Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki & Kawasaki - Listen Up, Please...
You guys are "missing the boat" in a big way...
The market is (and has been for years) screaming out for a proper, modern, mid-size (300cc - 450cc) dual-sport - a more potent version of the excellent Yamaha WR250R & Honda CRF250L
35 - 45 RWHP
Target Weight at or Under 300lbs
3000-4000 Mile Oil Change Intervals
15k + Mile Valve Adjustment Intervals
Modern, Fully Adjustable Suspension
A Subframe Capable of Carrying Luggage & Camping Gear
An Electrical System Capable of Running Heated Gear, GPS, etc.
Build it for Unquestionable Reliability & Durability
$5000 - $9000 MSRP (depending on displacement & specs)
ADVRider, ThumperTalk, HorizonsUnlimited, et al are filled with threads and posts lamenting this huge "hole" in the marketplace. When will the "Big 4" step up and build this bike? Whoever is the first out of the gate will have a blockbuster hit on their hands - the rest will hopefully follow.
Don't forget to build a SM version too!
It's not going to happen.
There is still a worldwide economic crisis.
Those who have decision-making power at the "Big Four" Japanese motorcycle
companies are aware of this even if you are not.
People with power in large corporations did not get to their positions by being
stupid. The market for a dual sport bike is small and before they spend money for
design and tooling, companies need to have a high degree of confidence that
they will sell a lot of units or that they will sell fewer units for a significantly higher
price ( KTM fits the second category here ). The way the Japanese play the game,
they want to know that they can sell X units per year and if they believe this is not
possible they will ignore that market segment ( strangely enough this is exactly what
is happening in the real world ).
In case you haven't noticed, motorcycle dealerships in the US are disappearing
at a high rate. They are going out of business. This is not a climate in which any
major manufacturer is going to invest in design and tooling for a bike which
will sell to a relatively small number of people in a niche market. And dual sport
motorcycles are sold to a relatively small niche market. Sport bikes and cruisers
are where the large markets are. And all the manufacturers know this even if you
Buy a used KTM 690 Enduro or RFS-engine KTM 450 or KTM 525 and ride now, while you are
physically still able to enjoy riding. That is what smart people who like to ride nice bikes
are doing. Riding beats dreaming about bikes that don't exist and probably
won't exist at any time in the next decade.
...and the US market isn't the top of the food chain--so to speak--any more. Get used to it.
A WR250R lists at $6690, so I think you better adjust the low number on your price range by a bunch.
But I agree with you otherwise. It sucks to have the money to buy one now and have nothing out there to choose from.
Cue the KTM recommendations. :snore
If Honda could just bore up (350cc) the CRFL, it would fit the bill.
I guess the frame, breaks and so on will be able to stand a less pathetic power.
We can still dream ... but maybe some aftermarket kits will popup.
An important point missing here:
Americans still...STILL... feel "bigger is better". True, though in the core communities noted understand the difference offroad, BUT, the same people in the communities are a rounding error on a tally sheet listing the total number of possibe sales - or sales needed - to make a model practical to bring here.
These are extremely hard message to market in the US:
"Smaller is better; less engine capacity is what you need; 450 cc is enough for everything you need to do"
Outside the US, the message was learned a LONG time ago when insurance companies started tiering coverage to engine size...
We live in the land of bigger is better, for better or worse...and when it comes to midsized dual sports, I'd say we're worse off for it.
How much money did Honda spend engineering this ATV that isn't even legal on the pavement? It only lasted two model years 2008-2009. That engine would have been perfect for a street legal big thumper. If they would have spent that money on a new 700 dual sport they would be selling a bunch of those.
Put a 351cc big-bore, a pumper carb, and a reinforced subframe on a KLX250S/SF.
Put a wide-ratio gearset into a DR-Z400S/SM, then build the motor for up to 60WHP.
If they built a powerful and reliable bike then they'd lose money because noone would be replacing them :rofl
In the same boat...but also understand the reality of their business.
In order for them to even break even on a particular model, they need to move some serious numbers every year, we are talking numbers much larger than what KTM and Ducati deal with across ALL their product lines (somewhere in the 6-figure mark, I'd say).
The issue is, in many countries....anything beyond 250cc is either taxed heavily, or need certain type of license to own, too expensive to buy, not wanted to needed, or all of the above....which limits the market severely. This is where someone like KTM steps in and fills the need cause their Profit/Volume ratio is MUCH lower.
