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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another "Rider's Report" thread was getting extremely long, so I started this new one.

I'm a new FJR owner (2006) as of 16 May - I've never had another FJR, so I can't compare it to an older model. But I can nevertheless give my opinion and report on the the newest version. I'll try to keep it concise; I love it and I have a lot to say.

General information: I'm coming from a Honda VFR. I bought an FJR for three reasons: 1) power, 2) wife-ability, 3) availability (yes, you read that right. I went to a dealer to talk to him about how long it might take for me to order one, since they are relatively scarce; since the dealer had JUST received two FJRs, one for a customer and one for general sale, I secured the second. I already knew what I wanted).

I am about 5'-10" (~1.78 m for you crazy Europeans) and 160 lb (73 kg), and 33 years of age, for your comparison.

Seating: I was a little worried about this. Coming from a kinda sporty bike (relatively speaking) I didn't want to sit straight up. Without changing a single factory-default position, I was very happy that the seating position was NOT straight up, but rather just a little more neutral than the VFR (2004 model, btw). I will play with the seat position and the handlebar position a little to see if it's more comfy, but the default positions were totally acceptable. Pegs, handlebars, and seat all in nice default positions for me. I can see riding a 1000 miles with no problem. Seats are soft, but not spongy.

Instruments: Nice array available. I like the analog tach and speedo; the digital array is a little cumbersome, but very clearly understood. Gives a lot of useful info, and it's tucked away from the analog tach/speedo, so it's not distracting. I thought I heard the Yamaha guy say there was a shift indicator somewhere in the array, but I ddin't notice it and I wasn't looking for it. Haven't noticed if I have the instantaneous mileage bug. Was too busy concentrating on the speedo (trying to keep it LOW).

Storage: This point is pretty obvious. Compared to a VFR with no saddlebags, this thing is like driving a moving van (with respect to storage ONLY). With a tank bag, saddlebags (liners are included btw), and a rear trunk, I can stuff lots of things in for a long journey. Storage under seats is adequate.

Engine: Okay, I have to admit, I haven't discovered too much about this regard. My bike literally has only 20 miles on it now (all but 1 by me), and I'm taking it easy for now. But, I did put the spurs to it a little, and so far, no dissappointments. Will update on this very soon. I expect acceleration to be more substantial than the VFR, and definitely more consistent through the rev band. Let me just say I can see why Yamaha has put only 5 gears on this thing - a 6 speed trans would put the bike's top speed at a level that is just unusable.

Transmission/Drivetrain: Absolutely the BEST transmission of any bike I've ridden. smooth as a baby's rear end - I even tried to miss a shift, and couldn't do it. The default clutch pull position was a little out there for me, so 1 click on the lever adjuster from 2 to 3, and that made it a little less like a reach and more like a solid grab. No "clunk" in first gear, like I've read the '05 has. Of all aspects of the bike, so far, this is my favorite - I am very impressed by the transmission. (Disclaimer: like I mentioned, I haven't hit the gas hard, yet)

Shaft final drive is very nice compared to the chain drive I've grown up on; this is the first shaft drive bike I've ridden. Application of power to the rear wheel is truly immediate. Very smooth, no lash at all. So far, I like shaft drive - living with it will be an ongoing learning experience.

Handling (Weight, Cornering, etc.): I was also a little worried about this. With an extra 100 lb over my VFR, I was worried that the FJR would be a hulk to ride. I was very happy to find out with experience that the FJR is very well balanced. The extra weight is absolutely apparent without engine help, but in motion, it's not nearly as apparent as I thought it would be. Was pleasantly surprised at how well the bike handles around corners. More to update with additional riding.

Wth the front suspension adjusted at the default factory setting, and the rear in firm setting, the ride is smooth and not as jarring as the VFR (not that it was that jarring). Adjustability of the FJR's suspension is a plus, although I may not touch it.

Brakes: Compared to the VFR, it brakes very well. Brake pull is solid, not spongy, and stopping power is very apparent. Good news (for me, at least) is that the linked brakes seem less linked than the VFR's linked brakes. Stomping on the rear brakes does not dip the front end like the VFR. I had no problem stopping the bike on a dime, and of course, no lockup (ABS standard).

Wind Protection / Heat in the Cockpit: This was the first thing I noticed while in motion - wind protection with the windscreen in the default, fully retracted, position is excellent. Even at highway speeds there is no buffeting on the helmet, no vacuum created behind the windscreen, and barely noticable wind on the legs (this is with the default cowling position - cowling can be expanded to provide even more leg protection). Noticed NO heat in the cockpit; but, I live in Chicago, and it's 65 F outside. More to update on this later. Didn't even try to ride with the windscreen up, but will update later on this aspect.

Pillion Comfort: haven't ridden with the wife yet. Will update later.

