There's a market for . . .
. . . an engaging motorbike, whatever it's target application(s) or customer(s).
Maybe it's because I spend too much time analyzing numbers for a living but . . . requirements ? These specifications for "smaller & lighter" are largely a reaction to the pachyderm's masquerading as "adventure" bikes in the market.
But numbers are a bit of a trap, too. Just sit around a bunch of Japanese 600 sportbike riders or watch one of their forums. The bench racing is incredible. A never ending arms race with almost NO discussion of the things many if not most riders get on a bike for . . . sense of engagement, freedom, sensation.
The best 600 (whatever that is) doesn't change the truism that "it's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow".
KTM's venerable 950/990 win few bench races. The GS has lost alot of weight and has more power. But the RIDING experience . . . (minus the awful KTM windscreen) . . . hard to enter "smile factor" in a spreadsheet.
The "new" bike should be fun, not an assembly of numbers or "desired" specifications. It should inspire, not impress. 80 HP ? Don't know where you're gonna use that in the dirt. Lower weight ? Sounds good. Love my ADV but riding solo in remote areas . . . one picks lines very carefully. On the 5th pickup it's a bit tiring or worse.
The CofG should be low. My DRZ feels heavier at slow speed than my ADV. The riding experience and it's application is alot more important than the numbers, purely. It's a motorbike - no one NEEDS one in the western world.
SOHC ? Think you could still build a competitive engine in terms of power, maintenance and engagement ? The current LC8 certainly meets those requirements for anyone whose ridden one.
Finally, whose gonna buy this bike ? The 7-bike platform is great IF the base is actually appealing. I live near a jungle in northern Thailand and have a house in a silly remote area of the Sierra in northern CA. Few riders live near their destinations. The bike has got to have decent fuel and oil-change capacity because it's going to see tarmac. There are some difficult requirements to reconcile. The only easy way for many of them is a recognition of physics, particularly inertia. Get the weight DOWN and LOW.
Would I buy a V-twin (probably not a parallel twin - those motors have not put many smiles on my face), that weighed 350 WET, with a single 320mm disc and at least enough of a sub-frame to support soft luggage (really, who even wants hard bags for "real adventure") . . . oh, that had 75HP ?
In a heatbeat. My guess is that market is REALLY small. Where (and how often) can you use it and how many actually would. Plus, that bike actually puts expectations, not affectations on the rider's image. That's not a recipe for sales success in the world I live in.
2011 Husky TE 630 2011 Husaberg FE 570S
2006 KTM 950 'S' ADV 2005 Suzuki DRZ 400 SM
"The perfect is the enemy of the good." 4 bikes in 3 countries.
Orange, it's the new black Tour.