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What have I done? :^)


steveb

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Well I took the leap and bought an FJ-09 two days ago!  Wasn't able to do a test ride as none of the dealers near me were offering the opportunity but, with all of the research I'd done reading various reviews, this forum, and sitting on the bike several times at different dealers, I finally just went for it! 
 
I also own a 1993 ST1100 (bought new) and though it's a great bike (and has carried me without any problems all over the USA) I've been wanting something lighter and with quicker handling for the twisties, and that I could still comfortably ride cross country when I chose to.  I also wanted a bike that wasn't completely covered in plastic so that normal simple maintenance (oil changes etc) didn't require taking so much of the bike apart just to get it done.  The FJ09 looked like a good answer. 
 
When I first got on the bike to drive it home from the dealer I was amazed at how light and nimble it does feel!  All my ST1100 handling inputs needed to be toned way down as the FJ didn't need nearly the force to initiate anything.  Yesterday I was able to take the FJ out for a real spin on the roads to and around Julian, CA.  Nice combination of sweepers and twisties with some highway thrown in after.  After driving about 150 or so miles these are my thoughts!
 
- It's a great bike and I did not make a mistake.  The smile on my face during the ride didn't go away the rest of the day!  :^)
 
- Once I got out on it and put on a few miles, adjusting to the new handling characteristics came very easily.  I would just think my way around corners and the bike just followed.  I liked it!  I didn't push hard at all (1st day out on a brand new bike and on brand new tires is not the time to test limits) but often found myself going around corners faster than I normally would on the ST without thinking about it.
 
- The suspension felt pretty good in the standard setting.  I plan on playing with the settings (adjusting to my weight for sag etc.) to see what difference it makes, but overall I was very happy with how the bike handled.
 
- I can tell it's going to be real interesting after I finish breaking in the engine and can access higher revs.  85-90mph is still under 6500rpm (First 600 mile rev limit), and the FJ pulls very nicely at anything @4k or above.  I can just imagine how it's going to feel once I can get into the true powerband.  I just left it in Standard mode.  I'll play with A & B modes later. 
 
- The wind protection is pretty good!  I have the standard windshield set at the highest setting, and the air flow is hitting my shoulders and my helmet (about level with the bottom of the eyeshield).  I'm getting clean airflow where I'm being hit and the wind is not on my chest which is important given the upright seating.  No issues at all with anything less than highway speeds.  I do wonder a bit about how I'll feel after a long highway stretch but I'll find out soon enough.  With the ST holding 80+mph all day long is pretty effortless on my body.  I think the FJ will be less so, but should still be very acceptable. 
 
- I need to do something about the seat!  I'm 6'2" and 205lbs with a 34" inseam.  The seat is at the highest setting which feels ok as far as general positioning.  After the first 100 miles or so I started getting severe butt burn.  Part of this seems to be from the angle of the seat (I feel like I'm angled towards the tank more than I would like) and part from the seat shape and/or cushioning.  Still figuring that out to see whether I can do something with this seat, or if I'll be checking out an aftermarket seat (Corbin?).  Also need to get my wife on the back and see what she thinks of that half of the seating. 
 
- My arms are fairly long and I'm planning on moving the handlebars forward a bit by rotating the risers.  I just need to find a long enough extension for my wrench so that I can reach the nuts underneath to loosen them.  Right now it's ok but I think the extra 10mm will be more comfortable.
 
- The engine sounds very nice!  Very quiet when just trundling through my neighborhood, but a nice growl when I get on it!  Should be even nicer at the higher revs. 
 
- I can't stop going into the garage and looking at it!  :^)  I really like how it looks which, given how much fun it is to ride, makes me very happy!
 
Right now I'm looking at options for the side bags (Yamaha or ? - would really like to be able to put a helmet in one but...), and a rack so I can put a Givi topbox on it when desired.  I'd be interested in input re: what other good non-Yamaha options there are out there (just for the sake of completeness).  Also I really like the convenience of having a tank bag and I'm looking for the best option for this bike.  The tank structure doesn't seem to lend itself well to a strap attachment.  I'm not sure yet about a magnetic attachment (possible).  I'm intrigued by the SW-Motech Quick-Lock Type 110 EVO gas tank adapter and bags.  I need to see who carries the bags in my area and take a look.  Might be the answer for me.  Thoughts?
 
