Yamaha is bringing the FJR1300A and FJR1300ES back for 2016, and while the bike might appear virtually identical to the previous model in these photos, there are some choice distinctions between old and new.

First and foremost, Yamaha has listened to the demands of its customers, and (finally) equipped both FJR models with a sixth cog in its transmission. Beyond simply adding a sixth gear, Yamaha revised individual ratios: first and second are slightly taller, while fourth and fifth gears are slightly shorter.

The changes don’t stop there though; both models receive an assist and slipper clutch Yamaha says reduces lever effort by about 20%. From there, both models see updated instrumentation and a completely redesigned “twin-eye” headlight and combination taillight/turn signal assemblies with LEDs.

When it comes to putting the Sport in Sport-Touring, the FJR1300 has no problem doing just that. Now that it has a sixth gear, it should be even more competent at the Touring aspect of Sport-Touring, too. Note the three illuminated LEDs above the inside headlight, part of the FJR1300ES’s cornering headlight feature.

When it comes to putting the Sport in Sport-Touring, the FJR1300 has no problem doing just that. Now that it has a sixth gear, it should be even more competent at the Touring aspect of Sport-Touring, too. Note the three illuminated LEDs above the inside headlight, part of the FJR1300ES’s cornering headlight feature.

It’s not surprising to see Yamaha utilize the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) first seen on its ground-breaking YZF-R1 on other models, however it’s a little bit of a shock to see the FJR1300ES (but not the FJR1300A) be the next beneficiary of the system. The touring bike is now equipped with lean-sensitive LED cornering lights. As the IMU detects lean angle, a series of three LED lights will activate in successive order to help further illuminate the road ahead.

All models make do with a conventional front fork and rear shock, while the ES is back for another year with its electronically adjustable suspenders at both ends. ES models are equipped with four preload settings, and a total of 10 damping adjustments to suit a rider traveling solo, two-up with bags loaded, and everything in between.

Yamaha’s graphic clearly displays the benefits of cornering headlights while riding at night.

Yamaha’s graphic clearly displays the benefits of cornering headlights while riding at night.

While not new features, the FJR1300A and FJR1300ES retain their traction control system, D-Mode selectable engine mapping, cruise control, electronically adjustable windscreen, ABS, UBS (Unified Braking System), heated grips, and 12V socket to charge accessories.

Of course, power for the FJR1300 comes from a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 1298cc inline-Four that churned out nearly 130 horses and 89 lb-ft of torque the last time we had one on the dyno, during our 2013 Sport-Touring Shootout 1.0.

The Sport-Touring category is stacked with impressive motorcycles. We’re looking forward to seeing how much better Yamaha’s 2016 FJR1300 series really are compared to years past.

The Sport-Touring category is stacked with impressive motorcycles. We’re looking forward to seeing how much better Yamaha’s 2016 FJR1300 series really are compared to years past.

You can have either the 2016 Yamaha FJR1300A or FJR1300ES in any color you want as long as it’s Cobalt Blue. Units are expected to arrive in dealerships beginning in March, with pricing set to be announced in February.

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  • John

    SO glad they moved away from the generic silver everything was covered in last year.

    • yerallnuts

      I’m not sure where you call home, but the 2015 FJR was either Black or Dark Gray in North America; It was Red in the US (Black or Bronze, depending on whether you had an A or as ES in Canada) 2014 and so on . . . silver? maybe back in 2011 . . . .

  • John B.

    I sure would like to see Kawasaki follow suit with an updated Concours. Someday maybe….

    The new FJR has nearly every feature imaginable for a sport-tourer. I wonder, however, whether this category (i.e., heavyweight sport-tourer) will disappear. If I were in the market for a sport-tourer I would choose an Adventure Sport-Tourer as opposed to a heavyweight sport tourer. The AST’s can do everything the heavyweights can do and are much more fun around town.

    • Ian Parkes

      I hope not. I agree road-biased adventure bikes are capable sports bikes and as a GP-style head-down bum-up stance is painful and pointless at most road speeds a lot of people have voted with their cash and chosen adventure-style bikes as all-rounders. However, not all of us like their Mad Max/roadside crash repair styling. I guess the fairings and extra cylinders do make them a bit heavier but to me a sports tourer still looks like a proper bike.

      • John B.

        I have not seen sales figures for various bike categories, and obviously sales plays a big part in determining which bikes get built. Product lines have become sufficiently segmented to meet nearly every preference. It’s a great time to be a motorcyclist!

