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123 Posts
Hey,
Sounds as though all angles are covered here.
I too started with an "A" (2004). I put Race Tech suspension on it front & back. It made the bike very nice to ride. Of course.....you never get your money back on that kind of upgrade, but that's a given.
Now that I'm on an ES (2016), I would not consider an "A" again. I wish I could do Ohlins front & back on it....but that's not an option.

The choice always comes down to application. I live in a mountain-ness area with many twisties to ride most days. I spend little time on long hauls across flat states with little elevation to deal with. I camp off of my bike (backpack gear etc.). And, I like to haul a$$.

Getting off the bike to make an adjustment to rebound is a pain. The ES is a flick of the switch. Forest Service Roads (gravel pot holes).....flip to a soft set up, mmmmmm. Heavy load and wanna burn down a stretch of twisties...flip to hard and ride with no wishy washy feel.

The ES is not for everybody.....but then no scooter is for everybody.

Cheers,
 

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124 Posts
I have had both an A and ES. I put 80k miles on a 2009 A with a Penske shock and GP suspension fork cartridge with a heavier spring. This after market set up dramatically improved handling and performance.

I bought a 17 ES and I am very disappointed with it. With a 680 lb spring it is under sprung for my 220 frame. You get only four rear shock preload settings and when set to the proper sag setting the rear shock is not supple in the least. So if you reduce the preload to get the shock to work you get unwanted chassis movement on demanding situations. Lord I hate ES. Think about it. A traditional shock with an adjustment nut has preload settings from 1-100. Once you fit the proper spring it works great. The ES has only 4 preload settings (4 out of 100). Plus removing the shock for servicing means removing the swing arm. Putting a stiffer spring in it with only 4 preload settings is no guarantee of improvement.

It is a shame Yamaha screwed the pooch because the 17 ES is a very fine bike less the rear shock.
 

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Premium Member
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1,825 Posts
Just curious if the A vs ES debaters here have seen this thread....

 

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50 Posts
I have an A and am completely satisfied. I can't count the number of guys who have tinkered with settings until nothing makes them happy. Then they go to the shop for a custom adjustment and the first thing they do is set it to factory standard and poof all is well. So unless you have to have the toy to tinker with. I'd save the cash and put it into other farkels.
 

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2018 FJR1300ES/2022 FJR1300ES
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3,519 Posts
Well said. That’s my experience.
Hey,
Sounds as though all angles are covered here.
I too started with an "A" (2004). I put Race Tech suspension on it front & back. It made the bike very nice to ride. Of course.....you never get your money back on that kind of upgrade, but that's a given.
Now that I'm on an ES (2016), I would not consider an "A" again. I wish I could do Ohlins front & back on it....but that's not an option.

The choice always comes down to application. I live in a mountain-ness area with many twisties to ride most days. I spend little time on long hauls across flat states with little elevation to deal with. I camp off of my bike (backpack gear etc.). And, I like to haul a$$.

Getting off the bike to make an adjustment to rebound is a pain. The ES is a flick of the switch. Forest Service Roads (gravel pot holes).....flip to a soft set up, mmmmmm. Heavy load and wanna burn down a stretch of twisties...flip to hard and ride with no wishy washy feel.

The ES is not for everybody.....but then no scooter is for everybody.

Cheers,
 

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1 Posts
I have a 2008 A-model, a 2014 A-model, and a 2108 ES-model and use them for different purposes. The 2008 and 2014 A-models are my rally bikes, and the 2018 is my two-up bike. I do like the electronic suspension to quickly make adjustments based on weight being carried when two-up or with luggage, but other than those times I haven't really made adjustments to it so far for any other reason that would make having the electronic suspension a big deal. And the cost of replacing the rear shock is quite a bit more than on the A-model.
 

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26 Posts
I have a 14 ES and I’ve been very satisfied with it. I change adjustments fairly frequently depending on the road surface and what kind of riding I do. I had an 06 previously and I did the Race Tech stuff with 1.1 springs and a Wilbers fully adjustable rear shock. It was really well sorted for about 25k miles until the fork bushings wore out and it started to get somewhat imprecise. When I rebuilt the fork it was better but never quite the same. The drawback with not having electronic suspension is that you have to stop and change adjustments, especially in the rear shock. If you set it up for canyon riding, it’ll beat you up on the freeway. I’m a former road racer and I did ride the bike fairly hard at times, with lots of backroads and stuff. The ES fork is a ton better than the “A” fork ever was and even better with the 1.1 springs and 7.5 weight oil I put in it. Both bikes I bought new with about 25k on the ES now. When you buy certain things they come with a cost and to me it’s worth it.
 
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