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2015 FJR-1300ESF
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Not an FJR owner yet, but considering it. Looked at 3 yesterday: a 2008, 2009, and 2016, with anywhere from 153k miles (the 2008) to about 3000 (!) miles on the 2016.

I've only owned and ridden Suzuki Vstroms since I started riding, about 6 years ago. First a 2007 DL1000, then after an idiot totaled it (and took a shot at totaling me), the 2019 DL650XT Touring you see as my avatar.

Has anyone gone from Vstrom to FJR? I know there are some with both - I've already recognized a regular or two from the Stromtrooper forums. Figured I'd ask the largest likely group of FJR folks I could find.

So why am I considering an FJR?

Lately I've been wanting a more touring-oriented bike. Despite the model designation, the 2019 DL650XT "Touring" is not working as such for me and my SO. Wind noise & turbulence is so bad on the highway that I can't stand to go anywhere solo even.

Yes, I could probably address most of the problems, with enough effort and spending on upgrades. But I don't wanna.

I've considered other sport-touring makes, but for now I'm looking at FJR's. Specifically, used FJR's. Even if I had "new bike" budget, which I don't, local Yamaha shop tells me they're not expecting any 2022 FJR's until maybe November.

BMW and Honda are out of the running. I don't have a BMW or Goldwing budget, nor do I want the weight of a K1600 or Wing.

I did briefly shop for Honda ST1300's. Seems like they're all really old - 2003 or 2007 are easy to find, but some don't have ABS, and of course they were discontinued in what 2012? Don't want old-bike problems, went through that with the 2007 Vstrom. Do want ABS, electronic cruise control and other nicer newer features, so I'm looking at a 3rd-gen FJR 1300A or 1300ES.

I haven't yet ridden anything like an FJR. Pretty sure I'm ready for it, managed not to do anything too stupid with the Vstrom 1000. Initially the sheer weight of an FJR-type bike scared me away, but from what I've been reading, the top-heaviness is only really noticeable in low-speed maneuvers. Depending on who you believe.

Seems like I could mitigate most of the "what if I have to pick it up" issues with crash bars/frame sliders/engine guards. Also, I started lifting weights again around New Year's. And obviously, I'm not going to be on dirt roads.

Still need to do a test ride though. If there are any FJR folks in the Albuquerque, NM area who would be willing to let a random nitwit test ride their...nah, forget it, I wouldn't either. :)

I'm not sure what to think about tire life. Coming from Vstroms, I'd be really upset if a rear tire lasted less than 6000 miles, and very happy if it made it to 10000. One multiple Concours 14 owner and YouTuber claimed to only get about 3000 miles out of a rear tire, yeesh. Friend with an ST1300 says he gets 6000-8000. What's been your experience feeding an FJR 1300?

Thanks!
 

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2015 FJR-1300ESF
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345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
FWIW, I did consider some other heavyweights (Kawasaki Concours 14) and not-quite-as-heavyweights (Kawasaki Versys 1000) but there haven't been any used ones that have caught my eye. A used FJR that's already in my town, or at least in my state, is much more interesting than one I'd have to fly out to see, at this point.
 

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2017 FJR1300ES
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41 Posts
I moved from a heavily farkled 2009 1000 Vstrom to a 2017 FJR ES version in 2018. The extra weight is only an issue moving the bike around the garage. I’m 6’1”, so I changed the windshield and added a MRA X-Creen. I put a cf fenda extenda, dual PIAA horns and dual LED lights on crash bars with a PC-8 from Eastern Beaver. The biggest ( and most expensive) improvement was a seat from Russell Day-Long, but now the bike is extremely comfortable, very stable, reliable..good for 11 hour days. I also fitted a relay arm that was modded with zerk fittings when the dealer had the engine out for the second gear recall which makes lubing the relay arm a breeze.
If you like the 3rd gear acceleration of the VStrom…then you are going to looove the acceleration of the FJR. Maintenance is dead easy.
 

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2015 FJR-1300ESF
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345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the input. I'm avoiding too much farkling of the 2019 DL650 because I feel like that's money I should save for the FJR.

I don't really want to sell the Vstrom. I only got it last fall. Unfortunately, I don't have garage room for an additional bike. Girlfriend isn't selling her Vstrom, so my 2019 will have to go if I want an FJR.

