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Discussion Starter #1
I will never understand why the Big four will make modern interpretations of legendary 70's bikes but they won't bring them here. Case in point the new zepher 1100 (z1 900 anyone):

http://www.kawasaki-motors.com/model/zephyr1100/index.jsp



original 73 z1 900


and in case you haven't seen the cb750 they sell over there (while we get the crappy nighthawk)

http://www.honda.co.jp/motor-lineup/cb750/



1983 cb1100F:



anyway, I think the reason they get all the cool stuff is that american motorcyclists are portrayed as harley riding arseholes, so I propose that tomorrow be stab a new harley rider in the face day - for no other reason than to break the sterotype and so honda and kawasaki will import these cool bikes....


Or we could write letters or something, i don't know the choice is up to you. Letter writing campaign or face stabbing it could go either way.




(for those of you wondering, yes I am crazy).





Edited by - geeto67 on Nov 03 2006 8:27:24 PM
 

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I think both.

But really, the reason they don't bring a lot of the cool stuff over here, is because there REALLY is a shortage of cool people who appreciate it. Case in point, the Honda GB500. I owned one of those bikes and I gotta' tell you, they were wonderful. 110 mph top speed, handled like a dream, looked like a Matchless <can't tell you all the times someone mistook the bike for one> dead nuts reliable, great sound, and the list goes on. They had to give them away, and the trail of tears for the Japanese goes on and on.

I think Rockefeller Square was the last straw.

But, I wouldn't mind stabbing some Harley fag in the face either.

Dgy
 

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Yep, Americans just don't appreciate cool bikes.

Cool failed-in-America bikes list:
- SRX600
- SR500
- GB500
- W650

I think that there are a couple of reasons for this. Let me put on my sociology hat:
- No shared culture of cool bikes. Americans always had a good standard of living and not many of us HAD to own a motorcycle like so many Japanese who couldn't afford a car back in the day (and still now).
- Motorcycles seen as toys. Subset of the first point. We never saw them as the serious machinery they are. Motorcycling is not mainstream, and never will be. Thus the prevalence of massive, intimidating bikes for expert motorcyclists.
- Throwaway culture. Related to points 1 and 2. We don't really care about anything old (as a culture) and cannot appreciate spending money on anything that isn't NEW.
- Strange, unhealthy obsession with Harleys. I got nothing for this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
quote:
Yep, Americans just don't appreciate cool bikes.

Cool failed-in-America bikes list:
- SRX600
- SR500
- GB500
- W650

I think that there are a couple of reasons for this. Let me put on my sociology hat:
- No shared culture of cool bikes. Americans always had a good standard of living and not many of us HAD to own a motorcycle like so many Japanese who couldn't afford a car back in the day (and still now).
- Motorcycles seen as toys. Subset of the first point. We never saw them as the serious machinery they are. Motorcycling is not mainstream, and never will be. Thus the prevalence of massive, intimidating bikes for expert motorcyclists.
- Throwaway culture. Related to points 1 and 2. We don't really care about anything old (as a culture) and cannot appreciate spending money on anything that isn't NEW.
- Strange, unhealthy obsession with Harleys. I got nothing for this one.
other cool failed bikes:

- FZR400
- CB1000 (big one)
- CB450 black bomber (it is called the bomber because sales bombed, it wasn't until they redid the bike in 69 that sales picked up)
- Hondamatics (an automatic motorcycle - how awsome!)
- RG500 gamma
- CB1100F (actually all the DOHC cb750s - made from 79-83 here but sold unchanged until 1995 in other parts of the world, the 1100 was only made for 2 years).

Any others?


how about another list, motorcycles that should have flopped but sold tons:

- kz400 (honestly who needs 4 chains ratteling around inside a 400cc engine slower than most 250s)

- kz750 twin (this bike couldn't even make up its mind as to what it wanted to be, stuck halfway between a crusier and a british styled sport bike these things turn up like bad pennys all over the country)

- cb750c custom (an attempt at making chopper like cursiers in the states - didn't do anything well but people loved them)

How about bikes that are about to fail?

- ninja 650R twin
- honda 919
- z1000


feel free to add to any of these lists.


It totally sucks that america has no appreciation for useful bikes.

