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Old 05-28-2001, 01:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: Kaw can improve and take market by storm!

I've owned alot of Kaws (more than 12) over the years and am a current owner.

I would suggest being the first into Canada/US with a SuperTT/Super Motard model with variable seat height or a seat height around 32" or less.

Bring in your best 400cc street machine from Japan. There is huge demand here and your best would sell big. Even the GPZ retro, my fav, would sell very well as there are no other top of the line 400cc sporting bikes.

Go for niche markets and do them well and Kawasaki will be around along time!

I hear people say they want the Kaw because after being uncomfortable on other sport bikes they want a change. Light fast and comfy should be good for sales.

Dealer network. In this area almost all the dealers suck big time. Some are down right insulting. There is room to take over the section that wants respect from a dealer. My local Kaw dealer told me to see my Suzuki dealer when I wanted new tires and custom work (ie: rims) for my DRZ. THe susy dealer wasn't interested either and I said money was not that important but quaility was!

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Old 05-28-2001, 01:46 PM   #12
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Default Re: MO

Since my interest lies with the more entry level bikes, I'll start there.

First, drop the air cooled 738cc motor from the ZR-7. It's just too primitive. I owned a 78 KZ-650 with a 720cc big bore kit, and they are basically the same bike. If they want to stay cheap, put a 650cc or 700cc version of their Ninja 500cc twin in there, along with the 6 speed tranny. This would get them as much or even a little more horsepower than the old 738cc inline four they have now, plus they can market it against the SV650 twin from Suzuki. Another option, and this would dovetail with a an all new ZX7R would be to take the old ZX7R inline 4 and put it in the ZR-7, but tuned for more torque to compete with the Suzuki Katana 750. The Ninja 500 is probably fine the way it is, so I won't comment on the more entry level bikes. However, with regards to the rest of the Ninja line, Kawasaki should put out an all new ZX7R for starters to compete with the Suzuki GSXR 750. I realize there are reasons related to racing events for skipping this move, but for riders who don't want to check straight into the morgue with the there first step up to a serious sport bike, it would be nice to have something between the 600 cc supersports and the liter bikes. I think Suzuki was smart in coming out first with a bike that doesn't fit the most competitive markets so they can fine tune there technology for the really competitive stuff (600cc, 1000cc) later. Kawasaki should do the same. Fuel injection seems like it's here to stay so have that, but maybe Kawasaki should try something a little different, to differentiate itself. Perhaps instead of the lightest weight, highest horsepower, they could try something like supercharging to get the horsepower down lower in the RPM range for more of a v-twin power delivery. Another avenue to explore could be use of titanium in frames, suspension springs, and motor internals. V-twin like power delivery from an inline 4 plus the lowest wet weight in the bussiness would be interesting. One final thought would be to offer more than just one version of a 600cc, 750cc or 1000cc bike. Something like Ducati does with there 748's and 996's with a sport version, and a race version. (748/748R) You could have 600/600R. I know that Kawasaki, has the ZX-6/ZX6R pair, but they are completely different motorcycles. Something more along the lines of using the same frame, and basic motors, but for the non(R) model have less expensive/less adjustable suspension, less high tech motor internals, (no titanium or ceramics), so the price is lowered by a 1000 dollars or more.
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Old 05-28-2001, 03:02 PM   #13
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Default Some Suggestions For Kawasaki

1. KLR fixes. Good niche bike with a very loyal following. Just add in some of the popular after-

market fixes, especially the brakes.

2. VFR killer or FJ1300 competitor sound like good goals when updating the Connie.

3. It's too late, but buy Bimota. Let Kawasaki concentrate on engines and let Italians take care of the handling and looks. Have a true top-of-the-line exotic in the product line, and the halo effect will help the rest of the bikes.

4. Qualify the Super Sherpa in California. Probably good for 2-3 thousand bikes per year forever.

5. Make a new Honda Trail 90. There is an unmet demand for new back-of-the-RV small bikes for putting around; it's a nice, durable market.

