Have the Japanese brands lost their mojo?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by B1, Oct 6, 2020.

  1. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    So, for the Benellis, any SSR or Benelli dealership can service them. I have one SSR dealership 20 minutes away, one SSR dealership 45 minutes away (which is where I bought my SSR Buccaneer), and a dedicated Benelli dealership an hour and a half from me.

    The Benelli Leoncino is a pretty damn good performer when compared against the Honda CB500F. Similar horsepower and torque, but the benelli makes its torque far lower in the rev range.

    Now the TRK502 has the same motor as the Leoncino, and granted it is quite a bit heavier than the CB500X (518 lbs vs 434 lbs for the Honda). BUT, you get crash bars, hand guards (with aluminum bar), a rear luggage rack, and a swingarm-mounted mudguard all as standard equipment. YES. STANDARD EQUIPMENT. That stuff weighs a bunch. It's also a physically larger bike, with a 60" wheelbase instead of the honda's 56" wheelbase. If you take into account the weight of all the extras you get with the Benelli TRK502, you're looking at a 40-50 pound weight difference. That might still make it a no-deal for a lot of people, but it's not as bad as the 88 pound difference you see on paper. So lets think, 40-50 pounds heavier and $700 cheaper MSRP. But then add in the cost of accessories for the CB500X. Luggage Rack: $133. Crash bars $120-$190 depending on brand. Lets say $150 for the middle-of-the-road bars from twisted throttle. The rear mudguard/hugger is $120. You can spend $143 for barkbusters or $50 for Tusk hand guards, or get anything inbetween. But lets be cheap and get the Tusks, because they work just as well. That's an extra $453 (plus shipping!) worth of accessories for the CB500X, which you have to not only pay for, but also either install yourself, or pay the dealership $95/hour to install. I'd guess at least 2-3 hours of dealer time. So an additional $190 to $285. Assuming you do it yourself, that makes it a $1153 difference between the price of the CB500X and Benelli TRK502. But add that dealer time in and the CB500X is $1343 to $1438 more expensive. (And even if you do install all that stuff yourself, your time is worth something. Maybe you don't value it at $95/hour, but mine is worth at least $75/hr).

    I dunno about you... but I'm not sure I'd pay roughly $1300 more to get a bike that's only 40-50 pounds lighter when set up identically. Especially since the Benelli has more torque available down low, where it's more useful in the dirt. And also you have to consider the cost of replacement parts. Honda parts are priced like they're made out of gold. Benelli parts are actually really cheap, and they're also widely available. You can order from Benelli, from any number of UK parts sites, or even directly from china via aliexpress.

    When you consider all of that, I think the TRK502 is a great deal and quite competitive IF you're wanting those accessories. And lets be honest, anyone who is actually going to ADV their 500X is going to want the hand guards, crash bars, and luggage rack at the very least.

    That said, I think the CSC RX4 beats out both the 500X and the Benelli for value. It has all the same accessories as the Benelli comes with, plus side racks and hard luggage (side and top cases) as standard equipment. And it weighs 450 pounds with all of that. All at the cost of only 7 horsepower compared to the Benelli and Honda. For about $5500 delivered. ($500 cheaper than the Benelli, $1200 cheaper than the base CB500X. To equip a CB500X with the same stuff I mentioned above, you're looking at about a $1900 difference. And you'd still need to buy side racks, saddle bags, and a top case, which will add even more to the cost - and the weight - of the CB500X)

    For CSC you don't need a dealership at all, all you need is a mechanic willing to work on it. Once you find that, CSC will pay that mechanic for all warranty work, and will send parts and test equipment directly to that mechanic. You don't have to do anything else. They stock every part for every bike they sell in their warehouses, so you're not stuck with waiting for something to ship from China to get your bike back on the road.

    There are more and more and more Royal Enfield dealerships popping up everywhere. There are three in my state now - Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte. (20 minutes, 1.5 hours, and 3.5 hours). Years ago before the twins came out, there was only 1 dealership in Charlotte. Not sure about parts availability for these yet though.

    Also it's worth noting, there are actually far more SSR dealers in NC than there are Royal Enfield dealers at the moment. Every fourth dealership has a range of SSR pitbikes out front these days, and any of those dealerships will work on SSR or Benelli bikes.


    So yeah. The Chinese are putting out VERY interesting middlewieght motorcycles right now. Honda.... well... they're just not. The CB500X may be a great bike... but there are two other options out there. One will save you $2500 ish and several pounds over a similarly-equipped CB500X, but cost you one cylinder and 7 horsepower. The other will save you $1300 but cost you 40-50 pounds more than the CB500X. Everything is a compromise, but for those kind of price differences it's really worth taking a look at the two top-end Chinese offerings.

