I've never really understood all the one-upmanship you see in business. The suits treat it like it is this be all and end all that they hit market first, do it in secret, and somehow get one over on their competitors. Wow, you beat Honda to the market by two days in 2006. Congrats, Yamaha, you get a) two extra days of sales and ... that's about it. Honda is still going to launch the Blackbird, people waiting for the Blackbird are still going to buy it instead of the V-Max (it isn't as if they go "Hey, Yamaha was two days earlier to market, I should buy their product instead") and whatever dim joy you get for "beating" your competitor is short lived because you get to do it all over again in 2007, 2008, 2009 ...
Honda introduced the "new" '06 VFR late last year and as it turns out didn't change the model every 4 years as we have come to expect. I believe the dealer show has passed and haven't seen the new press stuff. My local dealer said they would have '07 info a couple of weeks ago.(?)
I for one don't get the '07 intro during the '06 selling season.
The only downside is buying a bike today and having a "new/improved" model introduced in a month. Other than that, I have something to look forward to.
Several years ago I bought a '93 CBR900RR, and I ordered a set of all articles that had been printed about the original model (92?) in US mags from a guy in Colorado that used to bundle information about specific bikes. It was interesting to compare the early "rumor" articles with what was finally produced. It was a great bike, light and powerful, but nothing like what the initial writers predicted. I believe it lost around 35 hp and gained around 50 pounds by the time it transitioned from vaporware to reality.
My point? I think there's about as much chance of a stock V-Max having 200 hp as there is George Bush winning the Nobel Prize for physics.
It seems the Brit rags are typically posting spy shots of the new bikes by this time of year. Where are they? Have the manufacturers gotten that much better at keeping secrets? More likely there simply are fewer hot new bikes coming out this year than the rumor mill would have us think. I am especially irked by the delay in a new vfr and/or blackbird.
I think it's pathetic that the manufacturers make a big hoodoo about bringing out a "new" or "upgraded" model every few years. New bikes are scarce as hen's teeth. Heck, Back in the 70's and 80's they used to come out with several new ones every year. Now they treat an "upgrade" with a loss in horsepower (VTec VFR) or a rebadged line of cruisers (Boulevard) like it's Moses parting the sea. Maybe one really new bike is introduced between the entire Big4 every couple years. Yawn.
Heck, little Triumph shows more balls than the megaliths.
What's this I hear about a new Blackbird?? I wouldn't call Honda's rumored busa-beater a new Blackbird. The Blackbird was the original gentleman's express, a big but sophisticated and refined machine. There has been nothing like it since, and I don't think there ever will be again, because the big 4 are all swept up in the top-speed-*****-displacement wars.
Full disclosure: the Blackbird was the first bike I ever fell in love with.
They may be trying to one up each other, but I'm thinking that there aren't a lot of folks out there saying I can't decide between a V-max and a Blackbird. Or if there are, they're not very focused on what they're looking for.