    • DeadArmadillo

      They are certainly more fun around town and even a few miles out in the country. On a week long trip through several states, not so much. And I’m sorry, but a motorcycle is fun transportation for many people, not a “sport”. That’s why you’ll see a lot more Harley Electraglides than you will any AST’s. Some of us like to ride far and long.

      • John B.

        I have a Kawasaki Concours and do most of my riding on long trips. Have you ridden an AST on a multi-day long distance trip? Was the AST not good for long distance? If not, why not? Many articles in this publication and others say AST’s are great over long distances.

        • DeadArmadillo

          I may have misunderstood your AST comment. If a Kawaski Concurs is an Adventure Sport Tourer then I withdraw my comment. I have ridden what I would consider an AST (V-Strom, GS) on long rides and as a GS owning buddy of mine noted regarding the GS vs. an RT “the GS is like riding a horse while the RT is like sitting in an office”.

          • John B.

            You did not misunderstand. I refer to the Concours, FJR, and similar bikes as Heavyweight Sport Tourers, but the industry calls them Sport Tourers. The Adventure Sport Tourer Class (“AST”) includes, among others, the 1290 Super Duke GT, BMW S1000XR, Ducati Multistrada, and Kawasaki Versys 1000.

            I ride about 8000 miles a year most of which is on long trips across Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Once I get out of town there is not much traffic to deal with, and my bike works really well on long trips. I could use an upgraded seat, but that’s my only complaint. Riding the Concours at low speed in heavy urban traffic is difficult. AST’s lighter weight appeals to me for those situations.

            MO journalists and others seem to really enjoy riding AST’s on long trips. With a center stand, I am told chain maintenance is not a big deal. Moreover, AST’s provide an upright riding position, prodigious power, wind protection, and nimble handling. That’s an appealing package.

            As such, I wonder what a heavyweight Sport Tourer does that an AST doesn’t do as well. I’m convinced AST’s are better than ST’s around town especially in heavy traffic.

          • Ian Parkes

            It’s a good question, and as there isn’t a good answer (except that they still look better to some people, well, me), adventure sports-tourers are taking over.

            I imagine traditional sports tourers inherited their forward-leaning stance from their race/sports bike origins but as modern road bikes now have power to spare we simply don’t need it any more, even if it might offer fractionally more feel. There’s no doubt an upright stance is more comfortable and as that comes standard with adventure sports tourers, they are becoming the new normal.

  • Old MOron

    Here is an interesting situation. Back in MO’s old glory days, John Burns exercised editorial fiat to award the FJR1300 a shootout win over the Futura. Read the conclusion section here: http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/mo-sporttour-2003-15093.html?page=2

    Wouldn’t it be fun to throw the new FJR against Aprilia’s latest? Maybe the Caponord. Maybe the Tuono. I don’t care. I love MO’s tangerines-to-oranges comparos, and I think Aprilia deserves a rematch after JB’s tampering.

    PS: after you read the Conclusion section linked above, go back and read the entire article. I don’t call them MO’s old glory days for nothing.

    PPS: part of my reasoning for saying MO’s “old” glory days is that I think MO is experiencing a renaissance. Keep up the good work, MOrons.

    • john burns

      what a memory. I didn’t realize the FJR had been around that long! Tin pot dictator indeed… harumph.

  • Craig Hoffman

    This is a “good enough” bike and they are known to be bombproof, with no exploding rear ends in the middle of the desert on a dark and stormy night like BMW, or KTM’s cool bikes, with my enthusiasm for them severely tempered by their seeming inability to produce reliable motorcycles, for instance.

    The peace of mind that comes with the tried and true FJR is worth a lot. If the price is right, they will continue to sell, even if there are “better” machines out there.

  • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

    This revised FJR gives me hope for a new ST1300 from Honda. I reckon such a thing will have to come within the next year or so to make sure the bike meets Euro 4 standards.

    • E-Nonymouse A

      A reboot of the ST1300 would be a welcome sight to many Honda riders who aren’t satisfied with being forced to choose between a Goldwing and a VFR.

      • Tinwoods

        So why not ditch the ridiculous brand loyalty and bike the bike you want, that exists now, from another manufacturer? Problem solved.

        • E-Nonymouse A

          It just so happens that i found out the ST1300 is coming back in early 2016

  • yerallnuts

    As of 2013 the bike’s computer controlled the turn signals – why they haven’t made them auto-cancelling is beyond me. I also am not displeased that they have left out a TPMS because I prefer the audible notification that the system on my Garmin Zumo gives me, along with graphs of pressure over time ad such.

    But I’m not changing my ’14 ES for a new machine anytime soon.

