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Old 01-08-2013, 11:31 AM   #676
ZappBranigan
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The UJM is back....but for how long?

I got very excited when I saw this. I've loved 4 cyl UJMs since I started riding 30 years ago. This would be my absolute dream bike if it had shaft drive. Even so, I'd give serious consideration to putting my Scrambler up for sale when this comes out.



However....

I have to say I don't give this bike much chance for survival. The thing is, we've been down this road before. Not once, but multiple times.

* The late 80's - early 90's Kawasaki Zephyr
* The 94-95 (or was it 93-94?) Honda CB-1000
* The Naked Suzuki Bandit 1200
* The Naked Kawasaki ZR-7

Every time a manufacturer brings a "big naked" bike to the US with great fanfare, they end up quietly taking it off the market a year or two later due to disappointing sales.

I have a theory on why that is. It has to do with what riders expect from motorcycles and "what a motorcycle looks like."

See, some riders are all about function and don't care if a bike is butt-ugly (hence the BMW GS and the V-Strom - amirite?? )

Riders who like to ride long distances also appreciate things like fairings, luggage, etc.

Then there are riders who like bikes that look "clean." No swoopy fairings, no aerodynamic body panels, just wheels, motor and a big round headlight up front. (<----FWIW I'm one of those types of riders.)

There are both types of riders around the world, but the difference is that in the US, H-D is the 800lb gorilla in the market place. And H-Ds (and their metric clones) are the chosen bikes of those who want a "naked" bike in the US.

That's why "big standards" almost always fail in the US. They don't appeal to the sportbike crowd because they don't have fairings and bodywork. They don't appeal to touring riders because they don't have luggage. And they don't appeal to fans of big, standard bikes because in the US, that market belongs to HD. (and again, "HD" in this context doesn't mean "Harley Davidson." It means any cruiser-style bike, regardless of who makes it.) In fact, to a lot of people in the US, HD is "what a motorcycle looks like." I've even heard motorcycle riders make a distinction between a "crotch rocket" (which to them is anything with a fairing or bodywork) and a "motorcycle" (which to them is a cruiser.)

In other countries where HD doesn't have a stanglehold on the market, big nakeds do well and appeal to the same "naked bike" crowd that flocks towards cruiser bikes in the US.

It's just a sad, unfortunate fact of life that American riders (and I think Canadians, too) are so inculcated with the "cruiser is what a motorcycle looks like" mentality that big, non-cruiser standards like the CB can't gain a foothold.

So as much as I'm excited about the introduction of the CB to the North American market, I will be very surprised if it lasts more than 2 years.

BTW, before anybody brings up the late Honda Nighthawk 750 (1991-2003) as being the "exception to the rule", I would point out 2 things: (1) The Nighthawk was deliberately styled to look like a cruiser (see, for example, the shape of the tank) and (2) the Nighthawk was a sales success primarily because it was built to a very low price point, hence the single disc front brake, and drum rear. When kawasaki and Suzuki tried to make more high-tech nakeds, with their correspondingly higher prices, they failed miserably on the American market.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:51 AM   #677
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Gotta agree with you about all that. I have what many believe to the the best non Buell Harley built,an XR1200. It is quick, fast, handles twisties really well, superb stopping power (for a Harley), 90bhp, standard motorcycle. Even with the newer XRX version with improved suspension, the model lasted in the USA 2009-12. Harley didn't know how, or to whom to market it like they did in Europe and South America. Dealers didn't know how to sell it, and now, due to poor sales, its gone, except in South America. It is a Harley, yet not a cruiser Harley, so those who understood it and wanted one bought one, Period...

It will probably be, as mentioned above, the same with the CB1100. IN 69, the CB750 was the most novel, innovative Jap bike built, and sold like crazy. Today the 1100 will also be novel, but not innovative in the eyes of younger riders and it's fate will be the same as my XR's...The fickle attitude of so many motorcycle owners, today...
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:53 PM   #678
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
* The late 80's - early 90's Kawasaki Zephyr
* The 94-95 (or was it 93-94?) Honda CB-1000
* The Naked Suzuki Bandit 1200
* The Naked Kawasaki ZR-7
*BMW GS
*V-Strom
*the late Honda Nighthawk 750 (1991-2003)
All the bikes you listed are great, comfortable reliable bikes. Don't forget the Street Rod, the XR1200, GSX1100G, W650, any 80's Nighthawk, the GSX1400, the KLR, the ZRX1100, Street/Speed triples, the 90's Triumph Tridents, the GB500, the CB-1 and NT650 Hawk ...All great bikes that sold/sell overseas where function, reliability and real world practicality means something but often understood in the US until they are gone!
Sadly, you are probably correct about the CB. But, I will say that all of the bikes you listed, non are as beautiful as the new CB.

