Yamaha FJR1300 Recall

I knew it! This is probably the fault that deadlined my FJR a few months ago. Details below:

Make: YAMAHA Model: FJR1300
Model Year: 2007
Manufacturer: YAMAHA MOTOR CORPORATION, USA Mfr’s Report Date: JAN 06, 2009
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 09V002000 NHTSA Action Number: EA08025
Component: ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:IGNITION:SWITCH
Summary:
 YAMAHA IS RECALLING 9,300 MY 2006-2009 FJR1300 MOTORCYCLES. THE INTERNAL SWITCH WIRING COULD BECOME DISCONNECTED. IF THIS OCCURS ELECTRICAL CURRENT FLOW WILL BE STOPPED AND THE ENGINE COULD STALL.
Consequence:
 IF THE ENGINE STALLS, THE OPERATOR MAY BE UNABLE TO START OR RESTART THE ENGINE INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Remedy:
 DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE IGNITION SWITCH FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN ON OR BEFORE JANUARY 16, 2009. OWNERS MAY CONTACT YAMAHA AT 1-800-962-7926.
Notes:
 CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION’S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV .

On Two Wheels Again

I finally got the FJR back from the service department and North County House of Motorcycles today.  It turns out that it was a grounding problem in the electrical system.  They found four bad grounds in the main wiring harness.  Rather than replace the wiring harness, they have a service tech who’s a pretty good electrician, and who rewired it himself.  Seemed to work OK, and saved me a couple of hundred dollars.

I also bought a Tourmaster tail bag.  I’ve been keeping the hard bags on the bike, even when commuting, because I needed the space to carry my laptop, etc., but with the tailbag, I can leave the hard bags off.  The FJR looks really good without bags…or, at least it’s supposed to.  What makes it look good are the six plastic covers that conceal the mounting holes for the hard bags.  They’re color-matched to the bike, so the FJR without bags looks like it’s supposed to be without them.

Sadly, I can’t find the mounting hole covers.  I know where they used to be…which turns out not to be helpful. On the way to get some groceries, I stopped off ay North County Yamaha to order some. Each of the three covers for each side has it’s own part number.  So, one set of covers is in California, and can be here in a couple of days.  One set is in Georgia, and can be here in about a weeks or so.  The third set of covers…well…there are none currently in the United States, and none are expected until March 14.

Oh, and each of these little plastic rectangles, they cost $15.  So, it costs $100 to buy 6, 2 inch-long pieces of plastic.

I didn’t want to order them, but I ripped the garage apart and can’t find the originals, so I didn’t have much choice.  I’m sure I took them out of the garage to put them in a safe location…and now I’ve forgotten the safe location. Which, in one sense, means that they’re as safe as can be.

2010 Sport Touring Shootout Gen III FJR?

Motorcycle USA has published its annual sport-touring shootout, but sadly, this time, two of the top contenders aren’t even being tested.  Instead, the shootout is limited to just three bikes: The Kawasaki Concours14, The Triumph Sprint GT, and the Honda VFR1200F.  The final results were…interesting, and I can’t say I agree, as the winning bike has some serious touring shortcomings.  But I won’t spoil the surprise any more than that.

What I found more interesting was that both BMW and Yamaha refused to make their sport-touring bikes available.  The BMW refusal to supply a K1300GT is understandable, as it’s a dead motorcycle, with the new K1600GT I-6-engined bike already announced as a replacement.

The lack of an FJR1300 in the line-up, however, makes me go, “Hmmmm.”  I take it that this means that Yamaha is about to release a Gen III FJR, or an FJR replacement bike.  Now, that really does interest me, because as an FJR rider on a daily basis, I really do like that motorcycle.  But Yamaha has kept the performance pretty much the same for almost a decade, while BMW, Honda, and Kawasaki have all produced more horsepower-charged mounts. So, I’m fascinated to see what Yamaha has planned for the third generation of what used to be the gold standard of sport-tourers, but now is the most underpowered of them, except, of course, for the Triumph Sprint GT.

