YAMAHA FJR1300 AE (2016 - 2021) Review
- Big smooth engine
- Long-range touring comfort
- Perfect for carrying luggage and a pillion
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£240|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Two days of blasting around Spain’s Almeria race track and chasing twirling tarmac through the gorgeous, sun-drenched surrounding mountains wasn’t the test route I’d imagined for the Yamaha FJR 1300 launch.
But Yamaha reckon they’ve got touring and comfort nailed, so to show off their 2016 performance focused upgrades we ditched the straights for more twirls than the Cadbury’s chocolate factory.
Yamaha has sold over 100,000 FJRs world-wide, and now with bags of extras on the 2016 model for the exact same price as the outgoing machine, the FJR cements its place in the cream of the sports-touring crop.
In 2020 Yamaha announced the FJR 1300 Ultimate Edition (above). This was powered by the same 1298cc inline-four engine, producing 144bhp. The bike got a new paintjob to mark its 20-year run, finished in black and gold with gold three-spoke alloys featuring the FJR logo.
Weighing in at 292kg, the seat also featured gold stitching and a gold FJR logo to distinguish the bike from the standard model.
The handlebars and risers, control levers, top clamp, filler cap, rear grab handles, brake calipers and passenger footrest brackets are also finished in black to give the machine an additional premium feel.
Yamaha FJR 1300 off sale in 2021
Sadly, the Yamaha FJR 1300 will not be updated for Euro5, so went off sale in 2021.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Yamaha FJR 1300 has always been known for its supreme comfort, but the real surprise was the way it handles if you pressed on a little in the corners.
This is also true of the 2016 model, especially the AE and AS variants which get USD forks and electronically adjustable preload, compression and damping.
When tested again in 2019, the Yamaha's brakes in particular begin the feel a little old and lack the response of something like a BMW R1250RT.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Yamaha FJR 1300 benefits from a new sixth gear, but apart from that the engine remains unchanged. Yamaha managed to squeeze six gears in without changing the crank case.
There was no real need to change the FJR 1300 engine, the 1298cc lump produces 144bhp and as a result the bike is incredibly fast for such a comfortable machine.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
A 1298cc engine is barely breaking a sweat at 144bhp and the Yamaha FJR 1300 will churn out mile after mile without a problem if you look after it.
High mileage shouldn't put you off a used model provided it has a good service history.
Our Yamaha FJR 1300 owners' reviews show mainly positive scores, except one buyer stating he's been through three sets of head bearings because he rides "progressively". Servicing isn't cheap either.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Big-engined touring bikes come in all shapes and sizes. They can be knobbly-tyred adventurers, superbikes on stilts, fully-dressed cruisers or anything in between. Traditional touring bikes have all-but disappeared, but does that mean they’re obsolete? Far from it, if Yamaha’s evergreen FJR1300 and the BMW R1250RT are anything to go by. Powered by a whooshing 144bhp, 1298cc inline four, the FJR used to be the last word in refinement and the RT was always the quirky one. But over the years the Beemer has caught up and overtaken the Japanese tourer with more cubes, power, refinement and technology.
BMW R1250RT vs Yamaha FJR 1300: the MCN verdict
Adventure bikes, sports adventures and cruisers are all very well as touring bikes, but why have knobby tyres you’ll never get muddy, superbike performance you’ll rarely use, or carry unnecessary shiny metal like a ball and chain? The FJR1300 still makes sense as a modern day continentshrinking device, but it’s starting to show its age and could do with a freshen-up. Costing just a couple of hundred quid less than the new Beemer, it really should be a couple of grand cheaper by now. The German bike is way ahead in terms of finish, gadgets, frugality and refinement. Add in the R1250RT’s seamlessly delivered ShiftCam-enabled torque boost and the BMW is still, by far, the most accomplished tourer money can buy.
The FJR’s biggest update is the long-awaited (and overdue) sixth gear. It also gets Yamaha’s new Slip and Assist clutch technology, LED lights front and rear, adaptive cornering lights for peeking round corners, a redesigned tail unit, a new colour and the model is now set-up for the Dainese D-Air Street System.
The trick was to add a sixth gear to a five speed engine without changing the crank cases. Yamaha has done this by using helical cut gears instead of straight cut and subsequently completely redesigned the gearbox.