P.S. I think my GS is beautiful!
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:04 PM   #679
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I understand the previous two posters thinking on the subject, but I think there's a chance -- not certainty, mind you -- that there has been a shift in the motorcycle buying public's perception of such a bike. The cafe/brat bike craze is one indication that there might finally be room for something like this CB. Even a fair share of younger riders are rejecting the sportbike idiom and are becoming bored by the UC (universal cruiser) format. From what I understand, Honda has already determined to keep volume at a lower level rather than chase as many sales as possible. Not the most profitable strategy I'm sure, but maybe they really did learn the lessons of past UJMs. Not to mention that I think this bike is chasing a different niche (pure retro) than the UJMs previously mentioned, and the timing has never been better for such a bike, notwithstanding the economic climate.

A good example of this strategy is the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S twins that went on sale this year. IIRC, Subaru said they would only make 3,000 available for sale. My local dealer, and all other anecdotal evidence I've read, says that the things sell as soon as they come off the truck. I've also read that Subaru has agreed to make an additional 2,000 available to dealers to help satisfy demand, but 5,000 total cars in one sales year is still very low volume. More or less artificially creating demand through lower volume is one way to keep a product in the market longer. I hope it works for Honda too. It doesn't need to be wildly successful to be successful these days.

In any event, it will be interesting to see how it plays out and how long the CB1100 stays in our market.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:51 PM   #680
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobynut View Post
I understand the previous two posters thinking on the subject, but I think there's a chance -- not certainty, mind you -- that there has been a shift in the motorcycle buying public's perception of such a bike. The cafe/brat bike craze is one indication that there might finally be room for something like this CB. Even a fair share of younger riders are rejecting the sportbike idiom and are becoming bored by the UC (universal cruiser) format. From what I understand, Honda has already determined to keep volume at a lower level rather than chase as many sales as possible. Not the most profitable strategy I'm sure, but maybe they really did learn the lessons of past UJMs. Not to mention that I think this bike is chasing a different niche (pure retro) than the UJMs previously mentioned, and the timing has never been better for such a bike, notwithstanding the economic climate.
Believe me, I would love to be wrong. It's just that everywhere I turn, I seem to see Harleys. Like it or not there is a huge segment of motorcycle riders in the US who think that Motorcycle = cruiser and cruiser = motorcycle. To them, a Ducati, or even a Triumph like my scrambler, is an oddity and not really a "motorcycle" any more than they consider a scooter to be a motorcycle (which they don't.)

I don't get that mentality, and I've been riding since 1982. But I've seen that mentality in others enough to know that it's very real.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddy Alvarez View Post

P.S. I think my GS is beautiful!
Well, I'm sure it has a great personality!
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:54 PM   #681
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BTW, the real conundrum WRT big naked bikes is the cost/market segment ratio.

As I said, the NH 750 was a success because it was marketed as a bargain bike.

The other big nakeds failed because the people who wanted it couldn't afford it, and the people who could afford it, didn't want it.

$10k is an awful lot for a basic bike like the CB1100. Harley, Triumph and Moto Guzzi all sell decent 'standard' bikes for less than that.

If they could bring it to market at the same price point as the likes of the Bonnie, the V7 or the basic Sportster, they'd have a real contender, but my fear is that they've priced it out of the reach of the people who would be most interested.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:00 PM   #682
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When one has he flu, one has time to play on the internet. I found that what was just said about the price being too high for the market, may just be true. I found that the 1969 CB750 sold for $1395, and correcting for 2012 inflationary dollars, we have an $8700+ price point. Unfair comparison some say? Let's use the 1983 CB1100F, their 11 sec quarter miler, with every one of Honda's latest advances. It retailed at $3685 in '83, and in 2012 dollars that's $8500+ .

The F had a "Race" tuned engine, anti dive front end, latest comstar wheels, etc, compared to the new 1100's detuned engine, fully non adjustable front end and 35 year old comstar wheels, at about a $1500 premium over what it looks like Honda could profitably sell it for to the public.

I'm sure a lot more went into designing the 1100, but it was built to a price point for Japanese consumers, who have the pick of everything the big 4 builds, and had to make it competitive to sell any in that highly competitive market. Me thinks they are taking advantage of middle aged American nostalgia, and that may bite them in the butt, sales wise. With a Bonneville selling at $8800 or less for an SE that tightens up the market pricing. No one from Japan called and asked my opinion, though, so I left it here for all to peruse and postulate.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:39 PM   #683
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^Comstar wheels were "com"posite in that they had a cast aluminum rim riveted to two steel "star" spoke halves. No modern Honda (since about 1984) has used them (which I think is a good thing, because they are, um, lacking in pulchritude). Please don't call cast aluminum wheels "Comstars". Thank you.

