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Motorcycle model naming

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by smileedude, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. So lets imagine I'm a motorcycle designer. I spend years developing a new bike. It comes out looking shmick and riding like a dream. Painstaking thought went into every corner and panel. Then I give the thing over to the marketing department and they have to name the thing.

    "Hey Bob, grab the scrabble bag!"


    "You wanna try again, see if we can grab some letters that make sence"

    "Nah fcuk it"

    Every other thing on the planet that gets sold they usually make some effort to pick a combination of vowels and consonants that makes a word. With cars they are general awful. I saw a "Tribute" today and had visions of it being rolled into a volcano to save some island folk.

    I don't really care, it does make it a little difficult for people like me to remember the names of bikes, but I am more curious if there is some expert marketing theory behind the complete lack of basic literacy in naming bikes?
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  2. #2 iClint, Nov 28, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014
    VTR aka "The firestorm"

    CBR1100XX aka "The blackbird"

    GTR1300r aka "The Hybusa"

    There are heaps more; ninja, katana

    The what seem generic model codes also have meaning eg. V-Twin, engine size, model variant, etc.

    You'd also probably find that it was the engineers who gave the boring code, and the marketing team that come up with sick names about ninja swords, and birds that will kill you.

    The fact that bikes often get different names for different markets probably confirms my suspicions it's the marketing eg the VeeTwinRace1000ccFirestorm (The F may actually stand for Faired) was called the Super Hawk for the U.S. market.

    Further more you had the VeeTwinRace1000ccSuperSport1 and 2 or VTR1000SP2

    Someone might correct me on this one but Honda's massive line up of CB models stands for Commuter Bike. Yes the CBR1000 is the sports version of the popular commuter bike..

    RR Stands for Race Replica, so the CBR1000rr is the replica of the race bike. again the CBR1000RR is also "The Fireblade"
  3. A vent - is the plate between the 2 heads really necessary?

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  4. Maybe it's there to remind you to check that both cylinders are still attached and haven't fallen off your quality Hyo ;) just stirring.

    The Aquila shits on the star in the power stakes, go figure?
  5. There's a lot with names true. I'm not aware of any name for my er6, but would be interested if there ever was one. But why is it the letter number combination sticks?
  6. Back when the big Japanese manufacturers started having their pissing contest, the Blackbird came along and shook things up but Hayabusa then blew it out of the water. Hayabusa translates to Peregrine Falcon which preys on Blackbirds.
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  7. the ER6 is part of the "Ninja" Family and probably relates to the second part of your question of why the letter-number combinations stick...

    If i said "what do you guys think of the "Ninja" the response would be which one? The 1000, the 600, the baby ninja, the street fighter, the the naked, the faired etc.

    thats probably the reason why the model numbers become the default name for most as it reduces the confusion as to which Ninja you are actually talking about.

    I think you might find also the difficulty with remembering model numbers is more an issue for perhaps bikes that were around before your time as you are not custom to them.
  8. A long time ago I read (in a not exactly definitive source, so make of it what you will) that, under the terms of the peace at the end of WW2, Japan and Germany (and presumably the other former Axis powers) were forbidden from marketing any product with an aggressive name. Hence the German manner of designating models by numbers and the Japanese habit of meaningless acronyms or daft car model names like Cedric, Cherry or Stout.

    As far as I can remember, the first "aggressive" model name on a Japanese bike was the Ninja, applied to the GPZ900R in the mid-80s. Even then, though, my understanding is that even that was originally coined by the US importer and applied retrospectively.

    Might all be complete bollocks though.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. Katana as well, seems they really lashed out in the 80's.
  10. #10 iClint, Nov 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2014
    I would have put the naming formats of both the Germans and Japanese down to their very ordered and precision way of life, the peace treaty thing doesn't sound right.

    The marketing of the names like katana, ninja Hayabusa etc. would be typically for the very large american market who lap that shit up.

    you gotta remember that back in the 70's Jap bikes had the kinda reputation Hyosungs have now and during the 80's is when they made it into the larger western markets.
  11. Umm..... no.

    Hyos have the reputation they do because, against the competition, they're rubbish. Even the earliest Japanese bikes to make it into Western markets in any numbers were not. Nobody riding, say, a BSA C15 and a Honda CB72 back to back in 1964 could possibly pick the BSA on any objective grounds except, maybe, a marginal handling advantage.

    Apart from amongst the most retarded of knuckledraggers, Japanese bikes were recognised by the early 70s as being streets ahead of anything else in terms of reliability and performance. Some were rightly criticised for dodgy handling and a sacrifice of quality for bling but, overall, they were seen as pretty good and certainly easier to live with than the products of Britain, the US and Italy. An electrical system that works, an engine that retains most of its oil and a bottom end which doesn't need to be rebuilt every year can be pretty big attractions.

    Sure, there were plenty of die-hards who preferred to ride non-Japanese machinery for all sorts of intangible reasons. A fair few were still around when I started to get interested in the 80s. but I don't think there were many who didn't acknowledge, at least to themselves, that this was the approach of a masochist.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. I'm sure I've read the same thing. The staff at KHI were mortified - the term 'ninja' was held in very low regard in Japanese culture at that time, and it took a lot of convincing them.
  13. A comparison to Hyosung was probably a bit over the top, but it wasn't until the late 70's and 80's that Jap bikes took off, and it also seems that is when the marketing names started appearing.

    In the 60's and 70's Japanese bikes were largely seen as very generic, with the same design/formula used across the board, which is typically the opposite of what most bike enthusiasts want and that is something unique they can call their own.

    the comparison to Hyo's was more that they were emerging companies competing with already established brands with loyal followings.
  14. I prefer names that convey at least some meaning over endless streams of model words that mean pretty much nothing. Bike names are easier to take than cages names for the most part.
  15. Be thankful Harley Davidson use names and the model designation.

    See if you can work these out without cheating - note I cheated.


    Incidentally the numbers and letters make up the model designation and means something specific to the manufacturer
  16. The smart guys would have given up on names after Vincent released the "Black Shadow".
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  17. This ^^^ Most of these names have come out of the American market. The smaller, more International nature of motorcycle manufacturing means picking a model name that works in every language and culture is difficult. In cars the notorious Mitsubishi Pajero, named for a South American wild cat means Wanker or Tosser in South American Spanish slang.

    Even number/letter combos though can get you in to trouble The Toyota MR2 in french pronounced MR deux sounds like Merde = Shit.
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  18. [QUOTE="You wanna try again, see if we can grab some letters that make sence"
    This made me smile...
  19. Many years ago Suzuki built a little runabout called the B100.
    Fair enough. Then they added their 'Posi-force' oil injection.
    The B100P was forever saddled with the name Bloop.
    Suzuki then tried to circumvent the wags by enlarging the motor to 120.
    Too late. The B120P was the Super Bloop.
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  20. Given the different markets getting a specific name, does this mean we'll see an officially named Hyosung POS650?
    • Funny Funny x 1