The quality of Japanese motorcycles which are no longer actually made in Japan gives some cause for concern. Recently we have seen recalls for Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha motorcycles. Often the same model has multiple issues the Honda CB300F had potential crankshaft bearing failure and some fire risk from faulty wiring, the Yamaha MT-03 and YZF-R3 had also several serious and less serious problems, and we recently saw a recall for the Kawasaki Z125 Pro.
I’m around 50 years old now and can’t remember anything like this ever happening before. There must have been recalls in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but we expected any new motorcycles we bought to be 100 percent sorted and, as far as I know, they were.
Currently it seems that a unprecedented number of motorcycles and cars are being recalled and I can’t help but think it’s a problem associated with the dreaded ‘globalization’. Japanese motorcycles used to be made in Japan. Sure, there were probably independent parts suppliers but, if a motorcycle had a Japanese brand name on the fuel tank, you could be confident Japanese engineers made sure all the motorcycle’s components met Japanese standards.
It’s almost impossible these days to find out which parts of what motorcycles are made where. Wheels and engines come from China, the motorcycles are assembled in Thailand or Indonesia and on some motorcycles the only thing Japanese about them is the brand name on the fuel tank.
What I don’t get is why the Japanese manufacturers are letting the quality slip to the point where the actual brand is being trashed.