Project Bike: 2005 Yamaha FJR 1300

Apr 10, 2013 View Comments by

Project Bike 2005 Yamaha FJR 1300Finishing Touches

Before we started to put these accessories on the FJR, it already had a long list of items bolted, screwed, taped, and even velcroed to it: a Cee Baileys windshield, Moko frame sliders, RAM mounts, a Vista Cruise throttle lock, an ancient (but still effective) Autocom system, Wild Bill highway pegs, nighttime LEDs all around the fairing, and a 132 dB Friamm Freeway Blaster horn.

The finishing touches to this sport tourer are aimed to give it more luggage capacity and add a safety component. Even though countless multi-day trips have been taken aboard the ‚”mothership” already, these upgrades allow more saddle time and make sure the ride is as smooth as possible, thanks to the Race Tech Suspension.

Touring Enhancements Install
1. Race Tech Suspension Gold Valve Kit – Standard Type 1: 4 hours at local shop + time spent at Race Tech $300 (local shop), $1,367.77 (suspension plus parts)
Notes: The FJR was taken to Interstate Cycle in Charlotte, NC, where the forks and shock were removed and shipped to Race Tech. After Race Tech performed their magic on the suspension, Interstate Cycle put it all back together. There are several Race Tech Service Centers around the country, and you can find one near you on their website’s search tab. We set the bike up for an advanced rider weighing 165 pounds and riding primarily on mountain roads.
What the rider says: “I was concerned that the suspension might be a little harsh while commuting, but in fact, it behaves quite the opposite. Dips and bumps on interstate pavement panels are expertly absorbed with none of the previous upset to the rider. With the stock suspension, which had reached the end of its serviceable life after 43,000 miles, it felt like both tires would leave the ground over larger road defects. Now the bike feels planted to the road with the suspension keeping the chassis stable while traveling over bumps.
This is an entirely new bike in the twisties! Set up for a curve, lean the bike into an amazingly stable arc, and it is ready to leap past the apex and on to the next. The 1300cc motor in the FJR allows for powerful and controllable engine braking, but with the older suspension, I often needed to feather the front brake to get set for a smooth turn in. The new Type 1 Fork Gold Valve Kit and the rebuilt shock with the Shock Gold Valve Kit work in perfect harmony, increasing rider confidence and greatly improving the fun of a challenging road. Because the suspension is now performing so well, I don’t have to work as hard to ride smooth so I am less tired at the end of the day.”
2. Twisted Throttle Denali DM-1 Lights: 1 hour 40 minutes $209.99 (lights), $44.99 (mounting kit)
Notes: One of these will fit in the palm of your hand (1.69 inches in diameter), but although they’re small, they sport an effective beam distance of 240 feet. The compactness of the lights is a great attribute as they aren’t very noticeable and don’t change the look of the FJR’s fenders. One lamp draws only 5 watts (or 0.41 amps) at 12 volts, so the pair consumes less than an amp and has a lifespan of 50,000 hours. The DM-1 has an IP68 dust and waterproof rating, which means that it’s very rugged and neither dust nor water (up to 3 meters) will penetrate it. So unless you plan on taking them scuba diving with you, they’ll survive excursions down dirt roads.The pair comes with several mounting options, and we chose the fender mount bolt. Although the lights were bolted on in a matter of minutes, routing and finding a place for all the excess cables is what took the longest, especially as the battery sits close to the top and front. Of course the cockpit of the FJR isn’t really the easiest or fastest to take apart. The DM-1s can be used in conjunction with your high beams or operated with a separate switch. We chose the latter.
3. GIVI Mounting Rack: 40 min $173
Notes: To install the rack, we had to remove the seat and the FJR’s grab handles behind the passenger seat. The GIVI rack sits perfectly in the guides. Several bushings are used, and it’s helpful to read the instructions.
What the rider says: “The rack alone is a huge improvement over stock; it replaces the molded plastic/composite rack and grab rails with welded steel construction. I was nervous about changing the appearance of the bike, but the sleek design fits in nicely even without the trunk installed. The latching mechanism is solid, and the simple design should provide years of use with no troubles.”
4. GIVI V46 Topcase with optional backrest and color-matched lid: 15 min $299 (topcase), $78 (backrest), $74 (color-matched lid)
Notes: Once the rack is installed, the topcase is simply mounted by sliding and clicking it in. The optional backrest required us to drill holes into the case. GIVI includes a template for the location of the holes, but upon following the instructions, we realized that we drilled too low and had to go about 1.5 inches higher. Fortunately, the initial holes were still covered by the backrest, and we sealed the two holes from the inside.
What the rider says: “With or without the saddlebags, the sleek lines and complementary coloring of the GIVI trunk makes it look at home on the back of the bike. We were disappointed to discover that the topcase won’t handle two full-face helmets as advertised. We tried every rotation and orientation combination, but our Shoei medium and large helmets wouldn’t fit. Well, technically they did fit, but the lid wouldn’t close! The addition of a backrest makes it a whole new bike for my wife. She gives it two big thumbs up!”
5. Saddlemen Tech Style Seat: 2 min $398.95
Notes: The Saddlemen one-piece replaces the two-section stock seat with only a midpoint latch. While the connection looks and feels strong, and an additional post will take some of the side-to-side loads, we will monitor this area for any signs of weakening. Although seat height is similar, the new saddle takes about an inch of room from the rider and adds it to the pillion. Taller riders might miss being able to move farther from the tank.
What the rider says: “I thought the significantly wider seat would be a problem in the thigh area. Wrong! The gel provides excellent support where it’s needed and is actually more comfortable than the narrow stock seat when pushed forward aggressively. The main part of the seat is not flat like stock but oddly upholstered. Again, I assumed the worst; I was ready for discomfort. Wrong again. The padded areas made me feel like I could ride all day.”

*Retail costs exclude taxes and shipping.

Tags: , , , , Categories: Technical Tips

About the author

As long as I can grab a handlebar, I'll ride it. Trail riding is becoming my favorite hobby as of late. Hope to meet you on the road.