What would Honda do...


41 replies to this topic
  • InternalCombustion

Posted October 21, 2006 - 06:37 PM

#21

THIS is the future. Honda has already ceded the tiny off road motorcycle future to the chinese. They simply can't compete on cost basis.

Maybe. Maybe not. Saying the Chinese can go from zero to world-class-offroad (or even street) in a year or two, might be their dream but that's all it will be. At least for another 4-6 years.

Do not misunderstand me, I have nothing but respect for the Chinese, been there, broken bread with them, spent a lot of time in their country. They are intelligent and very hard working. But they do NOT have the creative talent required to CREATE a world-class bike. Putting together a line-up of 20 bikes is not the same as putting together a line-up of 20 bikes that can win races.

Will they have bikes capable of winning races in 5 years? Maybe. But not this year or next year or 2 or 3 years after that. Not because they won't try very hard. But because they haven't yet acquired the creative genius that is required to build world-class bikes. They will, someday, and Honda knows that. Honda knows its got maybe 5 years.

Why do the great majority of us buy big, harry-ass thumpers? To be able to sit on our bikes and dream. To sit on our bikes and plan The Next Big Trip/Race/Ride/Whatever.

Yeah, a bike is also "transportation" and Honda's entry-level "transportation" bikes will be feeling pressure soon. "Transportation" that is cheaper is often viewed as better. I've seen a family of 4, going down a street in India on a single, 50cc scooter. Seen that many times. That's transportation, and they're grateful for it, God bless em.

The people on this Forum do not dream about "transportation". We dream about and buy and tweak and talk about and write about big, harry-ass thumpers because the XR600/650R/L are world-class, win-races, carry-you-to-Panama-and-back legends. Legends aren't designed and built and tested in combat in a year or two. Honda knows that--cost base or no cost base--their premier street and dirt bikes are safe for now. If they are smart (and I think they are damn smart) they will keep they premier customers happy, for as long as humanly possible.

I've been wrong before and I could easily be wrong now. Time will tell.

Like several of you said, "I got mine".

  • rebelventurer

Posted October 21, 2006 - 06:52 PM

#22

Your absolutely right internal combustion! The question what will Honda do? I think only they know and yes they are damn smart, are they willing to invest in a bike that may never show a profit? 10 years ago there were not as many choices for a big quality thumper, nowadays there are several and more coming and Honda knows this and they can keep this segment of the market thriving or let it go to whoever builds that worldclass bike of the future. So what will Honda do? Time will tell. We all know what we want them to do, but then again were just sitting on those hairy ass thumpers dreaming! Best bet is to cover ourselves and get a couple of those hairy ass thumpers, while they are plentiful!

  • Thunderbug

Posted October 21, 2006 - 07:36 PM

#23

If motorcycles were like dogs I'd find a 650R and a 450X and breed them.

Than I'd keep the puppies.

  • InternalCombustion

Posted October 21, 2006 - 07:57 PM

#24

If motorcycles were like dogs I'd find a 650R and a 450X and breed them.

Than I'd keep the puppies.


I'll buy one if any are for sale. Hopefully they will have their mom's light weight and agility and their dad's toughness and longevity.

  • Thunderbug

Posted October 21, 2006 - 08:05 PM

#25

I'll buy one if any are for sale. Hopefully they will have their mom's light weight and agility and their dad's toughness and longevity.


If only Honda was listening....

  • Thunderbug

Posted October 21, 2006 - 08:07 PM

#26

If they did it right, it'd be the off road bike of the century.

  • InternalCombustion

Posted October 21, 2006 - 09:10 PM

#27

If they did it right, it'd be the off road bike of the century.


You hit the nail on the head. Some serious off-road design expertise would be required. Only Honda, and maybe Yamaha and KTM have that level of knowledge today. China may acquire it eventually. But not next year. Not for a while.

And make no mistake: Honda is listening to what we say.

