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The Japanese Ought to be Ashamed!! — 3 Comments

  1. I think the general complaint here is the lack of competition. Its competition that forces improvements in products and price. The Japanese companies focus a lot of engineering on sport bikes and we’ve seen much advancement in that segment. The dual-sport segment is moving much slower due to the lack of competition. KTMs are far from perfect, but so are all the offerings from Japan. I think you know this as well as anybody. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the KLR be updated every 2 or 3 years rather than every 15? It would force KTM to up its game too.

    I think your argument about price is not too accurate. There are plenty of guys out there that are slapping down some big bucks, so people are willing to pay if Japan can get the product out there.

    • My perception is that there has been competition because we’ve had multiple options from multiple European manufacturers for quite some time now. I’m not saying more competition isn’t good but the fact that the Japanese aren’t competing doesn’t mean there isn’t competition. BMW, KTM, Husqvarna, GasGas, and Husaberg have all produced competitive, modern thumpers in recent years.

      It would be nice if the Japanese decided to competed – more choices are a good thing for the consumer. But the fact is the Japanese manufacturers have chosen not to compete. In the meantime, the fact that the Japanese manufacturers don’t compete doesn’t prevent riders who really want a modern dual sport thumper from getting one.

      Until the modern dual sport thumpers from Europe outsell the old school Japanese dual sports I will remain skeptical of your argument that price is not the driving factor. The top 3 dual sport bikes sold are the KLR, DRZ, and DR. The number of guys slapping down big bucks for a KTM are dwarfed by the number of guys slapping down small bucks for a dual sport from the Big 4 Japanese manufacturers. The KLR has been the #1 best selling dual sport for many years and outsells #2 and #3 combined. When a KTM dual sport model (or one from any other Euro bike maker) starts outselling the KLR it will be a sea change, in my opinion.

  2. I think America has learned a lot about the European industry. Like cars, Europe sells dual sports with all the bells and whistles, modern technology and the power to boot. But, you get European prices not just on the vehicle, but on parts, mods, and maintenance. Americans have come to accept that Japanese automobiles, and motorcycles alike are very reliable at a lower price, compared to their European counterpart.

    I would say 90% of the complaints of the Japanese dual sport offerings could be cleared up with 3 simple fixes. EFI, 6th gear, bump in power. The power bump doesn’t need to compete with Beta or KTM/Husq. It just needs to be better than it was 15 years ago.

    I personally am looking hard at a KTM 500EXC. But at the same time looking hard at the WR250R. Why? These bikes are a far cry in capability. Yet, the little WR has everything it should to have fun. If Yamaha had a WR450R with comparable power/displacement as the coveted 250, I would have already bought one. In fact, many many people wouldn’t even be reading this.

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