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Not wanting to create an argument about Japanese quality, I would just like to say that Japanese bikes and cars do nothing for me. There are certain models that I like but on a whole, I don't like Japanese vehicles.
I`m the same. I like European bikes and cars. Apart from KTM`s, which look unusual.

There was a big thread on an Aussie bike forum I frequent about a guy who was tossing up between a Bonneville, a V7 and a W800. All the jap bike owners, most of whom had never ridden any of these bikes recommended the W800, for reasons that were frankly just nonsense, ie poor reliabilty of Triumph, expensive spares, poor parts availabilty. That`s not true, even of the V7. This was, though, a clear indicator of the phobias that many (but not all) Jap bike riders have, about anything not made in Japan.

He went for the Bonneville in the end, swayed by the huge selection of aftermarket accessories and the fact that the one color option on the Kawasaki is 1970`s bathroom suite green.

:ThrowUp

As an aside, they also make, or used to, a w400, for the Japanese market. Loads get imported here, because they are (LAMS) learner legal. They come in a variety of colors, TeamMoto at Springwood have about a dozen of them for sale at the moment, along with other Japnese market oddities like Ducati Monster 400`s. Not joking.

http://www.bikesales.com.au/all-bikes/dealer/details.aspx?seot=1&R=8079312&silo=1408&__Ns=pCar_RankSort_Int32|1||pCar_Price_Decimal|1||pCar_Make_String|0||pCar_Model_String|0&Cr=&trecs=5&__N=1432%201429%201428%204294967215%204294960513

They look better in red...
 

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Once again a thread has taken on a life of it's own.
My original post referred only to cosmetic quality of the W800.

Thanks for keeping your cool Santy. Before we dump the quality topic, if we do, I'd like to remind those who disagree with my Japanese praise that I qualified my statement with "Based purely on reliability...." I too prefer non-Japanese machinery aesthetically, but if I were to go back to courier work, I'd probably get a Honda. Regarding assembly in cheap labour countries, sometimes it's bang-on and I am glad for those who ride Thai Trumpets and are happy with them; I know some who are not. As far as Chevy motors from Mexico that were used to power our Monaro's; there is no need to fear them anymore 'cause they've all blown up.
 

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Which forum is that Rob? I'm yet to find one in OZ that I'm impressed with.
I can`t tell you I`m afraid, because my persona on there, is a really hot chick and I think many of the members have fallen for me and I don`t want anyone spoiling my cunning ruse.

I have a feeling "BazGixxer" is going to propose quite soon...
 

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As far as Japanese reliability is concerned, we have a mixed fleet of vans and pickups in our company. Amongst other things, I look after the servicing and repairs.
Our experience is that some Japanese makes are reliable (Toyota, Suzuki) but most of the rest are not (no Hondas so cannot comment). In fact two Japanese makes have been terrible, always in for repair.
Our recent vans have been French and have proved very reliable, much to my surprise as, in the past, I had a lot of problems with French vehicles. Things change.
 

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I qualified my statement with "Based purely on reliability...."

That's merely an assertion made with no data or evidence. If you're basing your opinion on a couple of friends bikes, then you simply don't have a good basis for your opinion, which is all your statement is. An opinion.

If you've got a thorough analysis of all the Triumphs ever sold and field failure data, warranty claims and the like I might give your statement some credence, but I doubt if you have such figures.

Back in 07 when we learned about the Thailand factories there were invariably a few people yelling "arrgh the end of Triumph! This shall be their undoing! Burn the heretics" and yet Triumph goes from strength to strength, with new model bikes and expanded sales. You don't do that on the back of an unreliable product.

So I think your assertion that the Thai bikes is balderdash and poppycock.

:sip

Japanese bikes do plenty for me. The idea that there is some "soul" thing in a machine, because of where it is made, is also arse. The big 4 have been turning out top machines for ages. I still love my ZX1100, it's a hoot.

