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Yamaha FJ 1200. A cheap powerhouse

Yamaha FJ 1200
FJ Umrecht
ER Classics Desktop 2022

We can't get out of it. We get older and classics get younger. Of course it is 100% understandable for 60 +ers to have a Triumph Bonneville or Honda CB 750 OHC can be found at the top. But for the later born, that machine doesn't have the spell it did for us. In the meantime, the Yamaha FJ 1200 has been made from 1986 to 1993. And that was quite a few weeks ago.

next generation

The Yamaha FJ 1200 was the successor in the line of the rude, but good-natured XS 1100 and the FJ 1100. The four-cylinder was intended as a fast, two-person touring motorcycle in the times when the world was not yet strewn with roadside cash registers and residential areas. As with its predecessors, the 1200 had a ton of tractor-like pulling power from low revs. And in 1991, the modern age struck with a – then still endearingly coarse pulsing – ABS. In that year the engine also came to hang in rubbers. For its size, the big Yamaha was and is very manoeuvrable. The suspension and damping are – if not worn – good. The fairing protects considerably less than that of a BMW RT, but since 1991, a higher fairing has been optional.


In its past lives, the Yamaha power unit had already proven to be very reliable

The first 100.000 km should actually be problem-free. What comes next depends on driving style and maintenance. But an acquaintance has a neat example with 210.000 on the clock. And only the clutch has been provided with fresh plates once. High gas mileage can often be solved with a set of new jets and washer needles. High oil consumption is often less scary than it seems. Often – but not always guaranteed – this oil consumption is due to piston rings caked in carbon after too many short trips. At any auto parts store you can buy cans or flasks with stuff that you simply mix with the gasoline, which frees the piston rings again. Then you have sufficient compression again and a responsible oil consumption. But it can also be that an engine is really 'on'.

Rust

Rust in the tank can also cause a poorly running engine. And that tank can rust through at the lowest point. The actually good steering behavior can be seriously spoiled by worn steering head bearings, play on the rear suspension and broken rear wheel bearings. With a now not very impressive 130 hp, the Yamaha FJ 1200 still has plenty of power today. Because in the current traffic picture, 130 horsepower makes just as much sense as the 200+ horsepower or so of modern heavy marathoners.

The Yamaha FJ 1200 was quite popular

And they are tough. Apparently, what were once 'the best air-cooled four-cylinder in the world' is still very much in the shadows. Such a Yamaha FJ 1200 is old enough in terms of calendar age to be classic. He is also dated enough as a whole. But in practice it's still so impressive and - without all that crazy electronics - just honest and uncluttered mechanical that you could even use it for commuting. In addition, you now buy a neat Yamaha FJ 1200 for the money that a BMW six-cylinder rider puts down for a major overhaul. During a weekend driving in the Ardennes or Vosges you can also enjoy erasing with it. But pay attention to the details and see if the exhausts are not corroded.

Yamaha FJ 1200
The leaflet
fj exhaust
Look at the exhausts. There are replacement kits, but they cost

16 Comments

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  1. By the way, Dolph.
    I wear earplugs consistently while on the bike and have not suffered any hearing damage after 25 years of commuting plus all other rides. I think (but who am I that earplugs on the motorcycle are a must. If it will go outside the built-up area.

  2. I once got to ride my colleague's FJ1200. I thought he was just weakly tanning around the little square in front of us.
    Once on the greater road, his true nature came to the fore. Tight steering, plenty of torque and power. When I came back from my test drive, my colleague asked if I had also given some gas and immediately felt the rear tire. His question was immediately answered by the very warm rubber….'Ow', it sounded immediately.
    That 1200 immediately felt like an engine that you could take on the world at high speed. A wonderful memory. After that it would stay with BMW for me

  3. With brother-in-law on his FJ and myself on my Softail drove to Spain via the Mont Ventoux because it was still on my list of things I still wanted to do. There brother-in-law was amazed at the steering capabilities of the Softail, but unfortunately as soon as he opened his throttle a little bit I was the laggard again. When he drove home from Figueras a few days later, it took him 10,5 hours. A week later it took me 16,5 hours. But I have to admit that I did it on his Harlies, just slowly driving with the traffic. After this ride I still think that Jamaha is an impressive bike.

  4. In addition, the FJ1200, just like its illustrious ancestors, is very suitable as a sidecar tractor. Many solo drivers leave their m/f shirt standing in our beautiful hilly landscape. Disadvantage of the 1100 and early 1200 are the high-frequency vibrations and the cockpit that functions as a sound box

  5. Pretty cool bikes, eyed at the time. But as a person over 60, I have been very satisfied for years with my Aprilia RSV1000R, which I also used at the North Cape. Also, because just like a long time ago ('86) the 1st time with my CB750F2 and later with my TL1000S (before that had a GXS1100R, but only went south)
    above the Arctic Circle with friend on her GSX600F. She had seen my slides (of the things in a window that you slide through a kind of magic lantern haha) from '86 and really wanted to take her motorcycle for the first time on a foreign ride and that way. Are we doing it anyway
    But those FJ always continue to find a cool touring bike, even though I like sports bikes too much.
    By the way, always had 2r hand bikes to keep it more affordable.

  6. A local car/motorcycle driving school owner has an FJ with over 4 tons on the clock.. only once fitted with new piston rings due to breakage.
    Thing is being serviced at MotoPort around the corner, also a Yamaha dealer and a bit of a showpiece.

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