Miscellaneous: (gee, have I missed anything yet?) Little storage bin in the fairing is nice; will come in handy. The power outlet is a great accessory, and there is a rubber plug in the bottom of the bin to run a cable through to accessories. There is also a premade cutout in the top of the fairing, near the storage bin, for an accessory knob such as that for heated handgrips (I'll be using this cutout later).

The rearview mirrors are excellent. They have the largest view of any mirrors I've ridden with, yet they are not huge. Could easily view around the elbows to see what was on the side and rear of the bike.

One aspect I had read a little about is the exaust sound. Coming from a VFR, which at idle sounds like a sewing machine, the exaust sound from the FJR at idle is great - a nice low grumble. The big difference comes at moving speeds. This bike is not quiet, but in a great way (my VFR was very quiet; couldn't hear it until the secondary valves kicked in at 7000 rpm). The low pitch rumble becomes a relative growl at 2500-3500 rpm... remember, I come from a VFR. Whether it's loud enough for you is a personal decision. It's quite loud enough for me.
 

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Nice report. I think you'll like the motor even more as it loosens up a bit. As good as the suspension is, I would recommend a fork oil change at some point in the first few thousand miles. It really helped my '03 and I am going to do it with this '06 as well. Also, it's useful to bleed the clutch. I don't know if it's the ride over on the boat in all that salty moist air or what but the first batch of fluid in the clutch system seems to contaminate fairly quickly. After it's been bled once, the clutch will operate very well for a couple of seasons before needing it again.

I put the seat in the high position to get a little more leg room. I may try to put the bars to the more forward adjustment but am pretty satisfied with them as they are. If anything, I'd like 'em a little lower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I put the seat in the high position to get a little more leg room. I may try to put the bars to the more forward adjustment but am pretty satisfied with them as they are. If anything, I'd like 'em a little lower.
I'm with you on the handlebars. I swear I read a post somewhere concerning someone's installation of lower bars. Admittedly, I don't really know if it's possible to use another set, or whether I'd even like the outcome.

Oh, and thanks for the tips.

And, exactly what did changing the fork oil do for you? How did it make a perceived difference?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Follow-up to my original Rider's Report

A follow-up to the original "rider report" post for my new '06 FJR (first post in this thread).

Seating: I fiddled with the seat position of the rider seat, per the owner's manual, and raised it to the upper position (as I mentioned, I am about 5'-10"). This position is not as comfortable as the lower position, so I will be putting it back into the low spot. Otherwise it's comfy.

Can anyone explain how to change the position of the handlebars? I haven't looked this up, yet....

Instruments: Have found the gear indicator (NOT a shift indicator, as the Yamaha guy mistakenly called it) to be of immense use - I'm sure you will also. The more I use the bike, the more I like the instrument array. I mentioned originally that there is a lot of information, and there is; almost too much. But, for this type of bike, it's appropriate. I just thank God that Yamaha had the good sense to segregate the analogue from the digital readouts.

Engine: I've done more "study" of these specifications.

First a brief lesson on Honda VFR (my original bike) engine theory, in case you are not familiar. In an effort to minimize pollutants, and to maximize the torque band for a smaller engine, Honda decided to design the newer VFR engines with barely less complicated technology than a VTEC engine: they designed it such that at rpms lower than 7000 the engine uses 2 valves per cylinder, and over 7000 rpm, an additional valve per cylinder opens for both the compression and exhaust stages in the cycle. Thus, above 7000 rpm, it's a 4 valve per cylinder engine. This creates a torque curve with a big bump in it at 7000 rpm. Nice hocus pocus - I loved it.

The FJR, on the other hand, is sheer brute force - no magic valving. Granted, I still have not really tried too hard to push the engine, but it's quite obvious that the torque curve on this baby is in another league from the VFR, magical valves and all. In traffic, at the low end of the rev band, torque isn't "amazing", but it's better than the VFR I rode. And when it gets to about 3500 rpm, look out.

I've read about some people who are annoyed by the vibration at ~4500 rpm. I felt it; it's not bad. Besides, typically one doesn't stay at 4500 rpm for long, even in 5th gear [hee hee].

Transmission/Drivetrain: The only additional comments I have are: "beautiful", and "I'm in love with the transmission." I read somewhere that it can almost shift itself, and I'm beginning to believe it can.

Handling: With more riding experience I have decided this bike is VERY well balanced. It is not a sports bike (it's a brute in the garage under leg power), but once you get it on the road and in a curve, very nice. It actually feels like a sports bike under those conditions. Just don't hang off.

No adjustments made to suspension settings, and none warranted.

I love the extra weight on the highway. Since the bike is so well balanced, the weight is not a real detriment in curves, but the weight is a huge positive on the highway and in the wind. The bike is not nearly as influenced by turbulence and wind as something 100 lb lighter.

