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2.009: FJ 1989 3CV vs. FJ 1200 3XW 1992

This a bit special comparison: face 2 models modified much the same way and compare the results. It is not strictly a ‘one day comparison’ as previous ones. Perhaps it is even much complete because I have tested these two bikes extensively and have worked actively in their set-up. My friend Jose Carlos was the owner of both bikes and the 3XW model was even of my property since it was back to the standards.

I believe this is an instructive comparison, specially in the case of the 3XW model. But in any case is a story that shows that  some modifications on a good bike not always makes it a better one.

FJ 1200 1992 3XW

I tested this bike for the first time in 2007 comparison. Some modifications were already made by Jose Carlos and the suspension was unbalanced from the beginning resulting in a lack of confidence when driving. After two years trying to improve this bike we got to the worst when travelling trough Spain in summer 2008. While riding at 100 mph with lateral strong wind my 3CV was perfectly ‘on rails’ but Jose Carlos’s 3XW  was very unstable and scary to drive due to its rock-hard suspension.

this is the history of the bike item to item

Engine: always perfect, without to spend a drop of oil and with valve clearances spot on from revision to revision. With the KN filter fitted the only mod done was trying different part of cans along the time, from IXIL to XJR 1300 ones with Motad collectors. The bike was always running powerful and sweet, due to different CDI map on this version. As always, more gas flowing cans gave more power. And it doesn't vibrate anything at all due to the different engine to chassis supports.

Brakes: R1 calipers and GSXR 1000 master cilinder. EBC pads are not a good buy and it doesn't break at the same level as the R1´s Sumimoto de R1, finally fitted by JC

Suspensions: Jose Carlos nightmare: trying to compensate the hard rear Hagon shock a couple of Hagon fork springs were fitted. These are amazing hard, so that even are very difficult to compress to fit them in the fork legs. I don't understand  it because the rest of Hagon fork springs range are spot on.

Return to the original springs and trying to compensate with the shock, complicated in this case having no remote control, the shock had not enough damping, tough spring and was impossible to properly coordinate with the fork. Wrong wrong, so much so that the stress and strain carrying the bike made it dangerous: When I was doing 500 km. enjoying all day riding, Jose Carlos arrived physically broken. Fork legs up, fork legs down, different oils and spring adjustments ... impossible solution

Rims: FZR 1000 exup front and rear ones

Tyres: Jose Carlos is in love with the sweet, stable, progressive, confortable and magnificent BT020s. Pilot roads, D205s , Macadmas and other tested, like myself

Conclusion: when I bought the bike to Jose Carlos It was done the come back to the OE rims, suspension and brakes. The OE suspenders are the best for this model, with an excellent setup front & rear to make it capable of the 90% that my other modified FJ does, and without fuss or any hint of vibration and in perfect comfort, and without break fairing or front fender in pieces due to vibration. It is capable to travel all day long with plenty of luggage , brakes not too powerful but adequate, big fairing and perfect riding 200km/ plus with total stability... just the bike that I wanted to travel for mainland Spain.

ESSENTIAL TIP: place the fork sliders 1 cm above the steering stem. It transfrom the handling doing the bike more flickable and without loss on straigh line stability


FJ 1200 1989 3CV

Jose Carlos, fed his FJ 3XW not as good as mine, Juan Ramón serial one or modified Bernard 1TX, boughta 3 CV model and made directly all chassis and suspension modifications that we have learnt along the time ... or almost.

Engine: around 50.000 kms., it doesn´t spent a drop of oil and it was used every day by his ex-owner to go to work. it is clear that it is always better ti buy a regular used bike than that pristine bike parked for a lot of years.

KN filter and XJR opened cans, followed by the pair of Schnappon. Fantastic bike and  errrrr.... vibrate, like all the 3Cvs. In its first travel the bike near loss the front mudguard after breaking the lugs.. Welcome to the 3CV world, Jose Carlos!

Jose Carlos and Bernard say that loosening the engine chassis fitments reduce the vibration. Mmmmmm. I prefer to have that monster motor well screwed that losening or breaking screws

When Jose bought the bike, when cold the bike near couldn´t go out of the park due to an ex-owner valve adjustment that left 13 valves without clearance. Excellent work!. Checked and corrected the bike transforms itself in a proper FJ

Chassis and brakes: R1 calipers, Fazer master cilinder, R1 OE pads and metallic hoses give the perfect feeling that each bike capable of 250km/h plus deserve. Combined with Hagon front fork springs the power, control and progressive diving when applied are superb

The rear shock was non standard when the bike was bougth, with a home made support fixed to the main rod. When we saw it we was frightened because there will be not much time to break it. New rod and centarl bearing (very expensive)  fixed the problem with a new OE shock with the spring mode done. Perfect!!!!

Tyres: BT020 in FZR Exup rims. I´m boring about to repeat the excellent tyres that these are. When previous size 180 rear Pilot Road the bike wanted to go straigh when on its side, and reluctant to fast change directions. Solved with the 170 like that fitted on  Bernard and myslef bikes

Add-ons: metallic chain guard, fork protectors, polished r/h engine cover... I like the brutish style with the XJR cans painted black

Riding on: powerful, comfort, stability, handling... Jose carlos has got the perfect bike for him. At least!!!