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Video: Have Japanese manufacturers given up on dirt bike innovation?

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advrider

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Are you getting depressed about your Honda/Kawasaki/Suzuki/Yamaha dirt bike? Ever wonder why, every year, the Euro manufacturers come out with new improvements, while the Japanese machines remain mostly unchanged—especially in the world of trail/enduro bikes? No worries, the Cross Training Enduro channel is here to help explain it all!

When you watch it, even the most hardcore fan of Japanese motorcycles has to admit that the Big Four just aren’t building daring offroad machines like they used to. They’re still very competitive in the motocross segment, and for good reason. There’s a lot of money and prestige tied up in MX series. But when you look at enduro bikes, dual sport bikes, and other offroad machines, the Japanese aren’t exactly pressing forward hard. Even their motocrossers still have old design features like cable clutches; they certainly aren’t making fuel-injected two-strokes or anything like that. That’s left up to the Europeans.

In this video, Barry Morris theorizes it’s because the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers are just smaller arms of massive mega-corps that are only concerned about profitability. The Euro manufacturers are much smaller, and because bikes are their only business, they’re more driven by enthusiasm.

Maybe, maybe not, but if even the company insiders and bigwigs are bemoaning their lack of innovation, then you know it’s a problem. Will it change? Look at bikes like the Honda CRF450L; it got a lot of hype, but when it hit the market, riders didn’t like the price or the weight. Will the Japanese be motivated to build innovative dirt bikes if it looks like the market won’t support that move? We’ll see.


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