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Lustful Fantasies (motorcycles, not women…)

March 11, 2015

Usually I write about bikes I currently own, or at least used to own. Today that changes a bit. As the title of this post implies, this is about a bike that I may, someday, God, if you are listening, please let one of these bike just come over and talk to me, own (Yeah, I still remember those feelings from junior high school, or high school.  OK, I don’t remember those feelings so much as remember the fact that I used to have feelings that seem like they should have felt that way).

2015 Yamaha FJR1300ES

Anywho, the point is that for a long time now I have pretty much lusted over a bike.  Not just any motorcycle.  Either of the two of you that say you read this blog somewhat regularly already know that I already have a harem, of sorts…  No, this bike, the bike of my dreams since about 2007 or so, is a Yamaha FJR 1300.

The FJR isn’t a chrome covered noise maker, nor is it the fastest, or lightest, or most powerful bike out there.  As far as the general riding population goes, it’s not even close to the most popular bike on the road.  For many years, though, it has been the benchmark motorcycle for one niche of riders – middle-aged guys with more money than sense that live at my house.  OK, another niche is the community of long distance, or endurance, motorcycle riders.  Among that group the FJR ranks very highly.

Now, to be fair, I wanted an FJR before I got into my current long distance riding phase, so this isn’t just trying to keep up with the Jonses.  Besides, I never really tried to keep up with them; I find that just hanging with them works just as well in most cases.

Shortly after I bought my 2006 Honda VTX1800S I took one of those highly scientific and well thought out (and proofread) quizzes on Facebook that was supposed to tell me what kind of motorcycle I should ride.  I knew that my VTX was the right bike for me, but I took the quiz anyway.  The result of the quiz?  Yamaha FJR1300.  “What the hell is that?” I asked to myself.  A little research told me, in effect, that I would need another, if not a replacement, motorcycle.

Since then I have started to get (peripherally) involved in long distance riding, and have purchased eight more motorcycles, though I have sold a few of them.  During that time I traded off the VTX for my current V-Strom 1000.  In summary, it has been about nine years, with eight new (to me for a few of them) motorcycles, and still no new FJR 1300.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always wanted a new FJR since they first came onto my radar, but I never had a good reason to get one.  When I replaced my VTX with a Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom I was even more comfortable on long trips.  I have since taken the V-Strom to San Francisco, California and Tucson, Arizona, among other smaller trips.  It is easily capable of taking me where I want to go in most of the comfort I want.  From a logical point of view I don’t need a new FJR 1300.

That said, I want one.  If I am going to try to spend way too much time riding way to far in a finite amount of time, I might as well spend too much money to buy a bike that has a large percentage of the bells and whistles that I think all motorcycles should have.  Yep, I want it all…  In reality, I want a bike that has Anti-lock Brakes, and heated hand grips, and an electronically adjustable windshield, and a thermometer built into the dash display, and…

BMW_R1200RT_in-the-wild

2015 BMW R 1200 RT

Fast forward to the last six months or so.  My brother has a bike that he wants to replace.  While I was helping him do some research he kind of fell for a BMW R 1200 RT.  At first I thought it was a nice looking bike and that it would probably do all of the stuff that the FJR of my dreams would do, but at a higher price.

This would probably be a good place to say that while I personally rank BMW touring bikes well above any Harley-Davidson product (including H-D dog T-shirts that are sized to fit a chihuahua) in usefulness and value, I feel that the two companies are just different sides of the same coin when it comes to marketing and general customer brainwashing.  Again, nothing against their products, I just think brand loyalty can only go so far before it gets annoying…

As I said, I thought the BMW was a nice bike, just not my cup of tea.  One day I was goofing around online and started to put various motorcycles into the Motorcycle Ergonomics Simulator and found that it was the BMW that most closely matched the riding position of my V-Strom – you know, the bike I don’t really need to replace…

RT1200RS-vs-FJR-1300-head2headweb

As you can see, the two motorcycle look very similar.  I actually like the looks of the FJR 1300 more, but I have generally been a function over form kind of guy, so I will pass up a better looking bike in order to have a more comfortable bike.  Beyond the appearance (and cult-like following behind the BMW) both bikes have roughly the same capabilities.  I haven’t looked to see which bike has the higher top speed, horsepower, or torque.  I rarely push my bikes to their limits, and because both of these bikes are built for occasional two-up (having a passenger) riding, they should both be more than capable of giving me the performance I want.

In all honesty it will be some time before I even start to seriously think about replacing the V-Strom.  It still runs great and it is still comfortable.  I like having the the thought of getting a new bike, and like the thought of having to choose between two of them even better.  Somewhere in this post is some sort of metaphor for a middle aged married guy looking for change, but I’m not touching it – my wife may actually read this some day.

G26

2 Comments
  1. Mike permalink

    To continue your fantasy…
    As we speak, marketing execs in Munich, Germany and Iwata, Japan (I Googled it) are scrambling to get their bikes into the hands of the guy behind the influential and trendsetting g26motoblog for a long term product evaluation…

    Like

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