As a benefit the shorter gearing over the first five gears makes for quicker acceleration while offering a tall, silky smooth, vibration-free sixth for cruising between mountains, or more likely the M25.
Next up is Yamaha’s Slip and Assist clutch technology. The system keeps the bike settled during hard and fast downshifting, helping to stop the rear-wheel from locking up. The new mechanism also equates to a 20% lighter clutch lever action which is good news for left hands everywhere.
The 2016 FJR gets a completely redesigned tail unit complete with LED lights. The front also gets LEDs to help lower the battery draw and posh adaptive cornering lights, which light up progressively the further the bike is leant over. The FJR’s inertial measurement unit (IMU) kicks in at five degrees of lean and lights up three LEDs in total, which are located above the main headlights.
The dash has also been tweaked. It now comes with an anti-glare screen and new fonts. The FJR is available in two colours, Matt Silver and Tech Graphite, with silver being the new colour for 2016.
The AS model has the Auto Clutch system, which does away with the clutch lever in favour of thumb and finger paddles for clicking through the gears. It still comes with a gear lever though, just in case your left foot feels left out.
|Engine type||4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, forward-inclined parallel 4-cylinder|
|Frame type||Aluminium, diamond shaped|
|Fuel capacity||25 litres|
|Front suspension||Upside-down telescopic fork, Ø48 mm|
|Rear suspension||Swingarm, (link type suspension)|
|Front brake||Hydraulic dual disc, Ø320 mm|
|Rear brake||Hydraulic single disc, Ø282 mm|
|Front tyre size||120/70 ZR17M/C (58W)|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 ZR17M/C (73W)|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||37.9 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£240|
|Used price||£7,500 - £11,400|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||144 bhp|
|Max torque||102 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||208 miles|
Model history & versions
The Yamaha FJR1300 was launched in 2001 and was an instant success thanks to its supreme comfort, high performance and reliability.
The bike was updated in 2013, receiving a much-needed facelift but, frustratingly, no sixth gear.
The 2016 version finally added the sixth gear along with some new tech, but the bike’s formula still feels quite dated.
The Yamaha FJR1300 we tested was the AE model, which sits in the middle of three variants. The standard FJR1300A gets standard forks and shock, rather than the USD forks and electronically adjustable suspension on the AE and AS models.
The AS model also gets clutch-assist which does away with a clutch lever in favour of an automated system. Gears are selected using a traditional left foot gear lever or a switch on the bars.
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA FJR1300 (2016 - 2021)
6 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA FJR1300 (2016 - 2021) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£240|
Annual servicing cost: £250
The bike that does everything very well - it isn't top of the charts for any one thing, but the sum of the parts makes it a great choice.
I find the ride quaility excellent. I can easily do, and have done 500 miles a day without any ill effects. It is after all a sports tourer, and it is very happy crossing europe. Pillion comfort is also good, but I don't really use it much two up.
With an engine this size you are never really wanting for power. It pulls from pretty much any speed in any gear, but keeping the revs up a little pays dividends. It will motorway cruise if required in sixth and the engine is really only just ticking over. Lots of pull in lower gears. I can't see why anyone would want any more than whats on offer.
This is my second one and I have never had any breakdown or failures with either of them. General finish quality is also very good.
Servicing is not cheap, but the expensive one is every two years and is around £350 - £400. I know many use the FJR club workshop which I am told is much cheaper.
The standard panniers are big enough, and I like the yamaha FJR crash bungs. The dash is a bit old fashioned, and no colour, but it tells you what you need. The menu for the systems is fairly easy once you get used to it. Cruise control is very useful.
Buying experience: Dealer bought. I have had a good deal on both my FJRs, and I must say I am happy with my current dealer.
Annual servicing cost: £200
Best features:- Overall quality of finish. Good long distance comfort. Size of the bike, not too large. Good handling, feels very planted on the road. The engine, very durable. Gearbox-very slick. Shaft drive is a must! Large tank range. Electronically adjustable suspension. Adjustable screen. Heated grips. Engine mapping-Touring or Sport! The lights give an excellent low and high beam. Worst features:- Panniers are a shade too small. Exhaust system is a little too quiet. Could do with a bit more 'growl'.
