In 1993 I was looking for a big sports touring bike. I wanted a bike with good performance and the ability to carry two people and their luggage across a continent if necessary. That's when I bought my first Yamaha FJ1200 and eighteen years later and I'm still riding FJs.
Even after all this time the FJ still stacks up as a sports tourer. Ok it's not that fast by modern standards, but then when was the last time you had to exceed 150 mph? Yamaha claimed 125 bhp and that meant 105-110 at the rear wheel. An R6 makes this but the FJ is all about torque. It pulls cleanly from 2,000 rpm and by 4,000 you're moving. You can rev it to the red line but its more satisfying to change up and feel the grunt pull you along. Although the bike is an effortless mile muncher on the motorway I think the bike is best on fast twisting roads. It has good handling & brakes and it's always a joy to wind the throttle open coming out of a corner and feel the big engine power away.
The bike is also comfortable with a good seat, a nice riding position and a protective fairing. Mechanically they are fairly simple and there is good access for servicing & repairs. Parts are readily available and there is lots of bits on eBay to keep them going.
FJs are very reliable and durable. With little more than routine servicing my bikes have done 60,000 and 133,000 miles. I've ridden them for over 150,000 miles and they have never failed to get me where I'm going.
Both bikes are fairly standard. Both have Givi racks. One a carrier for a top box and the other a Wingrack to add panniers. Both have uprated fork springs and front calipers - "blue spot" monoblocks on one and awesome six potters from a YZF750 on the other. The newer bike has been fitted with chrome silencers from an XJR1300.
|Touring in the Highlands|