FJR 1300 AE (LONG!)

Rob Schwartz coldinvt at
Mon Jul 9 19:10:55 PDT 2007

As many of you may or may not know, I rented an '07 FJR for the Fandango
this year.  We put ~1700 miles on it, 2up and pretty well maxed with luggage
on some of the best roads (in the world?) and I'd say it was a damn good
test ride!

We're looking to augment the stable with a more capable 2up tourer and the
FJR is ahead of the K1200GT on my list by about, say $9000.  Anyway, the
test ride confirmed that it's a damn fine bike and I'd really love to own

Fast forward to this past Friday when an '06 FJR hit the local paper for
$10900.  I called on it and it turns out it's the AE (as in electronically
controlled clutch/sequential manual gearbox) with under 500 miles on it.
The owner's one of those guys that can't even live with it for a minute
until it's got dual 2bros slip-ons.  “He's got a Harley that he's riding
more and just doesn't need this.”  Anyway, $10900 is a pretty good deal for
a 500-mile-old FJR, but for the AE that lists for $2300 more?  It’s a great
deal!  As long as the transmission doesn’t suck...

So I rode it.  In a word, it’s cool!  It works just like a regular clutch,
expertly manipulated.  The slightest rev when sitting in first eases the
clutch into the “friction zone” and with a steady roll-on, you’re off.
Then, either lift the shift lever or press the thumb trigger and it
instantly shifts to second with a very smooth clutch engagement, and so
on...  I was skeptical of how smoothly it would downshift and was very
surprised at how well it works.  You can blip the throttle a bit and you’d
swear you were clutching yourself!  You don’t have to be precise on the
throttle at all, either.  Even a hamfisted moment is met with nice smooth
clutch engagement.  With just the 15 miles or so of practice I did on open
road, twisties, parking lots & neighborhoods, I had it working as smooth as
buttah.  I think I want it.

So I ask The List:
1. 2006 Was the first year for the FJR AE.  Should I be concerned?  I haven’
t seen much in the way of common issues on the FJR boards but I’m hesitant.
Not “bad-feeling” hesitant just, “I should be hesitant, right?” hesitant...
2. I don’t think they’ve sold too many AE models, but WTF do I know?
Anyway, do you think the dealer network will be as supportive if I should
have an issue on the road?

I wouldn’t look at the AE if the price wasn’t right.  It’s a $2300 option on
a new FJR and, even though it includes the heated grips, it ain’t even close
to worth it.  For even money though?  It’s well worth it.  The clutch on our
rental was just fine and never caused any discomfort (which had been a
concern of mine) so it’s not like I couldn’t live with the “regular” one
(1300 A).  I do like the AE’s color better than the cherry red of the A, but
that’s not a huge deal.  If I had to, I could hold out for a used ‘06 A
which came in blue which I’d prefer to the ‘07’s red or there’s an eBay ‘07
A that a fanatical owner paid his dealer to switch all the bodywork from an
AE so it would be silver.

Have I prattled on enough??  What’cha think?

Thanks, thanks, thanks!

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