Latest posts by Warren (see all)

Whilst many people overseas seem ok with the way their Yamaha FJR300 corners, riding on tight narrow roads here I wanted to quicken the steering if possible. My motorcycle is 2014 FJR1300A and coming from smaller bikes prior it always felt slow to turn in and wanted to understeer in corners.

The fan boys on owner forums insist this big motorcycle steers light as a feather. Simply inflate the tyres a few more PSI is all that is needed. I am sure you will have read the same.

Well that doesn’t make 300kg or high centre of gravity sitting on a long wheel base magically disappear.

“Learn to ride”. “You must be braking into corners” or “You must weigh 200kg”. Some of the owner forum responses. I just went and found what I could myself.

The five things I have done that has changed how the bike steers

1. The first thing I tried was to set the rear suspension preload to firm. This reduces the sag thus ever so slightly sharpens the steering angle. This made a tiny but noticeable difference to turn in speed but at the sacrifice of ride comfort when riding solo.

2. Next I raised the fork legs in the triple clamps about 25 mm to lower the front and further alter/sharpen up the steering angle. You can do this fairly easy on the FJR by loosening the bolts at the mid and upper fork leg clamps and then sliding the fork leg up gently.

This was a further improvement, most noticeable when the fuel load dropped from full to 2/3 or less and the motorcycle was operating without such a high COG. No issues with ground clearance whatsoever.

The steering at this point with the combination of things done was a noticeable improvement from standard. No adverse affects.

3. I next changed the rear suspension links called the dog bones to raise the rear ride height and further sharpen the steering angle. I had left this to last since it seemed the hardest but it can be done in probably 30 minutes. I chose to fit 30mm raise links. I sourced them for about $39 from a eBay retailer in Germany with good customer feedback.

This made the biggest difference so far. The FJR felt noticeably lighter to turn. It also removed some of the tendency to want to understeer then drop into oversteer.

4. The next thing I looked at was ergonomics. The bars on the FJR1300 are a bit low and forward, well that’s how I find them despite being 6’ tall. I installed a bar raising plate (from MV Motoradd in Germany) and this moved the bars up 25mm and back 40mm bringing them to a more natural position. This provided much better leverage which helped a lot and also made the FJR comfortable – like a touring motorcycle should be.

5. I have tried many tyres. The best has been Dunlop Roadsmart 4 GT (not the earlier versions) these give a much nicer turn in and maintain that longer into the tyres life than many others which wear fast and become slow to turn in. Bridgestone T31GT were next best. Michelin Pilot Road one of the slowest steering tyres.

For awhile I wanted to change to a smaller lighter bike but I am glad I persisted as this bike with it’s improved lighter steering suits my touring here very well.

My previous long term Yamaha FJR1300 review is here if you would like further information.


  1. Great stuff mate on working out how to make the bike handle. Should sell it to Yamaha now as they obviously don't know. Haha

    • Ha-ha, I wish! The machine is built primarily for the US market so I presume the slow steering is by design. Not sure why. Hope this helps a few people as not much in the way of genuine info for people who like it's comfort but still want to enjoy a corner.

  2. after many years (and a couple of FJR's) I found MY solution to the problem. I switched to DUNLOP ROADSMART III… what a difference they make.

  3. Good article! Thank you for telling it like it is and the tip about lowering the front end. I too raised the rear and it was a BIG improvement.
    I didn't know how much to lower the front and your articles guidance is helpful. I have an Angel GT front/Dunlop RoadsmartII tire combination, its the best of the many that have been on the bike in 50K miles.

  4. Put a 28mm lift in my 2005 FJR from day 1. Had a 25mm lift in my 97 Bandit and boy did it steer fast. Your article was thoughtful well presented. What I didn’t see was any reference to extra ground clearance at the pegs, less in your case because you dropped the front.

  5. Hi Neville, I have not experienced any issues with ground clearance.
    The pegs in middle of bike only fell a portion of the height the front was lowered then lifted back a fraction when the rear was raised. I cannot say exact where they are now compared to factory except no issues at my road pace.

  6. 28mm rear lift, no drop on the forks gained about 15mm at the peg. Info only, let’s go ride. A kiwis in the USA.

  7. Mr Adriaan Jacobs

    Hi Warren have you got a link to the seller as Gen3 A model dog bones are not available in the UK only the ES model?

    • I’m sorry my eBay purchase history doesn’t list back that far. I presume you have set your search to ‘worldwide’ from the eBay default of same country sellers? Or try google for the item which will bring up all the Ebay sellers worldwide.

  8. Hi Warren

    I had a FJR 2008 A with Pilot 4 and a FJR 2015 ES with Pilot 4 but changed to the Dunlop Road Smart IIIs. I feel my FJR corners better and no longer had that front wheel hop from the factory tires on both bikes. I also got about 12-14K miles on those sets of tires ( Road Smart III ) and still riding on them. Pilot 4 only gave me about 8,500K miles. Pilot 4 goes from a little life left to worn out to bald fast when they get to the end of life on those tires. I have not made any frame changes other than what the factory bike electronic settings can do. I now have a FJR 2017 ES and will go back to the Road Smart III again unless Dunlop makes a newer improved RS III tire. Would that be a Road Smarter IV tire?

