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Not quite beginner but... FJ-09 as a bike for a returnee?


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Lots of folks have been weighing in on my earlier post about bikes for a mountain road commute--thanks, everyone!
http://fj-09.org/post/29012/thread
 
Part two of the question is about the FJ-09 as a choice for someone returning to motorcycles after a long absence.
 
My history: I rode a KZ900 for about two solid years back in the early 90s. It was a '74 KZ--big, heavy, simple. I haven't been on a bike since, but do a ton of driving along the 1.25 hour mountain/urban route I'll be commuting on my bike-to-be. I also still street skateboard, so my traffic reflexes are pretty good. 
 
I know the traditional beginner's advice is get a small bike, plan to drop it, etc. I want to get something with ABS for safety since there's deer, bicyclists, etc. on my route. I'm a pretty responsible person, but there are going to be moments of unexpected road conditions, obstacles, etc. on my route.
 
What I'm wondering is will the FJ-09 be a bike that will be too much to handle for a returning-to-motorcycles rider like me?
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You will be amazed how well modern bikes handle. Frames don't have hinges now, tyres are better, brakes work etc etc.
 
Can you do a refresher course? Sounds like you lack confidence so doing something like that will give it a boost.
 
You will probably have the skills but a lack of confidence may result in some hesitation that leads to a mistake. Most likely at low speed.
This signature is left blank as the poster writes enough pretentious bollocks as it is.
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Planning to do a training course in a couple of weeks. I guess I"m wondering whether the FJ is the kind of bike where if I hit a bump and twist throttle by accident or accelerate suddenly to avoid a situation I'll end up off the road--i.e. too responsive, too powerful, etc...
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Planning to do a training course in a couple of weeks. I guess I"m wondering whether the FJ is the kind of bike where if I hit a bump and twist throttle by accident or accelerate suddenly to avoid a situation I'll end up off the road--i.e. too responsive, too powerful, etc...
No, that's not going to happen. It is lively and I would not give it to a 20 year old as a first bike - he would get himself in trouble on a country road simply because the thing would encourage him to press on. But a mature rider should have no problem. People talk about the fuelling being snatchy, sure it's not smooth at low revs but it's not going to take off like a rocket. I actually think it is quite easy and friendly to ride.
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It really is one of the easiest bikes I've ever ridden. It is very quick, but the traction control really keeps things in line as well. You really have to be irresponsible to get it to misbehave. I really don't think the throttle is that snatchy. It has power quickly even lower in the RPM range, so if you come from an under powered bike and start in A Mode, I could see someone thinking it's snatchy. I always recommend putting it in B mode to start out your first ride. That mode is very smooth but also limits the power. Once you get used to the balance and general handling of the bike, which for most people is under a mile, pop it into standard then A mode for some real fun. TCS will keep things mostly under control and the front wheel on the ground, but it's not a substitute for responsible riding either.
 
This is only my second bike. My first was a 1970 CB450. It took me 2 years to put 4000 miles on it. I lacked confidence similar to you when first getting this bike. I put over 4000 miles on my FJ in 1 season. I've ridden several other bikes, ranging from an 80s gold wing, to a 2014 HD Ultra Limited, 2014 Road King, Honda Shadow, 2009 Versys, 2015 V Strom 650 and a HD 1200 Sportster. The FJ is hands down the most fun and easiest to ride. I'm really glad I got the FJ because it is so confidence inspiring. I have a buddy that is a beginner rider that I've let ride mine. He is fearful on other bikes, but feels safer on mine since it is so easy to control. Granted, he mostly keeps it in B mode but has experimented with standard. I would never have let him ride it if I didn't think he would have been safe on it. He is tall like me so I knew he wouldn't have had an issue flat footing the bike as well. There is also at least one member that was teaching his teenager to ride on his FJ. I would not recommend it for a brand new rider or a young rider that I didn't feel was very responsible. But, someone in your situation, I'm not sure there's a better choice.
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I don't think its a matter of the bike having too much power for a returnee to the sport, anyone can use throttle control,  its more important that it fit you and not be too tall and/or big and imposing.  If the FJ feels that way, Honda has some nice 500s that might be a less stressful ride, or consider the FZ-09 or fz-07.  
 
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I've been riding for nearly 40 years and had about 30 bikes- street, dirt, trials, road race.
 
I find the FJ pretty easy to ride. I don't think the throttle is touchy, but I've got a lot of experience at modulating throttles. If you buy an FJ I'd suggest you use B mode for a while.
 
The Versys or whatever the 650 option you were considering (weestrom?) is would be even easier to ride. It'll be a little smaller and lighter and accidentally using too much throttle won't get you in trouble as quick. They probably make as much power as your old 900 did, and weigh less.
Since you are returning after a very long time and only rode a couple years you should skip the KTM and Ducati. Too much bike. FJ is probably ok if you have good self-restraint.
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I'm super-grateful for all the good advice. I bought my FJ-09 today. Went to a local dealer, 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 got a 2015 in Matte Gray--the fastest color, right? :-)
http://fj-09.org/thread/2441/2016-fj-09-announced?page=2
 
 
Totally psyched.
 
Dan
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I agree with Johan, as a mature returning rider you should be fine. This was my return bike after a seven year hiatus.
 
It's good that you got the matte grey bike though, they're not quite as fast as red. This is probably safer for you.
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I was going to come back and post to not forget to budget for gear. About 10 years ago on the way home another rider passed me on skyline at 80+ and augered into road side on the next turn. His bike went right into a large log on the side of the road. I stayed with him until he was loaded on the ambulance, gave a report to the CHP. On the way home I thought about my riding gear. I had a textile jacket and pants that were warm but only had some padding at the knees and elbows. No armor, no back protector. I ended up with an Aerostich with a Bohn carbon fiber back protector. It's not cheap but it's warm and reasonably protective. I got the two piece on the theory that I could remove the pants so I would not have to carry so much stuff into a store or resturaunt but in practice I am uncomfortable riding without protection on the lower half of my body, and splitting them it a pain so I never split the suit. I wish I'd gotten a one piece.
 
There may be better options on the market now, or cheaper, especially if you're normal shaped and don't need custom.
 
There's also boots. A former co-worker had his ankle destroyed when he crashed in SF while wearing only hiking boots. Ankle protection is good.
 
I also run an electric vest and I have the heated grips on order.
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I wish I'd gotten a one piece. 

The two piece Aerostich offers some significant advantages, the most important being that it's more waterproof than the one piece. The one piece suffers from a dreaded "wet crotch" problem in rain because the material folds over in the front a creates a pool. The two piece doesn't have this issue because the jacket ovelaps the pants in the front like a shingle.
 
Yes, splitting the two halves is a pain. But at least you have the option when necessary (saddlebag storage, airline travel, crash damage repair, etc.).
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