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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I am grateful to be in the position of "adding" to my garage. I currently ride a 2020 Triumph Speed twin that has been fun; and, interesting as I've modified parts, done some tuning, etc.

I am 50, 6'1'' tall, approx 215lbs. Inseam 33? I wear 34 pants.

I took a 5 day trip to Big Bend (rode a triumph scrambler 1200XE), followed by a 5 day trip to South Dakota (rented a Harley Street Glide) - these have juiced my desire to have a motorcycle capable of touring.

Following these two trips, I have been on a mission to test ride "everything" to determine my next ride. After Big Bend, I started thinking "Harley". After 5 days in South Dakota on a Harley....I started thinking - "something else" :).

To provide a little context on what I liked/didn't like about the two experiences:
- wind protection is vital - zero on the scrambler (I actually traded it for the speed twin)
- having bags is really nice, I expect most of my riding to be trips with hotels/airbnb stays vs. camping - so, having the ability to have water, snacks, etc. is really nice.
- I don't intend (or even really like) off road riding. I thought I would enjoy it more...hence the scrambler purchase - i am a street guy
- The harley felt very "slow" vs. both my triumphs. I know it's a power/weight thing....but, also a top end thing. after about 80mph, there isn't anything left in the harley
- I REALLY enjoy tinkering and customization. I like making my bike my own. I probably make 2 changes a month to my triumph....did the same w/ the scrambler
- I liked having a stereo, but, I also have cardo and I wear a full face lid. The harley stereo was useless on the highway. This point is one of the reasons I'm thinking of moving away from large expensive cruisers as I am unsure I'll actually use the features I'm paying (handsomely) for.

I still need to test ride the Goldwing (looking at bagger version only), but have eliminated: Harley, BMW K series and have really enjoyed the Indian Challenger. There is a "ton" of room on that Challenger and it rides much, much, much better than stock Harleys. It is also over $30k, requires an "order" then a wait all followed by uncertainty around reliability and TCO.

I initially eliminated "sport touring" models due to rider position - primarily "leg position"....but, in terms of value, functionality and FLEXIBILTY it would seem I was premature in eliminating this category. This forum showed me the highway pegs are possible and several youtube reviews talk about the FJR as an "iron butt" favorite.

If you've read this far - thank you. I know these posts are both irritating and far too common. If you have experience touring on large cruisers/baggers and can compare the FJR....I would love some wisdom on the following:

1. Does the FJR feel "torquey enough"? on paper, at just under 100ft/lbs, it seems "ok" - but, it will really depend on where that torque comes in. The big cruisers develop the torque low....and need to do so....because of the weight.

2. Wheelbase - is the FJR stable at 80mph +? I put together a spreadsheet and the FJR has a steep rake 26 degrees combined with a short wheelbase 60.8....which makes me wonder about stability at highway speeds. For reference (see image below) the goldwing has a 30.5 degree rake and 5 inches more wheelbase at 66.7. 5 inches of wheelbase on a motorcycle is HUGE. Now, I know the GW will give up maneuverability due to rake and wheelbase - but, these two models seem to be at each end of the continuum, hence the compare. You'll see other models compared in my pic below.

3. Is it heavy enough? Odd question, I know - but it's ~200lbs lighter than the big fuller faired touring bikes. Is mid-600's enough to provide that planted feeling on the highway?

4. Lastly - aftermarket support to address my "tinkering" addiction....how does that look?

Many thanks for reading and possibly commenting - I really appreciate it - Chris.

Here is the spready I made to comare some bikes:

Font Material property Number Parallel Screenshot
 

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Yep, go ride one. It will feel planted enough, no worries.... some of us even wish it was lighter....... I have lighter and they are planted too with the right suspension.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the quick responses! Availability is an issue. Looks like there is a used one at a honda dealer I will try tomorrow. If they don't let me ride....(I think they will) - there isn't another option within 4 hours (according to cycle trader)
 

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1. The powerband on the FJR is somewhat flat and has torque and power just about everywhere and anytime. I'd never consider it to be slow by any comparison. Beautiful engine that can be lugged low or wound up.

2. It is very stable. Many have done triple digit speeds and I've been guilty of flogging it at a constant 120+ for several miles and was boring in nature as to how smooth, stable and easy it was to get it up to and keep those speeds.

3. It is heavy enough... winds don't bother me much except the crosswinds created by semi's. I know they'll happen so prepare for them and no issues.

4. There's enough aftermarket support for the bike. Not as much as a harley to chrome everything out and make it look like a cheap bike, but enough to put holes in your wallet and a smile on your face.

I'm 6'2, 190 and on my second FJR. Had an '06 and sold it with 60k miles on it. Bought the '16 which is the same gorgeous blue color but love the 6 speed and cruise control is stupid fun.

Have a buddy with some sort of harley (the one with the two lights up front) and he put a 122 kit on it. Even with it jacked up, he has to downshift at highway speeds to keep up with my roll-on 6th gear pulls.
 

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Basically repeating what was said but you need to add butt in the seat columns to your spreadsheet with comfort, speed, longevity, overall ridability on short trips, long trips around town, hot days, cold days. Nothing will ease your mind like some seat time on an FJR
 

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From a 30,000-foot view... I'd recommend that whatever bike you choose, you should be sure you don't buy it 'blind' to the resale value. Because with a spread of bikes this wide, you may not be 100% satisfied with your choice. Some of these bikes may lose a lot of their value after you buy them and if you want to make a change, you'd be a bit hosed.