I tend to do short trips in the week, but long journeys at the weekends. South Essex to Manchester is not uncommon. I measure the comfort of a bike by the hour. If I'm still comfortable after an hour, then the bikes fine. I get around 220 miles per tank, so should be able to do this without getting off. The FJR fits this bill, no problems. My wife fines the pillion very comfortable as well, although touring, we tend to stop for a break at about 100 to 150 miles. For general commuting, the FJR is fine. Very well balanced, filters through traffic no problem, the clutch is very light, gearbox is slick.
When in Touring mode, the engine's very smooth. Very good power delivery and responds to the throttle well. However, when in Sport mode, it's a different animal! It's very quick for a machine of this size. Yes it's a heavy bike, but the weight distribution of the bike is spot-on. You have to be careful in sport mode - Acceleration is very quick, you can hit three figures without noticing!
So far the bike's only done 5000 miles, so hasn't had its 6000 mile service. On checking the service costs prior to its purchase from Mototechniks, they seem very reasonable in comparison to other makes and models. No complaints in this area.
As standard, the adjustable screen is very useful. The digital readout on the clocks is also useful. The ability to scroll through the readout and change settings at the push of a button. Heated grips are a god send in colder weather. The touring tank bag (FJR accessory) is used nearly every day. It's large enough to put your shopping in, is well made and doesn't get in the way. The panniers on the other hand, tend to be a bit on the small size. They could do with being the same size as the BMW RT's, not really a big problem. But when you're on a tip two up, from Essex to Sheffield, then up to Edinburgh, across to Mull, then down to Liverpool to get the Steam packet across to the I.O.M, then the final trip from Liverpool back to Essex, you need the space to carry not just your clothes to last 3 weeks, but the prezzi's you bring back as well! I'm not a top box fan, so would avoid putting one of these on it. Instead, I use a soft luggage pack, which can be easily strapped to the rear carrier.
Buying experience: Bike was purchased from Mototechniks, Stowmarket in Suffolk as their ex-demo bike. The staff are very knowledgeable about the bikes they sell. The sales staff are not pushy at all. If you want to take a bike out to try it, as I did, it's no problem They can't do enough for you. The price I paid for the bike, at 3 months old with 500 miles on it, was a very good price. It came with panniers and the tank bag as well. I had a free bike checkup, just as it was coming out of its warranty. Again, nothing was too much trouble. I would highly recommend Mototechniks Dealership to anyone.
Annual servicing cost: £350
Pros: Versatility, power, reliabilty, comfort, weather protection, cruise control. Cons: It's heavy, and it carries its weight up high; it's wide between the legs.
I appreciate the bike's versatility. I like both brisk canyon rides and 1,000-in-24 Iron Butt certificate rides, and the bike does both well. I don't often take long, multi-day tours -- the wife prefers the car -- but I would certainly have no qualms about doing so. The FJR1300 is a perennial Iron Butt Rally winner.
Big power, excellent fueling, easy to live with. But a smidge buzzy at various points on the tach.
Outstanding build quality. I've had three FJRs (a 2010 and two 2016s) and I've never had an issue.
Routine maintenance is easy. Valve adjustments will be a complex and lengthy chore, but aren't required until 26,000 miles
Love the cleanliness of the shaft drive, the cruise control, the integrated luggage, the oustanding instrumentation. The ES model is nice if you occasionally have a passenger -- pre-load adjustment is accomplished with the press of a button. Great range from the 6.5-gallon tank. I often get 49-50 mpg.
Buying experience: I bought my current 2016 used, from a dealer in Wisconsin. I was not impressed with them IMO. The bike had 3,400 miles on it, and I paid $12,999.
Version: A with colour coded panniers
A little higher screen would be great. And quick shift
Still running in, but others I have ridden are great
Quick shift and self cancelling indicators would be nice.
Buying experience: Dealer, they had what I wanted and the best price in the UK. They even delivered cheaper than it would cost me to collect
Great engine and brakes love the cruise control build quality poor
The brakes are great and ride quality is ok.
3rd set of head bearings in 18k. I am well........ very progressive on the bike due to my job and others in job have had 2 sets of head bearings in 20k. Paint finish is very poor.
Great equipment but cruise works sometimes you have to stop switch off and on then it works.
Buying experience: N/a
Annual servicing cost: £150
Slightly disappointed by the high seat, and very wide, but once moving bike comes into its own.
Dealer included the first service in the sale price anyway.
Missing Nav and comms.
Buying experience: Dealer was perfect.