Quick Spin: 2015 Yamaha FJ-09
We just got back from a press ride of the new sport-tourer (ST), the Yamaha FJ-09. It’s based around their last year’s hit and bestseller, the FZ-09.
Whether by accident or design, David Docktor and Linda Adams from the Yamaha PR team chose a day of inclement weather for us to test the new Yamaha FJ-09. And that turned out to be a good thing. Our route, based out of Ojai, California, in what must be the only week of rain in the last half century, threw almost everything at us.
Riding north along the picturesque and awesome Highway 33, it was mostly a cold and drizzly day with other goodies tossed in like high elevation mountainous roads, non-stop twisties, slick mud patches, flash flood road crossings and debris from rain-related landslides. Not your typical venue, but perfect for a condensed test.
If you've never spent quality time on a sport-tourer, you may find it immediately addictive. And that's how I'd rate the FJ-09. Out of the box, this is engineering genius. I fell in love with Yamaha's triple—the torque, smoothness, mannerisms, and the tone... ah, the tone!
The Oh-Nine is a nimble, great handling bike and it’s easy to see where they get the “sport” in sport-touring. If you’re accustomed to manhandling big enduro adventure bikes, this behavior will come as a shock to your senses. It’s extremely smooth, handling is amazing, it’s comfortable, responsive and allows you to do things on tarmac you’d never try on an ADV bike.
Rider position is extremely comfortable. But this bike isn’t designed for standing up for any duration. The rider angle is wrong for standing up, and the footpeg positions won’t lend themselves for much aftermarket improvement, either. But again, this isn’t an off-road machine.
What’s really exciting about the FJ-09 is the engine package. Strong, smoooooooth and positive all the way through the gear range. The fly-by-wire throttle mapping is precise, too—apparently it wasn’t quite so in the FZ-09, but clearly Yamaha’s engineers have addressed the issue.
- Next >>