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Old 07-21-2014, 10:39 AM   #1
Neon Samurai
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Honda - Why?

http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/fe...nda_megaphone/

Quote:
Today the company makes everything from lawn mowers to jet planes, but Honda started as a motorcycle company, and founder Soichiro Honda was, first and foremost, a motorcycle enthusiast. The bespectacled Mr. Honda, so reserved in regular life, loved nothing more than blowing minds with outrageous machines like the screaming six-cylinder RC166 racer from the '60s, the mass-production tour de force CB750, or futuristic V-4 Interceptors that revolutionized sportbikes in the mid-'80s.

MCY0814 MEGA RC166 RC166
Honda's motorcycles were always thrilling, but none was finer than the 1992 NR750. With its jewel-like, 32-valve, oval-piston V-4, titanium connecting rods, side-mounted radiators, carbon-fiber bodywork, upside-down fork, and other assorted exotica, the $50K price seemed reasonable. At a time when BMW was still a buttoned-down touring-bike maker and Ducati had only recently adopted liquid cooling, Honda was the ultimate arbiter of motorcycle technology. If you were a performance enthusiast, you were a Honda enthusiast too.

Fast-forward two decades and the Honda narrative couldn't be more changed. Performance seems like an afterthought. The core CBRs have soldiered on with little more than minor changes for more than six seasons. With the exception of beginner-oriented bikes like the CBR250R and various CB500s—and the adorable Grom!—Honda can't be called the clear market leader in any category, not even touring.

HOMEPAGE MCY0814 MEGA NR750 NR750
This isn't for lack of trying. Honda is spending cubic dollars developing new product—it's just that these new designs are all but unrecognizable to conventional motorcycle enthusiasts like us. Honda's NM4 (NM for "new motorcycle," in contrast to the NR's "new racer" designation) is a perfect example, a Strangelovian scooter-motorcycle hybrid with an automatic transmission and a friggin' backrest! This on the heels of the future-bagger CTX700 and CTX1300—more bizarro big-wheeled scooters—and the über-commuter NC700X, Honda's current impression of an "adventure" bike. Tune in, Tokyo…

Where's the brave company that introduced us to mass centralization with the awesome 1992 CBR900RR? The Honda that ruled WSBK racing with ultra-trick homologation specials like the RC30 and RC45 then beat Ducati at its own game with the mega-twin RC51? Not to mention unforgettable cult bikes like the CB400F Super Sport, CB-1, Hawk GT, Transalp, GB500, and many, many more?

In the shout-logic of America's favorite Oprah-endorsed pop-psychologist, Dr. Phil, "It's not about you!" Honda simply isn't building bikes for us anymore. Faced with ever-increasing pressure regarding emissions, economy, and resource scarcity, Honda is shifting focus from performance to practicality. At the same time it's shifting focus from Western markets to predominantly Asian markets where two-thirds of the world's population—and the bulk of future consumer demand—is centered. Raised on scooters and riding in congested urban environs that look nothing like where we ride, the machines are evolving to suit their tastes, not ours.

I imagine a group of young Honda designers in a hostess club down some darkened Tokyo alley, swigging sake, high-fiving each other, shouting, "We nailed it!" There's probably a 17-year-old manga enthusiast in Jakarta or Singapore downloading an NM4 background image on his smartphone right now. Meanwhile, we sit here wondering why the CBR1000RR still doesn't have traction control and why the 600 makes less horsepower than it did in 2007. WTH, Honda?

It's not a pleasant thought, the idea of being phased out, left behind, retired into irrelevance while one of our most-loved manufacturers moves on to more lucrative spaces. Hopefully, this isn't permanent. Hopefully, these brave new experiments in transportation will capture a new cohort of two-wheeled enthusiasts and cut a new path from scooters to NM4s to premium sportbikes, tourers, and cruisers. Hopefully, the long-rumored, road-going version of the RC213V MotoGP racer will finally appear as a "halo" product to draw new buyers to CB500s—or maybe the supercharged four-cylinder concept leaked in this month's Up To Speed section will surface and make us forget the NM4 for good. We're not ready to give up on Honda yet.



