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Thread: We get it, Honda gets it, but journalists don't.

  1. #1
    Super Moderator We get it, Honda gets it, but journalists don't. 670cc's Avatar
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    We get it, Honda gets it, but journalists don't.

    WTH, Honda? | Megaphone
    Who is Honda Building Bikes For Now? Not You!

    In the title, the misunderstanding is about who exactly are "you".

    Here's an article from Motorcyclist Magazine, which by the way I wouldn't even subscribe to except that it shows up for free. This guy doesn't get it. The author is discouraged by Honda's focus away from performance machines that "we" want - "we" apparently being moto-journalists, not the public that actually buys motorcycles. I'm glad Honda has shifted in the direction they have, and ignored the whining of authors of this type.

    WTH, Honda? | Megaphone

    "Today the company makes everything from lawn mowers to jet planes, but Honda started as a motorcycle company, and founder Soichiro Honda was, first and foremost, a motorcycle enthusiast. The bespectacled Mr. Honda, so reserved in regular life, loved nothing more than blowing minds with outrageous machines like the screaming six-cylinder RC166 racer from the '60s, the mass-production tour de force CB750, or futuristic V-4 Interceptors that revolutionized sportbikes in the mid-'80s.

    Honda's motorcycles were always thrilling, but none was finer than the 1992 NR750. With its jewel-like, 32-valve, oval-piston V-4, titanium connecting rods, side-mounted radiators, carbon-fiber bodywork, upside-down fork, and other assorted exotica, the $50K price seemed reasonable. At a time when BMW was still a buttoned-down touring-bike maker and Ducati had only recently adopted liquid cooling, Honda was the ultimate arbiter of motorcycle technology. If you were a performance enthusiast, you were a Honda enthusiast too.

    Fast-forward two decades and the Honda narrative couldn't be more changed. Performance seems like an afterthought. The core CBRs have soldiered on with little more than minor changes for more than six seasons. With the exception of beginner-oriented bikes like the CBR250R and various CB500s—and the adorable Grom!—Honda can't be called the clear market leader in any category, not even touring.

    This isn't for lack of trying. Honda is spending cubic dollars developing new product—it's just that these new designs are all but unrecognizable to conventional motorcycle enthusiasts like us. Honda's NM4 (NM for "new motorcycle," in contrast to the NR's "new racer" designation) is a perfect example, a Strangelovian scooter-motorcycle hybrid with an automatic transmission and a friggin' backrest! This on the heels of the future-bagger CTX700 and CTX1300—more bizarro big-wheeled scooters—and the über-commuter NC700X, Honda's current impression of an "adventure" bike. Tune in, Tokyo…

    Where's the brave company that introduced us to mass centralization with the awesome 1992 CBR900RR? The Honda that ruled WSBK racing with ultra-trick homologation specials like the RC30 and RC45 then beat Ducati at its own game with the mega-twin RC51? Not to mention unforgettable cult bikes like the CB400F Super Sport, CB-1, Hawk GT, Transalp, GB500, and many, many more?

    In the shout-logic of America's favorite Oprah-endorsed pop-psychologist, Dr. Phil, "It's not about you!" Honda simply isn't building bikes for us anymore. Faced with ever-increasing pressure regarding emissions, economy, and resource scarcity, Honda is shifting focus from performance to practicality. At the same time it's shifting focus from Western markets to predominantly Asian markets where two-thirds of the world's population—and the bulk of future consumer demand—is centered. Raised on scooters and riding in congested urban environs that look nothing like where we ride, the machines are evolving to suit their tastes, not ours.

    I imagine a group of young Honda designers in a hostess club down some darkened Tokyo alley, swigging sake, high-fiving each other, shouting, "We nailed it!" There's probably a 17-year-old manga enthusiast in Jakarta or Singapore downloading an NM4 background image on his smartphone right now. Meanwhile, we sit here wondering why the CBR1000RR still doesn't have traction control and why the 600 makes less horsepower than it did in 2007. WTH, Honda?