    Also it's worth noting, the Chinese brands have something to prove; they're hungry. Honda is not. Honda is happy to rest on its ass. Benelli for instance is really trying to repair their brand name. The Italian-made Benellis were horribly unreliable, and every new model they make in China is rewriting that history. CSC will do anything to please their customers, they have a history of bending over backwards to make things right. Honda only makes things right when their lawyers tell them it'll be cheaper than the lawsuits.

    Charles.
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  2. ddavidv

    ddavidv The reason we can't have nice things

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    Chinese bikes may seem like a good deal until the frame cracks and falls apart. :hide
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  3. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    Heh.

    Still hasn't deterred me. Sucks that it was a first-model-year problem that the manufacturer later rectified... but also pretty awesome that it was fixed for free outside of warranty.

    Charles.
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  4. BywayMan

    BywayMan Been here awhile

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    Suzuki
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  5. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

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    And so are you.
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  6. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Inmate

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    Suzuki's design philosophy is the very definition of "if it ain't broke...", and that works for them on certain bikes, most notably the 'Strom/SV, and all the various bikes still using the K5 in the same way Chevy still uses the latter-day LS small block.

    I'd also personally argue that the DR-Z400 and DR650SE still work just fine, and all you unicorn hunters will never ever ever ever see your EFI and your sixth gear because the bikes simply don't need them

    Suzuki's biggest lagging point feels like their 250/300-class offerings, where they're still relying on a 250 platform that is outclassed in every way except simple air-cooled ruggedness these days, while Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki's bikes in that size range will all happily hang out in the 75-80 mph range necessary for American interstate highway mileage when asked to
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  7. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    My fear is that Suzuki will abandoned the sporty V-twin motor for a I-2 if they ever do upgrade. What started as a cheap Ducati copy has turned into a Suzuki trademark. I just wish they used them in more styles. Still want a SV650X!
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  8. baekdongmul

    baekdongmul Been here awhile

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    Suzuki is 100% abandoning V2 for I2, starting next year. I still haven't forgiven them for turning the TL1000 motor into an agricultural device...
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  9. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    huh?
  10. baekdongmul

    baekdongmul Been here awhile

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  11. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    Oh I though Suzuki made a riding mower with a TL motor. I think the SV650 was the best thing for club racing since the EX500.
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  12. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    The TL1000 had the mojo in spades. It was a bronco that would buck back if you didn’t treat it right. The SV1000 was basically the TL stripped of its mojo.
    The SV650 has tons of racing support, could have a lot of the GSXR suspension and upgrades tied to it. It is cost effective and reliable at the track. Truly the bike I would recommend to someone to begin track days. (Maybe the 400 Kawi now though)
    It is the smart, sensible track day choice.
    The TL was the bike you got to brag to your friends that you tamed.
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  13. baekdongmul

    baekdongmul Been here awhile

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    Agreed, the 650 is a wonderful thing
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  14. MJS5761

    MJS5761 Adventurer

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    Amen to the mojo of the EX500/Ninja 500r 500r at castle pines 4-6-16 side view.jpg
  15. HuntWhenever

    HuntWhenever Motorcicle Commuter

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    So instead of the V-Strom, there will be an I-Strom?
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  16. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    Extreme innovation seldom equals extreme reliability. It is a tradeoff. Companies that innovate are constantly changing and replacing models(like BMW and KTM) cannot compete(on the reliability scale) with companies that develop bikes in much slower, longer cycles and make far fewer changes to their models once launched.

    Nowadays, people chose Japanese bikes because they know it will get the job done and wont break down doing it.

    I know if I go buy a Super Tenere/AT/DL1000 tomorow it's very little maintenance or repair expenses all the way to 100k miles.

    I know if I go buy a R1250GS/KTM1290 I can expect some things to fail maybe even before the end of the first year of riding. Dead reliability is not why I would buy these bikes, I would buy them for their exhibition of engineering, performance and their features.
  17. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    Have you ridden an XSR900 or FZ09? Tenere 700? R1? R6? Yamaha seems to be doing OK with fun bikes this past decade.

    I still enjoy the versatility, simplicity, and reliability of a DR650.

    CRF450L seems to have some fans too, as does the Grom, Monkey, and Africa Twin.
  18. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Some work better than others.
    And to some, the pluses are worth more than the minuses.

    As a machine gets more complex, it develops a "personality." A shovel or rake has no personality. A washing machine, none.

    A car, more so. A car with great characteristics, but downsides, more-so.

    A difficult motorcycle...to me, it's garbage. To fans, it may be "personality". Soul, as they call it.
  19. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Maybe. If the controls are all electronic; and the engine electronically controlled...it's not much of a step to go to full automation and have the shifts done by silicon chip.

    But then, something is lost.

    But it's the natural progression from foot-clutch, hand-shift Harleys, to today's chip-controlled machines...
  20. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

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    Just got Yamaha MT09, the mojo is simply oozing from it! Soul too.
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