Yamaha Demo, June, 2016

I brought my step-daughter to this one for added fun. Plus, it’s useful immediately finding out what a bike feels like with a passenger on the back. My motorcycle is primarily for me, of course, but my wife would be disappointed if I traded my comfortable Stratoliner with Mustang seats for something with a seat the size of a slice of pizza. I was able to get on four Yamahas at Motoprimo in Lakeville.


Hmm, check out the illusion in the front wheel. Looks sort of like a huge brake rotor, huh? Anyway, this FJ-09 and the Tenere were my primary targets. I had ridden the FZ-09 at a previous demo and I liked the engine but not the chassis. That’s why I was curious about the FJ-09 a model year later. I can easily tell you that I didn’t like it. I tried all three power modes but enjoyed none of them. I blame the jerky power response. I would probably favor the full power mode if it would just deliver it more smoothly. While we didn’t experience as much helmet clashing as we did on the FZ-07, it was annoyingly hard to control a smooth ride unless I neutered the power with the lowest setting. I ask too much, you say? I’ve been on plenty of bikes that can deliver smooth power. Overall, the FJ-09 was disappointing.

I will say that riding position was OK. I’d say… Audi style — not plush, not supersport, but fairly comfortable with a little bit of GT.

I didn’t come to the demo for this one, but timing worked out for me to try it while I waited in line for the Tenere. Ha, this was my step-daughter’s favorite. It was the most work for me to ride. The handlebars require just enough lean to also require her to lean on me to hold on. But it’s not enough lean that I can put some of the weight on the tank or rest my elbows on my legs. (I’m 6’2″.) This means I was holding a push-up with another person leaning on me the whole ride. Add the fact that we were bashing helmets every time I not only put the brakes on but also simply let off the throttle, and I was happy to get off! But remember, this is the one my step-daughter said was the most fun and made her revisit the idea of getting her own bike. It was fun… for a short demo.

See that seat? Now, scroll up and look at the other two. The Tenere was my favorite. It was easily the most comfortable. It also had the most power, but it wasn’t jerky. Where the FJ-09 might pounce off a stop quicker, it has finicky power in contrast to the pure power the Tenere has. What’s my verdict? At a $15K starting price, I’d rather get a used Multistrada that comes with quite a bit more fun power, heated grips, better look, feel, and sound, and a more confident ride (suspension). It’s not a bad bike! It’s a good one. I just have the appetite for something a little more premium.