Anyway, I really appreciate the information I've gotten from this forum already. You all really helped me make the final decision to pull the switch.  Thanks for that!  I'm really looking forward to putting more miles on this bike.
 
Enjoy,
 
Steve
 
 
 
 
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As far as side bags, IMHO the Yamaha FJR bags are the way to go. All the aftermarket bags I've seen require the big ugly cages to mount to. The FJR bags will hold a helmet and fit on the stock mounts (still have to buy the lower mount which is just a small plate that doesn't look too out of place) which makes it look a lot cleaner when you take the bags off. Other than the industrial looking adventure style aluminum box type, I'm not sure there's any after market that are much bigger either. I'm not convinced this bike lends itself to the adventure style cases anyway. People keep comparing it to the adventure bikes but the only similarity I see is the upright seating position. I didn't catch what color you got but the unpainted FJR bags go really well with the matte grey and can be had for about the same or less than the city bags. If you got the red, I think the unpainted would still look good if you wanted to save some money, or you could buy the painted ones that are color matched to the red bike. That makes the red bike look really sharp (still not as sharp as the matte ;), but sharp none the less). I think the paint adds roughly $100 per bag.
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FJR bags are wider than the handlebars. The OP is from CA where he can lane split. Wife bags may be a concern. Having lane split once on a friend's bike with wide bags made me very anxious (and I commuted in LA for 6 years so I'm comfortable with splitting).
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Givi's website says they offer FJ-09 racks for their V35 bags, but I don't see them yet on twistedthrottle.com. Motomachines.com lists Hepco Becker racks for the FJ, too. Right now I think I'm torn between the FJR bags or the Givi V35s.
 
I mounted a Wolfman tankbag yesterday using two bodywork bolts under the seat. I'll post pics later.
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Hi Steve and Congratulations on your purchase!  I ride some of the same roads (I'm in Palm Desert) and agree with your comments almost completely.  The suspension out of the box is fantastic on smooth roads (like those around Julian)  but when you get to the rippled stretches (Hwy 74 between Palm Desert and Paradise Corner for example) the bike is much rougher and bouncy.  I've got two other bikes that smooth this road out much better than the FJ-09, and I've already experimented with different suspension settings and it helps somewhat, but its still not how I'd like it.  The seat....well, plenty of comments here and I can tell you it's not going to get any better.  Corbin is building a seat now for one guy on this forum and Seat Concepts is delivering their product now for several who did a "group buy" on this forum.  (I didn't because I want to see how happy people are with the product before putting the money down.)  Yamaha also makes what they call a "comfort seat" for this bike but no reviews here of that yet either.  Anyway, It's a fantastic bike, I love it after about 2,000 miles.  Like you say, so light and easy to handle.  Have fun!  Maybe our paths will cross in Warner Springs or somewhere!
 
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Here are some pics of the Wolfman tank bag I got yesterday:
 
VY0mEKq.jpg
 
X8U7E0y.jpg
 
One set of straps has bolt holes so I simply attached them using the side cover fasteners shown in the second photo.
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Thanks for all of the responses!
 
I've been looking at the unpainted FJR bags very seriously and was wondering about the width factor.  I was planning on going to the dealership and doing some measuring to see what was real.   I do lane split when needed.  Has anyone already done this measurement?  It doesn't look like there would be much extra width (those handlebars are pretty wide - @37" at the widest point).  I understand the FJ09 & FJR saddlebags are identical except for the FJR's larger Lid.  Hmmm...  I'd be happy with the standard bags if they would hold a full face helmet, but they don't... 
 
