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Conservative manufacturers and a missed opportunity?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by Bamm-Bamm, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. Seeing a post in the new bike thread the other day about a member who had just purchased a 2011 Repsol CBR1000rr got me thinking about how the big 4 differ from the European brands when it comes to marketing their bikes.

    When you buy a "special edition" bike from Japan it's nearly always a sticker kit/ new paint scheme on a totally standard bike (R1, GSXR1000, Repsol Blade)

    When you buy a "special edition" bike from Europe you might end up with a different paint scheme but also performance mods which may include a quickshifter, ohlins, brembos etc...(Daytona 675R, various Ducatis, various Aprilias as an example)

    Other than the YZF-R1 SP from 1996 that came equipped with Ohlins forks and rear shock(at a very hefty price and in very limited numbers) I can't remember the last time the Big 4 made a special edition bike worth buying over a standard one from a performance point of view. Obviously engine and exhaust mods are out due to emissions but who else is salivating over a GSXR-750 with a powershifter, ohlins suspension and Marchesini wheels?

    I would have thought with economies of scale the Japanese have been all over this, after all if Triumph can build a 675r with all the good kit for about 2k more than a standard bike why can't they?

    Your thoughts?
  2. Well, that's really the difference between the business models of the Japanese marques and the European ones. - The Japanese built their businesses around the concept of low cost, high quality production, which inevitably meant little variation was possible. The European bikes were pretty much always available with tons of options...but even the base models came at a premium price.
    I'll take Japanese price/quality/reliability, thanks.

    Keep in mind, too, that the mindset of the average buyer means that while they would be prepared to pay more for a tricked out Euro bike, they wouldn't pay the extra for the same options on a Jap bike.
  3. R1's didnt come out to '98?

    Now that you bring the issue up, i am surprised that Honda hasnt done it. They like to pretend to be European with their pricing.
  4. I think Rainbow7 sums it up very well; the Japanese build in volume for a mass market, the European build in lower numbers for a select market. They can afford to bring out very limited-edition 'specials' knowing that European (and especially English) rider, will buy them for the one-up-man-ship value.
  5. It is a fair point though... I mean how hard is it to do changes like brakes, suspenders and wheels? The part still goes on the bike the same way, it just comes from a different parts bin... It isn't like totally redesigning the bike.

    I can see it being a problem trying to sell them in Aust atm with the way the dollar is. If you added $2-3k to a Japanese bike with special bits, then pit it up against its Euro rival, it might seem a little expensive. But surely in the US or something it wouldn'd be so bad.

    And it's not like the European bikes are unreliable anymore... There is no such thing as a bad bike anymore, just ones that are better than others.
  6. The other thing is that Europe had a number of special editions that were put together not by manufacturer but the larger dealers or distributors. These included several editions of GSXR with Akra or Yoshi exhaust and some carbon bits, FZ1 with lower side fairings for better touring ability, and V-Strom made more adventure-like with add-ons such as bash plates and panniers.

    But our dealers either don't have the resources, or more likely, the interest in putting something like this together because our retailers are still accustomed to a business model where they just put something on the shop floor with outrageous mark-up and merely expect customers to come and take it... the concept of going that extra mile is completely foreign to them, and their idea of facing competition is whingeing or turning to the authorities for tax protection.
  7. To be sure, there are certain things, like braided lines, that should be standard equipment, not aftermarket/optional. That's the sort of change I'd like to see from Japan.

    I also agree with what Racing Turtle says about local retailers. - Before online sales, those bastards ripped us off sooooo badly that it is impossible to feel any sympathy for them.
  8. Is it also a function of current racing classes? Back in the late '80s/early 90s, there was quite a bit of semi-exotic stuff coming out of Japan (RC30, OWO1 and, at a slightly lower level, the early ZXR750) which were all homologation specials for proddy based racing classes. I'm not up with what's going on, but have things changed to render this practice redundant? Or are current supersports bikes now so good that there is no need for special editions for racing purposes?
  9. MV F4 tri-colour. Why spend 20k on a red and silver F4 when you can spend 150k on a blue red green and white F4.
  10. A high volume production line would not be easy to gear up for a run with special bits.
    The other alternative to retro fit special parts at the end of the line requiring dismantling of much of the bike would be even worse.
  11. Indeed, wheeling up crates of higher spec parts designed to bolt in place the exact same way as does the regular hardware undoubtedly hinders the normal assembly process enormously...
  12. Don't forget, too, that the Japanese do business very differently from us. They often have "networks" of complementary companies, all working hand in hand. In the West, their practices would often be considered illegal, as they would violate anti-trust laws. Perhaps the Big Four are happy to have affiliated manufacturers working downstream from them, because that works well for their culture?
  13. Japanese sportbike sales are so poor at they are not investing in them. They are trying to open up new segments with higher profitability