Motorcycle No.10

Continuing the series about my motorcycles this is my current machine. The tenth and only bike I have purchased by trying to be rational rather then emotional but with motorcycles I think the latter is just as important.

Riding in Japan is superb however not something I can access on any Sunday like when living in Australia. I have the choice of gridlock traffic for a couple of hours to and from the nearest riding area or expensive tolls to escape Tokyo. Then there is the climate. Summer is rainy season, like every day. Winter is snow. Autumn is typhoons. You have a narrow window to ride which is one reason I chose this bike.

Touring in cool to cold temperatures made many bikes less practical. I like standard bikes best, now being up sold as Naked bikes by the same gurus that invented the term Adventure bike. Fortunately while everyone is trying to imitate Ewan Mcgregor touring bikes are out of vogue.

The FJR is further unpopular here where people who are touring choose things like Honda's Super Bol D'or so Yamaha pitch the FJR against it not the 1200RT from BMW that sits off in its own stratospheric pricing category (for Japan bikes) of $30,000 while the FJR was just $13,000. I did want the RT but the whopping $17,000 saved has paid for all my touring in Japan the last 5 years and still some left over.

However it has not been all rosy. I had a difficult time adjusting to such a big heavy bike. I have a overly wordy review posted elsewhere and the saga of making the bike turn better - short version is it's still heavier and slower steering than the RT I rode in USA but I have bridged some of the gap. When I factor other aspects like the brilliant engine that still has not needed valves done 60,000km and returns 4.2 litre to 100km on regular gas I can't be disappointed.

I have never owned a bike longer than 2 years. Always had something new tug my heartstrings and the cash in Australia. If I stay in Japan no point to change bikes in foreseeable future. I would like a lighter tourer (is that a oxymoron?) but while ADV remains the most popular trend nobody is making that sort of machine. The FJR already has near zero resale value in Japan but remains a decent bike for what I do, namely a couple of long tours each year. I'll most likely be on this a very long time and use the money saved to travel and ride other countries instead.

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