Originally Posted by Gryphon12
Thanks for your view, Bluesman. I happen to agree with Mud390 that the torque of the 250RR makes riding varied terrain difficult. I can also see it being much more useful in Europe than in the US, confirming your view that the market matters.
My favorite smaller Hondas include the NC-29 (CBR400RR) and the NC-35 (RVF400R), both with gear driven cams and neither available in the US (outside of the 1980's grey market). These 400 cc bikes have a lot more torque than the 250RR, making them better sportbikes and better around town. Without a tiered licensing system, I'm afraid we'll never see their modern conterparts in the US. [And putting a 450 twin in the Kawasaki EX-650R doesn't help - it really is too heavy, and too expensive for the performance it gives.]
Economics is the rub. There is a minimum fixed cost to produce any motorcycle. A base 250, 450, and 650 may very well all cost about the same. Higher performance engines justify higher quality suspensions and a bigger purchase price. We need economic reasons to go smaller in the US. The low cost, ease of riding and 70-90 mpg on an EX-250 is why the Ninjette sells so well. I'm really pleased to see some competition here, and I hope the economics and marketing will support the variety.
I fully see your point and agree. This is actually why I am surprised Honda took trouble creating this bike now when they already for many many years have beautiful, well handling and super-flexy engine VTR250 - all they had to do is to sell it in US, damn it! That motor is gem, I rode it for 16000 km in 1997-1999 and many years later still remember that engine. Nobody believed it was 250 and it was easily tunable to almost 40 rwbhp by switching parts of engine or just whole motor with older VT250FZ I think...can't recall exact subtype.
I generally hate all this "market segmentation" method as it had back-draft effect. If you do not "teach" market to accept different type of products market won't accept it. European bike makers literally shaped their market but big-4 mostly drifting along. Strange.