Loving it greatly I am. Here's a review I wrote after my test ride:
Ride 2: 2005 Yamaha FJR1300
The one thing that surprised me the most today is how much more enjoyable to ride the Yamaha FJR1300 is than the Honda ST1300. And that from somebody who has recently ridden 32,000km on an ST. I can't recall ever having read a head-to-head comparison of sports tourers that the ST1300 hasn't "won", and have always mentally discounted the FJR accordingly. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Here are some points in the FJR's favour.
1. It looks great without its panniers on. Mind you, even as an ardent ST fan, I was always prepared to concede this.
2. It has an inline-four with a beautifully deep exhaust note, even through its standard Yamaha mufflers. No revvy v-4 cam whining.
3. The riding position seems more accommodating than an ST, and I loved the set-up of the bars.
4. The throttle response from the EFI is way better than Honda's PGM-FI. Almost as good as carburettors!
5. A span-adjustable clutch lever. A big yet inexpensive omission, Mr Honda.
6. R1-sourced brakes. But without the bar-mounted urine bottle. Magnificent.
7. 17" wheels front and rear. No need to order your replacement front tyre weeks in advance, and a greater choice of tyres too.
8. It's 40kg lighter!
The bike was already warmed up by the time I was ready to ride. Turn the ignition on and both needles on the analogue tach and speedo kick across to the "well done" position before zeroing themselves. Fuel, temperature, dual trip meters and clock are all part of a digital display panel. All nicely laid out and easy to read.
My ST was the 2002 model without the electric screen. The FJR has an electric slider. More on that later.
As already noted, the 1,298cc inline-four has a gorgeous deep note. It's fuel injected and connected to the rear wheel via a five-speed box and shaft drive. It has a 25-litre tank and a seat height of 820mm, but somehow it didn't feel high and I managed to get my feet down comfortably when stopped.
And off I went. The town traffic had eased a lot since my earlier ride and I had the back streets of my test route (this time the longer version) pretty much to myself. The FJR is, like the ST, surprisingly nimble and the big donk very willing, smooth and torquey. The gearbox is good, but not a Kawasaki or Honda.
Out on the open road the bike accelerated effortlessly to the legal limit - about 4,000rpm in top. This is spinning about 500rpm quicker than the ST at the same speed and it felt like it needed a sixth gear.
Then I started to play with the electric screen. This was in its down-most setting when I hit the motorway. I then wound it right up. Hmmmm. Warm. But very noisy around the helmet, so I eased it down until the helmet buffet and noise disappeared at just slightly above halfway. This meant the wind turned nicely over my shoulders, keeping my chest warm. The Shoei coped well being out in the wind and was nicely quiet, probably as its maker envisaged. Way quieter than behind the screen on my ST.
And oh, those R1 brakes! Magnificent. I can now see what you sprotsbike guys get excited about.
The only question I had on returning the bike was how to open the lid on the pannier storage box. The ignition has to be on. A nice security feature!
Another very tidy, and surprising, package indeed and one that deserves careful consideration in the Replace The ST1300 Stakes.