**WORDS: Aaron Frank **
ILLO: Jean-Marie Guerin
Yamaha’s FJR1300 revolutionized the sport-touring segment in 2002, but now, 10 years later, that bike desperately needs a redo. Excepting a minor update in ’06—which included an optional (and imperfect) semiautomatic transmission—the FJR is essentially unchanged and lags behind bigger, faster,infnitely more sophisticated competition such as Kawasaki’s Concours14 and BMW’s K1600GT.
Information from Europe suggests the FJR might fnally get upgraded this year, adapting technology from the YZF-R1 sportbike in a larger-displacement, 1400cc engine. Crossplane engine technology—which locates each crankpin 90 degrees apart (as opposed to 180 degrees) to smooth power delivery and enhance traction—seems tailor-made for sport-touring. Adding the safety net of traction control, now almost mandatory in this category, is an obvious companion move.
Existing technologies would be upgraded accordingly, including new-generation linked ABS and perhaps even an optimized version of the semi-automatic gearbox—hopefully one that’s less clunky and doesn’t pop into neutral whenever revs drop below 2000 rpm. Add more modern bodywork (perhaps with R1 cues along the lines of the illustration shown here) with usable luggage, plus a full suite of comfort and convenience features, and a freshened-up FJR1400 could restore the tuning-fork company to the top of the sport-touring heap.