Posts
No, there are two shops that can rebuild them now. But I put 97k on my last ES, and nothing needed servicing.
Well I've replaced my OEM A stock setup with a Penske rear and Traxxion inserts up front. Also as I understand it a ES rear shock cannot be rebuilt and becomes a brick if it fails.
 

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Premium Member
2008 FJR/AE
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199 Posts
I think your weight plays into it a lot. I'm a heavy guy and the stock suspensions simply don't hold up under me very long. Getting the front/rear springs correct for your weight is the issue. Lesser concerns are the valving and what specific style of riding you do. Even with stock valving you have enough adjustment to get something feeling good... but once you get outside the weight the spring is rated for, you won't get a decent ride no matter what you do.
People always say that, but how many do?
Not sure how many others, but every bike I've owned in the last 20 years. It is probably the single most beneficial modification you can make if you don't fit within the stock suspension parameters outside of rider training.
 
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