Features and Tips

By Cycle Canada

March 16, 2015

The Forgotten One

Photo: Yamaha

FJ-09 is a tour-worthy FZ-09. It that makes no sense, don't worry, it's a good thing.

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Yamaha FJ-09 could be surprise hit of the season
 
At Yamaha Canada’s lunch-launch teaser for its new 2015 models, the Fj-09 is the odd man out. It sits between the R3 – the much-anticipated entry into the entry-level sweepstakes – and the mouth-watering R1M. But for most of us, the bike of choice will be the FJ-09. 

For starters, there’s its torquey 847 cc triple. It’s based on the mill that impressed us so much in the FZ-09, but smoothed out and refined for the FJ-09. One of our few criticisms of the FZ-09 is that performance is a little too hard-edged for many riders; if the FJ’s engine is a bit more muted, all the better. It still has, says Yamaha, a wide spread of “right now” torque and power. This improves usable everyday performance – perhaps enough to make you ride it every day. Yamaha D-Mode variable throttle control provides three engine maps, and traction control and ABS are standard.

The fork is adjustable for preload and rebound, as is the shock. Wheel travel is a substantial 137 and 130 mm front and rear, respectively, so the ride should be compliant. The front brake lever is adjustable, as is the tapered aluminum handlebar. The windshield goes up and down and the rider’s seat, too (from a tallish 845 mm to a taller 860 mm). Handguards, LED lighting and – seniors rejoice – a centrestand are standard.

But what’s got us excited are the possibilities. Its seating position is more spacious than the FZ-09’s, which coupled with an 18-litre fuel tank (up four litres on the FZ-09 vessel) means that stints in the saddle can be extended. It has the look of a lightweight, road-going adventure bike. Add in the optional saddlebags and heated grips and its versatility is improved even more. At $10,999 the price is even agreeable. Come spring, we may have to look hard to find something to grouse about on this one.