There’s been tons of speculation about what the Gen III FJR might be.  Everything from an updated FJR1300 as hinted at by Cycle World:

2011 Yamaha FJR1300 Mockup
2011 Yamaha FJR1300 Mockup

To the rumored FJR1400 reported by the (not always reliable) French site, Moto Revue:

2011 Yamaha FJR1400 Mockup
2011 Yamaha FJR1400 Mockup

Both of these mockups are obviously computer-generated, and may or may not have anything to do with the actual motorcycle Yamaha actually produces.  Of the two imaginary motorcycles, though, I prefer the imaginary motorcycle on the bottom.

Huh.  This post ended up being about something entirely different than what it started out being about.

Those BMW Guys Get All the Nice Stuff

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BMW and Garmin have released a new motorcycle navigation device for BMW motorcycles, the BMW Navigator IV. It sounds very nice.

With a new slim design and custom BMW four-button mount cradle, the BMW Navigator IV includes a bright widescreen 4.3 inch display and waterproof design, configurable fields and display, stereo Bluetooth for hands-free calling, turn-by-turn directions and lane assist features with lane guidance and junction view.

 BMW Motorrad Navigator IV
BMW Motorrad Navigator IV

Of course, it’s specifically designed to be used while wearing gloves, too. It’s also got a lane assist feature that guides you through multiple lanes, and even displays road signs on the screen that look like the actual signs you see over the highway.

And, since it’s a BMW device, plan on shelling out about $1,000 for it, too.

BMWs are really the Swiss Army Knives of motorcycles.  BMW riders get spoken, turn by turn navigation through their Bluetooth-linked helmets.  Meanwhile, a gentleman such as myself, who rides an FJR, has to carry around paper maps like an animal.

2009 Sport Touring Shootout

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Motorcycle.Com has just released this year’s comparo of the top sport touring motorcycles.  This year, they pit the BMW K1300GT, Yamaha FJR1300A, Kawasaki Concours14, and the venerable Honda ST1300 against each other.

They declare the top bike to be…

Objectively the BMW is the clear winner to us. It makes markedly more power than the others despite not having the biggest engine. Our experiences aboard all four left no question the big K bike is the quickest steering and provides excellent braking performance. It offers very good wind protection, great ergos, an adjustable seat and handlebars, possibly the best passenger perch and very good saddlebags, to name only a few high points.

I’ve never been aboard the St1300 or the C14, but after tiding a K13GT and owning an FJR, I’d pick the FJR any day.  I didn’t like the GT at all.

The RT, on the other hand, was a dream.


Decisions, Decisions…

With the money from my insurance settlement coming, I really am trying to figure out what to do.  I know I’ll pay off my FJR, but beyond that, I’m not sure which direction to go.

I rode the R1200RT, and absolutely loved it.  But I’d have to trade in my FJR to buy it outright.  I’m also really interested in a Buell 1125r, and I can get an ’09 white/blue one for a pretty good deal.  Good enough so that I can keep the FJR, and buy an 1125r outright.  I have a test ride scheduled for next Saturday on the 1125r.

Assuming I like the power and handling of the 1125r, I’m really in a quandary about which way to jump.  The Buell is the only sportbike that has ergos comfy enough for me to ride regularly, but, on the other hand, the BMW has all those cool amenities like cruise control, ASC, ESA, etc. that I miss on the FJR.

This may be my only chance to get a new bike with someone else’s money, and it’s a very hard decision to make.

Boy, Am I Glad Today Is Over…

So, it’s about 6:45 this morning when I go out to get the bike out of the garage and head off to work.  I put on all my gear, threw a leg over, turned the ignition key, and for a brief moment, while the key was turning between the off and start positions the dashboard of the FJR lit up.  Then, when the key clicked into the start position, everything went dead.

The dreaded FJR ignition problem strikes again.

This happened once before, and stranded me in the middle of the road on my way to work.  Fortunately, this time, it was in the garage.  But, I was still pissed.

I stripped off all my gear, went out to the truck, threw my tank bag in the passenger seat, and started her up.  As I pulled away from the house, knowing there’s no way I’m gonna make it to work in time driving my diesel truck, I notice that the fuel tank is almost at the empty mark.  So, now I’m gonna be later.