Givi makes some nice bags, but I'm not sure about the appearance of the mounting hardware.  The bags wouldn't stay on full time on this bike.  I did just watch a video showing the V35 bags using the removable bag mounting hardware (PLXR).  Nice bags (and the permanent mounts are less intrusive - though still more so than using the OEM mounting hardware) but it seems like the bags would be even wider on the bike than mounting FJR bags using the existing FJ09 mounting (plus bottom mount).  I am going to put on a Givi top box.  I own the Givi Maxia top box now (on the ST1100), so want the ability to put it on the FJ.   I'd probably get a smaller version of the top box for most of my riding (as long as it can hold a helmet :^), and use the Maxia when on a trip with my wife on the back.  I would need the extra space then.  I'm still looking at whether I'm going to get the Yamaha rack and add the Givi plate to it, or use some other rack option. 
 
Suspension-wise, I'm going to have to play with it a bit.  I'll have to look for some of those rippled stretches and see how it feels. :^)  Too early to tell for me yet, but I'll probably be open to looking at a rear shock upgrade down the road.  As far as the seat goes I'm also going to wait and see what Corbin and some others come up with.  I don't see myself doing a really long trip on this seat.  Took my wife out for her first ride yesterday and she seemed to like feel of the back seat.  We'll see how it feels to her on a longer ride.  A question would be whether to keep the separate seats or have a single pan two person seat made. 
 
Going out today to check out some of the above, and take also a look at some tank bags (thanks for the look at the Wolfman).  I've seen some nice bags online but need to actually see some of them.  I also like having a map pocket on top, and many of the bags I've seen don't have that or have it as a kludgy addition.  I'll keep you posted on what I find.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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  • 3 weeks later...
Givi's website says they offer FJ-09 racks for their V35 bags, but I don't see them yet on twistedthrottle.com. Motomachines.com lists Hepco Becker racks for the FJ, too. Right now I think I'm torn between the FJR bags or the Givi V35s. 
I mounted a Wolfman tankbag yesterday using two bodywork bolts under the seat. I'll post pics later.
www.tourandride.com has everything but the top rack adapter that I need.  They are basically Givi USA so they're the first to get all of it but not necessarily the cheapest.
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  • 3 weeks later...
 
- The wind protection is pretty good!  I have the standard windshield set at the highest setting, and the air flow is hitting my shoulders and my helmet (about level with the bottom of the eyeshield).  I'm getting clean airflow where I'm being hit and the wind is not on my chest which is important given the upright seating.  No issues at all with anything less than highway speeds.
 
 
 
 

 
I'm also 6'2" and have absolutely not free air hitting my eye shield! But when i raise my butt 3-5 cm the turbulence is vanished and there is only silence !
 
It is so strange that two riders at same height can have so different experience!
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- The wind protection is pretty good!  I have the standard windshield set at the highest setting, and the air flow is hitting my shoulders and my helmet (about level with the bottom of the eyeshield).  I'm getting clean airflow where I'm being hit and the wind is not on my chest which is important given the upright seating.  No issues at all with anything less than highway speeds. 
 
 
 

I'm also 6'2" and have absolutely not free air hitting my eye shield! But when i raise my butt 3-5 cm the turbulence is vanished and there is only silence ! 
It is so strange that two riders at same height can have so different experience!
 
 
After putting on more miles, I did end up lowering the windshield to its low setting.  At the high setting the windshield was fine for me on back roads etc. but on the highway not so much.  Still checking out the low setting but it does seem cleaner.  More air hitting me (still good chest protection) but cleaner.  Still looking at other windshields for long trips.  I've got my seat at the high position, and I've rotated the handlebar mounts to give me a bit more room for my arms.
 
 

 
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Thanks for all of the responses! 
I am going to put on a Givi top box.  I own the Givi Maxia top box now (on the ST1100), so want the ability to put it on the FJ.   I'd probably get a smaller version of the top box for most of my riding (as long as it can hold a helmet :^), and use the Maxia when on a trip with my wife on the back.  I would need the extra space then.  I'm still looking at whether I'm going to get the Yamaha rack and add the Givi plate to it, or use some other rack option. 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
So, have you found a solution?
I'm in the top box bying mode and struggle to choose between a V56, E55 and V47. A little worried that they will be too big, but its nice to have room for two helmets.
Not many pictures of this combo on the net, so its difficult to decide.
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