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Still deciding - FJ-09 or Triumph Tiger


jackactual

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Hey, looking forward to checking out all the cool posts here about the FJ-09. I soo want to buy this bike! I will either be buying it or the Triumph Tiger in the next two weeks so my plan here is to ask for all your opinions, especially you current or past Tiger owners, on why the FJ-09 is a better purchase.
 
Why the conflict? Well first I have test ridden the Tiger but finding an FJ to demo is harder, but I am going to do so before I make a purchase. That being said the FJ's suspension seems to a have a bad rap and Im wondering if I am going to have to invest anther $1800 in suspension for safety and riding comfort, making the price differential not much of an issue. Also the FJ is wide and I am primarily looking to commute and split lanes in the SF bay area. My thinking is the FJs handling makes width a bit of a non-issue but it is still wider by at 3 inches.
 
Bottom line, I have been hankering for that Tiger for two years, but since being introduced to the FJ-09 a few month ago I cant say no to the price and frankly the bike just looks so cool!
 
Currently riding a '07 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic.
 
Thanks for any comments and suggestions. I am reading through the forum and glad to be a part of it.
 
 
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I also commute into SF from deep in the east bay and as Im sure you know its pretty gnarly. I havent noticed any issue with width, but my last bike was a motard with giant wide bars so there was no adjustment in riding style there. Honestly the suspension for most people is fine, the rest of the bike is so good that the "fine" suspension sticks out. You can get Andreani cartridges and am Ohlins shock for $1000 which will be more them enough for 90% of riders. If you get the cartridges by themselves and get a double clicker Penske for a few hundred more if you want more adjustability front and back.
 
The Tiger is an awesome bike BUT if you dont plan on doing any offroading (and people have ridden offroad with these) the FJ is fantastic. Even adding $1100 for suspension you'll be under the msrp for a new Tiger 800.
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I see many people in California take the hand guards off to make the width less of a problem. I live in Indiana where lane splitting is misunderstood and everyone instantly goes back to kindergarten thinking that it's not fair bikes get to cut in line. :/. Thus, I may as well keep the hand guards on.
 
I've not ridden a Tiger myself. From what little research I've done, I think the FJ is faster and handles better on the street. The 17" front wheel really helps street handling as the FJ is not designed to go off road. The Tiger will handle better off road because of the 19" front wheel and better ground clearance, but not nearly as good as a proper dirt bike. Depending on the model of tiger, the electronics package may be better than an FJ. You have to step up to the X models of Tigers for them to come with cruise control but you won't find it on the FJ yet. There's a supporting vendor working on cruise for the FJ now but it's not released yet. The throttle response may be a little smoother on a Tiger, but I am fully adjusted to the stock fuel maps on the FJ and have no issues. Any that have had issues with throttle response has been able to fix it with an ECU flash. As far as suspension, I've been fine with it so far as are many members that expected to have to replace it before they bought the bike. As with anything YMMV. Everyone seems to be looking for something a little different in their suspension. If you are doing a lot of track days, the suspension is probably going to show its weaknesses. Then again, if you are doing a lot of track days, there's many bikes more suited to that than a sport tourer. For sport touring, the suspension is fine IMHO. Not sure how it is out west but it's very hard to find a Triumph dealer around here. The closest one to me is over 100 miles away. I know of at least one other member trying to sell a tiger to buy an FJ for that very reason.
 
For me the FJ does exceptionally well for what I want in a bike. I'm never going to take it off road. 90% of my riding is commuting or smaller day trips. I wanted something comfortable for my 6'1" frame that wasn't too hunched over that was fun to ride every day and was capable of taking on a longer trip on a rare occasion. I also wanted something that I could mount luggage on and looks like it belongs as well as carry my wife in relative comfort. The FJ is incredibly fast too. Fewer than 1% of the cars on the road come even close to being as fast as the FJ (I'm talking usable semi-legal speeds/acceleration). Pretty much, if a car is faster than the FJ, it costs at least 6 figures and the guy driving it is too afraid to step on the pedal. There's a few bikes faster than an FJ, but those don't usually cause issues in traffic.
 
The first bike I rode that I couldn't wipe the smile off my face was a Kawasaki Versys. It was a test ride and the only other bike I had ridden at the time was my 1970 CB450 I got from my dad. First chance I got, I brought my wife back to sit on one at the dealer. It was a no go to her. The seat sloped too much and she felt like it kept pushing her forward. Of all the bikes I've had her sit on, she complained the most about that seat. I spent 2 years looking for a bike that I could afford, made me smile the same way and my wife was comfortable on. I was about to settle for a v strom even though the smiles per mile weren't as high (I blame the bigger front wheel and less lively engine on the V Strom, coincidentally the 2 things the FJ has over the Tiger), then the FJ came out and it blew both bikes away in the smiles per mile category, my wife was comfortable and I could swing the extra cost. The rest is history.
 
