Before adventure-touring motorcycles became the en vogue mode of long-distance two-wheel travel, sport-touring rigs were the sensible rider’s choice for canyon carving and pounding the interstate. Let’s face it: They’re comfortable, plenty fast, and—if a tendency styling-wise to veer toward the codgerly doesn’t bother you—pretty close to ideal for most on-road riding scenarios. The 2020 Yamaha FJR1300ES is the archetypal sport-tourer. Powered by a 1.3-liter inline four of the non-crossplane genus, the soundtrack and smooth-running nature of the FJR are as tried and true as its form factor.
Considering the FJR1300 was last updated in 2016, some sticker shock may accompany its $18K MSRP, but this bike has many useful features, including cornering lights, linked antilock brakes, and three throttle modes. For that coin, however, we’d like lean-angle-sensitive traction control, cornering ABS, a TFT dash, and a quickshifter—all available on one of the FJR’s competitors, the identically priced Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT. While the FJR’s electronics package is dated, we’d venture to say that for some riders, the latest tech is less important than a comfortable seat, heated handgrips, and integrated hard luggage, all features the FJR does possess.