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My unofficial survey of those who have ES bikes (not just fjr’s) says they really like them. Survey also says these are people with no understanding of suspension, how or why it works, and no desire to learn about it. (Its kind of a shame shame as it isnt that difficult to learn).

If that’s you OP, then ES is likely for you. I have ridden a few and do not like them, but at ~275# ready to ride I’m more than a bit out of the design range, I ride aggressively, and I’m picky about suspension - all my bikes have custom front and rear setups for my weight and style.
I agree with all of what you said but I look at it this way... if the OP cannot feel any difference when changing suspension settings, why spend the extra $$$ on an ES? Especially when changing settings, whether manually or electronically matters not.

I personally avoided the ES when shopping. I figured if I'm going to upgrade to some quality suspension pieces someday the A bike will be easier.
 

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2015 FJR-1300ESF
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327 Posts
I fully upgraded the suspension on my old Vstrom, and set up the sag for me. Forks rebuilt and sprung for my weight by a Racetech dealer, OEM shock rebuilt and set up for me (with occasional 2-up in mind) by Sasquatch aka Adventure Powersports. So, so much better than OE suspension (it was tolerable solo, not so much 2-up).

When I started shopping for FJR's, I ended up with an -ES as a consequence of a few things:

1) I didn't particularly want to go through with an FJR what I did with the Vstrom. It wasn't the expense, it was that I wanted to get us on the road right away vs. spending a few months getting the suspension sorted out.

2) I was looking specifically for a 2013-2015 FJR.

3) there were only so many FJRs in that year range on the used market, within a reasonable travel distance. Some were -A, some -ES.

4) I got a pretty good deal on the -ES I ended up buying. Considering the cost of travel (the 2013-2015 -A's were all a few states away) and money I would need to spend upgrading the -A suspension, it was almost a wash vs. buying the -ES from a neighboring state. The -ES came with about $1700 in accessories I cared about (easily over $2000 if you also consider the ones I didn't care about), so when I factored that in, the price gap vs. the -A's shrank further.

Haven't regretted buying the -ES so far. Can't beat the convenience of adjustment.
 

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I owned a 2009 FJR and upgraded it with a Penke rear shock and a cartridge with stiffer springs from GP Suspension. It was expensive but worth every darn penny. It transformed the bike to a wallowing pig to being on rails. It was simply amazing. I put about 80,000 miles on that set up.

I bought a 17 FJR ES and I love all the upgrades, every darn one, but the suspension is very poor compared to the 09 with aftermarket parts.

To begin with I had a 850 lbs spring on the 09 with the Penske. It was a manual adjustment, easy to use and was infinitely adjustable. It also was more compliant than the 17 ES when both were compared with the proper sag settings.

The 17 ES suspension is ok for most but not for me. I was spoiled by what I had on the 09. So if you have experience with custom suspension the ES will likely fall short of exceptions. How much to I dislike my ES - I have thought of selling it but haven't hit upon the combination touring, handling and reliability I want. On the FJRiders forum I am an outcast in my criticism of the ES. Fine and I don't care. I have no brand loyalty and tell it as it is.

What wrong with it you ask. It is undersprung with a 685 lbs spring. So to set the sag I have to use the 2 helmet position for solo riding. And what really irks me is you have 4 preload settings. In my mind this is way dumbed down. Why not let the user select it from 0-100% preload. No we get four, four out of 100. My gosh how silly.

Two up is miserable as there is not enough rear spring and the bike handles like a truck compared to my 09 with a Penke. With the sag properly set for one up the shock is not supple for irregular pavement so it has a harsh ride.

Nope the ES is not a good setup and poor firmware makes it even worse. The real trouble with the ES is it can't be fixed with aftermarket parts. I am stuck with something I can't upgrade. It is simply aggravating.
 

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2018 FJR1300ES/2022 FJR1300ES
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There are plenty of knowledgeable people
who enjoy ES’s. Some who had no difficulty properly configuring their A models prior to switching to the convenience and versatility of ES. Choosing an ES is far from an indicator of suspension knowledge, or lack thereof.

I loved my A. But I no longer have to compromise between the best setting for interstate and the best setting for the mountains. I can have them both without ever getting off the bike.
My unofficial survey of those who have ES bikes (not just fjr’s) says they really like them. Survey also says these are people with no understanding of suspension, how or why it works, and no desire to learn about it. (Its kind of a shame shame as it isnt that difficult to learn).

If that’s you OP, then ES is likely for you. I have ridden a few and do not like them, but at ~275# ready to ride I’m more than a bit out of the design range, I ride aggressively, and I’m picky about suspension - all my bikes have custom front and rear setups for my weight and style.
 

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I did the AK-20/Penske mods on my 06 and loved it. When I upgraded to my brand new 14 I decided to forgo the ES (a $1,000 option) and spend about $2,000 on the Traxxion Dynamics AK-20 fork upgrade and Penske shock. Not sorry I did it. Most of my riding on this bike is two-up and it performs flawlessly.
 