PS ZX1100's are prone to big end failure due to poorly designed oilways. Japanese quality and reliability. :rolleyes:

I like my KLR650 as well. Great fun. Had to replace the cam chain tensioner though as the Japanese ones are weak and not up to the task, breaking and dumping bits of metal into the crank case. Also had to dismantle the rear suspension and grease it up properly, because you know, Japanese quality and reliability is so good. :rolleyes:

I still like them though.
 

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Prop, you make a good point. No doubt Japan has produced very good motorcycles. To me the more interesting thing is a motorbike's 'soul' Whether a bike has soul or not doesn't depend on where it was built, as you noted. The 'soul' thing is purely subjective and would be difficult to measure or quantify. Very much like 'quality'---which, after all, is what Pirsig's Zen was all about. And that dude literally went crazy trying to pin down quality.

I guess for me soul has to do with some 'romantic' idea of things we can't easily obtain any longer. Sort of a nostalgia thing. Like British bikes of the Sixties. Which is why the Bonneville does the trick for satisfying my tastes.
 

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I guess for me soul has to do with some 'romantic' idea of things we can't easily obtain any longer. Sort of a nostalgia thing........
Then how do you explain the Bonnies having soul right from the factory in the '60s, Juni? And yes I was there, I can tell you they did.

P.S.: I hope Prop doesn't scold me for not having empirical data or documentation other than my own experience and observations. .-)~

P.P.S.: Sorry Santa. You're right, once again a thread's taken on a life of its own. Can't speak to the original subject--no knowledge of it. Is it like a W650 redux?

Eddie.
 

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Based purely on reliability, I'd sooner own a Japanese marque completely made in Japan than a Thai assembled Trumpet
Based on the UK experience, where Triumphs are now the market leader in large capacity motorcycles (500cc+) and hence very common, Triumph's reliability is at least as good as the best Japanese manufacturer (Honda) and significantly better than some others inc the other main European brands.
Also, I have been told by a senior Triumph person that the warranty figures are the same for Thai built bikes as for UK build.
 

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I guess for me soul has to do with some 'romantic' idea of things we can't easily obtain any longer. Sort of a nostalgia thing.

That's as good a way as putting it as any. For me the nostalgia part has to do with stuff I did throughout the years, thus in the 80s and 90s I have fond memories of various shenanigans involving motorcycles, all of which were Japanese. Thus someone telling me that Japanese bikes have no soul just makes me laugh.

I like old British bikes because I just like them. There are various reasons, some to do with technical things, or performance things, or because I saw one in a picture and though it looked good.

For someone to label a modern guzzi, triumph or duc as having more soul than a japanese bike just doesn't make sense to me. There is simply no less or more in one than the other. Anyone waxing lyrical about it is missing the point.
 

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P.S.: I hope Prop doesn't scold me for not having empirical data or documentation other than my own experience and observations. .-)~

Since you're talking about a non tangible anyway, you can't have any data. I may scold you anyway though. :sip

Soul.......bikes don't have souls. The riders make the stories, not the bikes. The bikes are simply a component.

Does a Ural have more soul than a modern Triumph?
 

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That's merely an assertion made with no data or evidence. If you're basing your opinion on a couple of friends bikes, then you simply don't have a good basis for your opinion, which is all your statement is. An opinion.

So I think your assertion that the Thai bikes is balderdash and poppycock.
You are sooo correct, it is MY opinion. But that is my opinion. May I add that my definition of reliability includes being able to fix an issue and get back on the road ASAP. Owning a Triumph as a courier bike in Australia is not really a proposition unless you have a couple of wrecks to scrounge from sitting in the corner of your garage. Couriers bend stuff as much as they break bits, stuff like forks, levers, master cyls, pegs, bars; you know the list. Personally, I would not choose new, not even a new Honda. I'd go for a model that wrecking yards are full of. In my days as a courier, the late eighties and early nineties I chose the Boldor (DOHC Hondas) for this exact reason. Only a few years before they were like arse'oles - everyone had one. So I was never without spares. If a bike was bent beyond repair, it went under the bench for safe keeping and I bought another 2nd hand Boldor. I rooted 4 in 10 years.


