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4 Most Common Problems With Yamaha FJR 1300

Introduced in 2001, the FJR 1300 is among Yamaha’s line of venerable sport touring motorcycles.

With a powerful engine and adjustable suspension, this model puts the word “sport” in sport touring. Moreover, it offers an attractive combination of powerful performance and comfortable riding.

While this model is attractive, you should know the problems that come with it. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of common problems with these bikes.

Based on customer complaints, here are the most widespread issues encountered on the Yamaha FJR 1300 bikes:

1. Repeated Ticking Noise

Early first-generation FJR 1300s were infamous for the “ticking” problem that plagued owners.

This issue mostly affects older models and is largely absent on newer units. However, if you’re buying an old model, you should be careful, as the bike may have the ticking problem.

So what exactly is this ticking noise?

Also described as “knocking”, this ticking noise often occurs at idle when the bike’s engine is warm. Per reports, the ticking usually becomes pronounced over time.

Because of the similarity of both problems, you may confuse the ticking for cam chain noise. However, this ticking noise is distinct from the cam chain noise as it occurs on the left side of the engine, rather than the right.

From our research, this problem surfaces between 4,000-9,000 miles, although there are exceptions to this. Moreover, ticking rarely occurs when the bike is cold.

This means you can only diagnose this problem when your bike is warm.

How to Listen for a Ticking Noise:

1. Ride your Bike:

  • There’s no way you’ll hear the ticking/knocking when the engine is cold.
  • The best you can do is take your bike for a ride to get the engine to operating temperatures.

2. Park the Bike and Listen for the Noise:

  • Before you start, remove your helmets or earplugs as they may impair your ability to pick out sounds.
  • Afterward, listen for a rhythmic, metallic ticking sound from the engine area.
  • If it helps, the ticking is usually present on the left side of the bike.

Possible Causes for the Ticking Noise:

Well, there are multiple theories, but none of these is fully accepted.

One theory is that the ticking noise results from the improper closing of the exhaust valves.

Multiple diagnoses found that exhaust valve guides on the affected bikes were prone to abnormal wear. Consequently, the valve stems start moving around more than they should. This ultimately leads to the faulty closing of the valves, and the accompanying ticking.

Some owners of the affected bikes also found unburned oil in the exhaust unit on their bikes. While the source of the oil isn’t obvious, the consensus is that the oil is a sign of defective exhaust valve guide seals.

Over time, you may see oil stains on the rear muffler outlet ports. This may be a sign that the oil in the exhaust has damaged the catalytic converter. Besides, the improper closing of the exhaust valves often causes a reduction in the bike’s power output.

This explains why owners report increased performance on their bikes after fixing the ticking problem.

A number of fixes have been suggested for this problem, from valve clearance checks to timing chain tensioner replacement. However, the consensus is that checking the exhaust valve guides for excessive wear is the best fix. Yamaha specifically asked dealers to measure wear in the guides and replace them if worn.

If you have a bike facing this problem, we’d advise you to have the exhaust valve guides inspected at the repair shop.

You may need to replace the old guides with newer variants that have stronger seals.

2. Difficulty When Downshifting

On some FJR 1300 bikes, owners reportedly found it hard to downshift, i.e., switching to a lower gear.

In most cases, this problem occurs when riders are trying to slow down while approaching stop signs or red lights.

If you’re buying a pre-owned model, lookout for any signs of sticky downshifts.

See if you can switch to a lower gear (e.g. From Gear 4 to Gear 2) with ease.

A likely cause of this problem is bad transmission fluid. Transmission fluid wears out over time and becomes less efficient. Should this be the case, shifting between gears may become difficult.

In addition, water and antifreeze can contaminate the transmission fluid, reducing its efficiency.

As such, we’ll advise that you inspect the condition of your bike’s transmission fluid if your motorcycle experiences this problem.

3. Battery May Die

This problem affects most motorcycles, so it’s not an “FJR 1300” problem per se.

The battery powers the ignition system of your bike. Without the battery, you won’t be able to start your motorcycle at all.

Most FJR 1300 owners that reported this problem had high-mileage bikes. More than anything, this shows that the problem is one to be expected. Batteries tend to wear out with use, especially if exposed consistently to moisture, e.g., rain.