    It's not a pleasant thought, the idea of being phased out, left behind, retired into irrelevance while one of our most-loved manufacturers moves on to more lucrative spaces. Hopefully, this isn't permanent. Hopefully, these brave new experiments in transportation will capture a new cohort of two-wheeled enthusiasts and cut a new path from scooters to NM4s to premium sportbikes, tourers, and cruisers. Hopefully, the long-rumored, road-going version of the RC213V MotoGP racer will finally appear as a "halo" product to draw new buyers to CB500s—or maybe the supercharged four-cylinder concept leaked in this month's Up To Speed section will surface and make us forget the NM4 for good. We're not ready to give up on Honda yet."

    Aaron Frank
    Last edited by 670cc; 12th July 2014 at 08:52.
    Greg
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  2. #2
    Senior Member We get it, Honda gets it, but journalists don't. Chestnut's Avatar
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    Yes, obviously we're all looking for newer, better, faster ways to die of testosterone poisoning. *shakes head* Then he laments that Honda "can't be called the clear market leader in any category, not even touring", but how dare they put a back rest on a bike! Really?
    Eagerly awaiting the day tiny feet can reach the passenger pegs...

  3. #3
    Supporting Vendor We get it, Honda gets it, but journalists don't.
    We get it, Honda gets it, but journalists don't.
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    motorcycle journalists have always been the same more power and more power faster faster.
    this not what the majority of public wants. not over here anyway.
    most riders here are between 35 to 65 and older and in comparison very few youngster's .
    what we are looking for is more mpg,torque,quick acceleration with a top comfortable cruising speed of around 80mph and for fun maybe 120mph but that is all what we would like not need.
    these motorcycle journalists are narrow minded to there mind head down *** up is the in thing. it doesn't matter if it cripples you.
    which is more comfortable for every day commuting and touring...

    this?




    or this.............


    If I wanted to make a life-long career out of
    working with the mentally retarded I would
    have of been an MP.

  4. #4
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    This reminds me of my strugle to find a replacement for my Yamaha Tricker. a 250cc off-road/trail bike ideal for slow rides through anything anywhere.

    When i was in the market for another one i decided to see if i could find the same thing but then new. KTM brought out it's Freeride 350, advertised for goat trails and silent fun anywhere. Very light weight and nothing crazy. I went for a test ride and decided to buy it.
    When i got it, the store had upgraded the mapping because who'd want to have it as weak as it was.. Resulting in me returning the bike 2 times to get it detuned because it wasn't drivable, unless you wanted to race anywhere...

    In the end i sold it and bought a Honda CRF250L which actually does what it's supposed to do, weighs a little more but doesn't force me to race and best of all, does not need new oil every 20 hours of use....

    Honda knows what it's doing. And i think it's just massaging the masses with their experimental bikes for the future in some way or another.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bug Dr.'s Avatar
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    I'm sorry, but I agree with Mr. Frank for the most part. To me personally, I think Honda has become a caricature of what they used to be and I don't understand who their new bikes are designed for. That's just my personal opinion.

    The two segments that most interest me, adventure-touring and sport-touring have been entirely neglected by Honda. They won't give us the Crostourer and they haven't updated the ST1300 since 2003. The NC was a fun bike but it didn't quite fill all of my needs in one bike. If I could own two or three bikes, then I would put it back in the stable. Right now, I need one bike that does everything relatively well. Honda doesn't even offer anything close to what I have in the garage now. Their loss!
    Mike

  6. #6
    Senior Member anglachel's Avatar
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    Who is the market leader in touring, if not Honda?

    Every touring bike parked outside the parts store I go to, and every touring bike parked out side of work is a goldwing...
    There are big Harleys out there, but almost none of them end up touring, most of them I see get copied and hacked back into machine no one would want to spend more than an hour or two on...

    Couldn't find any recent numbers but Google suggested that Honda is #2 in the US for bikes over 650cc's, behind Harley, or more that they were in 2006.

