Why are Euro bikes so much more expensive than Japanese?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by MotorcycleWriter, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    I'm retooling my entire fleet in anticipation of a relocation. Going from four bikes to two. I've gravitated towards BMW and Husqvarna over the past ten years with good results. However, as I really research the different bikes out there I'm forced to ask the question, is a new say, KTM dual sport in the 400-500cc range that much better (read $$$) than a new DRZ400? Is a new Euro 650 that much superior to a XR650L? I'm never going to ride the bikes at their limit, I'm just not a great rider. But I will take them into gnarly terrain for days at a time, drop them, and upgrade them as necessary. Why the huge difference in price? Will the KTM make me a better rider or just a poorer rider?
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  2. swimmer

    swimmer armchair asshole

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  3. Hedonist222

    Hedonist222 Been here awhile

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    The Euros would like us to believe the the additional hefty funds, for something similar in Japan, is because of added quality of engineering , finishing and so on.

    But, just look at the knob mechanism on my r1200GS. Plastic. and cheap plastic. I won't even talk about the stanchion of death.

    The additional cost is from all those taxes and regulations and policies they've put into place. Someone has to pay it.
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  4. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    you know the drz is a twenty year old design, right ?

    the xrl.... omgosh they drew the blueprints on stone

    the difference is the newness of the designs. you may or may not ever know the difference out of the trail though. if you're considering the drz just buy an old one, it's the same bike forever.
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  5. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    I'm aware of the improvements and the changes but what does "new design" really mean? Everything is in the same place, the geometries are similar, the weights are about the same, braking is about the same (with the exception of ABS on some models) so from a performance standpoint we're really talking changes in fuel management (EFI vs carb), suspension (upside down vs standard forks), and some parts of the engine almost all in the top end. I'd say that modern materials engineering has made bikes lighter except really hasn't. Modern engines do make more peak horsepower but from a practical standpoint, say between 2000 and 5000 revs where a dual sport spends much of its time, they are not that different. The EFI is very nice and avoids the inconvenience and trouble of rejetting, no small thing. Of course, there are the significant added costs of meeting emission standards that involve the integration of shockingly sophisticated computers, sensors, and even cats on some models, which increases the cost dramatically.

    So, aside from never having to re-jet (at the added risk of a very costly fuel pump), it seems to me that the main difference is satisfying the EPA. As I understand it, the Japanese (other than the DRZ) have avoided sending a 400cc class dual sport to the US for this very reason, and is also why they just keep making the same thing which, so far, is not subject to the new standards. It would be a $10,000 bike sitting next to their $6,000 models. And if they dropped the $6,000 models, they'd lose their customer base. Government interference and the rule of unintended consequences.

    One bike that does stand out, though I haven't ridden it yet, is the 2017 Husqvarna 701 with the Duke motor. It's basically the same weight as a DRZ-400 but from what I hear, the 701 buries the DRZ in pretty much every category. It's maybe a little less nimble on singletrack, for those of us who take 300lb+ bikes on singletrack :ricky, but has far better highway manners and given its EFI and more than double available power, would also own it offroad. I've heard it called the closest thing yet to a do-everything bike. That might justify the eye-popping $11,000+ price tag: two bikes in one.
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  6. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    The 701 is better than a DR?
    I'm shocked I tell ya.
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  7. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    The DRZ was always the more dirt oriented of the dual sports, generally outperforming larger bikes in technical situations because of it's weight. However, its reputation on the road leaves something to be desired. Despite this it has a huge following because it's inexpensive. The 701, to me, is notable because it is said to be more like an adventure bike on road, yet more like a dual sport off road. I don't know of another dual sport that fits this description. I figure it's cost will limit its market penetration.

    But better isn't really what I'm trying to get my arms around. Is the 701 $5,000 better than the DR, is the question. And why is it $5,000 better? (All that fun socialism does have a price, as mentioned above.) Of course, it ultimately just comes down to how much you got and what you want. Since I'm trying to optimize dollars and performance it makes sense to ask these questions. If you're not trying to optimize, it doesn't make sense to ask them.
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  8. sprocket3

    sprocket3 Long timer

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    I've ridden a lot of the KTM line and it seems that for the most part everything is getting better with new model releases. Just looking at the 690/701 for example you'll see significant improvements every couple years. The 2014 had a major engine upgrade and now there's another one in 2017.

    Same thing is going on with other product lines that I follow such as the 2 strokes and smaller 4 strokes. Ride a 2002 450 and a 2018 and you'll notice all the changes really quick.