Edited by - geeto67 on Nov 03 2006 8:57:45 PM
 

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the gamma was never sold in the us. but i think you could include the rz in there. and if you are going to throw the gamma in there, then i have to vote for the cagiva mito 125.


jc
 

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bad but still sold well:
xs650 custom - Yuck. 72 spoke wheels????
Honda CM/CB400/450 - Drum brakes in 1980? Also, they got rid of the CB400F for THAT??
 

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That Zephyr is very cool! I'm like'n that!

That's the same bike that we had here in the early '90s but it didn't fly. The old paint scheme makes that bike. The burgandy color that it came here with was simply too bland.

It's a real shame Kawasaki will not bring it back with the retro paint scheme. With the ZRX gone now, you'd think that the Zephyr would be a good fit.
The Z1900 has such a following, and is in enough demand that you'd think the Zephyr would make it. It should fit right in with the ZRX crowd.

The Honda is nice too, but the Zephyr does it for me.

The thought of me being stereotyped as a Harley rider just makes my skin crawl. Yuck!

UFOB #56

The Mighty Buffalo




Edited by - Ogri on Nov 03 2006 9:48:53 PM
 

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Add to the cool bike/poor sales list the CB1 - absolute jewel of an update on the CB400f
and the V twin 650 (I think) Hawk, which preceded the Suzook by almost a decade...well maybe less than a decade, but it's a cool bike.

One of the cool concept bikes that never made it but should have was the Yamaha Trickster... a little ramp/urban hellraiser.

And forgive me for even including it this discussion, but I think the Rune was one of the coolest bikes Honda ever put in production. A lot of people didn't understand what they were trying to do. The Frank Frazetta ads were so cool.

I'm rambling..

FR
 

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I think what happens is that we allow our country to be run by corporations, into a state of "comsumerism", where no taste really develops, no values ( morally speaking) , no tastes ( style speaking) becoming a nation of "new models" buy new, only late model....like spoiled bratts that throw away the latest toy, because they want a new toy....


I also think it is lack of continuity. Many younger buyers must be afraid to get stuck with a old looking bike ( style wise) that although cool, most companies do not follow productionwise. I mean, there is a Suzuki retro bike,a Honda one ,etc , but then there is none other made by the same Co, making it an isolated production.

Japanese bike makers are loosing out, many of the Harley riders would be japanese bike riders if given the chance. Most powerfull japanese bikes are made like road racers, and unless you are young, fit, most older riders might find it dificult to accomodate to the posture. So they take the only route , Harley posture friendly. Yes, there is some Japanese cruisers, but those are ussualy the high end big bucks ones. Better technology than Harley , but the prize, high, is not enough to counter act the allure Harley has among older people.
That would change, if, a much better bike made w japanaese technology ( or British, like Triumph) could cost much less than the Harleys of comparable size and confort.

Lastly, perhaps japanese bike makers are not willing to attack aggresively the only american bike market, the Harley market, for fear of alienating the american public , because if the japanese bike makers really wanted, they could erase harley from the Market.

A backlash against japanese bikes because of the demise of harley D would not be good for our beloved bikes, because the goverment would raise tariffs and taxes on japanese bikes to protect a dwindling harley company.
It is in the best interest of japanese bike makers in the US to allow Harley to grow in a controlled manner. That allows for coexistence.

If Japanese bikemakers aggresively pushed the traditional framed bike, in cool models, and afordable prices, that would be the end of Harley.
Harley would be reduced to its most hard core followers, loosing the main stream riders. That would not be enough to maintain it in healthy form.

Perhaps if there is a bike you really want, the best avenue is to import it directly. <Most parts are very similar ( engine wise) and the rest, can be purchased over the net.