Both are great bikes and have advantages over the other. There's many similarities between them too. They are both very, very different than a Vulcan 900. Find a dealer that will let you ride an FJ. Don't be afraid to drive a little to find one either. Bottom line, I don't think you can go wrong with either bike but one may suit your needs/wants more than the other. The only one that can truly answer which bike that is, is you.
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I was trying to make the same decision.
 
My advice: Try to ride them both. Also ride other bikes "in the same ballpark", whatever ballpark that is for you.
 
I rode the FJ-09 (the dealer could only let me ride it a few miles, since it wasn't a demo bike); a couple of Tigers; my friend's 2008 Multistrada; a new Hyperstrada; my other friend's 2008 FZ-1.
 
I was coming from a Triumph Street Triple. I needed something that would hold more stuff and be better for long rides, but still work for short rides, commutes, city, fun, etc.
 
The Triumphs are by far the smoothest of all these bikes. The Triumph 3-cyl is tremendous. That said, the Tigers felt slow to me. Now "slow" is a relative term. They're plenty fast for practical purposes. But the "smiles per mile" were short. And the Tigers felt big to me. But: if you are planning on going off road, the Tiger is probably a good choice.
 
The Hyperstrada was ridiculously fun...but I can't really imagine doing more than a few hours at a time on it. Its gas tank is small; its cases are soft; its ride is firm; not much wind protection; etc. If I knew I were never going more than 200 miles or parking anywhere sketchy, this would be an awesome bike. And at $13.5k including bags, it's sort of a "bargain". Valve adjustments are now at 18000 miles I believe, which is amazing--gone are the days of the frequent valve adjustments. Nonetheless, Ducati service is not cheap, and reliability might be a wild card.
 
My friend's 2008 Multistrada handled like a champ, super-comfortable ride, fun bike. A little awkward and top-heavy in the city. Engine powerful, but surprisingly unrefined. Newer Multis are much more sophisticated (and much more expensive). 
 
My other friend's FZ-1 needed new tires, or something was loose--it felt messed up. Motor was lovely though.
 
And then there's the FJ-09. Very easy and intuitive handling, very comfortable seating (to me) and everything adjustable, decent ride, good in the city, gobs of torque and power, very fun, and lots of options. Just the right combination of adventure-touring-sport for me.
 
My two criticisms of the FJ are: (1) the stock windshield sucks royally, and I'm still working on getting something that makes me happy; and (2) the fueling is a little jerky, especially coming off the pretty much perfect Street Triple. If the fueling continues to bother me, I'll get the ECU flash. 
 
Oh, I took off those ginormous hand guards. I like the idea of hand guards, but not if they make the bike wider. 
 
I can report that the FJ lane-splits fine in the SF Bay Area with the hand guards removed. The upright position, relatively low-feeling pegs, and relatively light weight make it quite a good splitter I'd say. Low-speed handling is quite good, courtesy of upright position and wide-ish bars. I can't quite manage a track stand, but maybe some day. (I can't do it on my bicycles either; maybe I should start there.)
 
Hope this helps.
 
 
 
 
 
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I too am looking at the Tracer/FJ-09 and the Tiger 800, but after visiting the dealer I have come to the conclusion that whilst the Tiger has a nice motor and handles well, I really don't care for its new'ish face-lift looks. I actually prefer the pre-face lift look of the Tiger 800.
Going to have a second test ride of the Tracer/FJ-09 (but still may be tempted by a used Ducati Multistrada)
Tam
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Thanks for all the replies, i really appreciate your perspectives. I did find a dealer to test ride the FJ09 and am doing so o Tuesday Aug 18. I think the suggestion that the suspension will probably be just fine for me is accurate and not going to be a large cost adder if I feel a need to address it.
 
I was considering the hyperstrada too but am leaning away from Ducati for reliability and service cost issues.
 
The Yamaha Dealer closest to me has the FJ on sale for $9400. The Tiger XRX lists for $11500 but adds between $1500-2500 in gear credit.
 
Today I am leaning towards the FJ, in large part due to the comments everyone sent. I KNOW I'd be happy with either, and the price on the FJ makes it too good to pass up.
 
I'll let everyone know my post test ride thoughts!
 