A thing that appeals to me about the FJR is oddly enough the more modest power, compared to the Kawasaki Concours 14. I don't really have any use for 150-ish hp, and rear tires should last longer with fewer HP. I felt similarly about my DL1000: it had plenty to get up and go and especially for 2-up, but not so much that I could be at 100 mph without really meaning to. Some say you can pull a wheelie on a DL1000 but I didn't want to.
 

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2017 FJR1300ES
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41 Posts
I looked at the concours…the cruise control on the FJR and regular gas were the deciding factors for me. I had tweaked the computer on my Vstrom using a Teka-Pro to get rid of the mid-range lean stumble which also gave the bike 2nd gear wheelies..
I go through a rear tire every season, a front every 2nd season with tire pressures at 40/42. I live on the prairies so only the centers get used up…lol
 

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2007 FJR1300A
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2,830 Posts
I got rid of my DL1000 in favor of my FJR last year. The FJR weighs a bunch more, but the Vstrom carries the weight higher so the FJR feels lighter for the most part. Power is night and day. The DL1000 claims 100HP, which always seemed highly optimistic. If you could be at 100MPH without noticing on the VStrom then you will be at 140 on the FJR ;) Handling is 100% better, none of the weird twitchy lifting front end feeling when going into a headwind.
 

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2015 FJR-1300ESF
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345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
OK, who wants to convince me I really need an ES model instead of an -A?

With my DL1000, I adjusted the suspension rarely, even after I upgraded it for better 2-up riding. I would put a few more turns of pre-load on if the SO was coming with or I was carrying luggage, then back it off when going back to solo/commuting. Didn't fool with the forks once I got the sag dialed in. They were so so much better than the (ridiculously soft) stock forks.

But if I had an electronically-adjustable suspension, I'd certainly play with it more.

Then again, that feature adds to the price. I'm trying to keep it well under $15k, under $10k would be great but may not be realistic for a 2016+ FJR-1300 without a ton of miles.
 

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2007 FJR1300A
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There is a soft/hard lever for the back suspension on the non ES models. Can't say that I have noticed much difference when my wife is on the back regardless of position, but she is on the small side of humankind.
 
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Versys 1000, VFR800
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I had 2 DL650's, got better seats and windshields. OK bike that does everything but nothing really well IMHO. I've also had an ST1300 and a Goldwing, both do what they're supposed to do. The ST has aged out IMHO. I've had 2 FJR's, both A's, I kept those the longest, enjoyed every mile. Recently lightened up with a Versys 1000, it was instantly comfortable, and good with its 118HP, but needs suspension upgrades on both ends. I know C14 guys that can't keep rear tires on, that's the rider just getting onto it too much IMHO. No need for jackrabbit starts on any bike, sport touring ain't a drag race, lol. No need for wheelies.
I prefer a 5 speed over the 6 on the FJR, and an A suspension that I can make my own and dial it in for the riding I do. So my recommendation is a 2013-2015 A.
You can read various threads on the FJR ES suspension, to me depends what you and your pillion weigh. All FJR's are undersprung to some degree, a couple have inquired about re-springing the rear of an ES, but no one yet to my knowledge. The rear shock on an Gen3A is decent, not perfect, depending on weight, can be good 2-up. You can read my FJR suspension matrix for further edumacation. Heck we even have tire and oil threads, and are experts at helping you spend your farkle money.
 

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Just thoughts and I did not come from a Vstrom… but 40+ years of riding (street), 50 if ya count dirt bikes ;)

Yes the bike will not exhibit the weight once you get past about 5mph. Low speed maneuvering is a learned skill. You get used to it and it becomes second nature. It doesn’t go away you just learn the behavior in parking lots and the like lol This is probably where most of the debate comes in from the nay sayers.

The bike is very stable at speed in relation to buffeting, passing semi’s on the freeways, etc. It’s still there but minimized and predictable.

Go ride one of those used ones for sale if you can. Barring any issues with the bike, the ride will largely be the same, at will at least give you most of the sense of the bike almost no matter the year. Although the A vs ES is probably a significant difference in that you can’t adjust on the fly.

I have not ridden an A version (I have a 21 ES) but I can tell you that the on the fly adjustment is terrific. I can be on an all day ride, my butt is getting sore and this rough pot hole ridden road is getting on my nerves when I’m already sore from riding all day (new seat coming in a few months). All I have to do is take 10 seconds and switch it over to soft and all is well. Now it feels like a large touring bike, that soft somewhat boaty feel. Now if I could just remember to switch it back to something more appropriate on the next twisty road! Which it does quite well I might add. The fact that you can adjust on the fly is very cool. For your significant other and other weight adjustments you have to be stopped to tell the bike how you are setup (side cases, rear top case, passenger, etc).