I hope I am wrong on this and a bean-counter at one of the big-4 gives it the project a green light, but not holding my breath.
I really blame the EPA and DOT for making the approval process so fucking expensive and time consuming. Perhaps if THEY eased up on their crazy requirements, something like the OP stated will be a reality.
So, here we are.... January of 2013. The motorcycle show circuit is winding around the US. All of the big shows like EICMA and Tokyo where the manufacturers show off their new models are well in the rear view mirror. All of the new models are in or well on their way to dealer showrooms. No mid- size, mass market dualsport. What gets me is that I was sitting here in January of 2008 shaking my head over the very same thing.
I'm not currently looking to buy a new bike, but my family and I have bought several thumpers (3 WR250Xs, 1 WR250R, a 690 SMC and a 690 Enduro R) over the past 4 years that ALL would have been this bike had it existed. OK, maybe not the SMC.
The Suzuki DR-Z400S is the only mass market, mid size dual sport currently on the market. It is now 14 model years old. It's a really good bike - no doubt, but it is long in the tooth and has limitations for quite a few applications. Years ago, I bought a DR-Z and set it up for long-haul travel out west. Overall, I was pretty impressed with most aspects of the bike, but it came up short in a few. It really needed a 6th gear as it was pretty wound up at highway speeds. The electrical system was not capable of handling heated gear. I had several rides where I was frozen to my bones because of this. The one limitation that eventually triggered the sale of that bike was the carb and limited jetting. The bike ran fine up to 7000 feet. By 8500 feet it ran noticeably rough and by 11000 feet, I could barely ride it no matter how I adjusted the mixture. There are few tasks as sucky as having to re-jet your bike in the middle of a trip in a motel or diner parking lot just to be able to ride in high altitudes - and then having to do it again when riding below 5000 feet. I sold it with just 7000 miles on the odo.
One of the posters on this thread argued that there is a pretty limited market for dualsport bikes and the bean counters at the "big 4" can't justify the R&D to create such a bike. I would argue that the reason for a soft market is because the bikes they are offering are long ago obsolete - especially if you include the mass market 650 class dualsports they are currently offering. I would also argue that there is not only a demand for a modern, mid size dualsport, there is a big void. If a bike like this came on the market, there would not only be a strong demand for it, it would fill what is really a vacuum in the market place.
Not one of the big 4, KTM are bringing out a 390 based on the new Duke but as an enduro/adv type bike soon.
No other than KTM's CEO Stefan Pierer seems to have confirmed the existence of such plans aiming to build two new versions of the 390 Duke: a fully-faired one and an enduro or touring model.
They also have few mid sized street bikes for sale in the US.
The jump is a 250 to a few 650's I think.
There are a number of 250's, which are too small for the US speed limits and distances no matter how good the motor is, plus they tend to be very small in overall size.
The new Ninja 300 helps I suppose, where are the rest of the 300/350's?
What is the speed limit in Texas now, 85 mph?
I am sure all the manufacturers have a bunch of old proven engine designs around that just need the addition of FI and a cat to make them good, dr350 and dr650 motors, a drz 400 motor with a wide ratio trans.
Would it really cost them much to change a gear or two in the DRZ to get a wide ratio trans for the US?
You would think it would be easy to just stick a wide ratio drz 400 motor in a street bike as well, one motor, two bikes, a dual sport and a mid size sport bike?
Take the dr650 motor and make a TU650 out of it, and a light 650 sport bike.
So what do they do? They seem to come up with totally new designs for anything new they come up with.
In the past, Honda used the same basic motor in three bikes! The sl/cl/cb 350 comes to mind.
So what is wrong with using something like a drz motor in quads, street bikes, and dual sport bikes?
Would that not save a boat load of money?
I for one do not think the people in charge are always so smart.
I would love to replace my XRR with something better, if and when something better came along. KTM is 'better' probably, but not $10,000 better.
Correct me please, but isn't the WR250R based off an FZ-1 motor, or R1, or something? If that's the case Suzuki could easily make one based on the Hayabusa, and Kawasaki off the ZX-14. That would put it at 350cc, which isn't far off from 400. I wonder how well the DRZ sold, meaning did Suzuki make it's money off the design?
The bike the OP, and a lot of us, is wanting may very well be in the works. Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha recently came out with a new version of the 250. Maybe they are counting numbers to see if a 450 is worthwhile?
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