Well, I thought, as I was putting 35 gallons of oil in the tank at the gas station, I guess I’d better call and let someone at work know I’m running late.  That was when I noticed that my cell phone was dead.

It was not a happy morning.

Fortunately, when I got to work, my insurance’s raod-side assitance line was ready to help me, and North County House of Motorcycles could fit my bike in.  Not only that, but they had the ignition switch for the FJR in stock.

As it turns out, my FJR had never had the recall fix for the ignition switch done.  for some reason, I thought that the new ignition switch I got last year when this happened had taken care of that.  Turns out, it didn’t.  It was one of the pre-recall ignition switches.

So, in addition to free towing, I got a free ignition switch repair.

As I was on my way home from work, I got a call on my freshly recharged cell phone saying that the bike was ready.  I called Chris to tell her we needed to go pick it up.  When I got home, I loaded Chris, our dogs, the grand-daughter who’s spending the summer with us, and her dog all into the truck.  I tossed my riding gear in the bed, and, at 4:30Pm we were off on the 16-mile trip to the dealership, up CA-78.

And, about 1.5 miles up the 78, traffic came to a dead stop.  All lanes.

Unfortunately, because there are some inconvenient mountains and lakes in our area, there are very few ways–and no direct ones–from Escondido to Vista except the 78.  And it was shut down.

So, we had to go to the GPS, get off the highway at the next exit, and take the most tortuous route of surface streets you can imagine.  And, because 78 was jammed, the surface streets were jammed, too.  It took us an hour to go the last 10 miles.

Happily, we arrived at NCHM at about 5:40, and I was able to pick up the bike before they closed.

The east-bound side of the 78 was pretty clear so I took that back home, and saw that the traffic problem on the eastbound side was that a fire had started by the freeway, so the fire department and CHP had essentially shut the highway down, except for allowing cars to trickle through one at a time on the shoulder.

I’m glad this day is over, let me tell you.

Interesting Bookmark

Have you ever wondered about how your bike’s street performance might stack up against another bike.  Well, the folks over at Motorcyclist Online are there to help you out.  They have the actual dyno results and performance numbers of every bike they’ve tested.

I was reminded of that again, because, after my test ride of the BMW’s, I really wanted to see how they stacked up to each other in street performance.  The results are interesting, because one of my concerns about buying an RT–assuming my insurance settlement is enough to cover it, of course–was whether I’d find the performance anemic compared to my FJR.

According to that actual tests that Motorcyclist has performed, the results are:

Bike HP (HP @ RPM) Torque (lb. – ft. @ rpm) 1/4 Mile (sec. @ mph) Top Gear Roll-On  (60-80 MPH)
BMW R1200RT
101.1 @ 7500 78.0 @ 6250 11.68 @ 118.8 4.30
BMW K1200GT
127.6 @ 8900 79.3 @ 8100 11.30 @123.7 3.80
HD V-Rod 109.3 @ 8250 74.3 @ 7000 11.31 @115.0 4.05
FJR1300AE 127.2 @7900 89.6 @ 6800 11.86 @ 118.8 4.02

Well, I must say this comes as a surprise.  First, it seems that the AE is slower off the start than the RT, with a 1/4 time that’s 2/10 second slower than the RT.  Where the RT loses out is in the grunt at rolling from 60-80 in 6th gear, as the FJR does it 3/10 second faster rolling on in fifth.  I suspect that a 5th gear roll-on would be closer on the RT.

Another surprise is how close the performance between the K1200GT is to the Harley V-Rod.  That’s about a dead heat.  I suspect the K1300GT has some performance increase though. But for a cruiser (sport-cruiser?) the V-Rod is pretty hot.

But, based on the numbers above, I don’t see that the performance difference between the RT and the FJR AE model, like I have, would be particularly noticeable.  And based on handling alone, I can already see that I can hustle the RT faster through the corners than I can the FJR.

Can you hear me talking myself into it?

I really want to know what that insurance settlement is gonna be, now.