The press briefing at a new model introduction give us the specifics of the changes made from one model year to another. In the case of the 2016 Yamaha FJR1300ES and the FJR1300A, the new 6-speed transmission has sparked the most interest, which is understandable, since adding the additional cog was requested for years by both FJR owners and the moto-press alike. Well, Yamaha’s engineers didn’t just slap on an additional gear and be done with it. They also took the opportunity to adjust the gear ratios to fill some gaps they perceived in the gear spacing and polish up the overall feel of the transmission.
Both first and second gears were made slightly taller which allows them to be carried to higher speeds. Although the spacing between second and third is reduced, third gear’s ratio remains essentially the same. Fourth gear was made a bit shorter to lessen the difference with third. Fifth gear, since it is no longer the top gear, was shortened even more to give a smaller gap between it and the newly shortened fourth gear. Finally, the new sixth gear is significantly taller than the old fifth gear ratio, yielding an approximately 10% reduction in engine speed which translates into roughly 500 rpm less at the highway cruising speeds.
The second interesting fact about the new transmission is Yamaha’s switch to helical cut gears. According to Yamaha, the change improves the gear meshing, delivering more positive shifts with less driveline lash.
We have more information about the new transmission and other goodies associated with the 2016 FJR1300ES and its sibling the FJR1300A, but we’re not gonna spill the beans before we have a chance to ride the bikes. Yamaha’s PR team has a 250 mile route through some of Arizona’s best motorcycle roads scheduled for tomorrow, the first day of our two-day jaunt. Look for our full test of the pair of Yamaha sport tourers later this week.