I first “met” Joe when he posted a question on the Yamaha XJR Owner’s Forum asking about snatching at low revs on his brand new Yamaha XJR1300. I replied with a few comments. (Snatching is not typical at all of the XJR, so it seemed like a poor dealer pre-delivery set-up). He subsequently visited the web-site here and has become a regular reader. On the left is a photo of the new machine. I like the look of the new model. The difference is only paint, but it looks better than previous models I think. Here he tells the story of his new purchase, and also of some of the bikes that preceded it. My name is Joe and I have owned and ridden motorcycles for over 40 years; so I guess I’m an “old bloke”' too, and like you, young at heart. I bought my first motorcycle in 1972; a brand new Yamaha RD250. I was 17 years old and rode that bike like I was on a race-track. When I traded it 2 years later it had expansion chambers, the heads were ported and it went like a rocket. Next bike was a Honda CB750 K2. Nice bike to look at, at first, but I managed to drop it many times in the year I had it. Problem was I tried to ride it like my RD250 and the big old Honda didn't take to that very well! Traded the Honda on a Kawasaki Z1 900. Wow what a bike! More power than the Honda and handled okay…well sort of! Never dropped it so it held it's value at trade time. The Z1 was fun at the dragway too, easily doing 12.5 secs for the quarter mile. In 1979 I bought what I consider the best handling bike I ever had; a Honda CB900F Bol d'or, the 1st model without the fairing. After a couple of years I traded for a Kawasaki GPZ11000 an early 80's FI bike. Unfortunately, 6 weeks later on a sunny Sunday morning, a lady driver decided to 'U' turn without warning in front of me: result, a written off bike and for me a broken right femur, ankle and 2 broken ribs. Took about 3 months before I could walk again and against doctors orders I bought another bike (hey, ya gotta get back on the horse..right?). A second-hand Suzuki GSX1100. Around 1984, a KLR600 chook-chaser came into my life. I commuted on it for 16 years doing 100k's a working day until it was burning more oil than petrol. At the same time frame I also had a new Suzuki GSX1150EFE with a 16 inch diameter front wheel.
Kept that until 1995 when I bought the Triumph 900.
I think the XJR will be my last bike as I intend to keep it as long as possible. I don't do many K's these days as I’m now a carer for my mother (she was in a nursing home but they treated her badly so I took her home…but that’s another story). My wife still likes riding with me so we take short trips around the place. At the moment she says the XJR is not as comfortable as the Triumph. I think that’s due to the suspension being a bit stiff as the bike now has only 150klms on the clock. I lowered the handlebars a little, like you did, and I must say it does feel better. My previous bike that I traded is a ‘95 Triumph Daytona with low clip-ons – pictured below – so riding this XJR is taking some getting used to with the high bars. Must say though I am enjoying the torque this bike has and I think that, like yourself, I will rarely use the upper half of the rev band. Thanks for the story, Joe – that’s an interesting line-up of bikes you’ve owned! On the point of the pillion comfort, as we discussed privately, the Triumph I find is very comfortable (from a rider’s point-of-view anyway), so the Yammie has a fairly high standard to live up to. The XJR is known for its big comfy seat, but it possibly isn’t as generous with padding in the pillion area of the seat. But I think suspension is the key. As you suggest, it will soften up over time, but also I have found it responds very well to adjustment – and there is a whole range of adjustment available (preload, rebound and compression damping). So hopefully a few tweaks and your wife will be comfortable.
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