Japan novelties 1999
Sense and nonsense
The range of innovations from Japan ranges from the powerful 300 km / h bolide to the multifunctional 1000 cm³ Enduro. More G-Kats are also being installed.
Japanese motorcycle manufacturers are likely to continue to dominate the European market in the future. Precisely because the Japanese economy is currently in a threatening crisis, it will probably gain a competitive advantage over European manufacturers due to the falling yen exchange rate. However, it remains to be seen whether the price cuts will be passed on to German customers. Great prospects for potential buyers at least, who can see their dream motorcycle in person for the first time at the INTERMOT trade fair in Munich in September. The editors have already received initial information. Let’s start with market leader Honda.
The motorcycle giant has been acting cautiously for years, and no big surprises are to be expected in 1999 either. Honda will definitely add a more modern machine to the successful travel enduro Africa Twin. It’s called the XL 1000 V and, as a multi-purpose vehicle for road, travel and easy terrain, appeals to fans who combine high utility value with driving pleasure. The water-cooled V2 of the VTR 1000, which is now likely to be equipped with injection, functions as the motor and is planted in a steel chassis. With almost 100 hp, the XL 1000 V will be amply motorized, especially since the two-cylinder should be designed for an even wider torque range. For the German market, the big enduro will probably be given a regulated catalytic converter. Since it is almost only driven on paved roads anyway, it was decided to give it cast wheels – 19 inch at the front.
Another enduro is brand new: the XR 650, which is used off-road. It replaces the somewhat grayed air-cooled single-cylinder series and stamps through the field with a brand new water-cooled four-valve single. The engine was not as extreme as that of the Yamaha WR 400 designed, but 50 real and environmentally friendly damped horsepower can be expected. So that the enduro hammer remains affordable, the new drive set is in a steel chassis.
Finally, the real novelty is expected to be the CBR 600 F, which is optically based on the Fireblade and also has an aluminum frame. In terms of weight, she should lose a good 15 kilograms, so that a sensational 185 kilograms can be expected with a full tank. In return, the engineers coaxed around 115 hp from the four-cylinder. Nevertheless, the new CBR 600 F remains comfortable enough for two people.
All other Honda models have to make do with model maintenance measures. For example the flagship CBR 1100 XX, which is to receive injection and a regulated catalytic converter. The rumors that a Hornet 1100 would soon be on the market, however, have not come true. Interesting for racing freaks: Honda will soon be offering a racing kit for the Honda VTR 1000, which in 1999 could possibly have injection and G-Kat.
The information about Kawasaki is still very sparse in the editorial office. The speculation that an Über-ZX-R would come onto the market for the next season should remain speculation. It is correct that a ZX-12R can be expected in the year 2000, which develops 170 or more HP from 1200 cm³ and scratches the 300 km / h sound barrier. On the other hand, a large Estrella with 600 or 650 cm³ is already being discussed for 1999, which, according to reports, is strongly based on the design of the legendary BSA 650 and is even powered by a two-cylinder in-line engine.
Suzuki is making a name for itself insofar as the production and development of new enduros is to be given up entirely. The focus of what is currently the second largest motorcycle supplier on the German market is on sport bikes and cruisers. There is no question that Suzuki will soon “enrich” the big bike arms race with a 300 km / h machine. It’s probably called the GSX 1300 Ultimate SP and will generate at least 170 horsepower thanks to a brand new 1.3-liter four-cylinder, water-cooled and fuel-injected engine that sits in a light-alloy bridge frame. The Ultimate will not be a super sports car with an extreme seating position, but rather point in the direction of the Honda CBR 1100 XX. It is well known that this company does not think much of regulated catalytic converters and the lowest possible emission values and only wants to install G-catalytic converters when the law requires it. Presumably the program will be supplemented by a middle class chopper, which should have a two-cylinder V-engine with about 650 cm³.
The Yamaha brand has been on everyone’s lips again, at least since the new R 1 super sports car – at least among the heated group of bikers. There is no question that Yamaha is now modernizing or better athleticizing the 600 Thundercat model. According to the latest findings, it is called the YZF 600 RR and is markedly more filigree than its predecessor, but it should not be a completely new design. In terms of design, it is based on the R1. A real copy of the R1 will be the YZF 750 R, which will serve as the basis for the Superbike homologation in a limited series. However, the fairing will have to be retouched because the air resistance must be minimized.
More new motorcycles on the next pages and in the upcoming issues.
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