You will probably want at the very least the Yamaha Touring windshield or other aftermarket one to address your love of buffeting but your mileage will vary depending on your height, helmet, etc. Also I am a big fan of crash bars, etc. The last thing I want is to drop it in the garage and cause 100’s if not more in damage. I always cringe when someone doesn't want them but to each their own as they say. Just to say this, you may find it challenging to find what you want ‘in stock’ right now. It’s a mess but that pretty much applies to anything right now.

I love my FJR, I’m just not a fan of the stock seat. I am fixing that (fingers crossed) in July with an RDL seat. A test ride will be your best bet. Good luck.
 

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2015 FJR-1300ESF
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, I will definitely be installing crash bars/frame sliders/etc. I dropped my DL1000 a bunch but only did actual damage (beyond scratching the bars) a handful of times, and even then usually easily fixed.

Yep, I think it's time for a test ride. Just need the weather to clear up. I'm fine with me riding in rain on a bike I know, but not necessarily someone else's of a type I've not ridden before.

I have a friend with an ST1300, who's offered a test ride, but it needs work to get running after a rodent-induced wiring problem. I offered to help, but it's likely to take a while.

If I were buying new I suppose I'd spring for ES - actually, it looks like Yamaha are only offering the ES variant for 2022. But that's both out of budget and a problem with supply, as with all new motorcycles the last year or two.
 

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With regards to the ES, SunnyRides touched what was the major factor for me and that is the type of roads you anticipate riding. I was regularly travelling a couple of hours of slab before reaching the fun stuff and then would expect to find sections that suffered from frost heaves. Such long day rides would have me adjusting the suspension on the fly several times over and I really came to appreciate it. Pre-load of course though was usually set once depending on what I was carrying. Caveat here is that I was always solo so being under-sprung hasn't been an issue for me, at least to the point where it outweighs the benefits of the ES functions. Bottom line: how often will you be two-up and loaded and what kind of roads do you see yourself on? That might help you make a decision.

As far as new vs used, other than the colors I believe most bikes from '16 on are all the same save the tranny fix from either the recall or at the factory. Save the money and look around for something that speaks to you. '14s and '15s if you want to stay with the five speed. (Do '13s have heated grips? Flash to improve the CC if a great deal.) Also hearing not great things about getting a '22 and who knows if it it'll be the last year available too.

Oh, btw, the FJR can handle maintained dirt roads even though sometimes if feels like the tupperware is rattling loose. :p
 

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If you have an inseam of 31 inches or more, look into the Kawaski Versys 1000 LT SE. 2019 and up. Electronic suspension that really works, Adjustable for solo, pillion, and luggage. Cruise, heated grips, ABS and corning ABS. and a bunch of other stuff. Here across town in Denver there is a 2019 low miles 4200miles for 13k dollars. In the middle of your said budget. Used Motorcycles and Parts | United States| Steeles Cycle
 

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2016 FJR1300 ES
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You will find a wide range as far as how long tires last. I consistently get 10-12k miles from the front and $15k miles from the rear (PR4 on mostly smooth surface).

I have the ES and I always switch to SOFT whenever I ride in town as Seattle has horrible roads. Once I get on the freeway or on nice and smooth twisty roads, I'll flip it to STD or even HARD on occasion. I only touch the pre-load a few times a year when my wife joins me for a ride.
 
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I had the '05 FJR and now the '17ES, I don't play with ES settings, for the most part I have it at Medium-to-soft and leave it there....so NO the ES is not a must.

Nice to have, but if I remember correctly I never had any ES cravings while riding my '05 FJR.
 

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2021 FJR
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I went from having not ridden in 37-years (last bike was a Honda CB750) to a 2021 FJR last April. Since then I’ve racked up over 13,000-miles on it. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I was primarily interested in touring but wanted something with sport attributes and the FJR checked all the boxes.
 

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If buying a '16 or newer 6 speed make sure the tranny recall has been done. Otherwise your bike may be sitting in a shop for a while. My choice is a '13-15' 5 speed A model, they just work plus you get heated grips and cruise. Have never found an advantage to the ES or the 6 speed that I couldn't live without. Find it interesting that Yamaha only offers the ES to the public but Police bikes are still A models.
 
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