6. Techno-geek features. Add an RS-232 interface to your engine management computers. Add a Palm interface. Integrate the GPS. Build in a fairing cam option.

7. Kawasaki.com is a great idea. Go further and put all the customer's docs online, including service manuals and owner's manuals.

8. If all else fails, sell out to Harley-Davidson.
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Old 05-28-2001, 03:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: MO

i bought a kawasaki ex250 as my first motorcycle. great little thing, but i'm not staying with kaw for my next bike. how about spacing those valve adjustment intertvals.. a new yamaha i won't have to touch for 26K miles!!! kawasakis take too much maintence. i wish they'd come up with a nice looking bike that wasn't a suzuki or yamaha clone... or if you are going to copy someone, copy aprilia... look at those swingarms... all bikes should have single sided swingarms... is anyone other than bmw going to make a single sided shaftie? take some chances!! use your resources!!! it's so easy to test public opinion nowadays... lets see some drawings or prototypes... keeping things secret until the last minute is old news, generate intersest with input! how about choices? give us options.. or tell us about the ones that exist! when is a manufacterer going to figure out that the entire front of the bike can be the headlight? instead of trying to squeeze light into a form, make the form the lights... stop putting blinkers on stalks too. make nice centerstands. note to all manufacturers: ALL STICKERS SUCK! QUIT RUINING GREAT FORM WITH BNG!... and hire me before i take a desk job.
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Old 05-28-2001, 03:20 PM   #15
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Default Re: MO

As much as I'd like to suggest that the green machine concentrate on powerful comfy bikes, that approach won't work. While I love the zx11 and 9r and have heard that the zx6 is actually a better real world sport bike than any other 600 out there, that won't sell bikes. Sport bike guys like bikes that win races or are the fastest/biggest horsepower/lightest/most painful etc. out there. Why else are R1's GSXR's (mine's really very painful but I love it... go figure), RVF's doing so well when the big K can make NICE fast bikes??? Only because the buying public (YOU and me) want 'hard core' bikes. That applies to cruisers (seen any 400cc cruisers lately???) touring bikes (where'd the silverwing go?) and sport bikes (R1, GSXR1000 need I say more) alike.

So, the green machine needs to do the following:

- 9R - bore and tune the engine, rip 30 - 40 lbs off the 9R and sell it for gsxr/R1 money.

- 7R - sell the thing for gsxr money as they need a 750 presence... or drop the 750 line completely and put the cash in 600... essentially, pick a race series they want to do well in.

- make a really competitive 600 of any type but don't drop the line - they need 600's due to size restrictions/licensing in various countries. I hear 600's are the best selling.

- touring? As everyone has stated before... use the 12R motor tuned for torque to make a ST1100 killer and style it better than the 'x-wing'.

- Cruisers? Don't know much about them but Kwak's got the motor! Just make it more powerful,use a fat rear tyre and chrome it to death.

- do something different... produce the Yam MT-01 super monster type bike or something equally wild.

Finally, hire a stylist... a real stylist. Give these bikes character - like beemer's done. Love em or hate em, they're FULL of character.

Keep the Ninja name though - huge brand recognition. I hate it cuz that's all squids know (what kind of bike do you ride? Uh, is GSXR like a ninja???) but that's a large market and we're talking marketing here.

I like kawasaki (looking for a used zx11 actually - nice two up sport touring bike for me... gsxr doesn't work with the wife!) but they need at least one bike that's bigger/better/faster than anyone else. Currently they're just average.

Do YOU want an average bike?
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Old 05-28-2001, 04:28 PM   #16
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Default Re: MO

<blockquote> Finally, hire a stylist... a real stylist. Give these bikes character - like beemer's done. Love em or hate em, they're FULL of character. </blockquote>

Erm... Kawasaki's stylist was working overtime on the Drifters, the W650, the ZRX1100 and 1200, and the ZR-7...

