For the longest time ever, you had to choose between comfort and performance when buying a motorcycle. You either went for a fast sportsbike which was a pain to live with every day, especially on longer trips, or a comfortable tourer which lacked excitement and wasn’t particularly fun in the twisties. The FJR1300 changed all of that. It was the first bike which genuinely combined comfort and speed. It offered unprecedented levels of luxury and luggage capacity, just like a full tourer, and mixed it with performance almost rivaling most hyper bikes such as the BlackBird. Because it’s relatively light for its size, it handles great too.
The engine makes loads of torque in the midrange, but isn’t shy in the higher end as well, offering plenty of poke. It’s a weird feeling, siting in the FJR1300 seat. The riding position is upright, with lots of comfort and visibility, but the way you’re propelled down the road almost defies belief. Naturally, rivals have caught up with the FJR in recent times, but even so, they’re still rather far behind. Like most other bikes however, the FJR isn’t perfect, but we’d say it gets pretty close. We compiled a list of the most common issues with the FJR1300, and some solutions for them.
Generally speaking, not a lot of things go wrong with the FJR. On a survey conducted to FJR owners, out of 90 people, 11 were already on their second FJR, 4 were on the third and there was even a person who was on his fourth. A staggering 66 people out of those 90 didn’t have any issues with the FJR to report, and 20 only had a single minor issue. Just 5 experienced a couple of issues, but nothing major as they claimed. If this doesn’t speak in volumes of how reliable and durable this Yamaha is, we don’t know what does. The fact that people keep buying the same model over and over is just another testament in the FJR’s favor.
FJR1300 Battery Died
The biggest issue with the FJR seemed to be a sudden battery death, but as this happens with quite a lot of bikes, we won’t blame it on the FJR. In all four cases it happened after quite a lot of miles, so it’s not that surprising. The most obvious solution is a new battery, and it’s not that expensive of a fix really. If you don’t store the bike somewhere dry, expect a quicker battery death because of the elements. Either way, a quick battery change and you’re good to go.
Three people had issues with a shock leak, but this can happen suddenly if the shock experiences an abrupt impact. Sudden changes in temperature can make it susceptible to damage, such as cold weather outside and warm in the garage. A new shock is more expensive than a new battery, but it’s still not anything that major. Replacing the old one with the new shock is a relatively easy process, anyone with some mechanical know-how should be able to do it.
Four people had issues with their FJR running bad in high altitudes, and the problem was eventually tracked down to the ECU. Ultimately, Yamaha replaced all four of the ECU’s, so if you’re buying a used one, check whether the ECU was replaced. Either way you’re good, as if it was replaced it will probably run well, and if it hasn’t, it probably didn’t have any issues to begin with.
FJR Noisy Engine
The other major issue was experienced by two people only, and it was a noisy engine as a result of a valve guide wear and tear. It’s not a super expensive fix again, but it isn’t critical. The rest of the owners reported just normal wear and tear replacements, such as brake pads, tires and so on. The only “lemon” one owner got needed a new clutch and gearbox at just 12,000 miles, but it was replaced by Yamaha. Considering the total amount of miles covered by all FJR’s together, that’s almost nothing. The FJR is truly one of the most amazing bikes ever made.
Other issues, if you can call them that, were connected to proper maintenance. The FJR is generally reliable, even with modest maintenance, but an issue arises with the rear shock linkage if they’re not greased every 12,000 miles. Because the process of greasing the rear linkage can be a time consuming process, some mechanics or DIY customers choose to skip it, however that would be a big mistake. Go through the effort of removing the center stand and the exhaust and grease the linkage properly, you’ll be thankful you did in the long run.
The buying advice we received from most owners is to go for a model which has been serviced regularly and looked out for at least modestly. There’s not a lot to go wrong on these bikes anyway, but make sure to check for engine ticking or a faulty rear linkage. Regular maintenance parts are neither expensive nor cheap, they’re right in the middle. If you take good care of the bike, it will more than return the favor.