    The good news, Honda sells bikes to people who buy bikes, not those who review them. Honda has a financial motive to make bikes that sell. Motorcycle journalist have a financial motive to say things that make people buy their magazines and click on their websites.

    Wonder if these journalist are aware that the automotive market moved to economy cars because what people want isn't what they can afford, and at some point the wallet decides you are getting a Honda fit (or half of one) instead of the Lamborghini.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Super Moderator We get it, Honda gets it, but journalists don't. 670cc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bug Dr. View Post
    I'm sorry, but I agree with Mr. Frank for the most part. To me personally, I think Honda has become a caricature of what they used to be and I don't understand who their new bikes are designed for. That's just my personal opinion.

    The two segments that most interest me, adventure-touring and sport-touring have been entirely neglected by Honda. They won't give us the Crostourer and they haven't updated the ST1300 since 2003. The NC was a fun bike but it didn't quite fill all of my needs in one bike. If I could own two or three bikes, then I would put it back in the stable. Right now, I need one bike that does everything relatively well. Honda doesn't even offer anything close to what I have in the garage now. Their loss!
    Mike
    While I really do favor the adventure touring and sport touring categories, my observation is that it's not a lucrative market for Honda. In the late '90s I had great difficultly trying to buy an ST1100. The local dealers wouldn't stock them because they didn't sell. I eventually went to a neighboring state and bought a prior year leftover. Even today I don't recall seeing an ST1300 at any local dealers. I think the lack of Honda bikes in these segments is a result of there being few buyers. Honda goes where the money is.
    Greg
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Jelly's Avatar
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    Only about 3 weeks ago I was in a bikers car park and had a gaggle of young sport bike riders enthusing over my NC.

    That journo is living in the past.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bug Dr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 670cc View Post
    While I really do favor the adventure touring and sport touring categories, my observation is that it's not a lucrative market for Honda. In the late '90s I had great difficultly trying to buy an ST1100. The local dealers wouldn't stock them because they didn't sell. I eventually went to a neighboring state and bought a prior year leftover. Even today I don't recall seeing an ST1300 at any local dealers. I think the lack of Honda bikes in these segments is a result of there being few buyers. Honda goes where the money is.
    So, I guess they are going in the direction of first time riders because that's where the money is? That's the part I don't understand. They market bikes like the CTX 700, NC, CB 500 and the NM4 to whom?

    I looked at trading my NC to my local Level 5 dealer. This isn't a backwoods Honda dealer with two ATVs and a couple of generators sitting on the floor. This dealer is consistently in the top 5 in the Nation, mind you. They wouldn't even give me a price because they did not want it at all. They can't get rid of the NCs they have sitting on the floor that are brand new. My long-time salesman is looking for another job because he said he can't sell anything but ATVs and Goldwings any more. He sees way too many models collecting dust. He's pissed because Honda isn't giving him anything to sell. It's sad to those of us that really like Hondas and can see the potential.

    Maybe the adventure- and sport-touring markets aren't lucrative for Honda because they don't really exist for Honda. I believe that Honda has the ability to do something spectacular in both segments that could steal market share from the likes of BMW and Yamaha. Look at what you get with a new FJR for the money compared to a ST 1300 that costs more. Honda doesn't think Adventure-touring means anything to the U.S.? They're off their rocker. It has to be one of the fastest growing segments in motorcycling today.......and they offer nothing in the way of large adv bikes here.
    Mike

  10. #10
    Super Moderator We get it, Honda gets it, but journalists don't. 670cc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bug Dr. View Post
    So, I guess they are going in the direction of first time riders because that's where the money is? That's the part I don't understand. They market bikes like the CTX 700, NC, CB 500 and the NM4 to whom?
    I don't disagree with you entirely, Bug Dr. But I guess the answer to your question above is: young riders and the rest of the of the world. The USA market may not be worth going after wholeheartedly. Maybe Honda doesn't care that the dealer doesn't have anything to sell since profit margins are too low in the USA? I'm just speculating.
    Greg
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