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language lesson;



Kawasaki means River (kawa) Bank (saki)

Suzuki means Bell (suzu) Tree (ki)

BTW,

Honda means Main (Hon) Rice field (da)

Yamaha means Mountain (Yama) Leaf (ha)





"Kawa-zuki" wouldn't be a correct combination.

should be more like Kawa-ki or Suzu-Saki
 

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The Toad
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By fully utilizing both parties’ combined resources, Suzuki and Kawasaki made it possible to co-develop new product in a short period. This is another milestone accomplished by both companies through their business alliance next to on-going mutual OEM products supply.

This is a very long-winded way of saying, "Our sales numbers really suck and we're trying desperately to remain competitive. Our chances look grim."

(Disclaimer: The following comment is not meant as any sort of chop or criticism of Yamaha.)

Which is too bad. Both Kawasaki and Suzuki each offer more models and choices than Yamaha. In fact, Yamaha's model line-up is somewhat slim compared to the other three Japanese manufacturers. A lot of them are variations of two bikes, the V-Star and the Road Star. Even Triumph has nearly as large a selection of streetbikes as Yamaha. And Yamaha's prices tend to be higher than Kawazukis. So, why does Yamaha dominate in sales so much? Their bikes aren't any better than the smaller two manufacturer's. Better surveying and marketting, probably.

Or maybe aliens are involved somehow.
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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For a time the Japanese put Norton, BSA, Triumph, and many others out of business. It was just a matter of time before they put each other under. Instead of developing better bikes across the range, these two skimp on other types so they can redesign their 600's and 1000's AGAIN. If anybody wonders why Harley isn't making sportbikes, all they need to do is look at this unholy union and why it exists.
 

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Regarding your analysis of Kawasaki and Suzuki, I've thought the exact same thing since they first announced their alliance. My uneducated guess is that in the future (long term, like 10 years or more from now) they will just do a "full merge" into one manufacturer.
 

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I think much of it comes down to styling. IMO Kawi and Suzuk's sportbikes are great but totally bland in the styling department. Both companies cruisers are awful looking. (the Mean Streak is a step in the right direction save for the stupid name.)



Yamaha's sportbikes are virtual works of art, expecially the R-1. The Road Star is probably the nicest looking metric cruiser out there.



In my brief time in bikes sales, all the squids would roll up on totally customized R-1s and R-6s. They weren't really interested in anything else.



I sold a few GSXR750s to pure sportbike guys who were more interested in riding than customizing. Ninjas got very little action on the sales floor.
 

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Suzuki sportbikes sell pretty well up here, their cruisers are, I think butt-ug, same with Kawasaki; quite a few Ninja's, ton's of dirt bikes, not so many cruisers. I see more BMW's and Harley's than anything else.
 

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Which brings up the rumor of Harley buying cannondale's dirt bike division. If it takes 2 of the Jap manufacturers to join together to compete in this feild how does Harley think they can. This is the second most competetive feild in motorcycles (IMHO), next to sport bikes. These bike are on every year revisions lately; and if Harley thinks they can compete here, then why not go full bore into street sport bikes. Most squidley type would love an American designed bike, even if they give up 0.0005% performance to the japs.
 

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As you know I'm the Kiwi that posts to this forum. Down here Suzuki sells well, purely on price - they sell them cheap. I've been a Honda man for 30 years and would always look at a Honda first because of their quality and well thought out designs. I'm talking here fit and finish and ease of serviceability. In NZ though Honda have been a bit slack with having only a limited range of bikes available. I wanted an electric start 250 dirt bike 4 years ago and even tried to convince the importers to bring in the XR250L to no avail, so frustrated I went and bought a DR250R Suzuki. My experience with it is quite clearly this - it is like a parts bin special compared to a Honda. While it looks good it's when you delve deeper you find the issues. Try to apply a grease gun to all the rear suspension linkage nipples - they fitted one right behind a frame tube - so I changed it to a 45 deg angle one. Then they are all accessed from the left side of the bike - push hard on the grease gun and you are likely to topple the bike off the stand. Honda gets these things right - my old XR everything was totally accessible - you greased it from the right hand side and your weight pushed against the side stand. Try draining the Suzuki's carb - the drain screw hides behind and engine oil feed line, my old Honda had it easily accessed. The Suzuki comes with adjustable ride height rear suspension linkage. Only problem is when you left the weight off the rear as you would to remove the bolt, the bloody thing is then behind the linkage arm, so I had to remove half of the rear suspension linkage to make the adjustment. As I keep saying - Honda doesn't make bikes like that - they are properly thought out and designed.



I can't really comment on Yamahas as I haven't owned one, but they are bringing out the electric start WR250 and WR450 so I will have a close look at them if Honda don't hurry up and make their dirt bikes electric start.



I suspect Yamahas are almost up there with Honda on the quality side and I am guessing that's the key difference. Suzukis and Kawasakis don't have the same reputation and never will and this alliance only cements peoples thoughts that they are struggling to compete.



That's my two cents worth.



Merv.
 

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Re: Kawa-zuki 4-stroke forget them get a 2-Trac

Just read the story below - looks like I need a Yamaha WR with 2-Trac. That would be great with our steep hills and slippery wet conditions - not too many deserts in NZ.

Merv.
 