Read more: http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/fe...#ixzz387NDTwsu
I have to hit, Honda has been making some CRAZY bikes in the last few years.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:10 PM   #2
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WHAT?!??!?! 8 whole hours and no second from BEVO? Set your affairs in order people, the world is about to end.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:25 PM   #3
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The same could be said for all the big 4 Japanese brands, except for maybe Kawasaki (but it's a Kawasaki). Ever since the economic recession, the big 4 fell on their face, and have yet to return. European brands have gladly stepped in though to fill those shoes. The days of 2 year model revisions for supersports, are all but gone. That's why when the S1000RR hit, everyone claimed it was the greatest thing ever. People were hungry. It's just that a company actually invested money in a new design, and brought something different to the table. Every other manufacturer was afraid to invest the r&d and development money in a product that could potentially fail. Remember, Suzuki didn't even import bikes into the country in 2010. I'd like to buy a new CBR 600RR, but the one I had in 2008 is virtually the same one today. It might have BPF or new bodywork, but it's essentially the same bike that hit floors in 2007. People expect a slipper clutch, a quickshifter, and electronics these days, all of which the CBR lack. R6 same story, sure it has undergone slight revisions but that bike goes back to 2006. I'd like to buy a GSXR 750, but that bike could be a lot better than it is too given it had some competition, and Suzuki had a desire to make it better. How long have people been waiting for Honda to release a V-4 superbike now? Go ahead and cater to the other markets, and those creations off on the US at a relatively exuberant price so long as you change the name (Grom). I'll vote with my money, and not buy their stagnant product that cost more to get comparatively less.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Classax View Post
WHAT?!??!?! 8 whole hours and no second from BEVO? Set your affairs in order people, the world is about to end.
I want to hear how awesome the EBR is. Honda doesn't need me to defend them. They're some money making mother . MotoGP, baby
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:20 PM   #5
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That whole article made me think of something I noticed a couple of weeks ago while watching a MotoGP race...
At tracks around the world you don't see any advertising from American companies, they're all companies that we don't hear of or see products from in the U.S.
Having said that, I know somebody will show me that there was an advertisement for an American company somewhere along a track but, the point is, the U.S. isn't even on the map anymore.
Apparently Honda has noticed that too.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bevo View Post
I want to hear how awesome the EBR is. Honda doesn't need me to defend them. They're some money making mother . MotoGP, baby
There's the Bevo we all know! Whew! had us worried there for a second. Its alright people return to your regularly scheduled lives.

The EBR is actually getting better. At least mine is anyway. The WSBk effort needs to be run by Americans in my opinion, the guys they have working it for them overseas simply don't know what the heck they are doing. Looking forward to the TT next year. We should have a great team for it with a few mods to the bike.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Classax View Post
We should have a great team for it with a few mods to the bike.
Who's we?
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Old 07-22-2014, 12:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Habernatho View Post
The same could be said for all the big 4 Japanese brands, except for maybe Kawasaki (but it's a Kawasaki). Ever since the economic recession, the big 4 fell on their face, and have yet to return. European brands have gladly stepped in though to fill those shoes. The days of 2 year model revisions for supersports, are all but gone. That's why when the S1000RR hit, everyone claimed it was the greatest thing ever. People were hungry. It's just that a company actually invested money in a new design, and brought something different to the table. Every other manufacturer was afraid to invest the r&d and development money in a product that could potentially fail. Remember, Suzuki didn't even import bikes into the country in 2010. I'd like to buy a new CBR 600RR, but the one I had in 2008 is virtually the same one today. It might have BPF or new bodywork, but it's essentially the same bike that hit floors in 2007. People expect a slipper clutch, a quickshifter, and electronics these days, all of which the CBR lack. R6 same story, sure it has undergone slight revisions but that bike goes back to 2006. I'd like to buy a GSXR 750, but that bike could be a lot better than it is too given it had some competition, and Suzuki had a desire to make it better. How long have people been waiting for Honda to release a V-4 superbike now? Go ahead and cater to the other markets, and those creations off on the US at a relatively exuberant price so long as you change the name (Grom). I'll vote with my money, and not buy their stagnant product that cost more to get comparatively less.
Nice post.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by The Habernatho View Post
The same could be said for all the big 4 Japanese brands, except for maybe Kawasaki (but it's a Kawasaki). .


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Old 07-22-2014, 05:05 PM   #10
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That article reads more like someone who is upset at Honda because they know they are capable of doing more but they just don't see it happening.

But behind the scenes Honda is doing more to advance the internal combustion engine powered motorcycle to being capable of meeting the future than the others.

It's kinda tough to expect them to churn out updates at the sane time when just a few years back they had huge discounts offered just to clear inventory, and afterwhich the country has been hit by earthquake, sunami, and typhoons and pays over 5x the energy cost as the rest of us and is still working to restore their energy generation capability.

So right now they are positioning themselves for what is next. Tightening emissions controls that threaten even the four stoke ICE as we know it.

Last year Europe passed laws that require all motorcycles be Euro4 standard by 2016 and Euro5 by 2020. Theses are the emissions standards currently applied to cars. A high hurdle to expect from a motorcycle and the largest step change since the laws which saw the two stroke disappear from road use.

The effect this will have will be significant and global spillover unavoidable. Below is a link to where it can be read about further.

http://transportpolicy.net/index.php...les:_Emissions

Some additional highlights:

- Requirement for OBD (on board diagnostics). Sensors to continuously monitor CO, NOx and hydrocarbon levels from exhaust, throughout life of vehicle.

- Requirement for manufactures to make design to prevent tampering. Such that no performance increasing modifications can be made to power train that results in increase power, torque, or top speed.

- ABS required by 2016/17, or alternate option of combined front and rear brake system.