  • rmhrc630

Posted October 21, 2006 - 09:31 PM

#28

You hit the nail on the head. Some serious off-road design expertise would be required. Only Honda, and maybe Yamaha and KTM have that level of knowledge today. China may acquire it eventually. But not next year. Not for a while.

And make no mistake: Honda is listening to what we say.


IC if I could take a swing at any Honda executive I would. I would love to ko some of them cos complete disrespect they have shown this segment is appalling. They have sat on their asses and continually used our goodwill.

They have been painfully pathetic in moving the brand forward.

What is Honda's offroad strategy?

Number 1?

An average bike?

Years ago Honda were number one and their quality awesome.

I dont know if it's the japanese executives or US ones but I am mad as hell they wont sell us current tech bikes.

Honda are lost. The people at the top are lost.

Step back to 1995.

KTM a minature company decide to revolutionise 4 strokes. Long term goals put in place. Success achieved in any metric you want to measure.

Honda - what have they done apart from build the CRF 450R which is a hell of a bike.

This tells me Honda really are like little lost sheep.

That is why I built my own - screw Honda for making me wait so long I say.

  • Chopp

Posted October 21, 2006 - 11:07 PM

#29

Well I am damn glad I just bought a 2006 XR650R the other day. I would be thoroughly pissed if Honda came out with some XR650R with e start, DS, and maybe not as choked next year.... but I would only be pissed for a minute...then I would run down to the dealer and buy one....

  • ThunderChicken

Posted October 21, 2006 - 11:55 PM

#30

Thunder Chook are you for real with the crf450 Baja info,can you give me a web site with that info or something so i can see for myself.


You just hear stuff... I got a couple of knowing nods from people in the know when I asked if 1X was going to be a 450. I could be wrong. I don't care about being wrong about the 1X bike because it has no effect on my plans.

I think it's absurd that a truely open class bike isn't going to be fielded by the only motorcycle manufacturer that actually competes in the world's longest non-stage race (you can argue BMW and others but you know that's anemic support at best)... but if you are looking for an answer, the answer is in the statement...

Honestly, I hope I'm wrong about the fate of the 650R in terms of appearing in next year's lineup. Honda would win back so many people if they brought that bike back as a off the dealer floor dual sport.

But you have to realize that Honda is more of a car company and less of a motorcycle company nowadays in this country. The motorcycle side has been on life support from the car side ever since the ATV lawsuits in the 80s. The company changed. The same people running the company today, in the United States, are the same people who were called baby killers by Barbara WaWa. That shit has an effect on you.

The reality today is Honda doesn't want to do anything that will upset it's car customers. The minivan driving NIMBYs who are swayed by Sierra Club calendars.

In the end, I think that Honda has conceeded the war, not the war for sales, not the war for market domination, but the war for our public lands and the demise of the 650 is the beginning of the end. I hope I'm wrong but every new "mx bike with lights" that appears in the lineup represents one more acknowledgement that a longtime advocate for OHV recreation on public lands has left our side to lick its wounds and focus on building hydrogen cars. Street bikes will always be there because those NIMBY minivan driving wives need something custom looking but realibly metric to keep their rotound husbands pacified.

We are being rounded up like the indians and forced to ride "Gran Prixs" which are basically glorified MX races and compete for space with the quad gods on what little land is left...who needs a 650cc bike for that?

And to be fair, everybody is singing for KTM... KTM this, KTM that.

As far as I can tell KTM is nothing more than a carpet bagger. Because the reality is, Honda, compared to the other manufactuers, stood alone for us for a long time. Honda has had somebody at the public lands stakeholders table since day one.

What has KTM done for you other than sell you a dirt bike?

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • rmhrc630

Posted October 22, 2006 - 12:30 AM

#31

You just hear stuff... I got a couple of knowing nods from people in the know when I asked if 1X was going to be a 450. I could be wrong. I don't care about being wrong about the 1X bike because it has no effect on my plans.

