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My 1985 FJ1100 new to me, opinions?

9119 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  scarecrow01
I just got this 1985 Yamaha FJ1100 a little less than a week ago. I have started cleaning some things up like literally clean it doesnt look to bad in the pics but it had a fair share of road grime. I want to make this bike more into a streetfighter than the way is sits now but I think I have a pretty good platform to work on. Having some carb issues which I hope to get worked out soon. But I am looking for some opinions on what you guys think on maybe the look, or color and things. I have a lot of idea but sometimes hearing other opinions or seeing other bikes leads you another way or you realize something you thought may be cool is hella gay lol. I am a custom car builder as you will see with my cars so I dont see much as a bad idea or out of reach just have to get caught back up finacially atm.



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Lol guess no one has any ideas or really thinks anything about it. I am just not fully sure what I wanna do quite yet so and info on maybe colors or look I should go for would def help out.
The great thing about building a fighter is that its all based on your imagination and skill. I would put a smaller tail, maybe some USDs and a different color paint and either put a smaller can that's tucked tighter or chop the can you have.
The great thing about building a fighter is that its all based on your imagination and skill. I would put a smaller tail, maybe some USDs and a different color paint and either put a smaller can that's tucked tighter or chop the can you have.
i really wish i would've stuck with my idea on my 1100 (i built a nasty 1289cc for it)

zx9r forks and zx7 calipers (stem swapped)

cbr900rr wheels 130/60/16 front 190/50/17 rear (the rear fits on the fj axle perfectly needs a small aluminum weld job for the 900rr brake stay)

vfr rotors

2007 r1 tail fairing

cr low bend fat bars

i had planned on a slim subframe and electrics hid up under the gas tank.

These fj's are beasts but need some fat trimmed off
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right on bro nice to see other people building fjs thanks for checking out my build. I look forward to seeing what you do with it. Keep the updates flowing.. I also responded to your Vance and Hines pipe question
i hate the frames on those bikes....
This is what I did to my 1994 FJ1100 ........

WOW man - is that a Harris Magnum frame, or what? (I'm trying to guess off the top of my head without peeking at my photo collection) That's AWESOME.

I dunno that it's an awesome for just anybody to do with their bike, being that the Harris and other aftermarket kit-bike frames are a wee bit UNOBTAINIUM - highly refined ore if not the pure element itself.

I guess Harris is still manufacturing a frame or two.

Yanno what's crazy - there are a FEW frame-builders working with modern crotch-rocket models, building steel tube perimeter type, let alone back-bone style frames.

And yet there's this whole PLETHORA of frame builders whipping up shitty hard-tail chassis for every buddy and his dawg's HARLEY CHOPPER.


People need to FORGET about that whole era of custom motorcycles, and see about some reproduction Super-Bike Café Racer frames (using the term as it was used by the late '70s early '80s magazine "CAFE RACER" as opposed to a bunch of stuck-up poseur cunts hanging around a truck-stop sniffing their vials of Elvis sweat....)

COUGH. YES. Stuff like a reproduction Bimota HB1 frame would be a damn hot seller when you consider there were only ten original bikes and how many CB750's there are out there - no matter WTF a guy's done to his Honda, it can be fixed with a Bimota HB1 frame and some new alloy rims!!! Heck you could stick practically ANY fork on the damn thing and it would still be cool. Barring of course, Butt-Fugly USD forks. But yeah even a TRAC anti-dive fork from a late '80s Honda GOLDWING 1200 or 1500 would be an awesome fork on a replica Bimota HB1 - just sayin' - the only elements required are the frame and engine maybe a tank & seat combo which is already being MADE by every damn fiberglasser out there.

So too for us DOHC Honda aficionados, not to mention the DOHC UJM fans of the Kawasaki & Suzuki camps - the HB2 Bimota frame would probably be an even BIGGER seller.

And for pretty much everything that came after 'em, some Harris Magnum series frames. Ah but I guess some of those are still on offer from Harris themselves.

So how about some reproduction MOTO MARTIN chassis? Nico Bakker frames?

