OEM vs aftermarket components
Following on from the Z1000 thread, I can't help thinking why most manufacturers, at times, use barely acceptable components, performance and looks wise, just for the sake of rolling the bike out the factory door in the cheapest possible fashion. This does seem to be more of a phenomenon with the top 4 Jap brands. They make an excellent motor and drive train only to aplogise for it by finishing it off with barely acceptable suspension, exhausts and aesthetics. Any decent sporting type motorcycle is not to be compared with putting a paper stapler out the door at the cheapest possible price, IMO.
Surely any decent motorcycle is not to be confused with just being a vehicle, made purely for transportation. A FZ1N is hardly expected to be used to deliver pizzas, so not your average moped, scooter or learner type bike application. I know the likes of a R1, CBR, et al come out with 99% top gear, so this thread is more aimed at the naked-sports class.
Take the 919 or new CB1000R (and counterparts). This bike would be even more of an absolute cracker of a bike than it already is, if it came out with decent suspension, front and back(say Ohlin’s or similar), a decent full exhaust system (Sato, Delkavic, 2 Bros, Akropovic, Yoshi, etc), Brembo brakes, SS braided lines, etc.
Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking: “the cost of the bike would go through the roof; a lot of people won’t be able to afford these cool machines you speak off”
But would it really? If the likes of Honda made say, Ohlin’s their standard suspension (similar to KTM with WP), surely with their buying power and volume, they could slap it on a bike much cheaper than any bike shop could get it at trade price, not to mention what you end up having to pay for it over the parts counter? Similar thing with a decent exhaust system. (If the exhaust system doesn’t pass noise standards, etc, fit it with a removable damper, etc.)
So yes, the cost would be slightly more expensive, but I will gladly pay say $1000 more on top of any bike of my choice in the current status quo that does not come out with decent gear, if in fact it did. Think about it, if you were to buy any bike, say the new Z1000 with excellent running gear for $1000 more, it will be less painful and much cheaper than you could ever hope to do it for. Rather than to buy it with average, just-to-make-the-bike-ride-able, OEM gear on and start running around wasting time and paying for decent suspension and all the rest.
To illustrate this: the CB1000R that I test rode a while back was a blast. Walking around it and inspecting it, one thing that caught my eye, was the rubber brake lines draped across the front fender area. I wondered why does a bike like this not come out with SS brake lines, surely the extra $40 dollars or so the manufacturer could do it for at volume, wouldn’t go amiss on a bike with a price tag of NZ$20K. (I also wondered why it didn’t come out with decent suspension such as WP, etc.) Similar with the Fireblade, rrp close to NZ$30, you’d think they could have chucked on SS lines for that sort of dough on that sort of bike?
It will also be much more convenient to just finance a bike that cost a bit more and be done with it and to be able to immediately enjoy it to its FULL potential, than forever having (for the most of us) to wait until there’s extra cash for the next upgrade and agonising over not having the exhaust system we wished we had and so on and so forth. And if money is really an issue, pick up a model that is 1 or 2 years old at an excellent price with excellent gear.
Aesthetically, using the 919 as an example: could they not have sourced indicators that look like they actually belong on a bike in the 21st century, similar with the headlight and a decent looking rear fender that you couldn’t get away with using it on a truck and trailer rig. As for an OEM fly screen, again would it hurt to make something a bit edgy like Buell fly screens, rather than something that would be at home used on a bike in a WW2 film set?
Surely components such as indicators are more or less the same sort of cost when mass produced. Compare the horrid OEM 919 square indicator to the more decent looking “diamond shaped” later CBR type indicator. Surely at volume there’s next to nothing in price?
The Europeans seem to be able to do it, both with performance parts and decent looks (Aprilia, Ducati, etc.) “Aesthetics is personal taste”, you may say, but then why is it that on average the European bikes look far more attractive and look the part, than the top 4 Jap marques? I’m thinking of the new Ducati Streetfighter as an example.
Wouldn’t it just be nice to be able to pick the latest CB, FZ, Z or whatever, knowing that its just a matter of service and gas and enjoying the bike to its fullest potential, no stuffing about with suspension, cans, etc, because everything is already top notch?
If this happened, then theoretically top notch gear on bikes would become the norm and then also affordable?