Motorcycle No.10

Continuing the series about my motorcycles this is my current machine. The tenth and only bike I have purchased by trying to be rational rather then emotional but with motorcycles I think the latter is just as important.

Riding in Japan can be superb however not something I can access on any Sunday. I have the choice of gridlock traffic for a couple of hours to and from the nearest riding area or expensive tolls to escape Tokyo.

Then there is the climate. There is no dry season in Japan, Summer is monsoon. Autumn is typhoons. Winter roads are closed by snow. You have a narrow window to ride and need to make the most of it by doing a long tour.

Touring in cool to cold temperatures makes many bikes less practical. I like standard (naked) bikes best but lacking wind protection doesn't suit going far here. Fortunately while everyone is trying to imitate Ewan Mcgregor touring bikes are out of vogue.

The FJR is further unpopular here where people who are touring choose things like Honda's Super Bol D'or so Yamaha pitch the FJR against it not the R1200RT and price it at about $13,000 (AUD). I did think about the RT but the $17,000 saved has paid for all my touring in Japan the last 5 years.

However it has not been all rosy. I had a difficult time adjusting to such a big heavy bike. I have a overly wordy review posted elsewhere and the saga of making the bike turn better. But when I factor other aspects like comfort, fuel efficient, reliable and near zero maintenance costs it has been a decent touring bike, just lacking some of the fun motorcycling should be due to excess weight.

I have never owned a bike longer than 2 years. Always had something new tug my heartstrings and the cash in Australia but if I stay in Japan there is no point to change bikes in foreseeable future. I would like a light tourer (is that a oxymoron?) but while ADV remains the most popular trend nobody is making that sort of machine.

The FJR already has near zero resale value in Japan but remains a decent bike for what I do, namely a couple of long tours each year. I'll most likely be on this a very long time and use the money saved to travel and ride other countries. Who knows, possibly only bike I own in Japan as I ponder if I want to stay in this country beyond a certain point.

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