Best of Tokyo Bike Show

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - STEPHEN CLE­MENGER

THIS year’s 42nd Tokyo Mo­tor­cy­cle Show saw the big Ja­panese four of Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki with an ar­ray of pro­duc­tion and con­cept mod­els on dis­play.

Giz­mag joined the crowds at Tokyo Big Sight to check out the scores of cafe rac­ers, cruisers, trikes, scoot­ers and su­per­bikes on show.

For the five mil­lion or so mo­tor­cy­clists who roam Ja­pan, the Tokyo Mo­tor­cy­cle Show is very much an event to see and be seen at.

The crowds were a wel­come sight for the many man­u­fac­tur­ers at this year’s show as mo­tor­cy­cle sales in Ja­pan have slowed re­cently, drop­ping 0,6% last year com­pared with 2013 (416 723 units, down from 419 398 units).

The ma­jor­ity of th­ese sales are in the un­der 50 cc cat­e­gory, but sales of bikes over 125 cc are on the rise.

This could in part be due to the grow­ing trend of mid­dle-aged “re­turn rid­ers” look­ing to re­visit their mis­spent youth of the six­ties and sev­en­ties on suit­ably retro-styled ma­chines — a trend re­flected in the many retro-styled ma­chines on the show floor.

In terms of mo­tor­cy­cle pro­duc­tion within Ja­pan, the big four pro­duced al­most 600 000 mo­tor­cy­cles in 2014 (Yamaha 222 297, Suzuki 150 985, Honda 142 388 and Kawasaki 80 532) and all took their wares to Tokyo, along with a wide as­sort­ment of in­ter­na­tional and bou­tique pro­duc­ers.

Honda had the big­gest pres­ence on the floor with its chunky Bull­dog Con­cept grab­bing plenty of at­ten­tion.

On the Yamaha stand, pro­duc­tion ma­chines took cen­tre stage. Un­for­tu­nately, its re­cent con­cepts were not there. Per­haps we’ll get a chance to see them in the flesh at the Tokyo Mo­tor Show later this year. What was new was the 950 cc Bolt Café racer, along with a rac­ing ver­sion of the same ma­chine, the Bolt C.

The buzz around the Suzuki stand was the news of its re­turn to rac­ing Mo­toGP as the Suzuki Ec­star team. The GSR 250 F and a face-lifted GSX 1300R Hayabusa were also on show.

On the Kawasaki stand, the main fo­cus was on its Ninja range, with the Ninja H2 and Ninja H2R oc­cu­py­ing cen­tre stage.

The best of the rest in­cluded KTM, which marque used the Tokyo Mo­tor­cy­cle Show to de­but its new com­pact sports bikes — the Duke 250 and the RC 250.

On the BMW stand, two very in­ter­est­ing cus­tom cre­ations drew the crowd — the Jug­ger­naut and Ken’s Fac­tory Spe­cial. Both of th­ese ma­chines used the me­chan­ics of the K 1600GTL and were cre­ated to cel­e­brate the straight six.

Two con­cept bikes from Zuun Ku­mamoto at the Junk Art Stu­dio also de­serve men­tion — Kazama and the Big Bike. Th­ese ma­chines don’t run, but made a se­ri­ous im­pact on vis­i­tors ar­riv­ing at the show.

Can-Am showed its Spy­der F3 and RT.


Th­ese cus­tom spe­cials are based on the K1600 GTL.

Du­cati’s Ur­ban En­duro.

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