Yes, it is interesting to update MSRPs to modern times, but also consider that a 1969 VW Beetle was $1800 - that is approximately $10,900 today. The cheapest car VW sells today is a Jetta for $15,545. Remember that the Almighty Dollar isn't quite as almighty as it used to be versus the Euro or the Yen. Sad but true.

I'd say the CB1100 is a very good value in a new, warrantied 2013 Honda motorcycle.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:47 PM   #684
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Originally Posted by HapHazard View Post
^Comstar wheels were "com"posite in that they had a cast aluminum rim riveted to two steel "star" spoke halves. No modern Honda (since about 1984) has used them (which I think is a good thing, because they are, um, lacking in pulchritude). Please don't call cast aluminum wheels "Comstars". Thank you.

Yes, it is interesting to update MSRPs to modern times, but also consider that a 1969 VW Beetle was $1800 - that is approximately $10,900 today. The cheapest car VW sells today is a Jetta for $15,545. Remember that the Almighty Dollar isn't quite as almighty as it used to be versus the Euro or the Yen. Sad but true.

I'd say the CB1100 is a very good value in a new, warrantied 2013 Honda motorcycle.

I used the term "Comstar", because that was how they were referred in some article I read about the 1100, over the past several months. I know they aren't actual Comstar wheels, but were designed to look like previously marketed ones. A retro reference, was all it was...You are welcome.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:07 PM   #685
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I would love to see a XR1200 vs CB1000 review....They could throw the ZRX1200 in there just to be fun....
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:18 PM   #686
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I would love to see a XR1200 vs CB1000 review....They could throw the ZRX1200 in there just to be fun....
Never seen that one, but it would be a fun read. Had an '05 ZZR1200, basically the same as the ZRX, and it lived in it's own world. The fun factor of an XR1200 is very high up to around 85mph. The ZZR was a PITA at that speed. My XR tops put at 121mph. The ZZR came into its own at that speed. It cruised at 135+ like the XR at 65, but with wind protection.

If you want a killer thrill at a bargain price, go find a ZZR1200....
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:52 PM   #687
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crying for the ZR1100 (Zephyr). I went to take it for a test ride fully expecting to buy it. I was disappointed, and bought a VX800 instead. It was $2k less, and just a better ride imo.

I think one thing that hurts I4's is the way they sound. Mechanical valve train and cam chain clatter turns me off. Harley's push rods and hydraulic valves sound better. I think sound is an often overlooked factor when it comes to moving bikes off the showroom floor.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:15 PM   #688
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crying for the ZR1100 (Zephyr). I went to take it for a test ride fully expecting to buy it. I was disappointed, and bought a VX800 instead. It was $2k less, and just a better ride imo.

I think one thing that hurts I4's is the way they sound. Mechanical valve train and cam chain clatter turns me off. Harley's push rods and hydraulic valves sound better. I think sound is an often overlooked factor when it comes to moving bikes off the showroom floor.

Oh but I think the sound of an air cooled inline four is pure music to my ears compared to the jarring primitive cacophony of an HD twin. I used to love the sound of my old CB900F and my current Z1000 liquid cooled I-4 just doesn't have the same mojo as the old CB. I am certain this new CB has been designed and tuned to provide that sweet aural experience that will evoke those warm fuzzy feelings the same way the old ones did. There are folkes out there that can appreciate what this bike is, a celebration of Honda's heritage including the audible one. I've always appreciated Honda's attention to details and unique style and to the right audience this bike hits all the right buttons. Sadly most North Americans want more perceived bad-ass HD image bullshit with their beautiful chrome, shiny rich paint, and cooling fins and have a hard time accepting that those same details can be found in a Japanese standard motorcycle.
I would love to own a brand new CB.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:18 PM   #689
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I would love to see a XR1200 vs CB1000 review....They could throw the ZRX1200 in there just to be fun....
Not a review from a credible media outlet, but I rode the XR1200 and the CB1000 back to back, while I still owned my 03 919... After trying to muscle the HD through some roundabouts, I couldn't wait to get on the Honda; no comparison IMO concerning handling, finish, etc, with the naked Honda. That being said, there wasn't enough difference in the 919 and the 1000 to justify the difference I was going to have to pay to "upgrade". I stupidly sold the 9 later when I started modding my dr650, I sorely miss that bike, will probably buy another unless the CB1100 or even the CB500 don't grab me first...
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:42 PM   #690
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Ok, most of that makes sense. In this country, we have cruisers and sport bikes. We used to have touring bikes, but the Honda Goldwing has taken over that segment, and is the only one left. Yes BMW has that K1600GTL, which many consider to be a touring bike and a competitor to the Goldwing. But these two bikes couldn't be more different. The Goldwing is a touring bike in the very comfortable "kick back and cruise" sense. The BMW is a "sport touring" bike, which is less comfortable and requires more physical effort to ride. For me and many others, the comfort factor will always win out.