I will steer well clear of using emotive words like soul and character, a bike is not a person. I like the aesthetics of the European (inc. Triumph) jobbies. All marques have made lemons and most marques have made a winner. I am not rubbishing Thai Triumphs, and my experience with them is minimal. I don't have a Thai Triumph and I am glad mine was assembled in Hinckley. I DO have a fear of products assembled in cheap labour countries, but I will concede it is not founded on a broad knowledge base.

I just stated my opinion, which is all anyone here is doing unless they are quoting recognised facts.
 

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You are sooo correct, it is MY opinion.
And perfectly reasonable, in that regard. If someone just doesn't like something because that's their opinion, who am I or anyone else to argue?

May I add that my definition of reliability includes being able to fix an issue and get back on the road ASAP.
Your definition is incorrect. Reliability is about the bike not breaking in the first place. You might as well get a bike with points ignition if side of the road fixability is your thing. Hardly more reliable than an electronic ignition.

I will steer well clear of using emotive words like soul and character, a bike is not a person. I like the aesthetics of the European (inc. Triumph) jobbies. All marques have made lemons and most marques have made a winner.
Yes I agree with all of that, very much.
 

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I have never understood the whole "Bike has a soul" thing either. I have named my bike but that is something I did purely for my benefit and is entirely a romantic notion. No... Bikes don't have a soul, but some bikes can seem to have more character than others. "Character" in this context being defined as certain traits or oddities that can at once be both annoying and charming to their human owners.

At the risk at propagating yet another Kawasaki W800 thread...

Based on my first hand experience with the Kawasaki W650 [The W800 is not sold here.] has plenty of character. It has a more flexible frame than the Hinkley Bonneville. It has a longer stroke motor and a seemingly wider torque curve than the Hinkley Bonneville. Both of those traits, in my first hand perception, make for a very enjoyable and relaxing ride down a country lane, with the bike comfortably purring along in top gear with no need to shift and with you gently floating through the curves at a unhurried pace.

The Bonneville in contrast has a much tighter frame geometry and a peakier power curve. It feels like you need to push it a little more and wring it out a little more than the W650, and it takes a little more muscle to make it go where you want it to go. It is a more demanding motorcycle. I feels like more of a muscle bike in comparison to the W650.

So in my opinion they both have character, but it comes in different forms and each may appeal to different riders. I don't really care where a bike is made, because I have had bikes with tons of character that have come from everywhere. That being said, I am prouder of my Bonneville than I was of my W650. I believe that is because I am ethnically British as well as Irish and bunches of other peoples, so I guess there is a sense of connection there on some level. No racism, just proud of stuff engineered and/or made by "my tribe" sort of speak.
 

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Your definition is incorrect. Reliability is about the bike not breaking in the first place. You might as well get a bike with points ignition if side of the road fixability is your thing. Hardly more reliable than an electronic ignition.
No, it's incorrect to you, maybe I have used the word a little outside its defined parameters. Do you have a better word for the quality I am referring to? Couriers prefer a bike that is 1. hard to break and 2. easy to fix; we needed both qualities. Difficult to break in the first place is great, but bloody useless when it does break, if it is difficult/impossible to fix.
 

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For someone to label a modern guzzi, triumph or duc as having more soul than a japanese bike just doesn't make sense to me. There is simply no less or more in one than the other. Anyone waxing lyrical about it is missing the point.
Count me in as someone who never understood the "soul" thing.

My reasoning for liking something is always quixotic. I can't pin down why I like European bikes more than I like Japanese bikes. All I know is that I do.
 

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No, it's incorrect to you, maybe I have used the word a little outside its defined parameters. Do you have a better word for the quality I am referring to? Couriers prefer a bike that is 1. hard to break and 2. easy to fix; we needed both qualities. Difficult to break in the first place is great, but bloody useless when it does break, if it is difficult/impossible to fix.
It's not that it's incorrect to me, your use of reliability as a term falls outside of the definitions for it's use within the English language.