Cafe racer DOHC CB750F

http://cardomain.com/id/jaimesix

Edited by - jaimesix on Nov 04 2006 2:00:56 PM
 

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Discussion Starter #12
quote:
I think what happens is that we allow our country to be run by corporations, into a state of "comsumerism", where no taste really develops, no values ( morally speaking) , no tastes ( style speaking) becoming a nation of "new models" buy new, only late model....like spoiled bratts that throw away the latest toy, because they want a new toy....
The country is not run by corporations - however consumerism makes us feel like it is because we are constantly being oversold on stuff we don't need. If this country was really run by corporations then the tobacco industry would not have had to pay out the billions it has and face heavy government restriction. We are a nation of new models because fundamentally human nature is to be lazy, we place convinence over anything else important and let that dictate our buying choices.

quote:
I also think it is lack of continuity. Many younger buyers must be afraid to get stuck with a old looking bike ( style wise) that although cool, most companies do not follow productionwise. I mean, there is a Suzuki retro bike,a Honda one ,etc , but then there is none other made by the same Co, making it an isolated production.
In america motorcycles are regarded as a toy and not viable transportation. Our parents and even popular culture waive the banner of motorcycle accidents as an indication of the danger and disincentivise the use of a motorcycle as cheap transportation. Under this line of thinking the more time you spend on a bike the more likely you are to be killed or horribly maimed. If we attacked the problems of people driving cars with half as much zeal the roads in general would be much much safer.

Conversely we are also a culture built on speed and style, Our toys have to either look good or go fast. We are being oversold on these things. Young people don;t want utility, the want recognition and a feeling of self importance and will buy any crap that appeals to their self image. They want the fastest sport bike because they feel like a tough guy and fast sprot bikes come in an inherent amount of respect. Same with harleys and choppers, you can really look the part of a badass with either one. Since a motorcycle is viewed as a toy anyway - why get a boring toy.

quote:
Japanese bike makers are loosing out, many of the Harley riders would be japanese bike riders if given the chance. Most powerfull japanese bikes are made like road racers, and unless you are young, fit, most older riders might find it dificult to accomodate to the posture. So they take the only route , Harley posture friendly. Yes, there is some Japanese cruisers, but those are ussualy the high end big bucks ones. Better technology than Harley , but the prize, high, is not enough to counter act the allure Harley has among older people.
Japanese bike makers are not losing out at all. If anything they are making money hand over fist from the buyers who want harleys but suffer from sticker shock. A boulevard or a road star is 1/3 the price of a new harley, the japanese have created the entire metric crusier market and made it legitimate out of people turned away at harleys gates. The most expensive metric crusier costs about the same as an entry level big twin - talk about value.

People who have the money and want harleys will buy harleys, the only way they would be japanese bike riders is if harley burnt to the ground and all the existing bikes spontaneously combusted. Many harley owners have owned other bikes or currently own other bikes, but with their harley the were sold more than a motorcycle, they were sold an image. The rest of the market is made up of people who want harleys but can't afford them and people who have a completely different motorcycle image all together.

American pop culture plays a big part in consumerism, and american pop culture embraces harleys because they are american (this included indian too until they went belly up again).

quote:
That would change, if, a much better bike made w japanaese technology ( or British, like Triumph) could cost much less than the Harleys of comparable size and confort.
Have you checked the prices lately?

Triumph rocket III: Price $15,990 MSRP / Special Edition $15,990 MSRP
http://www.triumph.co.uk/usa/263.aspx

Star Stratoliner S: $16,580
http://www.starmotorcycles.com/

Yamaha Warrior Midnight: $12,749
http://www.starmotorcycles.com/

HD Fat Boy: $17,095
http://www.harley-davidson.com/wcm/Content/Pages/2007_Motorcycles/2007_Motorcycles.jsp?locale=en_US

HD Softail Springer Classic: $17,595
http://www.harley-davidson.com/wcm/Content/Pages/2007_Motorcycles/2007_Motorcycles.jsp?locale=en_US

Rocket III is over $2000 less than any closely comparable harley, the top of the line roadstar (not counting the goldwing like touring models) is only $1000 less than the midlevel softail models. And the warrior is $4000 less and is a technically superior motorcycle than any HD in every way (and has a huge aftermarket offering speed parts and wide tire conversions). So what would change?

