OEM vs aftermarket components - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-06-2009, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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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?

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post #2 of 9 Old 10-06-2009, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farab View Post
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.
I do agree that they could do better with a little more effort and only a slight increase in price. The R1, CBR and other literbikes all have some weak parts used also. It is very rare to see a literbike that is truely ridden with stock brake lines. The biggest mystery to me, and many folks that buy Japanese sportbikes is the crap tires they put on them. A huge percentage of folks change out the tires ASAP. The rearsets on most sportbikes are also terrible (and this should be an easy fix). And the list goes on... However, I do think they are getting better overall (when compared to 10, 20, 30 years ago) when looking at what incredible bikes can be purchased for a reasonable price. That is, the performance of the modern sportbikes really is incredible and the reliability of Japanese bikes is incredible.

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post #3 of 9 Old 10-07-2009, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farab View Post
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.

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
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?
Many dream of having a factory racer for use on the street, but never realize exactly what that entails. To ride at a bike's full potential takes a tremendous amount of skill on the part of the rider and the tuner as well, something street riding cannot realistically hope to acheive.

Oh, it's fun to think about having top drawer components, but are you willing to pay for top end suspenders, brakes, engine management, etcetera, when you know all the bike will be used for is commuting on sunny days and the occasional two up to a mountain picnic ground? Granted it would be more competent at practically everything, but would it be $2500 worth of more competent? Plus there is plenty of reason why top drawer components are considerably more expensive, what with select fit parts for blueprint standards and lots of massaging by hand to insure optimal action, and no amount of mass production will bring the price down substantially because it just isn't possible to mass produce "top drawer" parts!

A better idea is to have an F and an R version, which outwardly look close to the same but differ considerably in componentry, giving the scratchers what they want and the more reasonable sorts a sporty looking good competent daily rider.

In the U.S., you probably couldn't give the "F" model away!

And there lies the problem, at least here in the good ol' US of A where posing is practically a national mania, A wheezer of a hundred horsepower motor is viewed with disdain by the number fixated. The fools. Unfortunately they vote with their checkbooks and the factories count their votes, declare a winner, and market accordingly.

And you get tired of "Trashed your fairing?" comments / queries.

And the lowly "F" models go wanting.

Sad, isn't it?

Rob

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On the other hand, if it has not been done never assume it is impossible to do it.
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-07-2009, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robtharalson View Post
A better idea is to have an F and an R version, which outwardly look close to the same but differ considerably in componentry, giving the scratchers what they want and the more reasonable sorts a sporty looking good competent daily rider.

. Unfortunately they vote with their checkbooks and the factories count their votes, declare a winner, and market accordingly.
Sums up my feelings well. On another note, the chain in your picture looks kinked near the kickstand plate...is it in need of replacement/adjustment, or just an optical illusion?

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post #5 of 9 Old 10-07-2009, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackheart View Post
On another note, the chain in your picture looks kinked near the kickstand plate...is it in need of replacement/adjustment, or just an optical illusion?
Neither. It's the end result of merging three photos to eliminate the stock footpegs and brackets, and not everything lined up perfectly. The chain is fine, and not the latest trick part either.

Rob

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On the other hand, if it has not been done never assume it is impossible to do it.
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-07-2009, 12:42 PM
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My take:

Cost plus pricing - manufacturers set an acceptable amount per part for a new project and then stick to that figure. Often times they pair a price with the perceived value from the consumer...so how much value does the average person put on a highly tuned suspension or other trick parts on a mass produced motorcycle?

This is where the variant (with higher cost) comes into play, but there's a reason they're so limited in production. If the demand were truly there, the manufacturers would develop all their bikes tricked out and costs WOULD go down, though not to the levels they are now.

Eventually one of the manufactures would see a way to lower costs for the and produce something of lower quality at a lower price that most consumers wouldn't be able to tell the difference on. Sales go up as the market for a lower priced bike with just about the same features as the higher cost bikes is under-served, and that manufacturer makes a rat load. So instead of this little scenario, they all do their best to control costs and make an occasional bike for 'the discerning customer.'

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post #7 of 9 Old 10-07-2009, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robtharalson View Post
Many dream of having a factory racer for use on the street, but never realize exactly what that entails. To ride at a bike's full potential takes a tremendous amount of skill on the part of the rider and the tuner as well, something street riding cannot realistically hope to acheive.

Oh, it's fun to think about having top drawer components, but are you willing to pay for top end suspenders, brakes, engine management, etcetera, when you know all the bike will be used for is commuting on sunny days and the occasional two up to a mountain picnic ground? Granted it would be more competent at practically everything, but would it be $2500 worth of more competent? Plus there is plenty of reason why top drawer components are considerably more expensive, what with select fit parts for blueprint standards and lots of massaging by hand to insure optimal action, and no amount of mass production will bring the price down substantially because it just isn't possible to mass produce "top drawer" parts!

