Fj 1200

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by pitbull, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. pitbull

    pitbull Long timer

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    Anybody ride an old FJ 1100 or 1200 or has riddend one in the past? I'm thinking of one as a cheap touring bike to give the Duc monster 900 a break. Yeah, I know, the monster is not a very good touring bike, but I did'nt know I would fall in love with touring and I love the bike too much to give it up for something more practical.
    Anyhow, I've read good things about the old FJ's over the years, but wanted to check in and hear some first hand opinions on the bike.
    #1
  2. jlsworks

    jlsworks Acid Stained

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    I loved my FJ1200 w/ ABS, I had it for over a year and it suited my purpose.

    Bulletproof and economical.

    James
    #2
  3. spagthorpe

    spagthorpe Long timer

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    I've owned two 86 FJs, an 89, and a 92 wABS.

    I have this weird love hate thing with the FJ. I am always drawn to the bike, and typically have one in between other bikes. Each time I get one though, I'm reminded how far technology has come since then, and I usually find something else I want to ride more. The motor is air-cooled, but bulletproof. Lots of power, lots of torque. My 89 was the only one I ever dynoed, at it showed a true 121hp at the rear. I forget the torque, I have the dyno run around somewhere. The thing I notice the most about the bikes now in comparison with more modern bikes is the brakes.

    The earlier you go with FJs, the lighter and sportier they are. At one time, the FJ1100, and then the first year of the FJ1200 was considered THE sport bike, competing with the 900 Ninja in the new catagory of sport bike comparisons. As time went on though, the fairings got bigger, they gained weight. The 92 I had last was a completely different animal than the 86 I had. There are websites that outline a lot of the model changes so I won't go in to those. Those same sites have a lot of upgrades you can make to the bikes to drag them in to more modern times. Things like changing the forks, FZR wheels for more available rubber, brake upgrades, etc. Those same sites will have lists of things to look out for. Probably most common is a worn 2nd gear that will pop out under acceleration, and is very expensive to get fixed unless you do it yourself (then it's just a royal pain in the ass). Common problems with used ones is rattling plastic and fasteners. It's amazing how irritating this can get. Allow some money for fixing a lot of little things. I would personally stay away from the ABS bikes. It is amazing how complicated it makes the wiring and hoses on the bike, how much more difficult to work on, how expensive if you need it fixed, etc.

    The FJ is still a very comfy bike, it's alwasy fit me like a glove. The seat to peg distance is a little cramped, but I've always liked the way they ride. I saw a really nince condition one last year for sale. I really thought about it. I think when I take the FJ plunge again, I'll probably go for a more modern FJR.

    Hope some of this helps.
    #3
  4. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Good bike, but when you're going this far back, it never hurts to have more choices in used bikes, therefore I'd certainly look at the Honda CBR1000F, the Suzuki RF900, and the various 1-liter Ninjas of the period. They'll all roughly equivalent bikes, although the FJ would appeal it you like air-cooled bikes.

    - Mark
    #4
  5. pitbull

    pitbull Long timer

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    Spagthorpe: great summary....thanks. I will check out a few of the owner groups online.

    markjenn: I really like the style of the old FJ and think it has a relatively contemporary look compared to most old sport and sport/touring bikes.
    #5
  6. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Yes, they're very neat bikes and different than their contemporaries.

    I've never owned one, but I recall the reports of the day saying that the bike has a bulletproof engine, but that it had a tendency to run hot, which could warp heads and burn exhaust valves - apparently valve jobs and replacement of cylinder head gaskets were common at fairly low miles (e.g., <50K). The solution was a freeer-flowing aftermarket exhaust and richer jetting.

    My only other concern would be if you're looking at one of the somewhat rare ABS models. I think it was offered for the last couple years of the bike's run beginning in 93 or so. If it's the same system that was put on the 93 and 94 GTSs (which is likely, I'd think) then I'd consider it something to avoid. When I was shopping a GTS, I test drove three and two had faulty ABS systems with no warning lights - you could lock up the rear brake for as long as you liked. The other one I drove was newer and the system worked perfectly. As I looked into this further, I found a lot of unhappy GTS owners complaining that their ABS brakes were faulty and essentially unfixable, since the dealers didn't see enough of these systems to have the training and tools to fix them and parts were either prohibitively expensive or non-existent.

    Good luck with your search. Charismatic bike.

    - Mark
    #6
  7. mutineer

    mutineer pierpont lives

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  8. Arch

    Arch Incurable Gearhead

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    I bought one new in '84 and flogged it mercilessly till the FZR1000's debut in '87. The FJ never gave any trouble whatsoever and continued to serve the fellow I sold it to. In fact, four of my riding buddies had 'em as well, so we were somewhat of an FJ pack back then. Far as I'm concerned, a decent example would make for an inexpensive & fine sport touring mount, even today.

    Valve adjustment day with a bud, circa 1985..

    [​IMG]

    :rofl
    #8
  9. ddlewis

    ddlewis Long timer

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    I have a 91, that I've owned for about 5 years. Before you read on, let me tell you than I am an FJ freak, so keep that in mind as I proceed to tell you what a great bike it is and all the things that can be done to make it peform like something much newer.:D

    I bought it in stock condition, w/ about 10k, now it coming up on 50k miles and I still get a kick out of riding it. It makes a great sport-touring bike, I think of it as my poor mans R1150RS - w/ POWAH!! Throw on a set of hard bags and it tours as good as anything.. 100k miles and up is common on these bikes. On older models (87 and older) be on the lookout for 2nd gear jumping out under load. it's perfectly fixable, but some work involved..