BTW, Harleys have one of the best fit and finishes of any other mass produced bike in the market. On paint alone they are leaps and bounds ahead of the japanese in terms of quality.

quote:
Lastly, perhaps japanese bike makers are not willing to attack aggresively the only american bike market, the Harley market, for fear of alienating the american public , because if the japanese bike makers really wanted, they could erase harley from the Market.
The japanese bike manufacturers had their chance and they couldn't do it. In fact they killed the british motorcycle industry completely while they were trying but HD still went on. Now that HD is stronger than ever the japanese manufacturers couldn't kill HD if they physically bombed the factory. When a person buys a harley they buy an image they cannot get anywhere else, the japanese are getting close to having something similar with their own crusiers and definaltly with their sport bikes, and triumph has that again with the speed triple and bonneville. The japanese are not afraid of alienating the american public, their whole marketing campaigns are centered on selling a lot of units. Japanese dealers have the smallest profit margins to encourage their dealers to aggressivley push sales (what you thought they just wanted to sell those 18 year olds brand new R1s because they were being altrusitic?). What the japanese can't do, but would love to, is to successfully sell to the majority of the motorcycle market bikes based on practicality. Bikes in american are sold primarily as toys, you don't sell toys by touting their practical features (when was the last R1 or ZX10 commercial that focused on MPG or ease of Parking?).

quote:
A backlash against japanese bikes because of the demise of harley D would not be good for our beloved bikes, because the goverment would raise tariffs and taxes on japanese bikes to protect a dwindling harley company.
It is in the best interest of japanese bike makers in the US to allow Harley to grow in a controlled manner. That allows for coexistence.
there is a backlash against japanese bikes every day, from people who ride harleys and people who buy into the idea of american made (BTW some jap bikes are made here). It hasn't hurt sales any. In the 70's when that kind of backlash was high, HD was on the brink because thousands of CB, KZ, and GS motorcycles were being sold every month in this country. The government tried twice to bail out harley (ever wonder why some jap bikes are only 700ccs? anybody remember the speedo restrictions or the cc tarrifs of the 80s?) and it did not hurt japanese sales at all.

quote:
If Japanese bikemakers aggresively pushed the traditional framed bike, in cool models, and afordable prices, that would be the end of Harley.
Harley would be reduced to its most hard core followers, loosing the main stream riders. That would not be enough to maintain it in healthy form.
This is sort of what is happening now. Unfortunatly pop culture plays heavily into sales and as long as american pop culture supports harley then there will always be a market. Honda pushed the 919, kawasaki the z1000 - both practial bikes. Both have dismal sales. You can't sell the majority of america a practial bike.

quote:
Perhaps if there is a bike you really want, the best avenue is to import it directly. <Most parts are very similar ( engine wise) and the rest, can be purchased over the net.

Cafe racer DOHC CB750F

http://cardomain.com/id/jaimesix

Edited by - jaimesix on Nov 04 2006 2:00:56 PM
There are plenty of bikes that if you wanted them you could never get them into the country legally. Emissions would prevent it alone, not counting safety standards. The US government has specific controls to prevent these things so even if you could physically get it here you couldn't use it on regular roads (i.e. you couldn't register it). Sure there are cracks to slip through but they are hard to find. There are plenty of Gammas and NS400Rs in this country that may never be registered.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
just in case anybody is not old enough:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa032.html

quote:n September of 1982, Harley-Davidson petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for relief from the importation of heavyweight motorcycles and power-train subassemblies (an engine part). The petition was filed under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, known as the "Escape Clause," which allows an industry to request import relief from foreign competition when increasing imports are causing or threatening serious injury to the domestic industry. In these cases, the ITC investigates the claim and then reports to the president. If the finding is affirmative, the executive branch examines the matter and the president makes a decision within 60 days.

After its hearing on November 30, 1982, the ITC found that Harley-Davidson made up 75 percent of the American motorcycle industry (as measured in terms of capital and labor). The rest of the industry is composed of one Honda plant and one Kawasaki plant. On January 19, 1983, the ITC concluded by a vote of two to one that imports of heavyweight cycles, but not power-train subassemblies, posed a substantial threat to the American motorcycle industry.[14]

To provide relief, the ITC recommended the following five-year tariff plan for heavyweight motorcycles: Raise the current tariff of 4.4 percent to 49.4 percent and keep it there for a year; lower the rate to 39.4 percent in the second year, to 24.4 percent in the third year, to 19.4 percent in the fourth year, and to 14.4 percent in the fifth year. After the fifth year the tariff is to return to 4.4 percent.