If they could pop 'em out at the same prices of the horrid Harley Evo-Chop hard-tail raked & stretched monstrosities, there really could be something of a MARKET for 'em.

As it stands there are a few NEW frames which I could see being made for a limited production run as a KIT bike - like the Taimoshan CBX with it's double-cradle. Seems like a really stiff, albeit heavy, chassis for the CBX.

Dunno how it compares to the EGLI spine-frame however. Now THERE is a design which could be manufactured in as simple of a fashion as the hard-tail chopper stuff. Very SIMPLE construction. Perhaps just a few permutations could handle a whole range of different bikes. And if they were built as a monoshock there'd be so much selection for swing-arms and suspension off the junk-pile, they could handle pretty much anything.

ME well, for my own current projects, I'd be really interested in some reproduction Tony Foale leading-link forks. And I suppose there's been the one set built last year, so it's a possibility. But the availability of a frame the likes of the HB2 could flip my whole project on it's head and I'd take off in another direction!

Well - whatever. The EXISTING Yamaha FJ1100 chassis is an interesting beast in and of itself. I figure if I were landed with one, I'd take advantage of the strength and speed of the whole package, and also the fact that the front steering stem area is obviously built on the assumption there's gonna be a fairing on the bike - So I'd probably dress it all up in a huge BUBBLE fairing, as some type of monstrous over-sized TZ750 replica of some sort. Maybe even as some type of retro '70s XS11 TOURING RIG replica - not necessarily a Vetter Windjammer fairing no I'm not that crazy, but a decent bubble up front and some hard bags in the rear. The question is whether to stick with the sporty 16" rims and low profile tires, OR fit up some type of retro touring rubber on the thing ala GL1200 Goldwing ha-ha - or go with bigger wheels like some modern 17" three-spokes, or even 18" rims if that were possible within the existing swing-arm geometry. 18" rims in the interests of that XS11 type of vibe, TZ750 even. If I had my druthers, whatever diameter I went with the wheels would be WIRE SPOKE whether that's 16" or 17" or 18" same deal.

(((After all, this is what's going on with my two current projects the "CB900K0 Bol Bomber" and the "KZ440LOL"!)))

Probably 16" wheels, given what all's been said in the press about the bike's low center of gravity being central to it's easy handling. Some fat 16" wire-spoke rims from the Harley chopper parts pile could really lend themselves well to that '70s Touring Rig vibe. It would still have that pared down naked "nothing but the essentials" vibe, yet the front portion of the frame would be covered over by whatever minimalist half bubble fairing one went with, plus the monoshock rear end which can be such a difficult element to treat well, could be wrapped up in some compact hard luggage in such a way that most twin-shock bikes would envy. It doesn't have to be an enormous "BAGGER" I'm talking along the lines of a proper '90s-Y2K+ SPORT TOURING ergonomics stance & proportion, but with a classic VIBE to it. Some type of slick tight GSX-R "Slab-Side" tail-section could really clean things up in the side-cover area. Though I'm more partial to the whole GL1000 Banana Seat type of thing, with a free-standing '70s era tail-light and signals. Only pared down. On my Honda I'm using lights off a period Honda SCOOTER. A good way to avoid the modern eBay special "bullet lights" look, and yet pare down the bulk to almost the same degree.

Of course another direction - ridiculous to suggest it on a Streetfighter forum ha-ha - How about a DUSTBIN fairing? Now THAT would wrap up that whole front frame section in a novel way. There's gotta be some enormous potential for better top-end speed, to combine a vintage dust-bin fairing and a modern crotch-rocket - along with the ultimate stump-pulling muscle-bike inline-four engine. Of course you wouldn't wanna extend it so far back as to obscure the air-oil-cooled engine of this bike, which is probably the BEST FEATURE of the whole machine!!!

(((Then again, the FJ chassis already BLOCKS the entire head and upper barrels of the thing! All the more reason to seek out a different chassis - IF you're in love with the big air-cooled fours, I suspect you'd feel it's worth it to spend no other money on the bike except a frame swap, and re-use every other component, leave it unpainted etc - just to get a good look at those ample FINSSSS. Then again, if you're not inclined that way, you might just wanna wrap it all over in another layer and leave just that same hint of fins protruding past the rails, and cover the rest under a fiberglass wrap whether that means dust-bin or "full" fairing, of course a bubble being the best way to do it IMHO.)))