Sport bikes are basically roadracers with lights. To me sport riding has always been about handling. Yes it takes some work to ride a sport bike on a curvy road, but the bikes riding position shouldn't try to kill you. Most sport bike buyers today buy a bike because of it's top speed or how well it does in a drag race, which has nothing to do with how it handles. That's why I refer to such bikes as "crotch rockers", as it is all about power and speed, and nothing about handling. Many people say that bikes like the Ninja 650, ER-6N, Ninja 500, GS500, YZ1, YZ6, Honda NC700X, all 3 CB500 models and a number of other such bikes are "standards", but they aren't. These are what I call sport bikes. They handle great, don't have as much power, or cost as much, and most important, have much more sensible ergos than the hardcore "supersports" But their riding position is still too uncomfortable to be considered standard. The CB750 and CB250 Nighthawks were standards. The Suzuki TU250 and Triumph Bonneville are standards. The W650 is a standard (and is IMO the most beautiful Japanese bike ever made) The late '70s/early '80s "UJM"s are what I consider standards. Bikes with a very upright riding position, but without forward pegs and buckhorn bars or drag bars on risers. Their riding position is very much like sitting in a chair, like riding on a modern small displacement scooter, say the Yamaha Zuma 125. This is an all day comfortable scooter, but "does not" have a cruiser riding position. I'm hoping the CB1100 has this kind of riding position, and is not a sport bike that looks like a standard.

As for cruisers, I have been riding on the street since 1975. My first street bike was a Suzuki GT380, definitely a standard. My first brand new streetbike was an '81 Suzuki GS450L, a cruiser. It was not a Harley copy, but had the cruiser riding position, which I found extremely comfortable. I have owned 46 motorcycles/scooters since then, and a good part of them have been cruisers. Why? Not because of the look. Not because of the Harley image. (not a single one of them has been a Harley) I bought and rode cruisers because of their extremely comfortable riding position. I became interested in touring (long distance riding) at a young age, but could not afford a real touring bike. Cruisers fir the bill perfectly. They were smaller, cheaper, and all day comfortable. While I now have a '95 Goldwing (now 18 years old), I also have a cruiser parked in the garage. I have put more mileage per year on it than on the Goldwing, and there has been no commuting. Unlike most cruisers, this one does not have loud pipes, or fringed covers on the grips. It does have a windshield, bolt on saddlebags, both rider and passenger backrests, a luggage rack, a T Bag, and a tank bag. It is dirty and has quite a few scratches. It is not a showbike, it gets ridden. It handles a lot better than you would probably think for a cruiser. I have put 77,000 miles on it in 10 years. This cruiser is an '02 model, but an '85 design, and was sold with no changes other than paint from '85-'06. It is proven reliable.

If Honda (or anyone else) can make a bike this comfortable and this practical that looks like a standard, I will buy it. That is, IF I can afford it. Honda's plan to keep prices high and volumes low may prevent that. That may work for some companies that have the name, heritage, and pedigree to pull it off, but Honda has none of those things. I had a motorized bicycle once that had a Honda engine on it. There was NOTHING wrong with the CB750 Nighthawk, it was one of the best bikes Honda ever built, and I will always regret not having bought one, but you can't buy everything. My reasons for not buying one certainly had nothing to do with the bike itself. It was a very nice looking bike, and completely competent in every way, including it's hydraulic valves.

If Honda tries to sell the CB1100 as a "boutique" bike, then it will fail. The CB750 was actually a better bike than the Kawasaki Zephyr 750 someone mentioned, yet it cost less. If a bike is going to sell here, it will have to meet a price point. When considering a new bike, the very first thing I look at is price. I'm not looking for gadgets or features that serve no purpose, or could (like ABS) actually be dangerous, I am looking for a basic bike that is comfortable and reliable, with acceptable performance. I don't plan to race it, or put it in a bike show. The simple fact that Honda is even offering a non ABS model of the CB1100 is enough to get positive attention from me, plus, yes, it does look great.

One thing that does puzzle me, is that Honda is trying to compare the CB1100 to the original CB750K0. The CB750K0 designation applies only to the 1969 version, also known as the "sand cast" version. The 1970 and up models of the SOHC CB750 were known as "K1", not "K0" There is certainly nothing "innovative" about the CB1100, it's about as basic as you can get, using mostly decades old technology. That is what attracts me to it. I have a serious aversion to "innovative" I still don't see why they couldn't have kept it even simpler, and made it a SOHC with 2 valves per cylinder.
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