On April 1, 1983, President Reagan adopted the ITC recommendation, with minor alterations. Appended were provisions to lessen the impact of the federal relief on small foreign suppliers. The order allows 5,000 West German motorcycles each year to come in without duty increases, with the allowance rising to 6,000 in the second year, 7,000 in the third year, 8,500 in the fourth year, and 10,000 in the fifth year. It also allows 4,000 units from Britain and Italy to come in at the old rate (increasing by 1,000 units annually for five years). Japan is to be permitted to send 6,000 units (increasing by 1,000 units annually) to the United States at the old duty. In 1982, 80 percent of the imported heavyweight motorcycles were Japanese. With the provisions that were added to the ITC plan, the tariff affects trade with the Japanese companies almost exclusively.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This guy's page is a description of every bike he has woend from the 70's to the present. I think this is a good example of how the american crusier buyer (who is a real motorcyclists and not a RUB) thinks:

http://www.kvrr.net/mc/index.html



Edited by - Geeto67 on Nov 04 2006 7:00:59 PM
 

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You know, actually I like Harley's, for the most part. I think the thing that turns me off about Harley's is there's just way too many of the people that ride them that are assholes. They buy the bikes for image, as has been said earlier in this discussion.

But really, as nice old-fashioned cruising motorcycles, you can't beat a Harley. Here's a 'vintage' bike with all the bullshit worked out of it. It's dead-nuts reliable, has a wonderful cadence and sound to its engine, provides more hp to weight than a car <so you're still able to out-accelerate the average car>, and I don't know about your state, but here in NY we've got a cop patrolling about every 10 miles of road. Around here, unless you want to run them <now a felony as a state'y was killed chasing a bike in an SUV; who's fault was that>, you really have to watch the top end runs.

I'm thinking of selling off my 97' Bimota, as I can never resist wicking it way up whenever I ride it, and getting something satisfying, but slower. Race bikes belong at racetracks these days. The old days are gone, I just am thankful that I was in my prime when they were here and was able to enjoy them.

I now own a real nice 69' 500 Triumph Trophy, that I love to ride on back roads, and I've got my eye on a 65' TR6 that is all original, but needs the lower end rebuilt. That's the 650/4 speed/single carb/ large tank with package grid/gold and cream model, love it. Will probably hit a buck-ten flat out, but is happy at 65 to 70 on a windy back road.

I just don't have time to ride that much anymore, so why keep an expensive bike sitting around. Anybody interested in a real nice 97' Bimota Mantra? This one has the 900 Duc engine with 39mm Keihan pumpers and the lightened flywheel. It has S/S lines to the front brakes which have new shoes this season, I just put a top-line battery in it, changed the oil and filter, the tires are good, and I think its only got around 9K on it. The only flaw in the whole bike is where the gas filler caps allen bolts loosened a bit, the fumes caused a little of the paint to crinkle immediately behind the cap, but nothing major. I'd take 8K for it, oh and it does have the optional carbon fiber windshield. 518 674 4045 I'll probably slap it on ebay pretty soon, so let me know.

Dgy
 

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the guy up the street from me has a beautiful gamma with chambers on it. he has the original pipes hanging up in a closet in his house. it has maryland plates.

jc
 

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Japanese laws also contribute to their healthy respect for their motorcycles. Not sure if things have changed recently, but for a long time a rider had to earn his/her way up the cc scale. In order to get a litre bike endorsement, one had to ride a smaller bike for a set time. If nothing else, this had to build something of a cultural appreciation for a wide range of smaller-displacement bikes.

I dunno about the whole American market won't buy into retro-Jap bikes thing. I got a buddy with a pretty Z1 and dudes are always coming up to him saying "I had one o' those!" I had a W650 for a while and people loved it. I see a fair amount of ZRX's running around, and that's a damn fine looking GPz to me.

Besides, the Z1 (or an H2, or a CB750SOHC) to a japanese rider is like a '69 Fastback Mustang to an American: a Japanese muscle-machine of glory days gone by.


You see the new Mustangs around. Talk about a modern interpretation of a legendary machine (Chrysler's releasing a new Challenger and Chevy's got a Camaro coming soon). As far as legendary American bikes....hell, they've barely changed in 30 years anyway (i hear HD is coming out with a water-cooled Sporty. Welcome to the 1970's, dipshits).

That Zephyr is flat-out bitchin. Love the paint scheme. How close is that to the Zephyr's that were sold in the States several years back? The side covers look different, wheels, too....