Wind Protection / Heat in the Cockpit: This is the first bike with a real windscreen that I have ridden, and I've really come to appreciate the windscreen. Even at 70 mph, wonderful job, with zero buffeting or vacuum behind the screen. Just a hint of heat on the ankles, but not a bad thing when it's 50 F outside.

Pillion Comfort: still haven't ridden with the wife. Will update later.

Miscellaneous: In my original post, I commented on the muffler sound. I still cannot get used to the volume coming from the mufflers. Don't get me wrong, this is not a negative comment.

Combined with the larger engine than I'm used to (thus, it turns at lower rpms), the sound gives me the impression while riding that I am way higher in the rev band than I really am, so this means at highway speeds I am apt to look down at the speeedo and tach to confirm where I am. I still have not exceeded 75 mph (even those speeds were momentary), and at that speed I think the tach was around 4000 rpm. Turning at that rate, the volume was near the level of my VFR turning at almost 8000 rpm (employing the magic valves). This is my association - definitely not a bad thing. I assume that with riding experience, I will become used to this. Paranoia during engine break-in magnifies this feeling.

So far, my overall impression is totally positive. If I could think of any negative things to say, it would be: A) the bike is heavy; B) low end torque (WAY low) is not "impressive"; C) seating is not sporty enough for me; D) no cruise control as a standard implementation.

But, my response to this criticism would be: A) it's supposed to be heavy. It's a touring bike and not a sports bike - and the weight is a GOOD thing (see comments above); B) all in-line 4's have this issue, and it's quickly resolved when revs get to about 2500 (?); C) again, it's not a sports bike; D) Yamaha would be asking for litigation if they put a standard cruise control on the bike - I understand why it's not there.

The positives outweigh the negatives by 1000 to 1.

I hope someone finds these comments useful. This is the type of information I was looking for when I was reading about FRJs before I bought one - which explains why I'm basically writing a novel.
 

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In traffic, at the low end of the rev band, torque isn't "amazing", but it's better than the VFR I rode. And when it gets to about 3500 rpm, look out.
I think you are fooled by the flat curve, as at 3000rpm the FJR already puts out more torque than the VFR does at max.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think you are fooled by the flat curve, as at 3000rpm the FJR already puts out more torque than the VFR does at max.
I have no doubt this is the case; I think it's more a result of my caution during engine break-in, and being new to the bike. I've been relatively light with throttle so far.
 

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chrisfreet said:
And, exactly what did changing the fork oil do for you? How did it make a perceived difference?
My perception and feel was that the fork was better damped but still as compliant as before. Plus, I guess I kind of think the forks "break in" just like the motor and I wanted get rid of anything floating around in there. Could just be a mental issue with me though.
 

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Chris, read the break in procedure carefully. Nowhere does it say to stay below a given RPM. It only says avoid "prolonged operation" above certain rpm levels depending on total miles. I would not baby the thing. Just ride it. Give it the stick now and again as long as you have an area where you glide along allowing it to cool afterward. I did this with my '03 and my '06 (about 950 miles so far) and my '03 ran perfectly for all 23,000 miles I owned it, as does my '06.

Your ride reports are spot on imho. I would sign a release if Yam would put factory cruise on it. I have yet to see a set of lower bars that I would put on this beauty. Maybe pushing the bars to the more forward position will be what I'm looking for but I have yet to try it. Standard position is really ok but we gotta bitch, right?

I also think the "soft" power between 1500 and 3000 rpm is good for parking lot maneuvers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the comments 20. Got a couple questions....

Why did you buy a new FJR? Just curious... was it simply time to upgrade for a new toy? or possibly another reason?

Maybe pushing the bars to the more forward position will be what I'm looking for but I have yet to try it. Standard position is really ok but we gotta bitch, right?
I took a look at moving the bars up a notch -- my Yamaha guy suggested they come from the factory in the middle setting. It's not as simple as it first seems, so I may take another look at it this weekend.

I also think the "soft" power between 1500 and 3000 rpm is good for parking lot maneuvers.
I think you're right.
 

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chrisfreet said:
Why did you buy a new FJR? Just curious... was it simply time to upgrade for a new toy? or possibly another reason?
Liked the blue, thought the upgrades looked worthwhile, wanted to spend money before wife got ahold of it. :twisted:
 

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20valves said:
wanted to spend money before wife got ahold of it. :twisted:
You kiddin?' 20's such a slave to fashion... you think he'd be seen riding a 'last year's model' of anything??? :p

:)
 

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06 manual says to stay below 4500 rpm for the 1st 600 miles. I guess one guy changed his oil after 25 miles and found metal shavings - I'd consider break-in to be critical...

