Yamaha FJR1300A (1300) Review
At the beginning of October last year, my friends at Yamaha UK very kindly lent me their newest police model, the 2013 FJR1300P. When I picked it up from their HQ, it was resplendent in the new colour scheme, very bright yellow and blue battenburg, you can’t hide with it. The FJR1300P is also equipped with latest LED emergency light technology. It was the only one of the new generation of Yamaha police models in the UK in police trim, so I had too look after it very carefully. Last time I did a test on the FJR was in 2011, see issue 23, and this was the new new 2013 model. All I can say is WOW, what a difference.
On Saturday 5th October, we rode down from London to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth for the Policing Through the Ages with Hampshire Police and other Agencies including the American Police. A gentle run around the M25 and down the A3 to meet everyone from PC-UK for the convoy to the Quays. Once we were in the Quays, the public arrived, it never stopped the whole day, so many people sitting on and taking pictures of the motorcycles, especially the Yamaha as it has never been shown to the public until now. What a brilliant day we had. The run back was in the company of the 2005 FJR we have on loan, traffic on the roads was heavy, but with a very bright yellow colour scheme, progress was good with drivers very much aware of our presence. You just can’t blend in on marked bikes.
On Sunday, after a quick photoshoot, it was the last gloriously sunny day of the year. I made a run out to cover some miles to really assess the bike with a mixture of A and B roads running up the Thames Valley region and around the Oxford area and then back to London. Managed to cover 400 miles over the weekend. The most obvious difference is how the bike rides, it has become a superb all rounder rather then just a sports tourer. The modifications to the fairing encase you in still air, the engine management has been remapped and makes for much softer control, not aggressive as the old model. It’s just as quick but just feels so different, dare I say it is verging on the same comfort as a Honda Goldwing. It just as happy at 30 miles an hour or more and you just pop it into top gear and just use the engine. The electric screen, heated grips etc are now controlled by mode buttons on the left which are displayed on the screen in front of you. There is also cruise control, switchable Traction Control System and Yamaha D-Mode which allows you to switch from normal running to Sports Mode which makes the bike firmer and much more lively. The fuel tank is 25 litres and should be good for between 250 and 300 miles. The seat hump has been redesigned to accommodate the electronics/radios etc, the seat, which is now height adjustable, has gel inserts and is very comfortable. Removable panniers are standard.
Monday came and I had to return the FJR back to Yamaha. On the way there, I stopped for a coffee at the Beaconsfield Services on the M40 and raised the interest of Thames Valley Police who dispatched a unit for a ‘look’. They hadn’t seen this Yamaha before, so a long conversation was had on the merits of other police models and this one. Dave and Ian from Yamaha had both warned me that I would find this bikes good, but boy, although I am a Honda Pan European fan, this Yamaha is fantastic. As an everyday work or play motorcycle, it does everything brilliantly. I really can’t fault it. Could I please have a new one to play with Mr Yamaha.
For this year 2014, the FJR will be the same spec but will be white and pre-wired to be plug and play for police lights and sirens to allow the buyers to configure them to their own specs.
My thanks again go to Andy Pumfrey and Ian Kerr of Yamaha Motor UK for the use of the Police demonstrator.
Police conversion is by Woodway Engineering and some 400 units are now in operation in the UK. Apart from the yellow and blue high visibility battenburg, it has a new lighting pod for the rear. The front mirrors have Whelen IONSMIE independently switched blue/white light heads, front fairing Whelen VTC6B blue Vertex light heads. The sides are protected with front fend off Whelen IONB blue light heads mounted in the fairing and rear side fend off Whelen LINZ6B blue lights flush mounted into the rear lighting pod. Rear protection is provided by Whelen IONSMB blue light head surface mounted to the rear pod and two Whelen Vertex VTC6R red light heads either side of the number plate. These take down alternating red LED’s are super bright. The siren system is the Whelen Alpha 100 Watt operated by the bikes original horn button. The switch panel in the middle of the handlebars allows for selected lighting operation. On the left switch cluster, there are independent switches which allow the operator to select ‘999’or ‘Arrival’.