2009 Yamaha FJR1300A/AE Tour Road Test Rider Magazine Reviews

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2009 Yamaha FJR1300A/AE Road Test


July 17, 2009

photography by the Rick Oxton and Paul

[This 2009 Yamaha Tour Road Test was published in the September 2009 of Rider ]

FJR Tour, 4:40 blink…up early, picking up coffee doughnuts from driving to LAX. (Posted on

Planets align ed such my brother Paul’s vacation with an opportunity to test two Yamaha FJR1300 motorcycles on back roads. Arriving in our of Nashville, we met Kevin Foley, PR guy, and photographer Rick We loaded our gear and hit the road.

has tested the FJR1300 extensively and we the bike two thumbs up. Our goal the next six days and 1,400 was to answer a single question: the clutch manually, or let the bike do it for This is not a trivial question the auto-clutch AE model’s MSRP is 1,800 bucks over of the standard A model ($14,490).

The time I rode the FJR1300A was a blast down to San Diego for the intro, and I got a speeding ticket. 1,298cc, in-line-four-powered sport is very fast, and deceptively so. At 60 mph in top the engine churns smoothly and at just over 3,000 only one-third of the way to redline.

we spun a 2006 FJR1300 on the ( Rider . August 2006), it out 126 horsepower and 90 lb-ft of torque.

At the Blue Ridge Parkway

As we south and the city disappeared in our we passed familiar signs: old barns with “See City” painted on them and encouraging us to “See Ruby Heavy, drought-ending rains had everything green, and we breathed in earthy air punctuated by sweet of honeysuckle. Curving up the side of Mountain the speed limit

Mom used to dread driving Monteagle with Paul and me in her Volkswagen Kharman Ghia. The was steeper and narrower back and the small, air-cooled car was dwarfed by as it struggled up the incline. We crested the and enjoyed the long sweepers the other side, throttling a hot shower and a meat-heavy meal in

FJR Tour, 7:05 a.m.—Day 2: House, then heading to Skyway. Stoked!

After our respects at the Southern Temple of Food (pecan waffle and hash browns scattered, and covered), we took U.S. 64 Cherokee National Forest. we thought would be a short cut out to be a wrong turn.

After the two-lane road passed the sleepy hollows of Greasy and Reliance and along the Hiwassee we stopped for a map check (motorcyclists are men who don’t mind using

Swapping the A-model for the AE required coaching from Kevin. of all, the AE has no clutch lever. the shift pattern is five up, neutral at the bottom. Third, you can with your foot or use the trigger shifter.

And last but not least, it takes and error to learn when the engages and disengages the clutch. the rear brake police-bike-style low-speed maneuvers helps.

Chip Control Shifting as it’s officially known, is a manual transmission mated to a clutch with electronic actuators. Y-CCS is said to the fatigue of operating the clutch” and more emphasis on the enjoyment of the Of course, such benefits on the assumption that operating the is tiresome and not enjoyable.

Synchronized of the throttle, clutch and shifter to the dynamic experience of riding. I the finesse required to shift That being said, is Y-CCS like, on its own terms?

several days with it on the is the best way to find out.

We for the Cherohala Skyway, a mash-up of two forests the road passes Cherokee in Tennessee and Nantahala in Carolina. Winding up and over mountains, the Skyway offers vistas and fast-paced sweepers. As we off miles, I had difficulty executing shifts on the AE. With no clutch to in, blipping the throttle isn’t Momentarily rolling off the throttle but I really missed the ability to clutch engagement.

Old habits hard. On the other hand, the AE excels at shifting during similar to the new quick-shifter equipped BMW

After kicking tires at the Gap Motorcycle Resort, we completed our up-and-back run of those infamous curves in 11 miles.” Gassed up on Unleaded, we took NC 28 along the Tennessee River toward Dam. This is the best in the area, with excellent a good mix of tight curves and sweepers and great scenery. We our way to the Blue Ridge Parkway, darkness and misting rain as we arrived at Mt.