However, it could also be that the battery is defective, particularly if the bike isn’t a high-mileage model. Maybe the bike’s battery is experiencing “parasitic drain”. In such situations, a component left running by mistake could drain power from the battery.

With time, the battery’s power may reduce until it dies finally.

If the battery is worn due to age, getting a replacement is the best option to remedy the problem.

4. Excessive Heat from Engine

This is another problem with the earlier models.

This one mostly affects those bikes released during the first generation of the FJR 1300 model. If you’re buying a later-generation model, you may not have to worry about this issue.

If you’re buying a first-generation model, it’s advisable to take it for a test ride and see if it gets unbearably hot. In fact, it’s best if you rode on a scorching afternoon because that’s when the problem typically occurs.

Note: the excessive engine heat is not a sign of engine problems. It’s merely a case of hot air from the engine being redirected to the rider.

Possible Solutions:

One was to replace the flat radiator with a curved one on later bikes, which explains why newer models don’t face this problem. Using a curved radiator forces hot air passing through the radiator out to the sides of the bike.

This is essential because the hot air can be trapped in the fairing or even affect the rider’s legs.

The other fix involved a redesign of the fairing to allow for better airflow around the bike. This redesign ensured that cool air from the front of the bike went around the headlights, above the radiator, and below the fuel tank.

This way, the inner fairing and fuel tank can stay cool.

Other DIY fixes suggested for this problem include:

  1. Using heat blankets. These are available on online stores and can help prevent heat from the engine or fuel tank from affecting you while riding.
  2. Adding a retrofit kit that adds insulation to the underside of the gasoline tank.

General Pros and Cons of the Yamaha FJR 1300

Here are the positive and negative qualities of the FJR 1300:

Pros of The Yamaha FJR 1300

1. Powerful Performance:

Thanks to a liquid-cooled inline-four 128cc engine, the FJR 1300 has enough power to satisfy most performance enthusiasts.

With up to 143 horsepower and 102 lbs-ft or torque, the FJR 1300 is ideal for both canyon-carving rides and high-speed cruising.

2. Impressive Ride Comfort:

If you’ve been looking for the quintessential touring machine, the FJR 1300 is the perfect bike for you.

It has an electronically adjustable suspension that allows you to tweak suspension settings to increase your level of comfort.

This means the FJR 1300 will deliver the best riding experience, regardless of road conditions.

3. Good Storage Capacity:

The FJR 1300 comes standard with double 30-liter color-matched saddlebags, so you can pack things you need for those long tours.

Besides, the bags are “quick-release” types, and you don’t have to stress before installing or removing them.

Asides the luggage mounts, there are other useful storage compartments on the bike. This includes a small-item storage compartment on the left side of the fairing.

There’s even a 12-volt 30-watt DC power outlet in this compartment for added convenience.

4. Advanced Braking Technology:

The FJR 1300 features Yamaha’s innovative Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and variable Unified Braking System (UBS) technology.

ABS-equipped brakes provide riders with excellent control under hard braking or braking on slick surfaces.

Meanwhile, the UBS helps “link” the front and rear brakes.

This is essential for brake performance because linked brakes improve stopping power by balancing front & rear brake pressures.

Cons of the Yamaha FJR 1300

Here are the most widespread problems of the FJR 1300:

  1. Repeated Ticking Noise
  2. Difficulty When Downshifting
  3. Battery May Die
  4. Excessive Heat from Engine

What Do the Reviews Say?

“Famous for outstanding reliability and performance, the FJR1300 has a reputation second to none in the sport touring world. Featuring the latest electronic rider aids and bold styling, the third-generation FJR offers more comfort, performance, and value than ever before.”

[Source: Totalmotorcycle.com]

What Is the Resale Value On the Yamaha FJR 1300?

Year Mileage Price($)
2015 19,000 10,199
2014 50,122 6,999
2010 7,038 7,500
2005 27,342 4,799
2006 22,000 5,800
2018 10,075 14,999

Note: These prices may vary based on different factors including mileage, region, etc.


2015 Yamaha FJR1300ES – Review

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