<blockquote> Do YOU want an average bike?</blockquote>

At a below-average price? Soitenly!! Nyuk nyuk nyuk!!
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Old 05-28-2001, 05:12 PM   #17
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Default Re: MO

Hmm... until recently, when the new LT and Venture came out, Kawasaki was the ONLY import in the US challenging Honda and H-D in the dresser market, and did so by going for cheapskates (like me) with a bike that hasn't changed since 1986. That may not be able to work anymore, but I have to give Kawasaki credit for hanging on when Suzuki and Yamaha abandoned ship (and Suzuki has yet to return, despite the Bandit platform).

The ZRX1200 engine, constantly touted as powering a Concours replacement, could also be used for an upgraded (not necessarily new from the ground up) Voyager. Upgraded suspension pieces from the ZX-11 or the ZRX1200 might help, and ZX-11 brakes definitely would!

An upgraded Voyager would not necessarily have all the bells and whistles of the GL1800 or the LT1200 Icon; it could continue to aim at the more thrifty consumers in the dresser market.

Having no real interest in sportbikes, I had no idea that Kawasaki was behind in that area. I now realize that the Fireblade revolution has yet to hit the Big Green. As much as I hate to say it, Kawasaki should try to make one of those useless things and recapture the Brownshorts Squid section of the market that they first conquered with the Mach I...

I personally think that Kawasaki has a better idea of retro than any other major manufacturer with the possible exception of Harley-Davidson. Sure they're doing the Harley thing as much as everybody else (and, in the case of the Vulcann Classics, rather more blatantly...) but they've also managed to recapture Indian (Drifters 1500 and 800), the British parallel twin (W650) and, ser-prize, ser-prize, themselves (ZRX1100/ZRX1200 and ZR-7).

Yes, the Voyager and KLR650 need to be updated and maybe the Concours needs to be replaced. Yes, they need competitive sportbikes. But they make a lot of very good bikes, have gone into niches that Honda and Yamaha have not thought of, and they've stuck with niches that Honda and Yamaha have fled (the Ninja 500, a.k.a. EX500, comes readily to mind; its only real competition is the Suzuki GS500E, and maybe the MuZ Skorpion). And while they are the smallest major Japanese bike manufacturer, the have the might of Kawasaki Heavy Industries behind them, so they are far from going under.

If I had the money to buy a new bike (and if there was a Kawasaki dealer here), Kawasaki's products would be high on my list.
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Old 05-29-2001, 12:04 AM   #18
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Default Re: Kawasaki

Kawasaki needs to dump the 750 altogether dealerships kringe when they see the new ones roll in and they still have the ones from last year sitting there. The dealer buy my house is selling them for $5995 and throwing in gloves, helmets, jacket, and the last time I checked there first born children. Maybe if they quit cranking out the same garbage and update there sportbikes someone besides Bostrom could look fast on one. I read in one of these replys that Kawi seems to have a grasp on the whole retro thing the truth is that is what there entire line consist of. And FINALLY has anyone noticed how crappy there bikes look put together all the plastic on there sport bikes look like they are just kind of thrown together. Even when they came out with the 12 it was just more of the same junk with a bigger engine. At least there dirtbikes don't suck.
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Old 05-29-2001, 01:20 AM   #19
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Default Re: Kaw can improve and take market by storm!

Architeuthis, you're pretty smart for a giant squid. I wonder if anybody else knows what we're talking about?....
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Old 05-29-2001, 03:53 AM   #20
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Default Re: MO

Being almost 50 and a ZX-11 rider, I feel qualified to say something about the sport touring line. Kawasaki has let the ZX-11 linger too long w/o any developmental changes(9 yrs). It looks great, has a good motor, but on the negative; it's too heavy and the suspension parts are dated. A diet to loose say 30-40 lbs or so, and a good shock/fork upgrade. The Germans have a good approach. Don't start over from scratch; let the machine evolve into something really good; with looks. Would really like to see an upgrade all around and this bike would be leader in sport touring. As it stands, I will consider something better in the next year.
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