Pisgah Inn.

my mental jury was still out on the automatic clutch, I had grown of the FJR1300 after riding it all day on highways. Powerful and nimble, plenty of comfort and amenities for the haul—exactly what a sport should be. Stand-out features a rigid aluminum frame, a shaft drive, a push-button windscreen and standard hard ($99.95 optional liner are a must).

The touring trunk plus $115.95 for mounting offers 1.83 cubic of extra storage space. The flat seat is comfortable and an inch of height adjustability for the And with a 6.6-gallon fuel and 40 mpg, you can easily cover 250 between fill-ups.

FJR Tour, p.m.—Day 3, Blue Ridge socked in with fog this In Highland, NC, headed to Suches Two Only.

Heavy fog denied us speed and photo ops on the Blue Parkway. Riding to lower we caught glimpses of valleys of blooming pink and white We exited the Parkway near and navigated winding roads north Georgia.

After riding GA 180 along the border of the Chattahoochee National we turned onto Wolf Pen Gap for 12 challenging miles of tight under dense tree In Suches we checked into TWO Wheels Only), a rustic campground and lodge, and then local riders Jim Chappell and Jon for dinner

Yamaha FJR 1300 AE

at the Smith House in We swapped riding stories and around platters of fried ham, mashed potatoes, fried okra, collard and cole slaw, washed with sweet tea.

FJR 12:52 p.m.—Day 4, now just Paul. Back in NC, headed for scenic waters on Nantahala R.

and Rick had planes to catch, so we ways. Paul and I continued on, to North Carolina to revisit River Gorge and fond memories of whitewater rafting. motivated us to stop for lunch, and our table overlooked a bridge the Appalachian Trail crosses the River. Wet, determined walked across the bridge as played in the rapids below.

The continued after lunch, so we easy on the throttle as we rode the river and over Wayah negotiating tight hairpins of wet leaves. As we were heading Atlanta on a Friday afternoon, the cleared, temperatures rose and grew heavy. Our good Stefan Kallweit was waiting for us in his with cold beers and smoking on the grill.

FJR Tour, 2:24 p.m.—Day 5. Had with family, stopped at Mtn Park, headed north to soon. Rain, rain, go

FJR Tour, 5:32 p.m.—About to go Monteagle Mtn. Started rain at Nickajack Lake. rain.

Over two days, and I flogged the FJRs in the mountains and the on back roads and the superslab. rain tested the water of our attire, but locking hard kept our gear dry, grips ($387.49 option on the standard on the AE) kept our hands and linked ABS brakes provided At speed, the bikes were and plowed through wet roads the slightest hint of squirminess.

We to Nashville to visit more and to stay with Aubrey an elementary school pal and fellow

FJR Tour, 9:13 a.m.—Day 6. last 5 miles of Natchez Pkwy to Loveless Café. into biscuits and sorghum…yum!

We Sunday to find the skies but mercifully free of rain. a country breakfast at world-famous Café, we rode a few hundred to the northern terminus of the Natchez Parkway. I rode all 444 miles of the in 2005, and the last few miles the best curves.

We spent our few hours in Nashville visiting and our childhood home before back to the airport.

Just as hate it when parents favorites, I’m loath to do the same it comes to the A and AE models in the FJR1300 This is an excellent sport-touring with a strong following. Industry Council sales for 2008 rank Yamaha #2 BMW in the Sport Touring category. And claims that about 25 of FJR sales are for the more expensive AE

That last bit is a real because I find the automatic to be finicky, which detracts my control and enjoyment of the ride. For my give me the touring trunk and kit, saddlebag liners and grips, and I’ll use the remaining on gas. At $3 per gallon, that’ll get me miles of sport-touring fun.

video from this test:

Click here to 2009 Yamaha FJR1300A/AE Road Test Video 1

Click here to view Yamaha FJR1300A/AE Tour Test Video Part 2

Yamaha FJR 1300 AE


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