Japanese Brand vs Chinese Brand Motorcycles

With the influx of cheap 125 to 200cc motorcycles, buyers are left facing a tough decision – pay a premium for a Japanese or opt for the budget choice. With prices for Chinese-built motorcycles starting at just around 30,000 THB, rather than near 60,000 THB for a Japanese brand that is often made in Thailand, you can see why so many cash-strapped riders plump for the cheaper option.

According to industry figures in 2016, the major players in Thailand’s 125 to 200cc market from China were Lifan, Zongshen and Keeway while Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki represented Japan with KTM the only European.

When it comes to depreciation all of the manufacturers fare similarly and record depreciation percentages in the 30 percent area. On the Japanese or European motorcycles, which cost a premium to start with, this equals a greater loss of capital, making the Chinese machines certainly appear better value for money. However, there is a catch.

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Honda is Going for Royal Enfield Sales

Honda have announced that they have formed a team of engineers from Japan and Thailand to work in India to develop a middleweight 350 to 500cc motorcycle that will compete with Royal Enfield.

Noriaki Abe, due to become CEO of Honda on the 1st of April, said they want to take a slice out of Royal Enfield’s annual 590,000 units domestic Indian sales. The product will at a later stage undoubtedly also be sold in other Asian and Southeast Asian countries if not globally.

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The All-New 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R

Suzuki is finally going to release an all-new GSX-R1000 with upgrades to make up for an eight-year gap between new models.

The all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000 will officially be launched at the 38th Bangkok International Motor Show, which starts next week, the new flagship sportbike is expected to sell at a higher price as the current GSX-R1000 ABS. The new Suzuki GSX-R1000 will also be split into two separate models, one the standard GSX-R1000 and the GSX-R1000R.

We’re told that the jump in price is significant from the outgoing model, but buyers can expect much more bang for their money, with the motorcycles now the performance-class leaders.

Think 149kW (200 horsepower) at 13,200rpm, 118Nm at 10,800rpm and top speed of more than 280km/h, thanks in part to a shorter-stroke engine, higher compression ratio and variable valve timing.

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The Royal Enfield Continental GT750 - Parallel-Twin Performance

We have seen what appears to be a finished version of Royal Enfield’s new Continental GT750 undergoing testing, some people already reported that they saw an 750cc parallel-twin Royal Enfield in Spain last year. Sources at the time suggested it would be released around March or April this year and based on the finish of model we have seen, we don’t think it’s far away.

The beating heart of the new Royal Enfield Continental GT is an air-cooled 750cc parallel-twin, which is expected to produce 45 to 50 horsepower putting it in the same territory as the Harley-Davidson Street 750 (47 horses) and Triumph’s similarly-styled Street Cup (54 horses).

Also new are the upswept two-into-two exhaust, as all Royal Enfields have previously been single cylinders, and judging by the Royal Enfield Continental GT750s rather tasty exhaust nite we expect it to have a 270-degree firing order.

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Chinese Made Motorcycle Imports for 2017

The year 2016 in China saw the continuing trend of declining sales domestically and a slight downturn in exports to traditionally safe Chinese markets like Latin America and Africa. This is causing more Chinese manufacturers to turn their attention to the European and American markets.

Despite the expression ‘scrambler’ not meaning what it used to a cursory look around a Chinese motorcycle exhibition will reveal that it is this type of motorcycle that is ‘trending’ at the moment. At last year’s Canton fair I approached the exhibition stand for each different manufacturer and asked them which of their models had achieved the Euro 4 certificate of conformity. After the usual replies of ‘all of them’ I asked to see a copy of the certificates and eventually the truth was revealed that only one or two models actually had a Euro 4 certificate of conformity.

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2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod 750 - Another Budget but Sportier 750 V-twin

It is almost two years ago that Harley-Davidson reintroduced the Street Rod name, which last appeared on a V-Rod-derived motorcycle in 2007. But we could not expect the new generation Street Rod to be quite like this.

Far from being a muscular, high-performance Harley-Davidson sitting near the top of the range, the new Harley-Davidson Street Rod is an entry-level machine based around the water-cooled Harley-Davidson Street 750.

Racking a High Output version of the Revolution X 750cc engine, with 18 percent more power (about 50kW at 8,750rpm) and torque up eight percent compared to the regular Harley-Davidson Street 750, the H-D Street Rod will be one of Harley’s least expensive machines.

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Indian Motorcycles Ready to Launch 3 New Motorcycles

America might have lost two of its motorcycle brands with the recent closures of both Victory Motorcycles and EBR, but the former’s sister company, Indian, is growing at a rapid pace. New documents show that an additional three models will soon be joining the Indian Motorcycle range.

The Polaris-owned firm has filed emissions certification documents for new models under the ‘Chieftain Elite’, ‘Chieftain Limited’ and ‘Roadmaster Classic’ names. While the documents show the motorcycles will be powered by the same 1811cc ThunderStroke V-Twin as Indian’s other large-capacity models, there’s little else to go on regarding their technical details.

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The 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King Special - Custom Design No Chrome

Goodbye bling. Say hello to the Harley-Davidson Road King Special. Featuring the recently launched Milwaukee-Eight engine, the Harley Road Kind Special gets mini-ape handlebars and stretched saddlebags, while black accents have replaced the standard Road King’s chrome on everything form the headlamp nacelle and mirror housings to exhaust pipes and wheels.

The front wheel size has changed to 19 inches, and the fork has been redesigned to improve damping control. The shocks are also new, with hydraulic spring preload (rather than air) adjustment.

Where’s the windscreen? Gone. What’s going one with those saddlebags? Harley-Davidson has wrapped them around the exhaust pipes to make the motorcycle look lower. Why the makeover? If you have to ask, it’s probably not for you.

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Erik Buell and EBR in Problems Again

EBR Motorcycles, formed only in early 2016 by liquidation specialists Bill Melvin Senior and Junior, is winding down operations.

The company run by the pair – Liquid Asset Partners LLC – took on the business promising to produce 500 motorcycles per year, continuing Erik Buell’s work in motorcycle manufacturing that, over the past decade, has been bought and sold by Harley-Davidson and tied to Indian company Hero MotoCorp in a WSBK bid that broke down amid accusations of theft.

The Buell Motorcycle Company was founded in 1983 be ex Harley-Davidson engineer Erik Buell, building race motorcycles and selling parts, as well as carrying out engineering consultancy work. In 1993 Harley-Davidson bought 49 percent of the company, and took it on entirely in 2003. By the end of 2006, the business had built more than 100,000 motorcycles.

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The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 - The Best 150cc Sportbike

Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales unveiled the new 3th generation of the Yamaha YZF-R15 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The new look of the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 is clearly inspired by the new Yamaha YZF-R6, the Deltabox frame has been retained with a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, while Yamaha has introduced USD front forks.

The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 also features new headlamps, in between the two headlamps is a section that looks like a pseudo air intake. The headlamps are sleeker, but they are still halogen lights.

The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 also gets new multi-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels that match the body fairing color, similar as on the YZF-R3. The fuel tanks is redesigned and looks sharper, the rider and pillion seat have been reworked to be more comfortable. The pillion seat is also lower than on the outgoing model. The instrument panel gets a all new digital layout, which is more easier to read.

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