I think it's absurd that a truely open class bike isn't going to be fielded by the only motorcycle manufacturer that actually competes in the world's longest non-stage race (you can argue BMW and others but you know that's anemic support at best)... but if you are looking for an answer, the answer is in the statement...

Honestly, I hope I'm wrong about the fate of the 650R in terms of appearing in next year's lineup. Honda would win back so many people if they brought that bike back as a off the dealer floor dual sport.

But you have to realize that Honda is more of a car company and less of a motorcycle company nowadays in this country. The motorcycle side has been on life support from the car side ever since the ATV lawsuits in the 80s. The company changed. The same people running the company today, in the United States, are the same people who were called baby killers by Barbara WaWa. That shit has an effect on you.

The reality today is Honda doesn't want to do anything that will upset it's car customers. The minivan driving NIMBYs who are swayed by Sierra Club calendars.

In the end, I think that Honda has conceeded the war, not the war for sales, not the war for market domination, but the war for our public lands and the demise of the 650 is the beginning of the end. I hope I'm wrong but every new "mx bike with lights" that appears in the lineup represents one more acknowledgement that a longtime advocate for OHV recreation on public lands has left our side to lick its wounds and focus on building hydrogen cars. Street bikes will always be there because those NIMBY minivan driving wives need something custom looking but realibly metric to keep their rotound husbands pacified.

We are being rounded up like the indians and forced to ride "Gran Prixs" which are basically glorified MX races and compete for space with the quad gods on what little land is left...who needs a 650cc bike for that?

And to be fair, everybody is singing for KTM... KTM this, KTM that.

As far as I can tell KTM is nothing more than a carpet bagger. Because the reality is, Honda, compared to the other manufactuers, stood alone for us for a long time. Honda has had somebody at the public lands stakeholders table since day one.

What has KTM done for you other than sell you a dirt bike?




agree with ya all.

KTM though bring innovation that belies their size. They shoot above their weight and that is what I respect

  • weskc35k

Posted October 22, 2006 - 12:48 AM

#32

I hope you are a season or two from being right about the 1X thing ,as you say it makes no difference to my agendas but would an X go the distance and be fast enough for long duration high speed WFO stuff.
Anyway the replacement for the big XR would have to be Estart so fuel injection would be a must so it could be registered by being a cleaner bike,a capacity around 550 to early 600's so it has enough torque,USD's,an engine more modern than an XR but not as fragile as the X's and a an alloy frame and some fuel range.
Something like that.

  • Thunderbug

Posted October 22, 2006 - 04:45 AM

#33

If they were to just lighten the 650R and put a starter on it, that'd be all I'd need for anything offroad.

But their new open off road bike should have been more XR than CR.

I know one of the reasons has got to be parts sales/repairs on the 450 are way more profitable than the 650 mill.

650 runs forever and thats got to be the easiest engine in the world to maintain and repair.

  • MindBlower

Posted October 22, 2006 - 10:25 AM

#34

The "trend" has been there for the past decade for sure. But it's the explosion of China (and India and others) that has put the last nail in the coffin. And it's nothing to do with what the chinese are producing now, it's what they know will be there in 3 years, in 5 years, in 10 years. Just as with the Koreans, they are master COPIERS. They don't have to be innovative and create anything new or ground breaking. They just have to copy exactly what's there, and then sell it for significantly less.
If a manufacturer is R&D'ing a bike, they're looking at what it will pay them back over the next 10 years or more. Honda knows they won't sell 1,000 dirt bikes a year (or whatever figure it is) here in 10 years because the Chinese will be 95% as good and cost half as much. So there won't be follow ups to the current crop of bikes. this is very likely IT from the japanese brands unless they've got models that have been in the pipeline already. Innovation will come from KTM and others, the Chinese (and India soon) will copy and own the mass markets. Japan will make stay competetive in street bikes because the technology and materials and manufacturing are much more elite. But that time will come too, and too soon for most of us.
It isn't ANY different than what's happened to OUR manufacturing jobs. When the same job can be done for 10% of the labor costs here, you just can't compete with that.
I've read that CHINA is ALREADY getting undercut on it's labor costs by even lower developed but HUNGRY nations! Even India is now losing computer jobs, to even cheaper labor pools! They've only owned those markets for LESS THAN A DECADE! The advances in economic expectations and realities keep happening faster and faster.

