Yamaha Motor Company could face a firestorm of protest over a controversial design decision on its 2003 model YZF-R6 motorcycle. The dispute arises over the decision to specify 5-spoke wheels on its U.S. spec models, while units destined for the rest of the world receive lighter, and, some argue, better-looking 3-spoke wheels.
When asked about the decision at the North American unveiling of the bike, Yamaha spokesman Yoshihiro Akebono stated simply "Frankly, we got cold feet. Consumers are getting too large. With the current lawsuits against fast food companies, we decided that it was only a matter of time before we faced legal issues related to the structural suitability of our products to the North American market. Our entire product line is being tailored to the current average weight of the consumer. We estimate that for every extra 20 pounds a consumer carries, we need to add about 2 pounds to the bike to make it able to cope with the increased load."
This decision comes at a critical time for Yamaha, which is locked in a fierce struggle for supersport dominance, one in which weight is a critical factor. The lighter bikes are becoming more structurally challenged with every passing year. As Akebono bluntly puts it: "Put down the chips, turn off SpeedVision, and go for a ride. Oh, and take the MSF course and eat your broccoli, too."
In related news potato and corn chip manufacturers filed a defamation lawsuit yesterday in federal court against Yamaha Motor Corp. Their suit claims "It's not the chips, it's the couch."
In even less likely news, several major couch manufacturers filed suit today against the Frito-Lay company...
I agree. Intense competition is forcing the manufacturers to implement design changes for the sake of change. Everybody knows NEWER IS BETTER. The changes often result in lower production costs as well. The downside is low resale value for perfectfully good late model sportbikes.