It’s interesting to me that a Japanese brand like Honda can feel, at times, just as American as apple pie and baseball. The brand has played an integral role in not only motorcycling, but industry in general in America since the `60s. In fact, this year Honda celebrates 60 years since a small storefront in Los Angeles opened its doors in 1959 as the company’s sole U.S. business operation.
Humankind has been preoccupied with fire and metal throughout recorded history. The Greeks had Hephaestus; the Norse – for simplicity’s sake – had Logi, though their table of organization for all things fire and metal related is about as cumbersome as General Motors before their reorganization, and the Romans? The Romans had Vulcan, often depicted with a large hammer, their god of fire and metalworking, the master of the forge.
The all-new 2017 GSX-R1000 is “a huge impact model for us,” Takeshi Hayasaki, president of Suzuki Motor of America, told us at the Gixxer’s launch earlier this year. As such, part of the new GSX-R’s media launch included tours of Suzuki’s three main facilities in Japan where we could witness the care and precision that goes into each bike’s development and its production.
Since the Milwaukee-Eight engine was announced last year, much has been made of Harley-Davidson’s newest powerplant. The Motor Company increased power output while maintaining fuel efficiency in the all-new engine. Well, the updates didn’t stop with the engine itself. Over the two years prior to the engine’s release, the Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations Plant had quietly been upgraded to handle the stringent manufacturing requirements of the new engine. (In fact, this update was the reason we weren’t let into the facility when we showed up on a road trip last year, as described in this article.)