Fast Motorcycles

The FJR isn’t a superbike. Well, not by today’s standards anyway. Back in the mid 80s, it would’ve been a frightening monster, but the V-Max, then the Hayabusa, and the literbikes took care of that.

Now, it’s just a really fast bike. Faster than most on the road, actually. The FJR will do a quarter mile in some time between 10 and 11 seconds, somewhere between 123 and 130 MPH. Depends on who’s riding it, of course. By comparison, Harley-Davidson only makes one bike, the V-Rod, that even comes close to matching that performance, and even the V-Rod does the quarter mile about one full second slower than the FJR.

As an aside, I’ve had a couple of the Harley cruiser boys meet me at lights, and give me the revs, like they wanted to see what we could do against each other stoplight to stoplight. I just smile, and wave when they take off.

Before I bought it, I was actually a bit scared of it. With 146HP and 99 ft/lbs at the crank (which comes out to around 125 HP and 90ft/lbs at the rear wheel), it is, by any standard a powerful motorcycle. My Sportster–after I did the Stage I, probably pushed out about 70HP and maybe 5ft/lbs of torque. Maybe a bit less.

So, I was wondering if the FJR’s performance would be frightening. For instance, I wondered if I’d be doing unintended wheelies coming away from a light. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn that it isn’t frightening at all.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It can be. On a couple of occasions, I’ve twisted the throttle a bit too much, and thought, “Well, that was a bad idea,” and backed off. It’s never resulted in a dangerous situation, but things started happening faster than I thought they would, causing me to reconsider.

But, for the most part, the speed is…deceptive. You twist the throttle a bit to pass, and suddenly you’re bouncing off triple digits. But the air management is so good, and the bike is so stable, you simply don’t feel the speed. the environmental inputs you receive from a bike like the Sportster just aren’t there. And that’s a good thing–or a bad thing, if a cop happens to be lighting up the road with his KR-12.

The thingis, it doesn’t force the performance on you. It’ll certainly give it to you, willingly, if you ask for it, but it can also be as sedate as you want it to be.

This really has me wondering what it’s like to ride a real superbike, like a ‘Busa or ZX-14 Ninja. I wonder if they give you the sense of control that the FJR does, or if they have a more untamed feel.

I don’t think I could ever actually own one, of course. They don’t fit my needs at all. The riding position would get me cramped up pretty quick. And I hate the idea of having to go back to doing chain maintenance. No bags, and no two-up riding make them pretty impractical for my needs, too.

I bet it’d be fun to try one out, though.

Another bright spot for the FJR, by the way, has been the slow-speed handling. The lack of a clutch doesn’t worry me at all now. I know where the YCC-S releases the clutch on the tachometer, and a little trail braking is all you need. You can do a full-lock turn from a standing start on the FJR. That saves a lot of parking lot paddling, because you can really twist your way out of tight spaces at very low speeds. Of course, replacing the stock throttle tube with the G2 Ergo tube/cam has helped immensely there, too, by taming the throttle response into something more predictable and linear.

I’ve really been impressed by this motorcycle. It has great comfort, great–and useable–power, great maneuverability, and gives you loads of fun.

My only regret is that with the SO, and two big dogs, I’ll probably never get to take it on the road for a real touring ride.

Into the Shop

Tomorrow, the FJR goes into the shop for some work.

I’m having an annoying little problem of misfiring and occasional popping on deceleration.

I’m taking it back to North County house of Motorcycles for this one, since it’s been doing it since I got it. when I first got it, the indicated that the bike had been sitting for about a month, so the injectors probably needed to be cleaned out.

Well, I’ve run a whole bottle of injector cleaner through it (1/3 bottle for three tanks) and it’s still doing it. So, since I’ve got two years unlimited warranty for free–as well as prepaid maintenance–tomorrow is the day for fixing it.

I’m hoping it’s just a faulty O2 sensor, throttle position sensor, or exhaust leak. Maybe a bad injector, and not something more serious.

So, I’ll be spending my morning hanging around the dealership.