Monday, September 9, 2013

Location Is Everything

I both love and hate checking out the European and Japanese websites of motorcycle builders.  Love it because it's fascinating to see what other countries are offered and hate it because it's painful to see what we don't get offered.  Take for example my old trusty FZ1.  I have the first generation bike but when the second generation or "Gen II" bike came out Europe got a beautiful naked bike with no fairing.  The US FZ1 with the mini-fairing is known over seas as the Fazer.  Not only do they get a non-faired version they get better paint schemes in my opinion.
Europe's FZ1
It also has a lower chin spoiler.
 The FZ1 is a little long in the tooth however but the trend continues with the smaller sibling to the Fazer, the FZ8 Touring.  Sure you can buy the bags and brackets after market or even through Yamaha's accessory catalog but how nifty is that?

 And lastly here's one I don't even know!  The XJ6 Diversion.  A half-faired variant of the FZ6R I believe.  There is also a 660 Ténéré where only the 1200 Super Ténéré is offered in the states.  Check out the UK site here.

As for the other bike companies you'll just have to check them out for yourself.  I don't know enough about Suzuki or Kawasaki to tell you the differences.  I can tell you that they have a lot of bikes though.  Check out Suzuki UK and Kawasaki UK, if nothing else they give the bikes different names.  Apparently you still have to settle for green on your Kawi in London.

So what's the deal?  I'm as patriotic as the next guy if that guy is patriotic but it seems to me we get stuck with less variety because we have less imagination.  Somewhere along the way through the decades of motorcycle design we all decided we wanted either a Harley or a GSX-R1000.  And they all have to have every cubic inch available.  Don't misunderstand, there are niche markets.  Niche may be too restrictive a word.  I see plenty of sport and adventure tourers but they're all very similar too.  It wasn't that long ago that the V-Strom was a one bike market on the affordable adventure bike scene.

I do think that things are turning around, Honda likes to make fun, interesting bikes but again, they like to make more fun interesting bikes for Europe.

This is not a photo from the early 80's, it's a Cb1300s.  Click the photo for more info

To sum it up, Europe in general and the UK in particular have some sweet bikes we don't but they also have a 20% VAT tax and crazy congestion and traffic laws.  I think I'll keep my small selection (you can only ride one at a time right?) and my big open spaces.

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