    • Hi Guido,

      I am considering trying the Dunlop Roadsmart 3 tyres next time. They are expensive in Japan and other riders here report not getting much more mileage.
      You get incredibly long mileage from your tyres, double what any rider I know here can achieve.
      Pilot 4 average 4000 miles. Dunlop RS3, 4500 miles is what local guys manage, similar to the Angel GTs which I love but also wear out fast.
      The Bridgestone BT023GT remains the only tyre anyone here can get a reliable 9000 km (5500 miles) out of on heavy big bikes.
      I think the road surface and endless corners here mean tyres wear much faster. I dream of getting 6000+ miles from any tyre but it is impossible.

    • There are weekends when we get 3,000 miles out of a rear, Arkansas chip and seal tears them up.

  9. Sebastián Demaria

    Hi, don’t the front forks bottom out with such a high lift? Did you change oil quantitiy ?

    • Hi Sebastian,

      Moving the triple clamps does not reduce the fork travel, that remains exactly same.

      It alters the front suspension angle and ride height. My rear has also been raised. Overall the travel remains same and pegs are not overly lower or higher.

      It might sound like a lot, about an inch lower front and inch higher rear. But the FJR comes with conservative steering geometry and is a large bike. This adjustment I have made still leaves the steering geometry or angle at front and rear less than a super sports bike and the turn in is still slower than I am used to but better than when I got it.

  10. Sebation, putting a lift in the rear has no impact on the front fork travel.

  11. Sebastian Demaria

    Sorry, I know, I meant botton out the front forks beacuse now that they are rised, the lower part of the fork is closer the lower triple. So may hit on a big pothole.

    • The way the fork operates, the amount of movement it has over bumps remains the same regardless of raising or lowering their position in the triple clamps.
      My forks are conventional but this applies to upside down forks as well, no difference.
      If your forks are bottoming out then you need to increase your compression damping.

      Follow up: You seem to be trolling me now with many comments repeating yourself, I won’t be publishing you further.

  12. Sebastian Demaria

    ahh, may be yours are inverted forks, mine is 2 gen, conventional forks… thats why if I rise them too much they have less travel..

  13. Sebastian, I think you are missing the physics of the lowering. You are only changing the position of the bike itself ON the fork. The fork travel remains the same. The only thing that you are losing is ground clearance from the road to the bottom of your oil pan, or drip fairing etc. Hope that helps.

    Great article BTW. Im looking to buy one of these bikes next 2013 or newer.

  14. Jack Underwood

    Hi I got my 2009 FJR1300A last summer and purchased a new set of 120/70 | 180/55 ZR17 Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart at the beginning of May as i could see the wear indicators rushing towards the surface of the Michelin road pilot 4 GT’s . So yesterday thought this will be the last ride on them but after 150 miles I was surprised to see serious bald strip to right side of the front tyre and when I got home after 300 miles was really shocked at the rapid deterioration. Note my bike has lowered rear suspension but forks are stock.

    • Hi Jack, I just replaced my Dunlop Roadsmart 2 tyres. Front was bald at 5000km. Nice feel but crazy short lifespan (on Japan abrasive roads)

      Lowered rear suspension will make the steering slower.

      • Jack Underwood

        Hi Warren
        All the reviews I read before purchasing the Dunlops seemed to be claiming good wear rate compared to other makes. I suppose time will tell once I get them on bike and see what happens. I’m Normally midrange with tyre wear but this is my first heavyweight bike and I was wondering if the lowered rear increased the wear rate if raising it helped reduce it…. Raising the rear is not an option for me as I ‘m vertically challenged and don’t like tippy toeing when stationary or trying to maneuver. I think i need to check and see if forks are true before fitting new tyres, suppose I could drop front end a little at same time?

        • Hi Jack, you could perhaps get a custom lower seat made then return the rear to normal height or slightly higher then lower the front an inch.

          The tire life claims on the FJR sites or groups seems like a contest. One guy wrote he got 20,000 miles from Pilot 4’s and could probably do another 4000 miles. I said ‘is that with the bike on a trailer?’ because seems plain impossible to me. I average 5000 miles life and that is easy touring, best ever was 6000 miles BT023GT but they were bald by time I finished the tour. I have T31 GT’s on now, will update blog after next tour but I suspect they wont beat the BT023GT.

  15. The 2002 FJR 1300 has impeccable manners when it comes to highway /twisties I have nearly 100,000 Ks on my 02 model and just changed my AVON Storm2s after 74,000ks I now have Contis Attack3 They seem to be OK but time will tell The Avons worked really well but needed lots of Ks to warm up My FJR will see me out Clean Air Clean Oil And clean Fuel Th recipe for successful riding . I live in Newcastle Australia Keep away from “wannabe” good enough mechanics
    Correct Tire pressure inflation is a life saver.

