Author: Kevin Ash Posted: 22 Oct 2012
We've had very little new from Yamaha during the recession and most of that is facelifts, but these can work if done well. But has it been enough for the new 2013 FJR1300A to compete with the Triumph Trophy, BMW R1200RT and others?
It's not had a great deal done, after all. The suspension has been revised with changed damping settings, progressive fork springs and lighter internals, there's a more sophisticated engine management including ride-by-wire throttle, the exhaust and intake systems are new and power is up 3bhp to 144bhp.
The frontal bodywork and screen are new - more aggressive, according to Yamaha, though it just looks a bit cleaner and sleeker to us.
It does work pretty well, the suspension in particular is very good, offering a more plush and controlled ride than the Trophy, but the steering isn't as fluid and neutral as the Triumph, as you need to keep some pressure on the inside bar to hold the FJR on line. It's better than the 1400GTR in this respect, but not perfect. It changes direction well enough but isn't as agile as that benchmark Triumph Trophy, despite being the lightest big tourer.
It also lacks low rev torque. The motor is beautifully smooth now but isn't muscular enough below 5,000rpm. Above that it's very strong and the bike's fast and economical, but touring riders want torque and they don't get enough here.
The price will be Triumph Trophy-competitive at around £12,900 and Yamaha quality is unsurpassed, so it's worth considering, but we feel more than a facelift was needed on this 11 year-old design.
Model tested: Yamaha FJR1300A
UK price: £12,900 est
Available: November 2012
Engine: four cylinder, liquid cooled, dohc 16v, 1298cc
Power: 144bhp @ 8,000rpm
Torque: 102lb.ft @ 7,000rpm
Economy: 48mpg (on test)
Tank/Range: 5.5 gallon (25 litres) / 260 miles
Transmission: Five gears, wet multi-plate clutch, shaft final drive
Frame: aluminium tube
Seat height: 31.7-32.5in (805-825mm) adjustable
Wheelbase: 60.8in (1545mm)
Rake/trail: 26° / 4.3in (109mm)
Weight: 637lb (289kg) wet, full tank