Over twenty years and three generations, Yamaha’s venerable FJR1300 sport touring platform has consistently set the pace in long-haul motorcycle touring.
Yamaha made the FJR1300 based on the FJR1100 motorcycle which is decades old. The motorcycle is light in weight and has superb long-touring capabilities.
Origins and Early Development
The Yamaha FJR1300 has its roots in the popular FJ1100, which was introduced in the early 1980s as one of the first modern sport touring motorcycles.
Building on the success of the FJ1100, Yamaha set out to create an improved successor that would offer more power, better handling, and increased comfort – a machine that could dominate the growing sport touring category.
Concept and early prototype testing began in the late 1990s, with project goals to boost engine performance to 1300cc levels while reducing weight through design innovations.
New chassis and bodywork focused on enhanced ergonomics for all-day riding.
Electronic amenities from Yamaha’s YZF-R superbike models, like advanced fuel injection and ABS brakes, demonstrated the FJR1300’s cutting-edge mission.
First Generation (2001-2003)
Yamaha launched the all-new FJR1300 platform in 2002 worldwide, realizing their vision for a supremely capable mile-munching machine.
Its musclebound 1298cc inline-four pumped out a then segment-leading 145 horsepower, with strong torque peaking at 99 ft-lbs, yet the bike weighed under 600 pounds wet.
A compact and lightweight aluminum chassis provided quick steering and stability, with suspension duties handled by sporty inverted front forks and an adjustable rear shock.
Standard amenities like integrated luggage, an electrically adjustable windscreen, and shaft final drive made the FJR1300 a technological tour de force – a true do-it-all motorcycle ready to compete with the best touring bikes in any arena.
Second Generation (2004-2009)
Just two years after its game-changing debut, Yamaha gave its flagship tourer a thorough overhaul in 2004 to address rider feedback and keep it ahead of a fresh crop of competing models.
An all-new frame and swingarm sharpened handling accuracy while shedding a few pounds.
Revised bodywork increased wind protection and boosted luggage capacity.
Larger 320mm front brake discs with 6-piston calipers enhanced stopping power.
The optional anti-lock braking system now came standard.
Minor electronic and ergonomic tweaks improved rider comfort on long hauls.
|First Generation (2001-2003)
|Launched new FJR1300 platform
|145hp 1298cc engine, improved power over FJ1100 predecessor
|Lightweight aluminum chassis for quick handling
|Inverted front forks and adjustable rear shock
|Standard features like luggage, adjustable windscreen, shaft drive
|Second Generation (2004-2009)
|New frame and swingarm for sharper handling
|Revised bodywork with better wind protection and luggage room
|Larger 320mm front brake discs and 6-piston calipers
|Anti-lock brakes now standard
|Ergonomic and electronic tweaks for comfort
|Third Generation (2009/2010-Present)
|All-new bodywork with darker, brawnier styling
|Engine upgrades for better mid-range power
|20+ pound weight reduction via redesigned chassis
|Addition of traction control, ride modes, electronic suspension
|Continued ABS, cruise control, optional auto-clutch transmission
Third Generation (2009/2010-Present)
Yamaha launched the third full redesign of the venerable FJR1300 platform in 2009, taking an evolutionary approach that built upon the existing model’s strengths while moving styling and technology forward.
Iconic sport-touring capabilities remained, wrapped in all-new bodywork with a darker, rugged visual persona.
Engine upgrades focused on mid-range power gains for added real-world flexibility.
A redesigned aluminum chassis increased rigidity while cutting weight by over 20 pounds.
Yamaha’s advanced electronic control suite – including traction control, drive mode selections, and electronically adjustable suspension – debuted for added performance and comfort.
Contemporary amenities like anti-lock brakes, cruise control, and optional electronic gear shifting kept the latest FJR1300 fully competitive.
Yamaha has already discontinued the FJR1300 in Japan and Europe. It might do the same to the model in the U.S. too.
Evolution of Key Features
Over its 20-plus year production run, the FJR1300 elevated the technological standard in the sport-touring category through consistent performance developments:
Power & Performance
Horsepower and torque outputs have steadily increased across generations, optimizing real-world flexibility.
Advanced intake, fueling, and exhaust changes extract more grunt from the muscular 1298cc engine, aided by lightweight engine internals.
Handling & Chassis
Redesigned frames, swingarms, suspension, and steering geometry changes across generations have maintained the FJR1300’s athleticism – sharp turn-in precision paired with rock-solid stability at any speed.
Inverted front forks adopted in 2006 improved feel.
The chassis rapidly advanced from basic to highly developed.
Electronics & Rider Aids
Cutting-edge when introduced, the FJR1300’s rider aids have grown to match its performance.
Cruise control, traction control, electronically adjustable suspension, and optional auto-clutch transmission exemplify Yamaha’s goal to amplify this machine’s capabilities via smart technologies.
Braking & Safety
Always a top performer in stopping power, dual 6-pot front calipers biting down on 320mm discs underscore the FJR1300’s sporting spirit.
Yamaha’s unified brake system balances braking loads, while ABS has been offered for additional control since 2004.
Comfort & Ergonomics
A tall electrically adjustable windscreen, wide handlebars, and spacious ergonomics established long-haul touring credentials since day one.
Generational redesigns enhanced airflow management around the rider while refining the adjustable seat, grip position, and leg room to amplify comfort.
Hard side cases and integrated luggage mounts also boosted carrying capacity over time.
The Yamaha FJR1300 entered the sport touring market in 2001 as a category-expanding machine offering unparalleled performance and technology in a touring package.
Early-generation models set sales records and garnered universal critical acclaim for their balanced capabilities.
With a 130+ horsepower engine, sporting chassis, all-day ergonomics, and full touring amenities, the FJR1300 outmatched displacement touring bikes for handling precision while handily outperforming hyper-sports in outright comfort over distance.
Combined with strong reliability, the model quickly became Yamaha’s flagship for technological innovation and marketplace domination.
The FJR1300 maintained Yamaha’s competitive advantage as other brands strived to create equally versatile high-performance models in response – an advantage that propelled the FJR’s position as the best-selling bike in its category year after year.
Now in its third generation, continual improvements ensure the king remains on top as Yamaha’s preeminent technological showcase on two wheels.