Suzuki School's 'Market Awareness 101' is in session
Wow, the Bandit is a steal.
All you guys who were talking for the past months about sensible bikes the manufacturers don't make, here they are and go buy them. You have no excuse not to at these prices. The Bandit, WeeStrom and SV650 are targeted at you. I know where I'm going if I need a commuter - straight to a DL650 with ABS.
Suzuki is very much on the ball with the distribution of ABS on the street/commuter oriented models and skipping it on the 'hard core' sportbikes. The same goes for the noticeable (and wise) absence of linked braking systems. I'm not saying we're better than them, I'm just saying that the perception of most riders is 'skip it' and Suzuki's listening.
I daresay Honda could learn a thing or two here: bikes that have the features people want, are relatively inexpensive, and perform. Actually that's a thing or three, but it's sort of a grab bag so take what you will. Down with technology for technology's sake, which seems to be Honda's corporate mentality these days. However, that's just my opinion.
Gawd almighty that M109 is ugly though. U-G-L-Y-ugly (clapclap-clap) You ugly! (clapclap-clap) You ugly!
Gixxer updates were a given. The SV abs is a great add. The bike that is of the most interest is the "New" Bandit. Wish they would have put a nice USD fork on the front to make it look 21st century. But pricing is everything. Bet its a fun bike. I had an old 98 Bandit for a minute. Wonderful daily commuting bike. Hope this one live up to that.
Re: Suzuki School's 'Market Awareness 101' is in session
I like this ultra modern design. But then I loved the Rune also, which has drawn plenty of critisism from the stylistically most backward segment of the motoring public (=longride). The traffic cone glued on the front looks odd but I reserve final judgement when I see one in live. Rear quarter view is best ever.
Looks like the Bandit will be a moderate success. Standards have yet to top the sales charts, in this country at least, yet they can be a solid addition to any manufacturers line provided the design guys get it mostly right to begin with. There are probably a few younger riders attracted to this style motorcycle, but for the most part the target audience is probably fortyish and over. These are the people the builders need to pay attention too. I am recently retired, and starting to ramp up my riding, including longer road trips. I want comfort and luggage, but dont feel like I am ready to join the "Wingers". I still want something light and this new Bandit with ABS is tickling my fancy, at a time when my fancy is in need of tickling. Hmmm, can I say that in here?
If you look at the photos, it sure looks like a proper ABS system...
The interesting thing is that it is cheaper on the DL. The DL has always been a "budget GS", where you could buy one, upgrade the suspension, add luggage, and have enough $$$ over to buy a SECOND one for the same price as a GS bimmer.
The one weakness was a lack of ABS, which is now corrected. IF we didn't ALREADY have a WeeStrom, we'd be getting one...
I think the WeeStrom ABS is cheaper relative to the SV because Suzuki thinks more people will buy it. THe type who buy the DL are largely those who rack up the miles on an all-rounder, and would therefore like the ABS. On the SV, fewer people will demand it so Suzuki compensates by having a slightly higher price.
In designing the M109, Suzuki made a cruicial mistake in ignoring one of the tenets of V-twin cruiser aesthetics: It has to sound right.
You can incorporate all manner of modern technology -- liquid cooling, double-overhead cams, fuel injection, etc. -- but don't mess with the single-pin crankshaft.
The loping, syncopated beat of a single-crankpin V-twin is the source of both its troublesome vibration and its charming aural signature.
Primary vibration can be mitigated with heavy crank counterweights or flywheel; secondary vibration can be held at bay with counter-rotating balancers. And both types of vibration can be isolated with rubber mounting.
But removing those vibrations by having the connecting rods ride on separate crankpins and thus providing even firing is akin to castration.
What does an even-firing two-cylinder engine sound like? Think lawn tractor. When you add aftermarket pipes to a twin-pin engine, all you succeed in doing is making it sound like a large lawn tractor with a bad muffler.
By going the twin-pin route, both Suzuki and Honda have turned their cruiser lines into armies of muscle-bound eunuchs.
Honda thankfully resurrected at least one single-pin model, the VTX1300. Kawasaki and Yamaha have kept the faith by retaining the requisite lope in their Vulcan and Star models.
Hmmm.... of the the F650 and GS riders I've talked to, they unanimously say the whole ABS system is a pain, especially for DP riding (on street opinions are mixed), so it doesn't interest me for a DL650. Though I guess I'll have to actually try an ABS bike one of these days to see. I find stopping with a traditional system easy enough if you have good rubber and an brake pads that aren't too powerful for street use (i.e., not going for uber grip track pads).
On a side vent... I know Suzuki's renown for not changing certain cheaper models (Katana & GS550 come to mind.) unless they're their top-sellers, but I wish Suzuki would actually update the DL650 instead of just adding a feature, or it's going to be eaten by the new Tiger.
Let's see, so far this year Ducati, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Triumph, Guzzi, Aprilia, Yamaha...all offer at least one bike I'd like to own if I were a rich robber baron. Honda however, as usual........big yawn.
Maybe if some of these new ideas the others are offering pan out then Honda might offer a copy in a couple of years and call it innovation. So far all I've seen is that new CB1000 that's targetted at people who were waiting for a slightly detuned air/oil-cooled Bandit 1200.....Zzzzzzzzz.......
Good points, however Suzuki and Kawasaki are quite tiny compared to Honda and Yamaha but still seem to offer more updates each year. When I consider the massive resources of Yamaha and Honda compared to everyone else I can only wonder at their relative timidity.
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