    • Its very good on highway but it undeniably has a long wheel base which makes it turn slow and is very heavy which makes it wallow and become a unsettled on mid corner bumps, issues the owners forums say don’t exist, but most of those guys have never actually ridden other motorcycles besides a Harley so they have no clue what a modern sports bike actually rides like.

      Comparing to a Yamaha MT-09 or MT-07 it is slow steering but compare to similar tourer bikes like the R1200RT which I rode in USA then it is not much slower to steer, just a higher centre of gravity which requires more work.

      I’ve tried a range of tyres and air pressures and frankly a few more psi like the folks on the forum preach is not the magic bullet to transform a 300kg tourer into a light feeling bike. GT class tyres designed for heavy bikes and correct air pressure is a start but I found the other steps I took in this post made much more of a difference.

  16. Robert Ray

    I recently purchased a used 2006 FJR, I’m 69 years old with rods in my legs and arms from being run over by a drunk driver on a Concours. I needed a lighter bike and bought a water cooled Bonneville, nice in many ways but not on U.S. Interstates and no wind protection, I sold it I rode an St1300 and the Concours C14 and they seemed just to big and heavy I looked at the Bandit1250FA, then I went and sit on the gen2 FJR, didn’t seem as big and heavy as the Connie and ST so I bought it. I usually wait to see how I’m going to like bike before I begin to farkle however after only ridding a couple times I ordered trunk and rifle windshield, I’m getting older but for the moment this is the bike I’m happiest with. I live on a steep gravel dirt lane leading down to the main highway I find it relatively easy to stop at the base of the hill and mahnuver, I also bought an old beat up 650 Vstrom to make local hops, seems the two bike route is the one. Thanks for your excellent review. About the 5 speed versus the 6 you nailed it.

    • Hi Robert, I find steep gravel a challenge on just about any bike. I went down the Sani Pass in South Africa on a small 300cc bike but I would not like to try it on a big bike so that’s some fine bike control you have!

      I should add some images of how tight the roads are in Japan to explain why I sought to lighten the steering, a land full of mountains with narrow one lane switchbacks is best way to describe.

  17. David Benge

    Ive actually managed to buy and fit up one set on my FJR 1300 The Continentals Attack 3s I must admit there good but as new tires are always cold on start there great once warmed up Smooth too.That takes a while (City Traffic) Tomorrow I will be doing a a lot of Ks so it will be great to see the result even though the weather is reasonably cool It will be interesting to make a comparison on the difference between AVONs and Conti’S The Avons went to 24.000Ks (14.000 Miles but they were worn badly but stick like shit to a blanket!!! Ill recheck the Tire Pressure after this ride
    It will be interesting as the roads near me are nothing like yours in USA & i’ve ridden and driven a lot of miles in the US.
    Dave Benge

    • Hi Dave,

      I am in Japan. The roads here tend to be coarse. 8000km is average life of sport touring tyres. Pure sport tyres less, about 5000km. Never heard of anyone getting such high mileage from tyres but sure wish that was possible as would save me lots of time and money.

  18. Dave Benge

    Re / Longititvy on Tires. The AVON’s we tested on both a Yamaha FJR 1300 and a Suzuki Hyuabusa 1300 and both were ridden in a similar manner and both got very similar (Milage ) as in Kilometers I was surprised to see that the Avons were still very good in there handling and stickiness on the last big ride 1,600 Kilometers in Very wet cold weather to the west of Sydney Bathurst Goulbourn and then a double loop though Kaangaroo Valley Very twisty and Diesel on the wet roads then Wollongong and back to Bowral Via Maquarie Pass very windy and steep Wet too
    Then Home via Wiseman’s ferry Bad road indeed from Windsor, sore bum
    Then Home At least it was dry and too much traffic.
    The worn Avons were in fact, terrific.They did every thing they were asked to do and NO surprises in the Heavy rainy weather.
    Lets see what the Conti’s do Im about to go with my son for a long day in the saddle
    Ill let you know how they perform in the very windy weather ,Stroud , Over the Mountain to Dungog Bad roads then Home Via East Gresford , Patterson Maitland then home
    Cool windy day should be interesting to say the least
    Dave Benge

    • Sounds great Dave. I lived in Australia previously and have ridden all those roads.

      My last bike in Australia was a 2010 CB1100 which had Bridgestone BT-45 Battlax, a touring tyre which lasted 10,000km both sets.

      Prior to that I was riding a Buell XB12R using Metzeler M6 (now called M5) which lasted 6000km and before that a MV Agusta Brutale using Michelin Pilot Road which also lasted around 6000km.

      I guess I’m pretty hard on tyres.

      I’m liking the Dunlop Road Smart 4’s I currently have fitted. Possibly the best tyre so far on my FJR.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.