    Going to a 6 gear transmission means more shifting and little else – the RPMs in top gear for the Gen-2 were not far off from what the competition had – the slipper clutch, on the other hand might have utility, not that I have trouble with the traditional one on my ES not with the previous (06). I DID find the changes made to the clutch slave on the Gen-3 made the engagement point somewhat vaguer than my previous bike – I have concerns that the slipper nit might make it vaguer still.

    The LED headlights are not for me – having saved my butt more times than I can recall, I REQUIRE a headlight modulator for my bikes and as far as I have seen no LED headlights properly support the technology . . . . and the LED tail end SHOULD have been done co-incident with the release of the Gen-3.

    It may not be clear to casual readers of the release, but perhaps it should be noted that the ‘A’ model uses a traditional front fork with the slider tube on top and the ES uses upside down forks. There have been no suspension or functional changes announced.

    That’s unfortunate, because I would have liked to see them implement a ‘parked when off, return to last saved position’ mechanism for the windscreen and I’d have liked to be able to control the heated grips directly, rather than having to choose three of 10 settings and then cycle through those 3. I would also have liked to see the icon for instantaneous fuel consumption renamed . . . CRNT doesn’t do it for me.

    So, in summary:

    – a six speed transmission
    – LED lighting front and rear
    – Dynamic cornering lighting for the ES
    – Slight retouches to the dash

    And, in the US and presumably (because it isn’t on their web site yet) in Canada as well, it is Blue

    • BDan75

      Just curious, how do you know that a headlight modulator has actually saved you? Do people chase you down and say things like, “I totally would’ve run over you if I hadn’t seen that flashing light”?

      • yerallnuts

        That’s simple; When a car starts to turn left across your lane just as you approach the point where there would be no way to avoid him and he looks at you in horror, slamming on his brakes and then, after you stop and go back to educate him, he apologises and says that he saw the flashing headlight and that’s what caused him to stop, you know that the modulator has done it’s job.

        Can’t comment about the many, many other times vehicles simply didn’t advance across my path or change lanes into mine while going the same direction as me, but those two experiences were filled admitted to by the drivers and I was with adrenaline.

        • Old MOron

          Wait, you said the modulator “saved [your] butt more times than [you] can recall,” but you just recalled exactly two times. I guess your first statement was a bit of hyperbole, eh?
          Oh well, I don’t blame you if you want a headlight modulator. One save is enough.

          • yerallnuts

            Two that can be directly attributed to the presence because they stopped the act after it as put in motion – but LOTS of times when they sopped the act BEFORE it took place, so no. Not hyperbole.

        • BDan75

          Fair enough, I guess, though from a driver’s perspective I haven’t found the guys running modulators to be much more visible than others with nothing more than good, bright headlights…preferably more than just one.

          With all the road rage videos I’ve seen lately, stopping to “educate” a driver who managed NOT to hit you seems like a good way to start an ugly incident, though…

          • yerallnuts

            Those two were more freaked out than I was – they both pulled to the side and sat there. By ‘educate’, I ranted a bit while the adrenaline ran down and very emphatically explained just how they almost got us both killed – a 700 pound bike sailing through one’s windshield is no match for whatever protection the air bag provides.

            (one of the drivers was turning across a double solid line to go into a field) – there was no indication of turn, he had no turn signals on, nothing at all to indicate he was going to do anything but continue down the highway.

            Having had a head-on collision on a 2 lane highway years ago when a cager cut the corner on what for him was a left hand curve I know how lucky I was that the windshield of the Ford I sailed into made for a great trampoline – they told me I went 20 feet up and 20 feet over and dropped to the road on my front . . . from that point onward I have always had auxiliary lighting, front and rear (I have a 6 LED Whelen mini police lightbar coupled to a brake light modulator (4 flashes then solid)and set up also to flash like a police strobe if I activate my hazards.

            You can never have too much attention-grabbing accessories to try and wake up cagers who drive in a trance-like state.

        • Tinwoods

          In trucker-ese, a flashing headlight means “you’re clear to proceed.” I would never install a flashing headlight on anything that operates where big trucks operate.

          • yerallnuts

            Clearly you’ve never seen a modulator equipped motorcycle . . . the headlight does not ‘flash’, but rather pulses (it doesn’t go all the way off) at a constant rate 4 times per second – it is virtually impossible to misinterpret a modulator as a ‘flash to pass’

      • WPZ

        I dunno. After three-quarters of a million miles without an excruciatingly annoying headlight flasher and I’m still not dead from a left-turn-in-front-of-me, I would say: dubious value contrasted with extremely annoying.
        Any modulator on any bike of mine would meet the bottom of the “removed OEM parts” basket instantly.

