Jump to content

FJ-09 for mountain roads daily drive? Vs...


Recommended Posts

Hi All,
 
I'm shopping for a bike mostly to do my daily commute between the Santa Cruz Mountains and Palo Alto in Northern California, and would love some input on the FJ-09. My commute is a 45 mile trip one way, good twisty mountain roads with some straights and a bit of traffic on either end of the drive.
 
I rode an old KZ900 for a couple of years back in college days, but am new to more modern bikes. Ergonomics are an important factor for me, so I’ve been looking at bikes with an upright riding position. I've been doing a ton of internet research and have visited a couple of shops.
 
Bikes on my shortlist right now include:
[ul type=disc][*]2015 Yamaha FJ-09 (new) [*]2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT (new)[*]2014 KTM 1190 Adventure (used)[*]201[span style=background-color:transparent]2 Ducati Multistrada S (used)[/span][/ul]
I would love to hear your thoughts on the FJ-09 vs these bikes and/or your recommendations for my situation. Also, if you have a dealer/salesperson in the San Jose or Santa Cruz area you like and trust, would love that info too!
 
Thanks so much,
 
Dan
 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The KTM is geared more towards off-road. As long as all the roads are paved, all the other options will probably handle better on the twisty roads. If you have some fire roads, or any rough roads the scale tips toward the KTM. The FJ is going to be significantly faster than the 650 Versys. The Ducati is a nice bike but they are notoriously expensive to maintain and less reliable than its Japanese counterparts. The ergonomics are similar among all 4. Personally, I would choose the FJ, but then again I did. Please keep in mind, you are on the FJ forum so replies may be biased. Best option is to ride them all and pick the one that puts the biggest smile on your face.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All, 
Bikes on my shortlist right now include:
[ul type=disc][*]2015 Yamaha FJ-09 (new) [*]2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT (new)[*]2014 KTM 1190 Adventure (used)[*]201[span style=background-color:transparent]2 Ducati Multistrada S (used)[/span][/ul]
I would love to hear your thoughts on the FJ-09 vs these bikes and/or your recommendations for my situation. Also, if you have a dealer/salesperson in the San Jose or Santa Cruz area you like and trust, would love that info too!
 
Thanks so much,
 
Dan

I can't speak to the others.  I've only ridden the FJ (and the FZ before it).  The Versys has been "of interest" to me for a few years, but all the reviews were all about how functional it is.  I was looking for more than "function".  I have the luxury/constraint that my cycle riding is purely for pleasure.  I wanted something that excited me.  Last year, the FZ just jumped at me.  I bought one without a test ride and I was not disappointed.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was in the market for a replacement.  The FJ "ticked all the boxes" for making the FZ more what I wanted.  Center stand, ABS, improved suspension and instrument panel led the list, but the adjustability appealed to me as well.  I was disappointed in the screen and the handling is just a little off the FZ (an extra 50#s will do that).  Otherwise, I have been very happy with my choice.  To me a "Motor"cycle is primarily about the motor and the Yamaha CP3 has an intoxicating feel.  It really doesn't care what gear you're in, it wants to play.  
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
For commuting, where running costs will be a factor, I would pick either of the Japanese bikes on your list. You may want to add the Vstrom and the newly refurbished SV650 to the list.
 
The Ducati & KTM will have higher running costs and based on anecdotal evidence from friends with such bikes, they will be more fragile. These two may be a bit more exciting to ride on non-commuting days.
 
For me, as I use just one bike for commuting, leisure & long tours, the FJ09 (or Tracer as we call it) fits the bill. Powerful enough to thrill at times. Docile enough to ride in traffic and narrow enough for filtering/lane splitting. Plenty of torque for riding in the Alps with full luggage or 2 up.
 
I'm sure the Ducati & KTM would be great for fun rides and the touring but less good for the commuting element.
 
The 650 Versys will be a great bike for an urban commute but I would want something a bit more powerful on open roads, to get past other traffic. The 650 would bore me on Sunday rides and frustrate me when touring with others on more powerful bikes. Of course, the Versys & Vstrom have 1000cc versions.
 