Jack Actual
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I looked at both the Hyperstrada and FJ-09. I found a Yamaha dealer that was asking $9,400 USD and went that route. I still like the Ducati and the dealer nearest to me dropped the price to $11,500 USD for a 2014 model. I prefer the riding position on the FJ-09. I felt too far forward over the forks on the Ducati. Both bikes have a Super Motard type of feel, as opposed to a typical sport touring bike. You can lean it over or back it into corners. Its a great all purpose, commuter, get away for a day or two bike. Not sure that I would want to ride coast-to-coast. My experience with the Tiger was with the 2nd generation 900 cc model, which I grew to hate.
STUFF EVERYTHING - I'VE ALWAYS GOT MY BIKE!
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I too am deciding between the F800GS, the Tiger 800 XCX and the FJ-09. I never even had the FJ on my radar until I stumbled across a YT video the other day. I've owned dirt bikes, cruisers, dual sports, a FJR and 3 vstroms - of which i'm on my '07 1000 Strom. I just want to get rid of the extra weight and have more fun. I rented a BMW F800R while touring around Europe a couple of years ago and it was a blast. I don't know why I keep going back to dual sports though. I do enjoy having the option to ride both dirt roads and tarmac but 99.99999% of the riding I do is usually smooth asphalt. Why am I looking at Tigers or GS bikes? Gotta get back to what makes you happy and not what's 'practical'. As you guys have typed - 'smiles per mile' - nailed it. Up here in Canada the FJ is a pretty decent price. $10K. With the current exchange rate that's pretty exceptional. Plus i'm tired of doing maintenance on the Strom. I'd rather be farkling!!
 
Smurph
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I was looking at the Tiger as I do like handling gravel, dirt and choppy roads when I run across them. But felt there's better dealer support from Yamaha as their dealers are virtually everyplace, at least in the U.S. that I know of. There's some parts availability issues but it seems its all getting worked out. So I purchased the FJ and kept my shetbox 650 for gravel, choppy and dirt rides.
 
I can tell you that I wasn't particularly thrilled with the suspension on my first demo ride, keep that in mind. I wasn't decided and didn't purchase at that time or even  soon after. Had other bikes to ride and was in no hurry. It was on a demo day and probably five more test rides that I felt the FJ was one of the top two on my list. I couldn't ride the roads I wanted to test the bike on but felt it would handle the rougher ones I like well enough. I knew the bike was light and responsive in corners from the reviews but was unable to really test the cornering of this machine until I owned one. To me, traction control was an electronic gizmo. Did it work?
 
The FJ I ended up purchasing, once the preload was set up and I'd fiddled with the rebound, currently with 3,000 ish miles, is just fine for 95+% of what I do. I've had it in gravel and some dirt. Not by choice but its capable as most motorcycles are, if under 700 lbs (opinions may very). The FJ has now exceeded my expectations. It may be just a bit light on the front end but that's fairly easy to remedy. I'm currently unable to out ride the suspension but will keep trying. If that changes, an upgrade may be in order. Traxxion and Penske components, when set up well, are very nice. Installed both on my Honda which I still ride. Not as much as the FJ but still get her out for a spin. I'll probably be leaving the FJ-09 suspension stock until fork service time. Then some experimenting with fluids and MAYBE a respring.
 
The engine is fabulous. Equivalent in torque or better and lighter then a V4 which is another great engine in a motorcycle.
 
In the event you lean towards the FJ, and I encourage you to do so, the wind screen, mirror extenders and OEM seat should be considered as most feel a change is in order. First two are readily available. The last one is a bit more limited on availability at this time. Lots of good reads on this forum to help locating these parts and help with decisions. I felt these three things needed to be changed first. Luggage was next if you have that need, Vista Cruise gives the wrist a break, Crampbuster was for me with right wrist issues, GPS mount, and last but not least, reflective rim tape to privy up the decor and help be scene.
 
Good luck with your decision.
Everyday's a good day when your able to ride
 
15 FJ-09 - 2WDW ECU flash, Givi SV201, Nelson Rigg tail bag, OES sliders, Koubalink extenders, Ermax Sport, Vista Cruise, OEM seat mod, (smiles)
07 Honda ST1300A (sold)
06 Kawi KLR650 - Big Gun full exhaust, Corbin, Givi, PMR racks, carb mod (keeper)
97 Honda VFR750 - Traxxion Dynamics, Penske, Givi 3 piece, carbon exhaust (keeper?)
20+ years of snowmobiles
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I owned the tiger 800 for 4 years,traded it in for the tracer/fj,the tigers is great bike,but the tracer/fj is everything i wanted the tiger 800 to be,sportier,17" wheels,etc,and its a lot cheaper in the UK,than the new XRX,XRT,ive had no problem with the tracers suspension,but has a former tiger 800 forum member, there was people on there who wasn't happy with the tigers suspension,screen etc.
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