    Like someone said earlier, the older ones were more superbikish and the newer are more sport-toury gaining about 15 lbs.. However they are virtually the same. A bigger fairing, two-pot calipers and 17" front wheels, and beefed up 2nd gear dogs and shift forks came out on the 89 bikes. Rubber mounted motors, even bigger fairings and one less tooth on the rear sprocket for touring came out in 91. There was an ABS option offered the last two years 92/93.

    In stock condition the suspension is flabby but there is a lot you can do to shore it up. RaceTech cartridge emlators and stiffer springs up front and newer shock out back are common mods and make it handle like a newer bike. The frame is plenty stiff and is a good match for suspension upgrades.

    R1/R6/YZF600R/FZ1 master cylinder and monoblock calipers will bolt in place of the stock items on the 89 and newer FJ's. and make a HUGE difference in braking power and can be had for a song off ebay. Also, all years come with 16" rear wheels and 150 section tires, but there are several easy swaps to get a 17" wheel and 170/180 section which opens up a world of sport rubber options.

    There's a couple very active usergroups. one at Groups.Yahoo and one on Netpath that can tell you virtually anything you could ever want to know.

    thump.

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. pitbull

    pitbull Long timer

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    Excellent info. Thumpy.....thanks
    #10
  11. ilmostro

    ilmostro Under Da Sea

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    I had a '92 1200 ABS. Rode 26K miles in 2 years (living in Canada). I loved that bike. Very comfortable, tons of torque and absolutely bullet proof. The handling was a little slow but other than that it was great.

    I definately regret selling it but at the time it was either food and shelter or the bike.

    The later you go in model years the more sport touring oriented you will get. The 92-93's had 17" front wheels, 4 piston calipers and the biggest fairing. If you can find a well maintained model I'd buy it!
    #11
  12. BeeCeeGS

    BeeCeeGS WeaponOfMassDestruction

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    I had a '90 for a brief time. Mine was a Euro import and had a different (higher) screen. Still the most comfortable bike to cruise on a high speeds that I've had the pleasure of riding, but mine was buzzy in town. Stock exhausts can rot, and I don't think there's much available through the aftermarket anymore. Long and low--while sitting on the new K1200S I was reminded of my old FJ. Had I been able to afford it at the time, I would have kept it.
    #12
  13. barko1

    barko1 barko1

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    I put about 25000 on my 91, fine machine but eventually it yielded to a Blackbird. Did a 1525 mile day on it so that says something about the machine. Comfy and still very powerful, no real issues.
    #13
  14. ddlewis

    ddlewis Long timer

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    is that a typo?? :huh 1525 miles in a day?? That equals an average of 63mph for 24 hours.
    #14
  15. FJRPierre

    FJRPierre Catching up on lost time

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    I had a 92 FJ1200 and finally sold it to my son last year with 115,000km on the clock. Took it to Alaska, Newfoundland, etc everywhere. Comfy with plenty of power. I occasionally ride it these days when we switch bikes around and I'm still impressed how nicely it handles. If you want to upgrade the brakes, suspension or whatever, there are several active FJ owners communities which have every farkle under the sun documented. I still go to the FJ Rally in NC and there are some bikes there with hundreds of thousand of miles on them, running through the NC mountain twisties like there is no tomorrow.



    Great bike!



    :thumb
    #15
  16. ddlewis

    ddlewis Long timer

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    Me too! In fact I rode down with you last year from Mabry's Mill w/ Frank, Eric, and Norbert. (it's me, dan!:wave) Hope to make it again this year. You?
    #16
  17. peter13

    peter13 FJ cruiser

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    Ive got an FJ1100,,Ive had it for about 8 years now and its in a million bits in my garage.
    I used to ride it home to Lismore from Sydney and back every week,1600 KLM round trip,it never let me down.It got very tired so Im renewing everything.
    I'd never sell it,,its wonderful.It cost me $3000 with 12 months rego.
    #17
  18. Kbetts

    Kbetts Long timer

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    I owned a 1989 and put about 8k on it over two years. The black and gold was just beautiful on that bike. The torque output on this motor is addictive. Power is available from just off idle. The handling is slow but it tracks a corner very well. The riding position is sport/tourer and I found the bike crampy after a 750mi day so that I was glad to get off of it where my GS at the time never left me feeling that way.

    As others have said, it is close to maintenance free with a leaky float bowl O-ring the only problem I encountered. I dropped the bike once on some fresh asphalt and it left me shocked how fast it hit the ground. Did very little damage. I also low sided the bike on some black ice and did about $300 worth of damage. After that I decided that Colorado was not the best place to own that kind of bike.

    I loved the motor much more than my brother's FJR1300 that I've ridden... it's that good. The rest of the bike is good and has no surprises, but it's the motor that overshadows every other impression. If you have a wrist twist addiction, be prepared to get some tickets.
    #18
  19. SUVslayer

    SUVslayer Been here awhile

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    I bought a 1990 FJ1200 recently, and so far I like it. Plenty of power, stable at high speeds, and comfy enough. I need to replace the suspension (the rear especially), but even still, on smooth roads it easily drags pegs. My big complaints are the range (250 miles is about max), and the aftermarket pipe which is too loud (but I like the 4 in 1 exhaust). It is also consuming some oil, tho I haven't determined where it's going (there's no apparent leak, and no blue smoke, but gone it is). The only other complaint I have is that I find I'm always doing between 95 and 115 on the freeways. I have to focus on going more sane speeds. But unlike the R100GSPD, I never want for enough power to get out of those on-ramp cluster fucks or pass on a twisty road. And I really dig the instrument display, for whatever that's worth.
    #19
  20. s10rat

    s10rat Long timer

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    suzukis gsx 1100 f (katana in usa) are faster and a great option as reliable workhorses.. plus adjusting the valves is easier
    #20