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Language barrier

Instructive here to note that Japanese borrowed a LOT of its written characters from Chinese. For example, the Japanese characters for "emergency exit" look like "abnormal mouth" in Chinese.

Therefore, Kawi and Suzook should move their plant to Mexico.

Yup.
 

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Merv, you used a lot of words to say Honda is good, Yamaha is probably ok and Suzuki and Kawasaki suck. Many would disagree and I'm one of them. You say you've been a "Honda man" for 30 years. That takes us back to 1973, the year Honda's 750 was pretty much blown away by Kawaskai's Z1. Of course the Honda gave away some displacement in that one. Then in 1976, along comes the Suzuki GS750. Same displacement and guess what? The old proven Honda is pretty much blown away again. Did you know that 1976 was the year Suzuki started building 4 strokes? I started riding Suzuki's in 1979 when the GS850G was introduced. Remember that little gem? Check out the GS Resources website sometime to see if anyone likes their old GS series Suzukis. We've got a 1978 GS1000E in the garage. It still looks like new and is a joy to ride. But is it easy to work on? Yes. Valve adjustments, oil changes, draining the carbs......simple as simple could be. Have you ever tried to pull the carbs off a CBX ( a REAL CBX, the 6 cylinder model) How about setting the valves on that VFR750. Pretty quick and simple. How about some of those quality parts on Honda's. The 1979 CB750F came with lovely nylon bushings in the swing arm pivots. What were Suzuki's using? Needle bearings. Hmmmm. Jump forward a few years to the 1980's and we've got the GS1100 and Honda has another of their 1 year specials, the CB1100F. Wasn't the 550 CBX made that same year? Maybe you never got that one in New Zealand if you were lucky. How about moving ahead another couple years. I bought a GSXR1100 in 1986. Still have it with over 110,000kms on it. Friends have mistaken it for my 2001 GSXR1000. The GSXR1100 has been rugged and reliable. My favourite story is the fork seals. One seal started to weep a little at 100,000kms so we finally installed the seals I had hanging on the wall for the previous 3 years. How many "Honda guys" ride the same bike for 15 years and kick butt all along the way. In 2000, that old '86 GSXR could outrun a Honda 929RR on top speed and outpull a Hayabusa in a top gear roll-on. Not too shabby. But is it easy to service? You bet. Body work and gas tank come off in a few minutes. Valve adjustments are a snap. I can drain the carbs and pull the battery in about 5 minutes. In 1984 my wife purchased a Kawasaki GPz750. 17 years later we reluctantly sold it. Guess what? It was rugged and reliable and still looked like new when we sold it. Was it easy to service? Not too bad but you had to pull the cams to adjust the valves and changing the oil filter was always a bit messy. Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha have all been making good bikes for a long time now. Everyone has had their not so great bikes and a few problems here and there but I'll take great performance and reliablility anytime and not sweat too hard over a couple of misplaced grease nipples. Sheesh.

By the way, my first bike was a Honda. The year was 1972.
 

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Thanks for your comments. Basically until I bought my VFR (and as for valve adjustment it is real easy, mine being the gear drive cam type - however I only checked them once recently and they were still well within spec so no shim changes needed) I rode Honda dirt bikes starting with an XL175 in 1973. Prior to that as a schoolboy I had started with Suzuki 2 strokes and while they were fine the old 2 strokes didn't cut it for longevity. I never went the road route from 73 but many of my friends did with T250s, T350s, T500s, GT380s and the like. Then yes I was around when the GS came out and of course remember the RE5 well also which was Suzuki's first attempt to move away from the 2 strokes. One of my friends bought a GS750 and replaced it later with the 78 GS1000. His problem seemed to be coming in contact with cars more than worrying about bike quality.



The points I made about the Suzuki dirtbike like grease nipples you say sheesh, but sadly those are the sort of things that ***** you off as the owner when you know they could have done a better job. The XR Hondas I had I never found anything so silly like that wrong with them. I didn't tell you before about the other silly design features like the air filter holder that cuts through the foam of the element. My brother has a DR350 - same problem. Why? Who knows, but take it from me you won't find that on a Honda dirt bike. I could go on for ever about this as there is a much longer list of things I could quote but suffice to say I am on the look out for a good replacement. In that regard I am annoyed that Honda have been slow with the electric start bikes but when I bought the Suzuki I never thought for one minute it would have so many design flaws.



I am no expert on later Suzuki road bikes as I haven't bought one but one friend has a 98 Bandit 1200 and last year had the compression go on the inner two cylinders and had to strip it and replace pistons and rings at only 40,000kms. Seemed like it was running too hot - is this something like the oil burning story that seems to be on the US websites? Another guy I know has a 2001 GSXR1000 and his latest problem (besides his regular run-ins with the cops) is it has done in the starter ring gear and has to be stripped and repaired. Now these guys may be too rough on their bikes. The one with the Bandit has two old 80s vintage CB900s that he wheels out as backups and they never seem to let him down.



So I guess in the end it does get down to choice and true they have all made some lemons. Do you remember the Yamaha TX500 and TX750 and their SC500 moto-crosser?



However if Suzuki and Kawasaki are struggling for profit there has to be a reason why people aren't buying the bikes in big enough numbers and I would be concerned they will become more parts bin oriented.



Cheers

Merv.
 
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