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FJ1200 - Opinions from people who have owned/ridden one...

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Thera, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. I have been looking around for a potential side project... I have seen a 1988 FJ1200 for sale and I don't really know much about them. Anyone able to impart some experience/wisdom on dealing with this bike?

  2. They have a good reputation for being pretty bullet proof if serviced on schedule but they are getting pretty old these days.

    The same motor is available in the XJR1200 for not much more $ and it will likely be a fair bit newer....
  3. My father in law has one and enjoys it.
    Esp the more upright riding position.
  4. If it was cheap enough, I could be very tempted by one of these.

    Bullet proof, a surprisingly nice chassis and very comfortable. I'd certainly pick one over, say a GPZ1000RX or ZX-10 of the era, if only on the strength of the air cooling. The 1200 also ditched the daft little 16" wheels of the 11.

    It's a 20 year old bike though, and a lot of bad shit can happen to a machine in that time, so it's very much a case of making a judgement call on condition and that can't be done sight unseen.

    If you could get it for sub $2k money though, it's hard to see how you could go far wrong for some cheap muscle.
  5. I looked into getting one of these a while back and as mentioned most are suffering from age and/or a lot of kms. It'd make a good project bike only if you actually have an interest in the FJ for some reason (personally I like the styling) - in which case your best option would probably be to find a grey-import example which is just as old, but with a lot less kms on the clock than an Oz-delivered example.
    Of course if you just want a cheap, large-capacity tourer then definitely look for something a little more modern.
  6. I've owned FJ11s and 12s over the years.

    The major weaknesses are:

    1. 2nd gear dogs/ 5th gear windows fail. You'll notice this if the revs suddenly rise (and the bike jerks as if it has slipped out of gear or as if you hit the kill switch off and on again) during even moderate acceleration in 2nd. Resolution requires pulling the gearbox and having an engineer regrind the chamfers on the dogs and windows. I've fixed it myself, but if you are not a competent mechanic then you are up for a minimum 1-1.5k repair bill.

    2. Bell cranks on rear monoshock - they all fail and they are all expensive to fix.

    3. Brake rotors - wear quickly and not cheap to replace.

    4. Carburettion/valves - FJs can get out of tune fairly easily and as most of them now have after market exhausts you can spend a lot of time (and money) getting them to breathe properly again.

    In addition, any bike of this age should have all bearings (steering head/swing arm/wheels) replaced as a matter of course.

    As a bike they are a lot of fun, offer a good compromise riding position and the motors go all day.

    One tip, the FJ motor is an old motor and not designed to run synthetic oils. Run synthetic and you'll chew through the oil like it is going out of style, with the low oil light forever coming on. Instead, just buy el cheapo 20/50W CAR oil and your FJ will love you for it.
  7. thanks guys, exactly what I was after. It is sub $2k but, would need to be looked over carefully, although it still looks quite nice for its age. But a picture is not definative of condition.
    I also heard electricals can be dodgey...?

    Thanks I have time to think on this.
  8. The only challenge I had with electrics was the indicators "auto cancel" function. The black box which controls this has a number of relays inside and after 20+ years they become inconsistent in their function.
  9. What farquar dun said :grin:
    I had one of these few bikes back, 88 model, rode it over to Perth from Melbourne then sold it and went around the world with some of the procede's. You can ride them all day for 8 hours and its like sitting on your couch,step of ready to run a marathon.
    Never had any real issues with mine, but many a 2nd gear and out of tune story.
    One pulled up next to us yesterday in Yea. Pristine example 92mdl with 60k on clock. Guy said he was looking for some time for it. The imports are only way to get a good nick low k version. I was going to try the same thing ages back, get a project one. Ive heard if you machine out inlet ports on heads they seriously get up and go
  10. Apart from the second gear issue (which I was aware of in XS1100s but thought they'd fixed for the FJ), pretty much a standard list that applies to most big bikes of the era.
  11. Nah, it's still a problem with just about all big bikes Pat.

    Go check out the XJ, FJR and even GSX1400 forum sites, they all have 2nd gear problems because the 2nd gear dogs are not correctly undercut by the factories in order to make finding neutral easier.