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Best Japanese Manufacturer?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Rybky, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. My only experience of bikes so far has been the two KLE500's that I have owned over the last 18 months. Next month I get my fulls and will start to look around at options to upgrade, I want to keep with with the same style of bike and this has resulted in a short list of 4 bikes that I want to test ride, one from each of the main Japanese manufacturers.

    I don't want to talk about the specific models as on paper and in reviews I have read they are all pretty much the same, some are better than others for certain tasks but they all rate very highly.

    What does interest me is how the brands compare, I have no brand loyalty to Kawasaki even though my experience has been good so far.

    So does anyone have direct experience of more than one of the following brands ...


    .. in terms of ...

    1) Service costs?
    2) Parts costs?
    3) Dealer quality?
    4) Build quality?

    My insurance company made a comment that Kawasaki is the most expensive Japanese brand for replacement parts for example.


  2. If you want quality, you'd be looking away from the Japs :p

    From what I've read Honda are a clear first...but don't know why you don't want to get invovled in models?? At least shortlist your models and call your insurer and get some comparable premiums.

    Don't know about servicing costs, again be model specific - fairing, number of valves etc :?

    So what are you looking for?

    And why TWO KLE's in 18 mths - BTW, reckon they're a good all rounder, any chance of a review??
  3. Honda is the top-selling motorcycle brand in Australia, and in many other countries in the world.
  4. Yeah I know but the equivalent European brands are far more expensive unfortunately, otherwise Triumph and BMW would be on my list too!!

    I don't want to ask here about model comparisons because I have seen other threads like that and they all end up with "just test ride them and make your own mind up" comments, which are fair. Insurance is about the same for the models I am looking at. Kind of why I thought I would ask this as the only real difference between the bikes is who makes them!

    Bikes of an equivalent type between brands should be a good comparison and most people do stick to a particular style (e.g. sports, tourer, trail, etc.).
    You mean what bikes or what I am looking for from this OP? From this OP I was hoping to get some differentiators for the bikes I will be looking at.

    Hmm, lowsided the first one the first time I took it "off road", ended up an insurance write-off which was good because it was less than a year old so they replaced it. :) They are a good bike, just a little basic. I don't think I have enough all round experience to write a useful review.

  5. I'm a Yamaha fan of many years, I own two.

    They are great bikes.

    Suzuki would be my next choice.

    Kawasaki has a record for high spares prices and

    Honda, ever reliable great bikes but to me they lack character.

    Having said that, if you are buying new, buy the one you like the most
    there is not much to choose between the top 4
  6. Honda, but only models made in Japan. These built overseas are a bit more variable. Which is one reason you cannot really make a blanket statement without considering specific models. and the other reason is that every manufacturer has their flagship models, and their bread-and-butter ones. You need to compare apples with apples...
    But enough about food. If you must, I'd rate them:

    1. Honda
    2. Yamaha
    3. Suzuki
    4. Kawasaki

    I've owned three of them. (haven't had a Suzuki yet)
  7. Take posties out and they're pretty ordinary..............
  8. Take a look at:

    Top selling litrebike, top selling 600cc. However, the R1 is close.
  9. I have a Honda Transalp 700 and I cant fault it. Services are reasonably priced and only every 6000km. Bullet proof motor goes well & plenty of after market parts tp farkle. I do off & on road. I would have a look into the new Yamaha Tenere 660, if it ever gets here for a second choice. The other choice is the Suzuki V-Strom 650, another good DS.
    You probable cant go wrong with any of the bikes that I have mentioned. Check out this link for some more homework www.advrider.com
    Let us know what you do.
  10. Ah ha! The Transalp 700 is on my list that I want to test ride. The others on the list are:

    - Suzuki V-Strom 650
    - Yamaha TDM900
    - Kawasaki Versys

    For what I need a bike to do for me the Versys is really the best option on paper but have not ridden one yet.

  11. No comments on the Versys, never ridden on. It's got a 17" front wheel, so wont take potholes too well - smooth, well graded roads and you should be fine plus should get excellent range from 19 litres

    TDM, bigger bike (223kg), and up in DL1000 territory. Also an uncomon 18" front which could be a problem getting a replacement. But Marvin from here loves his and rides it daily and weeekends :cool:

    650 Strom understandable why they sell so well. Only hassle I have heard is about screen buffeting - apparently easily fixed with Madstad. Plus option of ABS
  12. Easier (& cheaper) fix is to get a couple of plastic spacers (I cut a couple from a blank DVD spindle), and a couple of slightly longer bolts. Just space the bottom of the screen out about 1cm. Reduces the turbulence dramatically.
  13. That's where the rider comes in.
    The bike is to hammer, as the rider is to carpenter.
  14. Well said. The "character" argument is a crock.
  15. In terms of start-every-single-time reliability, I'd have to say Honda. Looking across at car ranges doesn't always work, but there's a reason Hondas are priced like and compete with the Europeans more than the other Japanese and Korean marques. Excellent engineering, though they do sometimes get a bit carried away (e.g. the VFR - lovely but IMO excessive). But in the area you're looking Honda has some excellent bikes.

    I'd be inclined to rank Kawasaki 4th and then it's really a toss-up between Yamaha and Suzuki in the middle, though I have to admit all this is more gut feelings and from listening and collating people's experience stories than from personal experience. I've ridden all brands but a Kawa for extended periods, but any issues I had were with particular bikes and how they'd been treated and didn't reflect on the brand. Enormously happy with my current Suzuki.
  16. my first choice would be Yamaha, 2nd choice, Yamaha, followed closely by Yamaha :)
  17. Yup, Yamaha are definitely in last place :p.

  18. Ouch.....

    Just a personal opinion guys, not an argument. :)
  19. Not intending to start an argument, just, like you, stating an opinion. The "Honda bikes don't have character" line is a crock. Usually peddled by elitist nobodies whose wallets are bigger than their riding ability.

    There, THAT might start an argument...