Back home from my memorable Austrian trip to the Alps, I picked-up my brand new silver storm Yamaha FJR 1300 A/S (AE) model (electronically controlled clutch-less shifting device), as far as I know the first A/S model sold in Portugal on Wednesday July 5th, 2006.
After riding my new FJR for over 300 km in the most diverse conditions, I think I’m able to share with you my first impressions on this new system that, contrary to what some believe, is not similar to the automatic transmission systems already used in maxi-scooters, but an innovative technology, resembling the one used in Formula 1 cars, which I’m certain will be the future of street motorcycling.
I must confess that the first kilometers I rode the bike were quite confusing, even a bit scary, but I got used to this new and revolutionary YCC-S system (Yamaha Chip Controlled Shift) quite rapidly, and wish to share with you my views on its pros and cons:
The option for the fist (manual) sequential box is ideal for city traffic, which demands many but not fast gearbox changes. It will also be the case for long trips. The system is extremely simple, efficient and, above all, very comfortable.
The possibility of simultaneously using the sequential hand and foot gear box (without clutch, of course) is ideal for faster and sport riding, that demands fast gearbox changes and the necessary power at the right moment. I use the left finger tip gear selector to shift upwards and the foot selector for the downshifting. This technique is ideal therefore allowing for total concentration on the bike’s braking and acceleration control.
When it is necessary to engage a lower or a higher gear, because of the engine’s regimen, the gearbox indicator, which is very well located in the instrument panel, starts blinking. It is a very good riding assistant.
It is only necessary a quick throttle cut when engaging gears. That makes the new A/S (AE) faster than the previous model, because gear changing is quicker, either in upshifting and downshifting.
Although it does not bring any advantage for those who live in a temperate climate, like me, the A/S (AE) model is equipped with a grip warming system. Having in mind my long European trips, I would rather prefer the new FJR to be equipped with a serial cruise-control.
The lack of a clutch in such a powerful and quite heavy bike, can lead to some initial confusion until one finds the adequate acceleration point to get the bike running in a soft and safe manner. I only found this ideal acceleration point after a good set of stop and go tests. It also requires some adaptation in snaky mountain roads, when you need to control the engine power at low speeds while going up sharp bends on the road.
The downshift button is next to the horn, which can initially originate some unwanted and dangerous horn downshifting.
In general terms and after everything that was already said and written about this new FJR 2006 model (better general malleability, enhanced brakes, softer and less noisy gear box, legs engine heat, etc.), I still believe that the FJR’s powerful engine deserves a sixth gear.
Although the instrument panel design and presentation is much better and visible when compared to the previous model, in my opinion the turn indicators on the dash are too small. On the previous model, in which the dash indicators were enormous, I used to forget it on very often, now it’s even worse for me. Perhaps I’m getting too old.
On the other hand the original windshield, at least for my 1,85 meters of height, still doesn’t provide the necessary frontal wind protection, so I’ve already ordered a higher GIVI windshield.
Finally, the newly designed and greater dimension rear view mirrors provide much better visibility, which is very important especially on long trips. Now those larger mirrors can also be “used” by the passenger, who can help the driver in more delicate situations or even in some distraction.
In brief, I am very much happy with my new FJR A/S (AE). Comparing with the normal model price, I think that it worth paying the extra 2.000 euros for the A/S (AE) model. This revolutionary new YCC-S system, that is already a reality for Yamaha, will certainly be the future for all other street bikes !
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