Speaking of the bike's best features, a lot was said about it's chassis back in the day. So I'd wanna keep most of the basic geometry the same, just maybe save a bit of weight on the rims and wrap the frame up in a new SKIN.

I know the TEMPTATION is to make the thing into a more modern version of a naked sportbike, ala ZRX1100 or CB1000R and other truly horrid type of shite. In truth it's a far better original '80s Superbike than the modern garbage that apes that type of beauty. Like I say, an XS11 or even better a TZ750 style of fully faired racer - or the obvious combination of the two which proliferated on the circuits of the day. A mid '70s Endurance Racer. But for all PRACTICAL purposes, the same bike would make one hell of a cool retro-fried touring rig. Not a huge wide fairing but something that wraps up the whole front end.

I mean, yeah the OBVIOUS thing to do with it is the standard naked streetfighter thing - it's just that this frame has a few peculiarities. The above photo shows what all was necessary to pull a streetfighter out through the mighty FJ's skin. If you can't swap out the entire skeleton perhaps it's better to graft on some new tissues....

Another period Yamaha which I find really interesting is the XVZ1200 - there's a lot of potential there for a V-Max but NOT a V-Max, a touring cruiser but NOT a typical late '80s full bagger touring cruiser. Stripped down to it's essentials, as a "STANDARD" of late '70s early '80s extraction. The XVZ's a really interesting bike when stripped down to it's essentials. A huge project but huge potential there.

Well I see the FJ much the same way. No, you're not gonna get a standard naked FJ750 look out of the thing, not with that standard frame. It might be interesting to explore whether the FJ750 frame might take the FJ1100 ENGINE mind you... Heh-heh. But yeah, a sort of dressed-up standard bike, shouldn't be a problem. Heck it might even lend something of that character, to take a king-&-queen seat COVER, with foam stripped down to the bare essentials of course, just a thin strip of dense memory-foam or blue shoe-insole type gel stuffed in there, just to give it that '70s touring vibe. With a low passenger back-rest, a couple of fiberglass boxes over a chrome rack, a steel fender cut down to just a remnant lip, and some '70s style rims - take for instance the distinctive Yamaha 7-spoke mags - well Lester made 'em in 16" and some of 'em didn't have any cush-drive on 'em at all. So if one could dig up a Lester mag like that, paired up with a 2nd one or better still an equivalent 16" mag from a cruiser version of XS11, that could give a hardcore '70s/'80s-CUSP vibe without sacrificing rim stiffness or take on too much extra weight. Of course there seem to be plenty of 16" high performance mag wheels from '80s-'90s models which are completely ignored.

Then again the FJ wheels themselves are very cool. There was a Virago café with FJ rims in Cycle Canada's last page, retro wheels segment, a couple of years back by now. It was pretty damn cool though. At least, on the smaller lighter Virago 750/900 they were.

But the point being, of all the cool & even lightweight racing type wheels out there, the 16" category seems to be ignored by the masses - for the time being. The reason I mention the wire-spoke rims they're selling for cruisers, is there are deals out there on 5" even 6" versions of which - a good way to keep that basic low center of gravity yet combine the light weight with a wider tire & bigger contact patch. Though of course there'd be greater steering effort due to the wider tires. The standard rear FJ tire was what? 150 spec? But on a 3" maybe 3.5" max width? I picture something like a 160/60 on a 4.5"-5.0" rim, or even wider on a 5.0"-6.0" rim. Sizes which aren't at all out of the realms of possibility given some pretty standard Harley chopper rims.

