Have the Japanese brands lost their mojo?

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

  1. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    that is fair. Only singling out Kawasaki because it is what my wife has and what I am building her for the replacement, so more recent experience. At the same time, my current Suzuki Bandit is much easier. Two screws and the air box comes off, simple to pull the carbs. No coolant draining to adjust the valves.

    definitly not a challenge to do shim under bucket. Just a hassle. Been way too busy lately to re-time engines. Never have really liked keeping full shim assortments on hand. Even when I do, there is always some size you run out of when doing enough of them. Mostly, it just feels like un-nesesary hassle for a street bike. I am putting over 10,000 miles a year on my bike. My wife is putting nearly 10,000 miles a year on her bike. The kids are in that range and I help them on valve adjustments too. Starts to turn into a valve adjustment every 1-2 months.
    After owning the Harley with no valve adjustments
    The airhead with 15 minute valve adjustments
    And the ducati with 1 hour adjustments.
    Pulling all the fairings, gas’s tank, draining coolant, pulling the right motor mount, all before I even know if it needs shims, then I have to pull the camshafts and measure to see if I have the right shim. (Of course no local dealer carries shims) (no dealer can even get me the valve cover gasket in less than a week if it has a crack) then re-time the engine, and reverse assembly every 9000 miles, just feels like too much hassle for a street bike that will never need that tiny amount of extra power or RPM that this hassle made possible.
    Just do it like the ducati opener, and make the rocker slip to one side after pulling a clip. Of course then you need rockers.
    All the car engines with buckets just use hydraulic buckets these days. Again, for a street bike, why not?
  2. riots not diets

    riots not diets Adventurer

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  3. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    I'd take a zero maintenance bike anyday.
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  4. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Japan's society is sick...led by its economy, which is "financialized." The Lost Decade has turned into THREE for Japan - a period of financial engineering that has changed all aspects of life. Right down to individual disposable income and average marriage age.

    And yes, women are given preference now for leadership and management jobs. Yet the male is still expected to be the prime breadwinner, even as he cannot GET a job, because the economy is stagnant and slowly retracting.

    Ergo, robot-girlfriends. And no exciting car designs.

    It does matter. The only difference between North and South Korea is a fence and a few miies. On one side, they accomplish great things. On the other side, they eat insects, and repeat quotations from Dear Leader.

    So...the nature of the economy, and of the culture, makes TREMENDOUS difference. Intelligent, gifted individuals are essential; but so is a culture that allows it and rewards it.
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  5. PeterTrocewicz

    PeterTrocewicz Long timer

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    You've hit on my only complaint about S-U-B valve adjustments. I actually enjoy working on my bike, including valve adjustments, although it was a bit of a pain with my Honda V4s. Its just that when a valve adjustment fell during riding season, there's the extra work of putting everything back together after finding out what shim size I needed so I could continue riding while getting a shim. Then tear everything apart again to replace any shim required. It was a real pain when a shim on each cylinder bank needed replacing. It was good practice though, I got pretty quick at it.
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  6. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

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    Truly “time is money” :) What you save on not having extra shims on hand, you spend on doing double the work...
  7. LOUFY034

    LOUFY034 Been here awhile

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    I purchase a master shim kit for any bike I purchase.
    Cannot imagine waiting on shims to arrive or drive to dealer for one.
    Hell, with 3 basic master kits you can cover 95% of anything you will likely run into.
  8. CharlesLathe

    CharlesLathe Been here awhile

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    Joan Mir, riding a Suzuki, became the 2020 MotoGP champion this past Sunday. The last time Suzuki was world champion was 20 years ago. That's pretty good mojo.
  9. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    do it long enough and you eventually run out of a size

    Since every bike has different shims, I have way too many boxes of shims. Same bike manufacturer, same engine configuration, but different year model and they still use different shims.

    used to be the same when I worked in the machine shop (that heavily focused head work) back in the late 90’s early 2000’s. That was when a lot of the Japanese cars were still shim under bucket (or over bucket) . Didn’t seem to matter how vigilant we were, we would still find some engine that we didn’t have the right size shim for every other week or so, and would have to wait for something, or tip grind the valve (got to be very careful how deep).
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  10. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    Loved seeing Suzuki winning the championship this year. It will be cool to see them take the manufacturers championship too.
    (Even though I have to root for Franky since he is my doppelgänger. The wife says it is like rooting for me to win :p )
    EC2B3960-3C64-4BB2-A7D5-F063D7455E1C.jpeg 576F1FB3-CAA8-4351-A969-E6DEEAB4DE84.jpeg
    I don’t think Suzuki has lost their mojo on their sport bikes. The GSXR still has that feel that is just right. If they would only build a good bike for us they have gotten a little long in the tooth for a sport bike.
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  11. phughes

    phughes Long timer Supporter

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    Well, Kawasaki states 8 hours for the valve check on the Concours. At home, it will take longer. It is a pain. If you didn't have so much to remove to get to the heads, then yeah, not so bad.
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  12. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    this exactly. Was funny when my wife needed the valves adjusted on her ninja and was getting on to me for not getting it done. (It had been 2 weeks since she had been able to ride! :D, funny how she totally gets me being grumpy when my bike is down now ) She was imagining valve adjustment like on the ducati or my airhead. When she walked outside a few hours after I started her response was “what!?, you have my entire engine pulled apart” she did walk out as I was lifting the camshafts out. It is a funny thought that completely removing the bodywork and pulling out camshaft as being part of regular maintenance for the vehicle :)

    she did start helping me do the valve adjusts on her bike after that.
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  13. wb57

    wb57 Long timer

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    Sounds like an old college roommate of mine that's in the DC area. Does he also own a Supercharged V-Rod?
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  14. phughes

    phughes Long timer Supporter

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    I'll adjust the valves on her Ninja if you do the valves on my Concours. :lol3
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  15. smdave

    smdave Been here awhile

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  16. ZoomerP

    ZoomerP . Supporter

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  17. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    Fun, isn't it? Their twins and triples sound pretty good and ride even better. The 09 has a fierce engine. Character is when something catches your attention and believe me, the current Yamaha 700s and 900s do that quite well.


    My brother said if you set the traction control on his FJ, then nail it from a start it will just keep skipping the front tire on and off the ground, kind of comical. He said the "all in" setting is pretty ferocious, the mid setting is much smoother operating while maintaining the power availability. The lower setting works for two up quite well and also when hitting some gravel or dirt road.
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  18. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

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    Gobs and gobs of fun and character! Very different fun from my Diavel, but I love both. Ride modes also similar in both, I use the middle one mostly - hard to understand the point of the "sport" mode which does not add any power, but simply deprives you of the lower throttle control... The suspension is its only weakness. If I knew I'd love it so much I would wait for the newer MT09SP.
  19. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    The comment on the modes reflects exactly what my brother said about his FJ-09.

    I am lucking out a bit for my XSR700, got a barely used Ohlins for $375, now to figure out what I want to do with the forks. Not considering the big buck cartridge set up, but considering the valving set ups from Traxxion and Race Tech, under $500, or the Dave Moss recommendations for fork fluid and preload, possible spring change.

    With performance like they have, it is worth doing the work. It is a long term ride for me.
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  20. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

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    XSRs are a beaut! I had the best luck with Andreani inserts on other bikes.