It's not that we're carping about bike configutarions, we're commenting on when a manufacturer passes the same-old-thing off as being "new and exciting". Al la HD, Moto Guzzi, etc.
What if Honda based all their bikes around the venerable 350 twin? That would get old quick.
I know that sounds like BS from a new Buell owner. But since I can't ride for a week from getting my prostate punched full of holes in some Kaiser Permamante midevel biopsy-torture procedure, I've got a lot of time on my hands at the moment.
It's the same with cars....if logic and efficiency was the only standard that cars were based on, we'd all be driving one of three things: A toyota camry, a honda accord, or a Ford Explorer.....none of which I would classify as exciting but in a Mr. Spock world would make perfect sense.....
It's important to realise that different engine configurations do deliver power, torque, vibration and c of g differently. Then, of course, there's the suggested purpose of the bike ie racing, touring, commuting, posing and the mixing and mingling of the purpose with the configuration (plus displacement, ergonomics and paint colour!)
It's not valid to say that "variety is the spice of life" and that's why there's different types - we all can only have one bike at a time and manufactureres only make what sells. It's all supply and demand, not some altruistic desire to provide variety for it's own sake.
I like torque. A big, fat lazy engine that heaves me down the road with a minimum of revs so I buy Harley with its V-Twin configuration with a long stroke which provides big torque. It can't rev to 17,000rpm so is limited in outright power but delivers elsewhere. It's all about compromise.
Retro is popular here in the US now. BMW seems to be selling it Mini reincarnation reasonably well while Damlier-Chrysler has several retro cars for sale. But none of those use the same engines/suspension configuration but rather the latest thinking engineeringwise. I don't think a flathead engine would sell and Ford's transverse leaf suspension, so effective on buggies, from its pre 1950 model would probably not be well received. Yet if one considers the Sportster say, It has all the design elements from a fifties era bike. Offering variety is one thing, being hide bound is another.
Consider the British Motorbike industry: once the greatest in the world, reduced to rubble in a few short years by the same kind of thinking going on in Milwaukee.
I am begining to think HarleyDavidism is a substitute religion for secularists. I would like to see the relationship between church going and Harley ownership.
I buy whatever strikes my fancy, the engine configuration plays a part in it but I look at the total package in looks, handleing comfort and performance. That's why I brand-hop so much, there's so many cool bikes I want I don't want to get stuck in a rut. I'm on my 5th Harley V-twin now, but in between I've had flat twins, flat fours, vertical twins and inline fours, V fours, I like them all.
It occured to me that I'd been riding fours for a long time, and I was tired of water coooled bikes so I got the Thruxton, when that didn't work out I was looking at FZ1's for performance or Bandits because I really liked the one I had and I think the air/ oil coolled GSXR motor is one of the best in motorcycling.
I settled on the Dyna because I like the stripped down no frills look of the original Superglides, the 45* twin is integral in that, but it's the way the total package is integrated not just the engine.
I wish we could get more variety here but as Suzuki has shown, we get full-on sport bikes or retro looking V-twins. If you look at their overseas line-up in the UK there's a ton of cool looking models we don't even get because they seem to feel we're hung up on cruisers and sportbikes. IMO, the UJM has become a retro-look V twin cruiser, at least Honda gives us the 599 and 919.
We don't seem to be stuck on cruisers and race replicas in the USA we are stuck on Cruisers and RRs. Suzuki dropped the best deal in motorcycles, the Bandit, because Americans won't touch naked standards. Bikes are recreation not utilitarian in the USA.
Though high gas prices may change that. When people start deciding to buy bikes that are usable rather than fashion statements then you'll see the cruisers and RRs sitting on the showroom floor while the Zrexes, Bandits and such fly out the door.