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Japanese Motorcycles Competing On Fundamentals

    TOKYO--Nov. 8, 2001--The weather was cloudy all day, but inside the Motor Show the atmosphere was charged, with last-minute visitors rushing to get a look before the Show closes tomorrow.
    It was another high turnout day, and as the Show reaches the end, visitor interest is turning to the marketed models in the floor displays. You can see more people listening attentively to the explanations offered by booth staffs. After a slow start affected by low consumption, the shops and restaurants have been doing well in the second half.
    The domestic market is by no means good, but there have been some modest improvements in the environment for motorcycles. It is easier to get a large motorcycle license now, for instance. Exhibitors are taking advantage of the changes to enhance their offerings and meet a wider range of rider needs.

    Domestic motorcycles
    Competing on fundamentals: "Power" "Performance" and "Sound"

    The North Hall is connected to JR Kaihin Makuhari Station by a long mall. The motorcycle booths are located near the entrance. The first thing you see is the Honda booth, situated to the left of the central aisle. Honda's main theme is "Have Wings?" It proposes two different kinds of wing for its customers: "Sports" wing for riding pleasure and "Style" wing for more enjoyable lifestyle. Among the prototypes on display are the "ELYSIUM," a large 750cc scooter with advanced hydraulic controlled CVT, and the compact, collapsible "e-DAX" that weighs a mere 25kg.
    As they enter the Yamaha booth, visitors are startled by motorcycle sounds coming from overhead. Yamaha initially attracted attention for the "Passol," an urban commuter bike powered by a lithium-ion battery, but the highlight of its booth is the "Sound Simulators" the central space. The 3D sound system faithfully recreates the sound and vibration of the "YZR500" racing machine, and there are long lines of men and women waiting for their turn to ride.
    Suzuki says there are 4 categories of motorcycle appeal, "Excitement" being one. On the main stage it has 6 concept models, including the "B-KING," which features a supercharged "Hayabusa 1300" engine and a wealth of the IT know-hows, all packaged in a near-future form.
    Kawasaki's staff is dressed in flashy black and green costumes to display the "ZZ-R1200," scheduled for market launch very soon, not to mention the super sporty "Ninja ZX-12R," the wild "VULCAN 1500," and the single cylinder air-cooled "250TR." Its new models emphasize the joy and fun that bikes bring to riders throughout the world.