    I haven't ridden a DRZ though.
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  9. nk14zp

    nk14zp Long timer

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    I could have bought a new KLR for what I paid for my 06 KTM950ADV. I'm extremely happy with the choice I made.
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  10. Joezeph

    Joezeph Been here awhile

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    But if it works, then why fix it?
    I had one & it's the best (almost) pure offroader ever in my opinion, but l ride like a tw8t, & a slow tw8t at that, so it's also all about horses-for-courses!
    Some people just have toi have the latest & newest designs, & some people can ride them to their limits, but most of us can't, & as for Euro (read Beemer/Ducati) that's a matter of prestige, coz neither of them will beat a similar Jap bike at anything in the right hands!

    BUT, when it comes to the oldest & best motorcycle company in the World, a Triumph is always worth that little bit extra!!! :rayof IMG_20170923_094923.jpg
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  11. Motomantra

    Motomantra Registered Lurker

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    The Triumphs of today have no relation to what's pictured above. None except the legal right to own the name.
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  12. Joezeph

    Joezeph Been here awhile

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    You don't make any sense with your above reply, the photo above is a 2013 that was built at the Hinckley factory in England!
    The Triumph Engineering Company did however go into receivership in 1983 & was bought & renamed The Triumph Motorcycle company the year after & they retained the iconic Triumph logo which you will see on all their motorcycles.(even the ones made in Chonburi, Thailand & Manous, Brazil.)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_Motorcycles_Ltd
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  13. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    My experience with the euro bikes is that they are slightly higher in quality and feel. Less, what I would call, buzzy, but that is a very subjective assessment. I'm just discussing reasons and value and have had some great responses on both. Keep 'me coming but stay on topic puhleeze!
    #13
  14. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    As a previous owner of a DRZ and a KTM 450, I can say the 450 is better for what both bikes are designed for. I believe there's better engineering in the KTM, its lighter, better suspension, more power, etc. while the DRZ has been the same since 01 I think.

    So it's easy to see that there's really little cost increase to the Suz while KTM changes the 450 every few years and most recent with FI. Some like the older and more battle tested DRZ and save a few grand, vs the changing the KTM.

    As for bigger bikes, no Euro stuff. To many good Japan choices to pick otherwise.
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  15. paquo

    paquo Been here awhile

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    drz is a pig, they used to sell an E version with an fcr carb that was acceptable. If you don't care about fastish acceleration and don't want to do maintenance then it is a bike for you. As far as the bigger bikes an AT is 14k and a 1090 is only a bit more but is faster and has better suspension so there are euro bikes that are similarly priced to japanese bikes
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  16. cagiva549

    cagiva549 whats a cagiva

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    Some people want precision quality , some people don't need it . I keep buying jap bikes for the price but they always go away fairly quickly because of the quality .
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  17. Baroquenride

    Baroquenride Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.

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    I find Euro bikes on the used market go for pennies on the dollar around the PNW compared to Japanese bikes because people still have this idea that parts are hard to get for Euro bikes. (Psssst, don't look now but most bike shops don't carry Japanese parts either and have to order those as well.) If you do your own work, Euro bikes are a MUCH better bang for your buck overall than the similar style Japanese counterpart. If you don't do your own work then they're much more expensive to repair typically.
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  18. MX Engineer

    MX Engineer MX Racer

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    I think the prices for used Euro bikes drop so much because their newer bikes are so much better. The Japanese do not change their bikes as much and as often, so their used prices stay more close to their new bike prices.
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  19. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    I'd much rather ride any of my KTMs.
    I absolutely hate to work on them.
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  20. AdrianB1

    AdrianB1 Adventurer

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    The European made bikes are simply expensive for what they offer. I had 2 Honda bikes and 1 Yamaha, all were less than $8000 new, if you want to buy a BMW it will go way over $10,000. A friend just bought a BMW this week (GS 1200 Adventure) and yesterday I took a ride with his bike: yes, it is very different than mine, but not necessarily better. His bike had the price of my car, some of that price is from having the BMW logo all around it.
    I am not that familiar with KTM, except for their overpriced bicycles they sell in Europe (yes, they do), but Ducati and Aprilia are also quite expensive for what they offer.

    I think Japanese bikes are a good value for the dollar and, in my experience, more reliable - cheaper to maintain long term. European bikes - they usually look better, but that is the only "better" part of the comparison.
    #20
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