A better idea is to have an F and an R version, which outwardly look close to the same but differ considerably in componentry, giving the scratchers what they want and the more reasonable sorts a sporty looking good competent daily rider.

In the U.S., you probably couldn't give the "F" model away!

And there lies the problem, at least here in the good ol' US of A where posing is practically a national mania, A wheezer of a hundred horsepower motor is viewed with disdain by the number fixated. The fools. Unfortunately they vote with their checkbooks and the factories count their votes, declare a winner, and market accordingly.

And you get tired of "Trashed your fairing?" comments / queries.

And the lowly "F" models go wanting.

Sad, isn't it?

Rob
Good point Rob. My choice of words should have been better, what I was referring to in my OP, was that I don't expect to purchase a true race machine out the box for road use, engine blue printed, race cams, etc, etc., but rather a bike with good to excellent running gear.
I did mention that I my post was more geared towards the sports-naked-litre demographic, rather than a casual Sunday tourer to your favourite picnic spot or workhorse/commuter.

IMO, as with the 9'ner, what is the point of producing an excellent motor and drive train (for road use), good geometry just to leave out a vital piece of the puzzle by sending it out the door with substandard suspension? Its like giving up 1ft before the finish line of running a marathon. Suspension should be just as important as the motor and drive train, without it, you have a crap motorcycle/ride. How much more would it have added to the rrp of the 9'ner to give it good suspension and make it a true legend of a bike? As previously mentioned, with a giant like Honda's buying power, they could get it far cheaper from the likes of WP, et al, than any parts wholesaler could hope for - I would have thought.

Another example - the CB1000R almost sells for the same as a Superduke 990 over here (factoring in haggling over the price, etc). The SD is by far the better equipped machine - WP suspension front and back, Brembo four pot calipers, etc. etc. (and about 20 - 30 kg's lighter!)
So basically if the likes of KTM can produce it for not much more in a Euro economy, why can't the Japs do it?

On the styling dept: I can't see that there should be much increase in cost to producing something that's easy on the eye. A plastic mould for a headlight, cowl, indicator, rear fender, etc. is a plastic mould, to a reasonable extent, if you know what I mean. No need to make it ugly. Coming back to your point about sales vs poser factor. Don't you think the 9ner would have sold better in the States if they had just given more time and consideration to the mirrors, indictators, headlamp and rear fender? These are the aesthetic components most of us change 5 minutes after getting the 9'ner, because we can't stand the look of it. How many people have walked past it just purely based on looks?

I do hear what you are saying about the US's obsession with hp figures and fairings - posers. Seems like it is a sheep mentality. In fairness its the same all over. Ask any guy that comes off his L's (only allowed 250cc for learner period) over here what bike he wants after his 250? The answer 90% of the time is a CBR600, R6, ZX6 or GSXR600. The amount of riders I see on weekends with top brand, full race kit on (points for ATGATT though) and not a so much as a teeneeweenee scratch on their knee sliders...

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post #8 of 9 Old 10-08-2009, 12:41 PM
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A sad fact is someone may watch a race on Sunday and go buy a hot bike on Monday. Then the 1st time they roll the gas on they either wreak or scare themselves. The bike may sit for a year and never get ridden.
Bikes, Bass boats, Jet skis, and camping supplies are hardly ever used as often as they should be. The bike Companies know this and build accordingly.
Look at the big heavy cruisers. An 800 lbs bike with 2 people that weigh a total of 450 lbs and a single front disc brake. The Company knows they just gonna put, put around so why put good brakes on it when they can sale it for $17,000 with poor brakes. But, they do chrome every thing but the tires, and that's what matters most.
I've been very, very, satisfied with my Hornet all round for the price I paid $8k new.

[
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-08-2009, 02:13 PM
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If you made an average-looking naked bike with top-class components, and priced it at the same price as a plastic-covered race replica with this year's MotoGP graphics and crappy suspension components, the race rep would outsell the naked bike by a factor of 20 to 1 - at least in Canada and the U.S. Every 19-year-old kid (and 50-year-old kid who should know better) wants to look like Ricky Racer, not actually ride a good motorcycle. The OEMs know this, and even though they want to make good motorcycles, they have to please their main demographic: people who don't know the first thing about the basics of suspension adjustment figure they need the 'R' model because they want 5-way adjustable suspension. They will never actually touch their suspension adjustments but they got their money's worth because of some gold anodized parts and Bold New Graphics.

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