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Old 08-21-2014, 01:02 PM   #1
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2014
Oddometer: 105
Do you find Japanese bikes 'Bland & Soul-less'?

Well, just take a look at my signature you'll see that I've been riding Japanese bikes my entire life. I've never owned a car cause car ownership is just ULTRA EXPENSIVE here! So needless to say I ride motorcycles almost DAILY... In those 10 years of riding, I've clocked roughly 300,000+km... So I can speak with some authority here, right?
Currently, I've 2 bikes, Ducati 796 which is my Garage Queen! And a Yamaha WR125X Super Moto which is my nimble & economical work horse albeit a bit sluggish at times. Will soon be replaced with a WR250X! Well, hopefully...
I remember when I first threw my leg over my brand new Ducati in Blood Red! Its an experience like no other. Its not a fast bike, but it just feels so alive like it almost have a soul! The way it shakes and vibes, the way it rumbles when idle, the way it 'humm' like bunch of angry bees at low rpms, the way it barks when revved hard. Like a thing ALIVE! I mean, the moment you thumb the ignition; the temptation to blip the throttle and turn that deep rumble into a bark is just irresistable... I don't usually rev my bike at red light, but on The Ducati I do!!!
I've test rode Yamaha MT09 (FZ9 in U.S) before buying The 796 but it just felt like a motorcycle... So does all my previous Japanese bikes...
Am I the only one?
14 Ducati M796 (87hp), 96 VFR750 (100hp), 92 GS500E (48hp), 95 CB250 (20hp), 2000 CG125 (12hp), 86 YB100 2-Stroke (8hp), 80's Honda Cub 50 (3hp). BEEN RIDING FOR A DECADE AND HAVE TAKEN ONE TINY STEP AT A TIME...
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:17 PM   #2
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Joined: Aug 2008
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I've found the many japenses bikes that I've owned (really all dirt bikes and dual sports ) to be great, not having a soul like a ducati, but just great bikes that I considered awesome "tools" to use and enjoy.
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:34 PM   #3
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Location: Everett, WA
Oddometer: 1,793
I rode crusty old Guzzis for years, my 1250 Bandit does just fine in the nebulous "soul" department.
'07 Bandit 1250ABS
'78 XS650 with patina
Huge piles of Guzzi that aren't motorcycle shaped.
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:35 PM   #4
There is no spoon.
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Greater SLC
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Only if they have a ginger kid riding on it.....
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:41 PM   #5
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Peoria IL
Oddometer: 56
I can see what you are saying but to me the tl1000r and tl1000s that I owned I would say they had soul, maybe it is just a twin thing. I've got a zx14 now and wouldn't say it has a soul just a really awesome motorcycle.

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Old 08-21-2014, 02:26 PM   #6
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Joined: May 2013
Location: Firestone, CO
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Yeah, Concours 14 has no "soul" like my KTM's and Vulcan had. However its a fantastic motorcycle and as I'm a soulless Ginger anyways I think its ok.
2008 Honda Shadow 750 Spirit
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:43 PM   #7
Jim K.
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Location: New Haven, Ct.
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If by "soulless" you mean class leading performance, bulletproof reliability, & modest prices, then yes, my Japanese motorcycles must be soulless. (except for that Suzuki 80 back in '65)
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:46 PM   #8
I love moto's
Joined: Oct 2002
Location: Central California
Oddometer: 183
Having owned British, German and Japanese bikes I've found the Japanese bikes are awesome for motocross but the new two stroke 150 KTM has my eye right now.

Currently I own a 13 90th anniversary camhead GSA which I love, a YZ250F and a 98 Truimph T595 Daytona which I love as well. Street Japanese bikes that had been favorites through the late 80's early 90's were CBR600's. F1, F2's and I skipped the F3 due to its weight gain. They were the bikes to have for track days and racing back then.

I've loved all my bikes, all had different qualities I loved. Soulless? Nope not a one. Guess it's a euro stage I'm in right now. KTM has made some awesome bikes the past 5 years. I see them as a future bike possibly.

I'm still kicking myself for selling my 92 R100GS. That was a fun bike. Put 70k on it and sold it for more then I paid for it. Bummer.
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:50 PM   #9
ZZ-R Rider
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Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Far East of the Western World
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I've only owned Japanese manufactured motorcycles over the years and have ridden many more than the ones I've owned ... including Harley-Davidson and Triumph ... sadly no Italian Bikes though.

Some Japanese motorcycles have that thing us enthusiasts refer to as "character" ... and some do not ... I guess it depends in large part on the perspective of the individual Rider ...

Of the Bikes I've owned, I found the 'zuki VS800 (S50 Boulevard) to be totally lacking in character while finding the LS650s (S40/Savage) to be very endearing and very Sportster-like. The Kawasaki EX250-H (ZZ-R/Ninja) to be like a "scrappy smaller dog" ... I loved it!

The 2 VT750 Shadows I've owned (former VT750DC & current VT750RS) to be somewhat bland, but I enjoyed both ... the RS is a killer-looking Bike, so it gets a few "character points" for that! A 2010 Bonneville SE that I rode a couple of years ago falls into the same category for me as the Shadow RS

A pal's Yamaha XV950 Bolt that I rode seduced me right off ... sexy, edgy and oh-so cool ... yup, it has "character" iMHO ... so did the Harley XL883L I rode a couple of years ago.

Whether a motorcycle has "character" or not is a very subjective thing if you ask me though ...
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:56 PM   #10
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Houston, Texas
Oddometer: 139
My KZ has just as much spirit as my Guzzi, so nope..

I've never ridden a newer Japanese bike so I can't tell you, though I have been looking at a Concours for eventual purchase..

I should add, if "Soul" and "Character" Is defined as bikes that aren't 100% Reliable, then my Jap back has twice the Character as my Italian bike.
1977 Kawasaki KZ1000
2008 MotoGuzzi 1200 Sport

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Old 08-21-2014, 02:58 PM   #11
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Joined: May 2008
Location: Huntsville, AL
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I have owned many Japanese bikes, a BMW, an Aprilia, and a Kymco. I don't think any of my bikes lacked character. I have ridden some Japanese bikes that seemed to lack character but I didn't buy any of those. I think that character, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
I ride, Therefore I Am.

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Old 08-21-2014, 03:09 PM   #12
Not Dark Yet
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:27 PM   #13
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Idaho
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I'm riding my second VFR.

Souls are highly over-rated.
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:29 PM   #14
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R1200RT 2005
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:32 PM   #15
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Joined: Jul 2010
Oddometer: 656
I love japanese bike but I understand what you mean with lacking soul. I have only had 4 bikes and done in total close to 100 000 km on them and all of them where trouble free. To have the perfect bike I think I would like to have mix a different brands. For example a combination of moto guzzi and honda. Imagene a griso or the old california with a touch a Japanese refining. Or why not a electra glide shovel head with japanese reliability.

On idle, when big cruisers stands next to me, I have to check my rpm gauge to see if my bike is running or not
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