Originally Posted by Off the grid
The biggest hurdles of Japanese bikes is weight, suspension, brakes, ergos and transmissions. (terrible ratios)
I touched on it earlier in the thread, but the reason why you will never see a stock Japanese bike with a working suspension is that it's a pricey item and the first thing they skimp on. It's also one of the (many) things that makes Euro bikes so fooking brilliant and a bit more $$.
The same goes for weight. Japanese bikes have to be built to a certain price point, their Engineers do not get a blank canvas. Because of this, you get stamped steel pegs, steel bars, kickstand, generic brakes, standard forks, no-name suspension, etc. This adds up to a porker of a bike that is less money.
The things that Honda can improve is to make the riding position better....move the bars forward and drop the pegs a bit, lower the center of gravity a bit in their bikes, and for the love of God copy the WR250R trannys gear ratio for use in all their bikes. Hondas first and second gear are fooking terrible....first gear is practically unusable, and the jump to second is way too big. Narrow those ratios and add a 6th gear already!
Fixes like these would be doable for a price-conscious company like Honda and make a big difference.
Some things are easy enough for the user to address, rather than having the mfr do it for a hefty premium. Not everybody wants a big/plastic tank for 200 or 400 miles of range, but it's frustrating for a mfr to come out with a distance-capable bike that checks a lot of boxes...except it has a tiny underseat tank that costs $1000 to really upgrade from. A DR650SE may be a pig offroad compared to a TE630, but 150 miles over stock range can be easily added to the DR for under $300, and 350 miles over stock isn't a whole lot more. Things like lighter pegs, better bars, better brakes, and comfier seats are similarly-easy to change. I don't understand people who decide against a bike for something easily improved, like a hard seat.
$160 sent someplace like Seat Concepts, and less than an hour with a staplegun can change that. At the opposite end of upgrade ease are gearbox changes. The DR-Z is a perfect example of a bike that would work better for many more people simply if the gearspread was wider. This is something that Suzuki could easily and rather inexpensively do...much more so than the average consumer. Yet they never have.
Something I think is also silly is that the DR650SE has a wide-ratio 5spd and the torque to pull the spread (even better with the low-rev manners of a TM40/FCR carb), and yet the DR's CS sprocket is MUCH easier to change at the trailhead than the DR-Z's. These kinds of things make little to no sense to the consumer.