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There are plenty of knowledgeable people
who enjoy ES’s. Some who had no difficulty properly configuring their A models prior to switching to the convenience and versatility of ES. Choosing an ES is far from an indicator of suspension knowledge, or lack thereof.

I loved my A. But I no longer have to compromise between the best setting for interstate and the best setting for the mountains. I can have them both without ever getting off the bike.
We will agree to disagree, and our individual experience probably contributes greatly. I have come across 1 rider who understood suspension, rides spirited/aggressively and likes the ES on his BMW GS - he weighs all of 135 lbs soaking wet. None of the other hundred plus (don't know exact #) had maybe adjusted suspension but didn't understand how to properly set it up. The latest one I've ridden was a '16 1200RS. I couldn't adjust the suspension to my liking - I rode my custom suspension Bandit home and was much happier.

A lot has to do with how much the rider weighs - a given spring can only cover so much ground, and I'm well above design assumptions (270 ready to ride). Another aspect is one only knows what has been experienced, and if one has never ridden a bike "dialed in" for weight and riding style, they don't have the proper benchmark to compare to. Another is riding style - what is considered spirited/aggressive riding by one my be cruising along for another. The FJR stock suspension is inadequate for me even at a moderate pace much less at an aggressive pace. It will work for sub 200# riders up to a moderate pace, but pushed aggressively will start wallowing around.
 

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2018 FJR1300ES/2022 FJR1300ES
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Weight and rider ability definitely make a difference in what an individual can do with the bike. Mine have handled quite well when ridden aggressively.

I’m lucky enough to live near some of the best riding territory in the country. I get full usage and enjoyment out of my FJR’s.
 

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2014 FJR-A
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217 Posts
Spokane Jim, I don't notice any mention of your weight.
OSU55 and SJ, if you think the ES shock in undersprung, that can be changed. Once properly sprung, the damping adjustments may work better to suit you.

Rayzerman mentioned in Post #3 that EPM Performance can rebuild the OEM FJR-ES shocks.
Changing the spring and possibly the compression / rebound shim stacks might improve the suspension to the point you may have a better impression of the FJR-ES. Probably at lower price than you have paid in the past for suspension upgrades on previous scooters.
You might contact Klaus at EPM Performance to see what might be done to help. It's just a phone call away.
Home | EPM Performance

I have no association with EPM, and this is not a paid testimonial.


dan


"It's always something" -- Gilda Radner as Rosanna Rosannadanna
 

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Premium Member
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Great videos on how springs work. Klaus is great to work with. I took an R1 shock to him for a stronger spring for my weight. I watched as he swapped out the spring on the shock and the conversation was enlightening to say the least. This R1 shock gave me super adjustability on my '06 Gen 2 FZ1.

I've found the damping range on the FJR works well for my 240 lbs. I've already felt the improvement a spring change in the forks has done. I gotta assume the rear will react the same.
 

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Versys 1000, VFR800
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I'd agree if you're used to good aftermarket suspension you'll shy away from the ES stuff.... there are very few OEM suspensions properly sprung and in the FJR's case you cannot independently adjust damping, you're stuck with the formula Yammy decided was best for most. If I had an ES, I'd try a stronger spring on the back to start..... in the interests of science. If you're happy with ES, then that's also OK by me.
 
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2018 FJR1300ES/2022 FJR1300ES
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Being sub 200lbs, I can assure you that the stock suspension serves quite well for aggressive riding in the mountains. With proper tires and pressures, witchcraft can be practiced with relative ease, in the hands of a practiced rider.

My 2018ES was fine, even at over 90,000 miles. And I mean shredding tires in the twisties. My 2022ES has been the same, thus far.

But none of my FJR’s, 14a/18ES/22ES, has been adequate for two up, fully loaded, in the twisties. Just too much weight for the stock setup in extreme conditions. I have to take it easy two up, with gear, in the twisties.

Sweepers, or interstate, no worries.
 

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Spokane Jim, I don't notice any mention of your weight.
OSU55 and SJ, if you think the ES shock in undersprung, that can be changed. Once properly sprung, the damping adjustments may work better to suit you.

Rayzerman mentioned in Post #3 that EPM Performance can rebuild the OEM FJR-ES shocks.
Changing the spring and possibly the compression / rebound shim stacks might improve the suspension to the point you may have a better impression of the FJR-ES. Probably at lower price than you have paid in the past for suspension upgrades on previous scooters.
You might contact Klaus at EPM Performance to see what might be done to help. It's just a phone call away.
Home | EPM Performance

I have no association with EPM, and this is not a paid testimonial.


dan


"It's always something" -- Gilda Radner as Rosanna Rosannadanna

Hello. I weigh 250 with riding gear. I appreciate your comments about having the shock resprung. The trouble is 4 preload settings severely limit adjustment. Further my spine and backside says the ES rear shock is not compliant or supple with the sag set properly.

After putting 80k miles a Penske shock I know the ES shock is no Penske.

I am waiting for the Honda NT1100 to hit American soil and see if it fit my needs.

One of these days the FJR is gone. I just haven't found the right bike yet the one that puts a big grin on my face.
 
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