Brakes

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First of all, change the original brake lines and fit rigid ones. Today, in any FJ model, they are well past their service limit (Yamaha recommend brake lines changed at 2 years intervals), so rid off them. The best setting is fitting 2 lines only, straight on from the master cylinder to each caliper, not the 3 original lines, even although these are prettier to my taste.

 The FJ 1100 and FJ 1200 -88 original auto-ventilated discs, in good shape, are far away better than the FJ 1200 88 on ones, that could warp due to intensive using. Read my test with my friend Mingo´s 1TX. Only change the master cylinder for better feel & power, with insufficient flow). This is a recommendation valid for all FJ series and another Yamaha of the era, such as FZR 600/1000, TDM...

FJs from 1988 on have an ugly problem with their brakes: with metallic hoses, the feeling is very hard, but without brake force. I change the master cylinder too and test a lot of pads. The problem are the calipers: I experienced the same problems in the FZR 1000 and the FZR 600 and after playing with pads, master cylinders, discs and hoses, my conclusion is that the original gold painted 4 pots calipers are RUBBISH.

So an improvement in brakes is the 1st item you must do in your FJ. Those are the conclusions of the items I have tested

 

Harrison billet calipers: fantastic 4 pots ones that I fitted in my FJ 1100. Expensive but effectives, with 4 little pads in each caliper (one for piston). Fantastic feel even with the original master cylinder. The problem is their tendency to leak brake fluid by the piston seals and the shims that you have to play with to centre the disc in the caliper. A complete pain in the arse. I can not recommend them.

PFM discs: I tried these ones in my 1st FJ 1200. They are very hard to bed on. And DON'T USE SINTERIZED PADS WITH IRON DISCS. After a little use, with these pads, they get so hot that you get virtually no brakes at all. In fact, with the PFM discs, the factory send an  advice with this incompatibility.

The best solution is to fit the new Yamahas blue, silver or gold calipers buying them from a breaker. Mines are from my poor Fazer 600. These are the only things that survived to my crash. They fit straight on in the original front brake mounts. Fit a Fazer 600, 1000 or FJR 1300 master cylinder (all of them are the same item) and your brakes will be awesome. Be careful to choose the Nissin master cylinder, because starting in 2003 Yamaha changed to Brembo and these are not as good as the Nissin ones.

I have tested these calipers with the original FJ master cylinder and the brakes feeling is too hard, doing the brakes like a switch on/off, without modulation control. 

On june 2012 I changed to 2003 R 1 gold calipers only because the bike looks better. I've feel not difference at all

The master cylinder change is imperative: even more brake power, and best of all, more feeling and better control of this power. See too my friend Jose Carlos GSXR 1000 master cilinder adaptated., very ugly to my taste: the Fazer master cilinder looks integrated and both solutions are equally awesome when stopping

 

PADS

I strongly recommend the OE R1 Summimoto Yamaha pads: yes, these are expensive, but on power, feeling and matching your disc material, these are the best far away. This advice is useful for the 1100 & 1TX models too. And if you have mounted the blue pots, use the OE R1 gold pads: GUAU!!

On February 2012 I fitted GOLDFREN pads to my Honda CBX 750. The brakes have improved no end compared with the HH Ferodo pads fitted previously. The Goldfren pads compound look very similar to the Yamaha R1 pads compound.

The Goldfren are less than half the price of the Yamaha OE ones, so now I fitted those in S33 compound for road use. For a closed circuit I recommend GP5 compound

IMPORTANT: use always organic pads (black ones) on the first FJ series callipers, those with auto-ventilated discs. I include 2 references on the pics. If you use modern sintered pads you will destroy the disc compound

 

Rear brakeREAR BRAKE

The OE rear brake is an excellente unit in power and feel. My actual GSXR 1100 rear adapted is not match for the OE unit.

But the quality of the OE rear calliper is very bad. The piston corrode fast and stick in the calliper, searing the rear disc in the process. It need a carefully annual cleaning and protecting with red grease