Yamaha FJR1300A Police (2011) on test
First test impression by Paul H of HGB
Yamaha Motor UK kindly agreed to lend me one of their new FJR1300 for the Hampshire Constabulary Families Day back at the beginning of June. I found myself on the Friday morning, the day before the event going on my Honda Pan European to pick it the FJR from the Police Division at Yamaha. To my surprise, it was 11 registered and only 300 miles on the clock, fully battenburged and with all the police 'toys'. It was marked with the words Demonstrator front and back rather then the words Police.
However, one slight problem, it had a flat rear tyre and I needed to get back quickly to pack the van with the other police bikes for our trip to Hampshire. We managed to 'bodge' a repair which allowed me to travel back to the tyre shop for a new tyre. It's very difficult to run on dual carriage roads at a steady 50 mph for safety, I wanted to open it up and see how it performed and I had to cover 30 miles.
Tyre repaired, van loaded, time to pack the panniers. Originally I was going to run down to Netley on my Moto Guzzi but Yamaha wanted some mileage put on the FJR, so how could I say no. Going from Ruislip, via the M40 and onto the M25 southbound, the usual Friday afternoon traffic, stationary with 40 limits showing although the traffic was hardly moving. Time for some filtering and to get know the motorcycle.
First impressions, seat was a bit hard but I suspect because it was new, however, the mirrors are higher up then the Pan European, so it makes filtering between traffic a lot easier. I had forgotten what an effect a marked vehicle has on traffic, people do see you coming. Down to the M3 and still stationary traffic on the M25. Heading southbound, I can finally open the bike up. What an engine, it has 20bhp more then the Honda ST1300P at 145bhp on tap, goes like a jet engine. Get the bike into 5th gear as soon as possible and it will pull from as little as 25mph, no other gear changing necessary. The trip down the M3 and then onto the M27 and then onto the HQ at Netley was super, with the FJR being a true sports tourer. Suspension is some of the best I have ever had on a bike, it just absorbs every bump. The electric windscreen had been replaced with the optional larger one and together with larger hand guards over the mirrors, gave excellent protection from the elements.
Saturday - Show Time. Along with all of our other old and new police motorcycles on display the Yamaha had a lot of attention. I think the word got around that it was a brand new model, the number of people with their families who came up to look at it, never stopped the whole day. The sun shone too, excellent. Sunday morning and I could finally get a chance to use the bike on some country roads rather then motorways. Decided to go via the A32, then on to the A272 eastbound to the A29 up to Box Hill in Surrey a popular meeting venue for motorcyclists. What an engine, it's just a super fast tourer, it's so strong in any gear. Cornering was excellent, thanks to the Metzeler Roadtec tyres with brakes to match. Riding along at just below the speed limit, I noticed behind me a gathering of some 12 motorcycles, no one wanted to come past despite the fact that all the blue lights were covered up, suspect it was probably the colour scheme. Eventually after some 20 miles I pulled up at a roundabout to let them all pass. Despite the weather being overcast and threatening rain, the FJR was growing on me.
Wherever I stopped, people would come over and ask questions about the bike. Good PR exercise. In all I covered 400 plus miles, more then enough to get acquainted with it. Fuel consumption was around the 56mpg (12.3 miles per litre), which for a large touring model is very good and gives a tank range of approximately 300 miles. As a motorcycle it ticked all of the right boxes. It is a very powerful and very capable all rounder, equally at home in town or on the motorways and very easy to ride. I have to admit, when I returned it back to Yamaha on the following Saturday I was very sorry to give it back. However, Yamaha have very kindly lent me another one, a 2005 model with 4,600 miles, fully marked but with amber emergency lights on a long term loan for the group to show at events and I will let you know how it performs over the period of time.
As standard, the FJR1300 comes with a 1298ccfour cylinder, 145bhp engine, 5 speed gearbox, ABS brakes, electric windscreen, 25 litre fuel tank, removable panniers. The Police model also gets heated grips, mirror covers for extra protection, solo seat, rear hump for the emergency lights electronics and radio systems.
The Yamaha FJR1300's are converted by Woodway Engineering near Coventry and I believe that some 300 units are now in service in the UK. Besides the battenburg covering the bike, the front blues are Wielen M4 LED's, left and right, just below and in front of the mirrors. Two Whelen Aerolite LED light heads are mounted each side of the upper fairing to give extra illumination to the side. Head light flashing is also available. To the rear, there is a carbon fibre pole light with a 'V head blue light. At the back, just above the taillights is a Whelen M7 Super LED which splits from blue to red. We think these rear lights are simply the best we have ever seen on a bike, they are Bling to a police motorcycle as chrome is to a Honda Goldwing. The siren is a Whelen Alpha series 100W output, which is activated and controlled by the bikes original horn button. Runlock is also fitted to allow the rider to remove the keys, leaving the engine running while parked with all the emergency lights on. Stops the battery going flat. This feature also prevents someone trying to steal the motorcycle, as when a gear is selected the engine cuts out. The strobes and LED's are all operated by a large switchpad in the middle of the handlebars, there are also switches on the left hand side of the handlebars to allow the rider to operate the emergency lights without removing their hands from the grips.
My thanks go to Andy Pumfrey and Ian Kerr of Yamaha Motor UK for the loan of their demonstrator.
Paul H - Historic Police Motorcycle Group