A lot of the research being published is towards becoming more energy efficient and towards meeting these standards. See last years SAE small engine conference list of papers and abstracts. Honda is by far producing the most papers on engine efficency.

http://www.setc-jsae.com/setc2013_docs/SETC2013_TS.pdf

We cannot exactly blame them for not introducing performance upgrades when such machines are being legislated out of existence.

Also the article says Asia is their focus market but I was surprised to see throughout Korea and China that only electric motorcycles and scooters were allowed in city centers. If Honda is focusing on Asia it is to retain market share from the first wave threatening the ICE motorcycle.


As for Motogp. Honda is the best in motogp because they have the best technology, most efficient engine and better software control algorithm, than the others. A look at their control system can be seen here:
http://papers.sae.org/2012-32-0123/

And the series sees major sponsorsip and support from more US owned companies than any other single country. MonstorEngy, Hertz, Dunlop, Oakley, Stanley, Dewalt, FedEx.
http://www.motogp.com/en/sponsors


Finally to end an already long response, it seems fitting to copy below Mr. Honda's famous letter (translated of course), where he states his goals, having established a stable consumer product, to foucs all their attention towards developmnt and racing at the Isle of Man with the intention to gain ground from the European brands.


March 20, 1954,

Some five years have passed since the founding of our Honda Motor Co., and I never cease to rejoice that the efforts of all our employees have taken form in the achievement of our epoch-making advances.

Since I was a small child, one of my dreams has been to compete in motor vehicle races all over the World with a vehicle of my own making, and to win. However, before I can become victor over the whole world, I must first, of course, assure the security of the business, obtain precision machinery and equipment, and create superior designs. I have, therefore, been devoting myself entirely to these points, and working to present superior practical vehicles to our customers in this country. Consequently, I have not had any free time for turning my energy to motorcycle racing until today.

Now, however, reports on the recent international motorcycle race held in Sao Paulo have provided me with detailed information on the situation in the countries of Europe and America. I had thought that I was seeing the world with a fair degree of realism, without being caught up in fixed ideas, but now I realize that, after all, I have been blinded by my excessive feeling for Japan in its present situation. Even now, the world is advancing at tremendous speed. Conversely, however, as I have always felt, I am filled with an abundant, unshakable confidence that I can win. The fighting spirit that is my nature will no longer allow me to continue turning away.
Now that we are equipped with a production system in which I have absolute confidence, the time of opportunity has arrived. I have reached the firm decision to enter the TT races next year.

Never before has a Japanese entered this race with a motorcycle made in Japan. It goes without saying that the winner of this race will be known across the globe, but the same is also true for any vehicle that completes the entire race safely. It is said, therefore, that the fame of such an achievement will assure a certain volume of exports, and that is why every major manufacturer in Germany, England, Italy, and France is concentrating on preparations with all its might.

I will fabricate a 250cc (medium class) racer for this race, and as the representative of our Honda Motor Co., I will send it out into the spotlight of the world. I am confidend that this vehicle can reach speeds exceeding 180km/h. When this engine is completed on the basis of our company’s creativity, it will be no exaggeration whatsoever to say that it will rank at the world’s highest levels of engineering. Since the motorcycle, a shining star of modern heavy industry, is a comprehensive business, it will require the highest engineering level not only of the engine, but also of tires, chains, carburetors and other parts. To achieve this, it must be supported by meticulous attention to detail and unremitting effort.

I address all employees!

Let us bring together the full strength of Honda Motor Co. to win through to this glorious achievement. The future of Honda Motor Co. depends on this, and the burden rests on your shoulders. I want you to turn your surging enthusiasm to this task, endure every trial, and press through with all the minute demands of work and research, making this your own chosen path. The advances made by Honda Motor Co. are the growth you achieve as human beings, and your growth is what assures our Honda Motor Co. its future.

The scrupulous care that is required when tightening a single screw, and the commitment that refuses to waste a single sheet of paper: these are what will open the way before you, and prepare our route for Honda Motor Co. Fortunately, our outside contractors, our agents, and our banks have given us their generous cooperation. I’m, moreover, blessed with customers who join us as well to help concentrate our entire power on this point.

I see that Germany, though like us defeated in the war, has industries that are reviving, and feel more than ever that our Motor Co. must, above all, enter this race and complete it.

We must gauge the true worth of the Japanese machine industry to raise it to a point where we can display it proudly to the entire world. The mission of Honda Motor Co. is to enlighten Japanese industry.

With this, I announce my determination, and pledge you that I put my entire heart and soul, and turn all my creativity and skill to the task of entering TT Races and winning them.

This I affirm.

Soichiro Honda
President, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
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Last edited by kenup283; 07-22-2014 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:44 PM   #11
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I wish the CEO of the company I work for, could see that letter and take from it inspiration of how to speak to the employees and get them to work together for the success of the company.
Maybe I should print it out and send it to him.
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