Honda go sideways!

Edited by - krapfever on Nov 05 2006 6:27:13 PM
 

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Discussion Starter #18
quote:

Japanese laws also contribute to their healthy respect for their motorcycles. Not sure if things have changed recently, but for a long time a rider had to earn his/her way up the cc scale. In order to get a litre bike endorsement, one had to ride a smaller bike for a set time. If nothing else, this had to build something of a cultural appreciation for a wide range of smaller-displacement bikes.

I dunno about the whole American market won't buy into retro-Jap bikes thing. I got a buddy with a pretty Z1 and dudes are always coming up to him saying "I had one o' those!" I had a W650 for a while and people loved it. I see a fair amount of ZRX's running around, and that's a damn fine looking GPz to me.

Besides, the Z1 (or an H2, or a CB750SOHC) to a japanese rider is like a '69 Fastback Mustang to an American: a Japanese muscle-machine of glory days gone by.


You see the new Mustangs around. Talk about a modern interpretation of a legendary machine (Chrysler's releasing a new Challenger and Chevy's got a Camaro coming soon). As far as legendary American bikes....hell, they've barely changed in 30 years anyway (i hear HD is coming out with a water-cooled Sporty. Welcome to the 1970's, dipshits).

That Zephyr is flat-out bitchin. Love the paint scheme. How close is that to the Zephyr's that were sold in the States several years back? The side covers look different, wheels, too....

Honda go sideways!

Edited by - krapfever on Nov 05 2006 6:27:13 PM
The US is in the minority of countrys that just hands you a license for all bikes after literally 1 hour and 15 minutes of instruction (1 hour for the written if you are hungover, 15 minutes for the road test - 6.25 hours if you are smart and take the recommended 5 hour MSF course). Pretty much all of europe and asia have some sort of graduated license system. Wanna ride an r1? everywhere else you gotaa earn it - here all you need is a credit card. Most of those countries the inspection is more than the 5 minute walk around and it is almost impossible to fenagle anything. In those countries you see a real appreciation for things like fizzies (50cc yamaha FS1-E) and 125cc and 250cc machines. The fzr400 was a decentl seller everywhere else but here. Heck in japan they made them all the way to 1998, here they stopped importing in 1990.

I was going to mention the muscle bike muscle car correleation but I forgot. The japanese have bike shows where these old bikes draw some serious crowds. Here a few oldtimes will look at a cb750 K5 and say "I had one of those", over there a group of kids will look at one of those and imagine an aviator goggled rider gritting teeth as he barnstorms okinawan back roads. Here the local kids used to make fun of my K5 till I took one of them on his fzr600 (thanks in no small part to just better riding skill).

The zypher here was not that bad looking a bike. The only thing retro about it is that it had the 74/75 Z1 pait scheme which is pretty bland. The tail section was also a killer, looking too much like a modern sport bike and not enough like a retro bike.

here it is in uber bland burgundy:



and 74 Z1 style paint scheme:




and the original z1:





Edited by - Geeto67 on Nov 05 2006 7:21:39 PM
 

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quote:



That Zephyr is flat-out bitchin. Love the paint scheme. How close is that to the Zephyr's that were sold in the States several years back? The side covers look different, wheels, too....
Ah. Wheels and airbox are painted/blacked out on the retro job. Anybody else hate brushed aluminum? It's soooo...'81 Virago.



Honda go sideways!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
quote:
quote:



That Zephyr is flat-out bitchin. Love the paint scheme. How close is that to the Zephyr's that were sold in the States several years back? The side covers look different, wheels, too....
Ah. Wheels and airbox are painted/blacked out on the retro job. Anybody else hate brushed aluminum? It's soooo...'81 Virago.



Honda go sideways!
Yeah, you ever notice that when ever the japanese try to sell a standard or cursier motorcycle here in the states they dip every loose part in chrome? Chrome airboxes are the baine of my existance, along with chrome crash guards, chrome fork legs, chrome gauge pods, chrome shocks. I wonder how much cheaper the bikes would be if they painted every chrome part black?

Oh and brushed wheels suck. Yamaha has the right idea with their midnight bikes - black wheels with a red pinstripe - hella sexy.
 
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