A few months ago, I was very proud to be the owner of a nice little British Cruiser – a Triumph Speedmaster. A friend helping me decide on what to buy had told me to think about the engine size (Speedmaster has a 865cc EFI Engine) and that he felt that I’d find it underpowered on long straight drives. At the time, coming from ‘no-bike’ to Cruiser, I believed it to be more than ample for my leisure riding. And it stayed that way during the opening part of 2014. During this time, however, I read and followed a number of groups and publications focused on Long Distance riding. Looking back, I think I gravitated to this ‘style’ almost subconsciously. Sneaking suspicion that Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman’s Long Way Round & Long Way Down Adventure Touring Series had to do something with that.
I then got involved in the Grand Tour of Georgia – involving riding to, visiting and photo-documenting theme-oriented locations. This ‘Tour’ riding provides some purpose to riding and along the way, locations and places are seen or visited, which otherwise may not be possible. This entailed longer distance riding than I was used to or had ridden on my Speedmaster. Long distance riding, either highlights the good points or shines light on the shortcomings of the motorcycle at hand. On my recent GTGA run, the ride took me out to the Stumphouse Tunnel, GA/SC border mountains. It was a good ride, while the roads were up and down and around the mountains where the speeds are relatively slow. But on the way back, to save time, the ride was a boring long ride down I85S. It is here, on this stretch that the bike seemed to show it’s shortcomings quite well. Being a naked bike the wind, buffeting, and the ‘exposure’ left me feeling not all that secure or comfortable. To negate these elemental effects, I’d need to add a ton of accessories, if not spend a ton of money. Add to that the relative under power on long straights. To clarify, the engine is powerful and can handle higher speeds, but it just seemed too much work. Perhaps a bit personal. But the naked bike just didn’t gel on the long drives. I would need to look at alternatives. The mind said to heart. The heart reluctantly agreeing. I love the Triumph Speedmaster. But but….
I consciously started to look around and reading up on alternative bikes. The plan was to spend some time on the Speedmaster while using the time to research. Forums, message boards, Groups, email, IMs etc.. Majority of them seemed to suggest that the Yamaha FJR1300 was a good bike. It does come with great reviews from most Motorcycle publications. Price/Features factors and taking 5 of the top 10 spots in 2013’s IBA Rally – 10000+ miles in 10 days – across the USA [Winning Route 2013] – all in all made this a good bike to focus on. And so I did. And then the ‘Perfect Storm’ hit. While looking around on the usual websites, I spotted a couple of bikes which were more than reasonably priced for the age and miles done.
Storm became a whirlwind; whirlwind a Tornado. Faster than the time it would take for you to say ‘Yamaha FJR’s a good bike’, I was an excited and proud owner of a 2009 Yamaha FJR1300AE with only 1620 miles on the odometer.
From No-wheels to Cruiser.
From Cruiser to Sport Tourer.