    • Alexander Pityuk

      I find such powerful lighting setup to be offensive. Yes, some cagers are… well, cagers… but you can’t make hundreds of drivers suffer because of those few. It’s too selfish. And I do mean suffer, because 2x 35W unadjustable HIDs + a modulator is ridiculous.
      And don’t you find it uncomfortable when drivers hatefully pull off in still traffic to let you pass just to get rid of you asap, even if you didn’t want to?

      • yerallnuts

        Actually, it doesn’t bother me at all – my lighting is a lot less offensive than that of all those Honda and Subaru drivers who put up 55 watt purple HIDs that blast a wall of light – or those who drive huge SUVs with improperly aimed factory lighting.

        Those who pull over do so because of the modulator – and if they don’t know enough to realise that modulated headlights do not identify an emergency vehicle then that is their problem, not mine. Modulators are not only legal, but are recommended, not only by the MSF and other rider training groups, but even by my local DMV who included a recommendation to use them in my most recent renewal notice!!!

        My HIDs are bright, but they are not aimed at cagers’ rear view mirrors, they light up the road. Beyond the fact that they can’t be modulated, one major reason why I will not use a headlight conversion in a factory reflector (aside from the fact that it isn’t street legal to do so) is that the light from most conversions is uncontrollable and does blind oncoming traffic.

        It only takes ONE cager to kill me and the psychology of cagers is such that here are a LOT more than just one who will not see my bike – it is a typical non-reaction to the presence of motorcycles on the road.

        My nephew and a riding buddy were both rear-ended by inattentive cagers in separate incidents, which is why I have the modulated light bar out back (check it out – I use a Whelen Dominator 2 (red/red) wired to the modulator – and I have it set up so that if I engage the hazards it reverts to a conventional random strobe pattern).

        I have heard more than one set of squealing tires behind me over the past few years as drivers realise that they misjudged the distance to impact because they didn’t register there was a motorcycle between them and the car ahead of me until they saw the bight LEDs flashing.

        So no. I do not find in uncomfortable – though I have found it really amusing when cagers with their phones held to their ears pull all the way to the shoulder and stop their cars because they think they’ve been busted for cell phone use – perhaps they put their phones down while driving for the next day or two, thankful that they didn’t get an actual ticket for their unsafe practices.

        Also, I’ve had some of the local constabulary commend me on my lighting.

        So I am not going to apologise for being prepared to deal with the hazards of the road. In my opinion it is better to bother a few and arrive in one piece than to be invisible and not arrive at all. If that’s selfish, then too bad.

        • therr850

          I agree with the modulator. Have ridden with one for many years and knowing it works/helps is simply a matter of watching the “stop signs don’t apply to me” crowd brake suddenly before rolling out in front of me is all the confirmation I need. Without the modulator, in my part of the country, can be sometimes exciting. The modulator adds a certain level of confidence. I never assume the cagers see me but seeing them respond to the pulsing light is satisfying. NEXT TIME PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DRIVING! idiot. You ain’t alone out here.

      • Bruce Steever

        Powerful lighting is only offensive if you don’t have it adjusted properly. That applies to both cars and bikes.

    • Mahatma

      When I looked up that modular headlight,it was really annoying!Is that legal in the states?Here in norway I wouldn’t be surprised if the police banned it for road use,and gave you a hefty fine.Others might punch your lights out;)

      On another topic:How does the FJR stack up against the VFR1200DCT?

      • Bruce Steever

        Vastly different bikes. The VFR1200 is playing a game more similar to Busa/ZX-14R/K1300S.

        The FJR1300 is fighting against Concours 14, R1200RT, Trophy, etc.

        TL;DR- the FJR sits on the sportier side of the second list.

      • yerallnuts

        You may believe it annoying, but headlight modulators are legal in all of the United States and across Canada. Note that they do not FLASH, but rather more softly ‘pulse’ going from a rather dim 17% of the supply voltage to almost 100% 4 times per second. They are a lot less than annoying if one’s headlights are properly adjusted.

        They are strongly recommended accessories for motorcycles in my local province and presumably elsewhere too.

        Of course you can avoid the problem by riding BEHIND me.

        As to a comparison between the FJR and VFR? One is intended to be a sporty touring machine and the other more sport oriented, with a more aggressive riding position.

  • DeadArmadillo

    But only “Cobalt Blue”? Yamaha, while building excellent bikes is absolutely tone deaf about many things.