Obviously you're going to find a lot of FJR fans here, and I think it's a great choice for being able to enjoy a big spread of different kinds of riding. It's not a sportbike, but it can handle some surprisingly sporty riding. And it's not a GoldWing in the comfort department, but there you're getting way bigger than I like when I feel a little sporty.
 

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I have the 14 FJR and 18 Goldwing. FJR is the better handler, Wing is more comfy getting to the twisties. Either handle fine, just different. FJR is very stable into the 140's. No wobble of tank slappers for sure. I am spoiled to the fact that cruise control and electric windshield are now standard on whatever comes next for me. FJR ES can be changed on the fly. Wing cannot. You have to be stopped to change suspension. Widgets and Carplay on the Wing. Nothing on the FJR.

I enjoy both bikes alot.
 

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Before you make your decision whether you want a cruiser/ tourer or a sport tourer, you need to evaluate exactly how you ride, what are your expectations from the bike and what are your expectations of your intended trips. Then choose the bike that fits those needs.
 

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1. At 4K RPM the smiles start. At 5K the real fun starts. My FJR will wheelie in 1st gear at 30-35 without using the clutch, just twisting the throttle.

2. Fastest I've ever been on my FJR was 120. I thought I was still around 100...

3. I think I get blown around more on my 900 lb Victory Vision.

4. Probably less aftermarket tinkering than a Gold Wing or a Harley. Finding farkles for older bikes is getting more challenging. Get a 2013 or later to avoid that issue.

Borrow bikes from friends and friends-of-friends to narrow down what you want. Buy used. If you don't like it you'll lose a lot less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Before you make your decision whether you want a cruiser/ tourer or a sport tourer, you need to evaluate exactly how you ride, what are your expectations from the bike and what are your expectations of your intended trips. Then choose the bike that fits those needs.
Thanks - I find I take my riding queues from the bike. On a cruiser, I tend to cruise, on my triumph is much more spirited riding. I suppose determining where I want to make concessions is really what I need to do.

Also - "zero" of my riding pals (at the moment) have cruisers. Everyone is on a cafe / sport bike. That influences the decision making process too - it's more fun to ride when skills and bikes are similarly matched.

@Ludwig61 - thank you. Useful info. If you can wheelie with throttle only....there's definitely a good amount of torque.

This community seems pretty strong. For a newbie who's 'shopping' - you guys have been very responsive and helpful.....that's a big deal too!

thanks again.

Off tomorrow to test ride (hopefully) the goldwing and a 2020 FJR (which I now understand needs a transmission rebuild....recall.....sigh) It is literally the only one for sale w/in 4 hours drive (using cycle trader). Hopefully the dealer is cool and lets me test ride. I'm finding the supply chain nonsense increasingly frustrating.
 

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What part of the world are you in? One local dealer in MN has 7 of them of various ages
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What part of the world are you in? One local dealer in MN has 7 of them of various ages
Dallas area.
 

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Christopher, I just sent you a private message regarding my 2016.
 

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If you buy an FJR, at your size, plan on putting about $1000 - $1500 into it for better ergos: larger windshield, better seat, and some kind of riser blocks or plate unless you buy a used bike with some of that already installed.

Advantage of an FJR over a Harley - no chrome.
 

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Here is my take on things as I feel like I have a little bit of info to add.

My other bike is a 98 VFR 800 Interceptor. The FJR is just confidence inspiring. I bought the 2013 FJR to take my wife on trips with me. I can roll 5th gear from 35 mph to 100 mph 2 up, in the mountains and the bike never complains.

Recently on a trip a custom Harley fell in with us like he knew us and we rode about 75 miles together. At one point we had a car stop in front of us to turn, I got on it from a slow roll (my wife and I) and the Harley wasn't even close to keeping up with the FJR.

Power and Torque will not be an issue. There isn't as much aftermarket support for the FJR than some of your other options. However, I've not been found wanting anything either.

With all of this said, I have found my self looking at some 2018-ish Goldwings without the touring package as a future purpose. I think it would be more comfortable on long hauls but I love the FJR and that is going to be a hard decision at some point. Seats are very subjective but that is my biggest complaint with the FJR.

The FJR carries it's weight up high, the Goldwing and some of your other options likely carry their weight much lower.

I do love my FJR and find myself thinking about it a lot when I can't ride.
 

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....... dying to get my VFR down to NC and spend a week or so riding the Appalacians with it....
I had a Goldwing, I'd say delay that purchase, but yes, they are the best bike for eating up the miles for your pillion. FJR can eat up the miles just as easily though, I know many that go two-up on long trips... good suspension and a nice seat helps. The Russell pillion seat is awesome for a pillion.
 

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Christopher, I just sent you a private message regarding my 2016.
‘Keep in mind, and he will probably tell you this, that sitting on one and riding it are very different. Because the FJR carry‘s it’s weight high, it feels a little top heavy sitting on it. Once the bike gets past about 5 mph, the dynamics of the bike change quite a bit. It’s the one thing everyone notices, it doesn’t feel heavy once your moving and it is also quite nimble for its weight when you hit the twisties. It was the one thing that gave me pause in considering the bike. Then I rode one and found I could easily throw it around on some twisty roads. It also has stability at speed or riding next to an 18 wheeler. Ya gotta ride one.
 
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