Rapid Transit Authority

Four Ways To Play Fast And Loose With The Space/Time Continuum

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing

Yamaha FJR1300 | PRICE: $13,799

The FJR engine bolts into its diamond-type aluminum-alloy skeleton sans rubber mounts, making the slant-block mill a stressed chassis member. The detachable subframe is aluminum as well. Shaft drive is integrated into the left side of the cast-aluminum swingarm

This substantial, 48mm Soqui fork offers adjustable compression damping in addition to the typical spring preload and rebound damping. A lever on the shock lets you vary spring rate for solo or two-up travel with minimal fuss.

The 1298cc wet-sump inline-four uses Yamaha's familiar space-saving engine architecture, stacking gearbox shafts to take up less space in the hollow, cast-aluminum frame. Dual gear-driven counterbalancers nix most of the vibes. It happily digests regular unleaded to save a few bucks.

Employing the most sophisticated air-management package in the business, the FJR directs cool air into the cockpit, while adjustable side vents route engine heat either at or around the rider. The adjustable windscreen got 1.6 inches taller in '04. Dual 60/55-watt multi-reflector headlights adjust via knobs in the cockpit.

Yamaha's Unified Braking System cues six of the eight pistons up front to grab the 320mm rotors that came online in '04. The pedal actuates the remaining pair of pistons up front in concert with the two-piston rear caliper and its 282mm rotor. ABS arrived in '04 as well.

Horsepower: 127.2 bhp @ 7900 rpm
Torque: 89.6 lb.-ft. @ 6800 rpm

Though it's actually a bit stronger than the Kawasaki below 4500 rpm, the Yamaha gets upstaged from there. It's stout, putting 91 percent of peak power at 5000 rpm. But it's still not enough to run with the Concours.

Tech Spec
Engine Type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, 16v

Displacement: 1298cc
Bore x stroke: 79.0 x 66.2mm
Compression: 10.8:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate

Transmission: 5-speed
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar

Front suspension: 48mm Soqui fork, adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping

Rear suspension: Single Soqui shock, adjustable for spring rate and rebound damping

Front brake: Dual four-piston Sumitomo calipers, 320mm discs
Rear brake: Single two-piston Sumitomo caliper, 282mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Bridgestone BT020
Rear tire: 180/55-ZR17 Bridgestone BT020
Rake/trail: 26.0/4.3 in.
Seat height: 31.5 in.

Wheelbase: 60.6 in.
Fuel capacity: 6.6 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 676/636 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 127.2 bhp @ 7900 rpm
Measured torque: 89.6 lb.-ft. @ 6800 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 11.02 sec. @ 124.1 mph
Top gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 3.7 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 48/35/45 mpg
Colors: Black Cherry
Warranty: 12 months, unlimited mi.
Contact: Yamaha Motor Corp. USA
6555 Katella Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630

Yamaha seatiing arrangements are more upright than the ST or Concours. Bars are taller than the Honda's, but there's less legroom. The result is second to the BMW for comfort and right behind the Kawi for sporty stuff.

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