 
This signature is left blank as the poster writes enough pretentious bollocks as it is.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Ducati is an aggressive bike. Very itchy on the throttle. The KTM has been poisoned with some issues (air filter and battery issues amongst) so you highly want to verify all recalls have been done here. Nice bike anyway. But i'm also giving you 'european' info. Recalls might not have been necessary in the US. The Kawasaki does probably make more sense then the Yamaha for commuting only. There are decent factory desgined panniers available for example. But the Yamaha probably has that little bit more 'fun' content. Go out for a test ride. One thing which i find important the Yamaha does not have, is a cruise control. Very handy for those 'straight' lines. I would add some other bikes to your shortlist... A Triumph explorer and FJR... Somewhat more expensive (unless bought second hand). The Triumph has cruise control, but unfortunately recalls with valves are known. Check with the dealer. As of model 2013 the FJR has cruise control by default. And this bike is rock-solid. Currently have a 2013 model in my garage. And owned a model 2006 for 8 years. They fit nicely through trafic jams :-)  I believe these days we are spoiled with 'choice'...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
The Versys 650 is a good value if you want to be in the 8,000. U.S. range but the FJ 09 will be allot more fun with the power you'll want. The Versys 1000 is a solid bike but to me too,"Goldwingish". Boring... Allot of bikes out there and it can be very cunfusing. Happy hunting...
A Motorcyclist's Church is the open road....
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a Ninja 650r a couple years ago. The twin is a good engine but the triple in the FJ is much more fun to ride. Ride as many options as you can, if possible. I lived in San Jose for awhile and my job took me to Santa Cruz a coulee times a week. Don't know how many times I wished I had a bike to make that drive back then. The FJ would be well suited for that commute.
 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
The versys was tempting to me. It's a fine bike. But I live in Colorado and the FJ is a dream in the mountains and fully capable on the highway, plus being a metric I don't have to worry about repairs bleeding me to death, it is just a crazy good all round bike. Although like many bikes, budget a seat change.. The OEM seat is a baseball bleacher.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in the Santa Cruz mountains and used to commute along skyline and down 84 to Redwood City. In fact I rode that today on my FJ on an errand.
(now I work in Mountain View so I go down 9 and Redwood Gulch). My previous commute bikes were BMW GSes.
 
If you are going to commute this route year round, wind protection and warmth are important. There was ice on the side of the road at Castle Rock this afternoon, and CalTrans has put down sand recently. It was in the low 40s at 2pm. This morning it was around freezing at my house and colder up on Skyline. (this is about as cold as I'll ride- I don't want to hit ice or have it snow while I'm at work and have to ride home in it).
 
The stock FJ is not as good as my GSes were for this sort of duty. Our mountain roads are rough, and the FJ's got too much compression damping. (admittedly I found the GS's suspension also lacking, though not as bad, and replaced their shocks with Wilbers). The FJ at 5.something inches of travel is never going to be as cush as a GS or KTM 1190 or Multistrada. But I feel it can be good enough with a new shock and fork work.
 
The wind screen lets a lot of wind by. I tried out the Madstad screeen today and it's much better, as good at my last GS. The KTM hand guards I put on work much better than the stock ones. Even without grip heaters my hands were acceptably warm. I've got the heated grips on order.
 
Reliability wise, I had a Ducati back when you could work on them yourself. That's not possible now. They don't even have a shop manual. Ducs are for people who bring their bikes to the dealer. Yamaha's shop manual is excellent. Living in a somewhat remote place I'd rather be able to work on the bike myself than have to bring it in for everything. The KTM also requires a lot of dealer work, mostly to deal with the electrics. Yamaha parts prices are fantastically low after dealing with BMW all these years.
 
The FJ is loads cheaper than those bikes or a GS, and it's smaller and lighter. I'd been getting the GSes partially to do two up loaded touring and we didn't do that on the last one. I only need to haul a passenger for day trips, so I can get a smaller bike. The FJ's faster than the GSes were, but probably not faster than a Multi or 1190. However on these roads they're all fast enough. There's too many deer, trees and tourists in the road to go over 80mph or so. The FJ has a wonderful motor that pulls from down low and has a very linear powerband. Ducatis tend to run poorly at low rpms which makes them a bit more difficult in tight corners- you have to slip the clutch. The FJ pulls from idle if you ask it and makes good power at higher rpms... passing is noticably quicker than my last GS.
 
I bought my FJ from GP sports in Campbell. They're a decent dealer, very low key sales people which is nice. I don't know how service or parts will be.
They had a demo bike that I got a test ride on.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey All,
 
I'm super-grateful for all the good advice--this thread really helped me bring some perspective to a bit of an information overload from researching all the separate bikes. So, how does it turn out...?
 
I bought an FJ-09 today. Went to GP Motorsports in San Jose, loved it in person, did the deal. It'll be assembled this week and I'll be riding it by midweek or next weekend. I really liked the way it sat, fits me really well, I can ride it in B mode while I get acclimated, it'll be a blast to grow into as I get some miles under me--it just hit all the right notes for what I want right now.
 
Totally psyched.
 
Thanks again for helping me get there!
 
Dan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×