Chris, you live in the city? Any good roads you can recommend on our flat as a pancake landscape? Where did you buy your fjr? Got mine yesterday from Champion cycle. Didn't have one on the floor but they got it the next day. Chicago Cycle had 4 on the floor.

Traded my 2004 r6 for the fjr yesterday. Was a little sad to see my first bike go, but the fjr seems really nice. Only have 2 miles on it since there was a hail storm when I picked up the bike. This website has some very useful info and feedback - I'll be sure to give my 2 cents after I put some miles on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Chris, you live in the city? Any good roads you can recommend on our flat as a pancake landscape?
Joer6, I live in south Elgin near St. Charles. I'm actually from Baton Rouge, Louisiana (you think THIS is flat?), and I've been living here for about a year and a half.

The only roads I know of are the ones out in the corn fields to the west of where I live - I try to stay out of the city as much as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yet another update on my "Rider Report"

More follow-up on my FRJ riding experience since buying a new '06 [almost] this passed weekend.

First of all, I've heard and read a lot of stories about people putting down payments on bikes and waiting months to get one - I'm curious where these people live. Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt they are scarce. I was recently in Louisiana and a dealer there had one on the floor (granted, only 1); a post in this threat cites at least 5 in a couple dealerships around Chicago; I walked into a dealer near where I live (also near Chicago) and he had one, too. Could all be coincidence, though.

Some things I've realized since putting over 200 miles on my bike:

1) the wife likes it - we went riding yesterday, sans saddlebags, and besides being a little chilly, she says it was comfortable. No butt-ache like on other smaller bikes. With saddlebags and rear trunk w/ the backrest, it should be even more comfy for the passenger.

2) that bike will flat MOVE -- with 2 people on, it acted as if the extra weight wasn't there... on the way to work I met a large gap on the freeway (I travel early) so I decided to pass some cars - out of habit, I downshifted to pass, and when I looked down at the speedo I was already doing 110. Oops. Note to self: no need to downshift when passing.

3) GOT to get my cruise control. Am making a trip up to Milwaukee to get a set of Throttlemeisters this weekend.

4) Still loving the extra weight of the bike. Sure, it's not as light as a sportsbike, but it is just heavy enough that I no longer have to wait for a car to roll up behind me while I'm sitting first in line at a redlight! Buying the FJR has already gained me 30 seconds of extra motorcycling in this regard!

5) Eventhough I get more waves from them now, I still hate Harley guys. Most Harley riders around where I live will NOT wave at a bike that even looks like a sportsbike. I mean, you'd think riding a bike that's closer to a Harley than a true sportsbike would garner more waves, but no. (An FJR is closer to a Harely than a sportsbike, right? Well, maybe not.)
 

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Re: Yet another update on my "Rider Report"

chrisfreet said:
but it is just heavy enough that I no longer have to wait for a car to roll up behind me while I'm sitting first in line at a redlight! Buying the FJR has already gained me 30 seconds of extra motorcycling in this regard!
I still had that 'red light' problem with the FJR at many intersections, but it's worse with the 100-pounds lighter, Marchesini-shod Ducati. Then I found the center-stand trick. :D I pull directly over the metal strips, and just push down the centerstand until it touches the pavement. It hasn't failed me yet. I was never too shy about pulling through the intersection when it was clear, because I don't 'think' I'd have any trouble explaining the problem to a LEO... but it can be a real pain at times.

chrisfreet said:
Most Harley riders around where I live will NOT wave at a bike that even looks like a sportsbike. I mean, you'd think riding a bike that's closer to a Harley than a true sportsbike would garner more waves, but no.
Eh wave at 'em anyway. Makes you the better man. Around here, all the riders wave, no matter the bike. I've stopped to assist a couple of broken down HDs, and broken down cagers... and hopefully they'd stop for me if I needed help. A rider can never have too many friends, right?

I also try to wave at every cage I overtake in the country, because;
1) It might make them less likely to grab the cellphone to cousin deputy Cletus to report a two-wheeled maniac.
2) It looks to other motorists like they 'waved me by,' (get it?)
3) It might make them say, "Do I know him?" instead of "Did you see that crazy mother?"
4) If the proverbial 'overturned gravel truck' gets me in the next corner, they might be friendlier when they get there. :oops:

:)
 

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Re: Yet another update on my "Rider Report"

chrisfreet said:
Most Harley riders around where I live will NOT wave at a bike that even looks like a sportsbike.
The HD boys around here will wave, usually get more of their attention with the bags on though. There are so many bikes out right now, waving is getting to be a hassle. I'm thinking of getting a rubber hand on a belt that will keep a constant "low five" wave going so I can keep my hands on the bars.
 

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Liquidsilver said:
Rubber hand. :roll: :crylarf: :)
laugh if you want, but imho it's pure entrepreneurial genius. I'm sure I'll make a million. Tattooed and non-tattooed versions, of course
 
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