Yeah some Super-Moto 17" rims are a possibility. A while back I scored some 40-hole versions of 4.25x17" & 5.0x17" for only $39.99 on eBay. Drilled for Harley, so they'll need a FRONT hub laced to 'em. But there are also 36-hole FRONT hubs from the likes of early disc braked GT750 & GT550 Suzuki wheels. As for a 36-hole rear DISC brake wheel, you're kind of screwed unless you had a rear axle as small as 17mm max. And with that, the likes of a Yamaha TDR250 rear hub, the DISC itself is really limited as well. Perhaps the RD250 disc rear hub would be preferred. Or if the cush-drive is really important to this model, perhaps a GS1000 hub, CB750F1 disc rear hub, or KZ1000 - there was the KZ1000CSR hub with 48-spokes which would work with a Buchanan's Sun/Excel rim blank or perhaps some undrilled rim intended for oddball Harley 60/80/120-spoke wheels. Stuff like that is out there. The KZ1000LTD had the same heavy hub with 40-spokes. And a decent brake with tons of replacements from Vulcan 1500 etc. OR the earliest KZ1000A/KZ750B hub which is light weight but a conical type meaning it's hard to find a correctly drilled rim for it. And the main $$$ savings to be found is in looking at the odd-ball rims from the wheel orphanage. If you can figure out a use for one, give it a good home, the costs will be subsidized - but if you design 'em from a blank sheet of paper that's when it gets pricey. Of course, compared to weld-widened rims, it's not so bad. But the cheapest option has gotta be going with the Harley-spec wheels and adapting a bolt-up cush-drive and a custom billet rotor adapter. You could either use a Harley hub with that or a Japanese front hub, either way it's gonna have custom bits bolted to either side.

The BEST of all custom wire-spoked rims I've seen, utilized a given hub spun down on a lathe, plugged into a hollow DRUM hub and welded up! It was done for a shaft-drive CB900C Custom, but the end result looked factory original. It seems expensive, but if you do it with a 16" rear rim intended for a common rear hub like the CB750 rear drum, and you stick with the existing sprockets, cush-drive, rotor and brake caliper etc - all of the original bits from your actual bike, well then you can see all of the ancillary equipment as opportunities to SAVE $$$ that would otherwise be machine-shop time and/or a lot of eBay parts hunting.

Even so, there's a real limit to what's out there for cheap off the CB750 chopper parts pile. Far better to look at the Harley stuff, 'cause what you'd save on rims & spokes might just pay for all that other stuff. And besides, that compact hub saves a lot of un-sprung mass.

Well obviously folks are gonna opt for any random set of 17" three-spoke mags from any random crashed sportbike. And that would probably FUNCTION really well. They just don't lend any CHARACTER to the build. IMHO.

Guess I should thank my lucky stars that MY two projects are so much easier than this one!

Though I hasten to add, the KZ440LTD is one of the most maligned chopperette-ladybikes out there. IT'S a daunting prospect. Even so, stripped down to a frame and engine it's really not much different from a KZ400 standard. I just didn't wanna COPY all of the KZ400 standards out there, and wouldn't even have bothered with one - though I do envy their inclusion of a kick-starter. Which could really pare down some weight as with the KZ400S with the electric starter and starter-clutch stripped right out, in addition to a battery-eliminator for kick-only operation. THAT would be a cool feature, and it's tempting to build a motor from scratch just to GET that kick-starter..... But yeah, it's BECAUSE the 'LTD is so odd, so disliked, is why I get such a perverse pleasure from working on one!

Maybe I'd be able to embrace the weirdness of the FJ1100 chassis if I were forced into a garage with one, and made to stare at it for hours on end. But then if one is predisposed towards a proper NEKKID streetfighter, and not as open to the dust-bins and bubble-fairings as I am, well it might be a struggle!

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I agree, the fj family of engines was overlooked. I have the original 1985 frame (heavy as hell) but began to build the engine into a kz650 frame with other trick parts. It ended up something like this before i changed direction with the build (using an oil cooled suzuki motor building for turbo)

it was a beast of a motor. Very easy to work on. I will get another (engine at least)
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Has nobody directed him to the fotm and foty threads, I seem to remember an fj that we were all drooling over for a bit being there tho for the life of me I don't remember the builder's name
It was juma's bike
There go check that bike out
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