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Old 01-29-2002, 04:40 AM   #21
Bill-and-FJ1200
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Default Re: Weird rumors and Green GSX-Rs

They may be 2 of the 4 top motorcycle manufacturers, but they aren't making any money selling motorcycles. They have to find a way to develop and build motorcycles for less money, or they won't be able to stay in business.



They're not talking about making one bike and calling it a GSXR at the Suzuki store and a Ninja at the Kawasaki store. They're talking about combining some of their r&d and purchasing so that the 2006 GSXR-850 and Ninja ZX-8.5 will use some of the same parts. Really, would you decide NOT to buy one of these just because the evil archenemy competing bike uses the same handlebar levers? Or mirrors? Or pistons?



This way, they don't have to pay TWICE to develop the next set of lighter pistons, more-efficient valvetrain, better suspension, better brakes. And they don't have to negotiate individual purchases of parts like handlebar levers, switches, brake calipers, etc.



If you have two bike lines such as Suzuki's SV650 and Kawi's Zr7, well, you know neither one of them is going to sell like a Sportster - you'll be lucky to move a couple thousand of each of these things a month. So why on earth go in TWO DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS when specifying brake rotors for a 450-lb budget sporty bike? The object of both bikes is decent performance and no frills at a low price - it would be better to agree, "Okay, for both bikes we'll use Brembo 300mm rotors in front, with Nissin 4-pot calipers, and this particular master cylinder." Now they get a price break on this stuff because they're buying twice as many of them.



Similarly - is a piston in a ZX-6 really a lot better or worse than a piston in a GSXR-600? You need 4 pistons to make 600cc - I think they've all crunched their numbers and come up with some pretty similar solutions. So why have a different freakin' piston for every different engine out there?



And now they can share technology. Suzuki: "We've had good results with this Ohlins fork setup for a 450 lb bike." Kawasaki: "We've used this Showa rear shock and find it works well with this particular rising-rate linkage." Boom - they both agree to use the other company's solution. It costs each of them less to develop the next bike (because they're sharing the costs) and it costs less to build them (because the components are less expensive if you buy them in larger quantity.)



This makes it better for riders, too. Because in two years, when you need brake pads for your SV650, it's not the only bike in the whole world that uses that particular size of brake pad. I mean, it costs $80 to replace every single brake pad on a Camry and stop a 3,400 lb car, but to replace the tiny brake pads on a 450lb GSXR costs $120!! What the.....?? Why is that, you ask? Because somebody can make and sell a zillion Camry brake pads, but how many GSXR brake pads are you going to sell? Wouldn't it make sense if you could make one brake pad that would work on a 480lb ZX AND on a 450lb GSXR?



In some ways, motorcycles are way ahead of cars (we had DOHC and disc brakes back when most cars had pushrods & drums.) But in some ways, the motorcycle industry is 20 years behind the times. And auto manufacturers are a lot more careful about where they put their r&d money. Specialty manufacturers (Aston Martin) use plenty of components that have already been developed by other companies (switches, handles, fasteners/brackets.) Why not Kawasaki & Suzuki? It's either that, or start saving up for your $11,000 ZX-6.
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Old 01-29-2002, 04:51 AM   #22
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Default Re: Weird rumors and Green GSX-Rs

I'm running a older/newer fzr400/yzf600r creation at the moment, and have strong brand loyalty to Yamaha, but I know if they ever tried to merge or share tech, lets say with Honda, I would be very disapointed, and they would quickly lose my support and bussiness.
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Old 01-29-2002, 09:42 AM   #23
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Default economy of scale

I remember a few years ago I went to a m/c scrapyard to look for some parts. I saw a box of several rear brake drums, all of them just slightly different, just enough so they could not transfer from one model to another. If you look at 600 sportbikes, the situation is that 4 manufacturers are building what is basically the same bike. This does not make a lot of sense. Harley stretches a model for decades. The sportster is laughable in terms of technology but a 1980 cylinder will fit on a 1999 crankcase( I think) The downside of rapid model evolution is high cost of repair. One piston for a m/c is $150 but an entire set of pistons for a chevy v8 is $100.

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Old 01-29-2002, 07:21 PM   #24
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Default Re: economy of scale

While there is some truth in what you're saying, you have to consider that your Chevy engine doesn't spin at 11000 rpm like your bike engine. And your Chevy doesn't stop as fast as your bike, even though it has bigger brakes. Therefore the technology used is different on cars and motorcycles. By the way, how much is a piston for the sportster? I have no clue, but I bet is more expensive than Chevi's pistons.

And I don't think the 4 big are building almost the same bike. I think they're quite different and I, personally, like my Ninja the way it is. Maybe my next bike will be a Suzuki, or a Yamaha, or a Honda. But at that time my choice will be based on the differences among the bikes. A slightly bigger disk brake, a little bit better forks ... I'm sure that the better rider I become, the better I'll be able to see the differences.
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Old 01-29-2002, 07:34 PM   #25
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Default Re: Weird rumors and Green GSX-Rs

sure beats the hell out of either company going the ENRON route, er KMART...who's next?
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Old 01-31-2002, 02:02 PM   #26
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Default Re: Weird rumors and Green GSX-Rs

Both of these companies produce damn fun, good running and reliable equipment. If you take the optimistic view of the situation and assume that the best 40% of both companies people and ideas survive the murger. They should likely rename the company KAWABUNGA. Bikes that are rasty, rough, reliable and fast. Hell, this just might be fun.



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