The Yamaha FJ 1100 and FJ 1200: true classics

Yamaha FJ
ER Classics Desktop 2022

In 1984, Yamaha presented the FJ 1100 as a fast touring motor and excellent all-rounder. Already after two years the Yamaha FJ 1100 was succeeded by the Yamaha FJ 1200. Since 1991, that newcomer was the first Japanese motorcycle to be equipped with an ABS.

The muscles

In terms of performance, the 1100s were not inferior to the 1200s. But the engine character of the FJ 1200 had become even smoother. The new four-cylinder excelled by its enormous 'bottompower', its torque from the lowest revs. For people who appreciated a nervous engine character and who wanted to play a gearbox like a virtuoso pianist his keyboard, the fat FJ was not an option for that. But for people who wanted to ride well all day and switch gear as little as possible, the Yamaha was a topper. With normal use, the Yamaha FJ 1200 used up more than one liter of gasoline per 13-15 km. The tank capacity was tight 15 liters. So you didn't have to stop at every gas station.

The comfort on board also ensured that it could be driven for a long time. The buddy turned out to offer a lot of space - also for two people - and the suspension was comfortable without being soaked.

Quite heavy, but light-hearted

Roadworthy, an FJ 1200 weighs around 260 kilos. That is not cat water. But despite that weight, the FJ is a wonderfully light-footed dancer, even on the most winding roads. But of course he can also trot for hours on the straightest highways. On the plus side: since 1991, the engine block of the FJ 1200 has been mounted in rubbers. That saved vibrations. On the negative side: from 1991 the engine block was mounted in rubbers. This had some consequences for straight-line stability at high speeds. But that never gets really worrying.

The protection

On that unlimited 'Autobahne', the half cockpit offers good protection against the wind. In the rainy Netherlands it appears that the protection against rain is considerably less. Yamaha responded to this by letting the buyer choose between a 'sporty' cockpit window and a comfortable ditto.

The points for attention

There are FJ 1100s and 1200s that have run documented 300D + km. The blocks are therefore proven almost indestructible. But of course you will not get there without maintenance. The camshaft chain tensioner is a wear part. With much shorter journeys, the piston rings sometimes had the tendency to 'solidify'. That and other contaminants in the lubrication and fuel system could and can often be solved by treatment with 'additives' as you can buy from the car parts trade. But it can of course also be that an engine is really 'on'. Check the tank for rust on the inside and tap the lowest point of the tank. Condensed water may have accumulated there over the years. And that may have caused the tank to rust through so far from the inside that in fact only the lacquer layer is only the separation between the inside of the tank and the outside world. Furthermore, these Yamahas are more than sensitive to a good condition of the steering head and rear fork bearing. If that is the case, then there is no longer any question of a good road holding. The condition of the brake discs is also important. New ones are expensive.

Oh yes: A nice FJ 1100- FJ 1200 you already have under € 1.250. These powerhouses with their incredibly reliable blocks are not yet as 'classics' in the minds of the market.

Good for long, fast journeys


Give a reaction
    • Dear Daan,
      Congratulations on your excellent choice! I have driven quite a few newer and more modern motorcycles, but I enjoy them the most. Mine is 30 years young this year and has always proved extremely reliable. There is also an FJ club where you will find a wealth of knowledge and experience. Maintenance is very easy to do yourself with the workshop manual.
      Once you are accustomed to the character and the steering characteristics, it is in terms of performance still not inferior to much more expensive and younger engines.
      Many beautiful kilometers desired!
      Ton Maas.

      • Dear Ton,

        Thanks for your comment. I mainly use it for commuting. I traded in my Goldwing 1200 for it because I wanted to move more smoothly in traffic.

        I did register myself with the facebook group. For the fun I ride a heavily rebuilt Kawasaki Vulcan 1500.

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