I didn't invent the language, so I don't get to define what reliable means - neither do you. Easy to fix is nothing to do with reliability, or quality. That's called repairability, or fixability or something. So your point 1 (hard to break) is related to reliabilty and quality, your point 2 is not.

Here are 3 definitions of reliability, that are very commonplace:

1. The ability of an apparatus, machine, or system to consistently perform its intended or required function or mission, on demand and without degradation or failure.

2. Manufacturing: The probability of failure-free performance over an item's useful life, or a specified timeframe, under specified environmental and duty-cycle conditions. Often expressed as mean time between failures (MTBF) or reliability coefficient. Also called quality over time. See also availability.

3. Consistency and validity of test results determined through statistical methods after repeated trials.
If being able to fix the bike at the side of the road is an imprtant criteria to you - that's great, but a bike that is easy to get going, but breaks again 5 miles later, is not reliable.

IBikes don't have a soul, but some bikes can seem to have more character than others. "Character" in this context being defined as certain traits or oddities that can at once be both annoying and charming to their human owners.
Yes I see where you are coming from. The more I consider that, the more that sums up how I feel about it.

My reasoning for liking something is always quixotic. I can't pin down why I like European bikes more than I like Japanese bikes. All I know is that I do.
I am zen with this. Why even try and define why you like something? You simply do, and that's good enough for me. Sometimes I like something for a specific reason, but in the case of classic British bikes (for example) I can't pin it down, I just like them.
 

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You are sooo correct, it is MY opinion. But that is my opinion. May I add that my definition of reliability includes being able to fix an issue and get back on the road ASAP. Owning a Triumph as a courier bike in Australia is not really a proposition unless you have a couple of wrecks to scrounge from sitting in the corner of your garage. Couriers bend stuff as much as they break bits, stuff like forks, levers, master cyls, pegs, bars; you know the list. Personally, I would not choose new, not even a new Honda. I'd go for a model that wrecking yards are full of. In my days as a courier, the late eighties and early nineties I chose the Boldor (DOHC Hondas) for this exact reason.
I was a motorcycle courier in London, for 10 years. I rode only Jap bikes, specifically shaft drive middleweights, like the CX500 or the GT550. I`ve put 200,000 MILES on a second hand CX500 and 250,000 miles on a new Kawasaki GT550. Completely awesome but I don`t ride for a living anymore and with the amount of riding I do at the moment it would take me 20 years to do that kind of mileage so I don`t need my bike to be the most absolutely indestructible thing on the planet.

And my awesome and indestructible CX500`s and GT550`s? I rode them because it was my job and they were tools. Come Friday night, they were locked in the shed and I didn`t want to even clap eyes on them again until monday morning. They were bland and without identity, not something you would ride for pleasure.

These days, my bikes have to be SPECIAL, as well as being good to ride. It`s great to find yourself in the garage late at night with a glass of wine just staring at your bike and thinking about how great it looks. How many people do you think ever did that with their Vstrom or KLR650?
 

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Reliability

If my usage of the word offends you; which word do you suggest I use? It's not the word's definition I was trying to communicate but the ability to keep my machine operational. I didn't need to fix "at the side of the road", but I did need to fix ASAP so that I could continue earning. Waiting for parts from God knows where was not an option.

If "reliability" is dependability, as it is defined by some dictionaries, and I depended on my bike to earn an income; I would say "fixability" is part of the definition. But I take your point and reinvite you propose an alternative word for my needs. May be "practical", but practical incorporates other values like luggage carrying capacity.


My present criteria for choosing a bike is definitely not quixotic, I'd just say aesthetically pleasing with an acceptable degree of practicality which still includes a tablespoon of reliability. Can't say I share the CX love Rob practically or aesthetically.

 

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I'm not offended. I know exactly what you are driving at. If you had a bike that never broke down I'd say you gad all the reliability and dependability you need.
 
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