  • MindBlower

Posted October 22, 2006 - 10:29 AM

#35

If they were to just lighten the 650R and put a starter on it, that'd be all I'd need for anything offroad.

But their new open off road bike should have been more XR than CR.

I know one of the reasons has got to be parts sales/repairs on the 450 are way more profitable than the 650 mill.

650 runs forever and thats got to be the easiest engine in the world to maintain and repair.


The 450 was an inevitable model after the scads of money they spent building a 4 stroke motorcrosser. They HAVE to be light as hell and stressed to the moon to compete with the 2 smokes. They have to amortize those costs over the largest market they can stretch it to. Aren't that many motocrossers. Thus the CFR's HAD to come about.

  • Cobalt650

Posted October 22, 2006 - 11:38 AM

#36

As a life-long Honda family, with the exception of a garage full of Yamaha snowmobiles, I'll be picking up a DS this winter/spring. I may just have one shot at it, for the forseeable future with three little kiddos and some extended work trips to far away silly hot sand box places coming up. It sure would be nice to know if a new DS was coming from Big Red, or it the XR650L is the best ticket. I'm silly particular about my toys once we get them, and it could very well be a 10-15 year purchase. So if monitoring, Big Red, feel free to PM me:):mad:

  • rmhrc630

Posted October 22, 2006 - 02:26 PM

#37

I hope you are a season or two from being right about the 1X thing ,as you say it makes no difference to my agendas but would an X go the distance and be fast enough for long duration high speed WFO stuff.
Anyway the replacement for the big XR would have to be Estart so fuel injection would be a must so it could be registered by being a cleaner bike,a capacity around 550 to early 600's so it has enough torque,USD's,an engine more modern than an XR but not as fragile as the X's and a an alloy frame and some fuel range.
Something like that.


In a 1000km race the R or the X will be fine - if modified appropriatley. My 450R has run down the Mt Buller road at 100km/hr for 20 minutes and is fine. I do run much extra oil capacity but this is something Honda is already aware of.

So all Honda has to do (for their Monday morning marketing guys) is make the R or the X last 1000miles or km. This is really not that difficult. Once they do that who cares if it completely falls to bits i mile later? The marketing guys will have their posters and be able to start selling their 450Rs or 450Xs by saying they win at Baja.

  • weskc35k

Posted October 23, 2006 - 06:49 AM

#38

rmhrc630 100kays for 20 minutes is not the same as WFO in deep sand for extended periods,man i'm sure you've seen the D to G vid can an x do that stuff.

  • churchman2003c

Posted October 23, 2006 - 07:55 AM

#39

I got tired of waiting for Honda to update the 650L, so I bought a new VStrom 650- I know it's not as dirt-worthy as the Honda.

That being said, if/when Honda updates the L with more than just Bold New Graphics, I'll sell the Suzuki and buy the L.

  • InternalCombustion

Posted October 23, 2006 - 10:42 AM

#40

I am sorry but I cannot buy the "China" argument. Yes, as stated earlier I know China will be a global force in performance motos, but not for years yet. Otherwise Honda would not have license agreements in place with China (and India) to allow them to produce locally some 2.6M Honda-badged "transportation" bikes in 2006. If China has to license transportation bikes, how far away are they from world-class, "I-want-to-buy-one-of-those!" performance bikes? A long way away.

And the KTM argument also flies in the face of the "higher cost-base" argument. KTM is (for the most part) manufactured in Austria, no cost advantage there.

Again, imho this is Honda's game to lose. The end of this story is not cast in concrete. Yet.

When Japanese manufacturers (Honda, Toyota and Datsun) began selling their cars in the US 30 years ago, it caused major headaches for Detroit. Lots of poeple lost their jobs and had to re-educate and find a new line of work. The ones that remained figured out how to do their jobs better: making cars and trucks that people wanted to buy again.

Long term, yes, Honda and the other manufacturers will have competition from China. Longterm. Shorterm, Honda has bigger worries, and that is from its own in-country competitors.

Honda sold roughly about 265,000 two-wheeled vehicles in the US in 2004. The next biggest Asian-based competitor was Yamaha with 150,000 units sold in the US. Its next biggest competitor anywhere was Harley Davidson, with 250,000 units sold in the US. I don't have to tell anyone Harley Davidson does NOT compete on price. They compete for your heart. They compete for your dreams. They know their customer base as well--or better--than any manufacturer in the world. Yeah, they make blunders, and yeah they piss off people from time to time. But for the most part they work very hard to understand what makes their customers and potential customers itch, and then figure out what they can make that will scratch that itch.

Honda is no stranger to this game. Look at the Goldwing, the VFR800, the Rune, the new 600RR. Honda knows how to innovate. As we've all stated, the problem with the XR650R was that nobody was beating the bike in its intended environment: no need to improve it! And the L? Its generally recognized as the most dirt-capable DS platform in general production. Are there better DS bikes out there? Yes. Can you get parts for them while on your road-trip to Lima, Peru? Nope. Again, the L does not have much in the way of real-world competition, in its intended segment.

So again, I would be astounded (and greatly dis-heartened) if Honda abandoned the open-class Thumper market. As we've all stated, the key to their success in this market is do exactly or similar to what they did with the 450R: develop an open-class replacement that can easily wear two or three or four different hats... desert racer, adventure bike, dual-sport commuter, and maybe open-class motard. The R&D to evole the 650R into maybe a 680-700cc platform that would satisfy these variants would be an engineering walk-in-the-park for Honda. It would be one of the cheaper new-model-intros they've done in a long time. Heck, the CFR150R development cost was probably more than this would cost!

If I were Honda, while I was planning the intro for the new open-class thumper, I would spend some R&D money assembling an "Adventure Bike" catalog. No, this isn't far-fetched, think about it: It took Honda about 4-5 years before they decided to sell a Goldwing with factory luggage. Craig Vetter made his fortune in those 5 years, then Honda got smart. My bet is Honda is going to get smart on the potential "adventure bike" market. And we will be the winners of those smarts. :mad: :mad: :mad:

In any case, I am not pulling my bet on Honda, just yet.





Related Content

Forums
Photo

Engine Loping/Sputtering by tcaldwell


Dirt Bike   Make / Model Specific   Honda   XR600/650
  • 2 replies
Forums
Photo

XR650L super moto wheels by greggkklee


Dirt Bike   Make / Model Specific   Honda   XR600/650
  • Hot  28 replies
Wiki
Want to add a kickstart to your XR650L?  Here's how - last post by clc3251

Want to add a kickstart to your XR650L? Here's how


Articles
  • 0 replies
Forums
Photo

ignitech programmable XR650L CDI by brianhare


Dirt Bike   Make / Model Specific   Honda   XR600/650
  • Hot  60 replies
Forums
Photo

Wiseco 101MM Spark Knock Low Engine Temps by imandrewparks


Dirt Bike   Make / Model Specific   Honda   XR600/650
  • 7 replies
 
x

Join Our Community!

Even if you don't want to post, registered members get access to tools that make finding & following the good stuff easier.

If you enjoyed reading about "" here in the ThumperTalk archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join ThumperTalk today!

The views and opinions expressed on this page are strictly those of the author, and have not been reviewed or approved by ThumperTalk.