beginner motorcycles

Why Do So Many People Prefer Japanese Bikes Over Americans?

Why Do So Many People Prefer Japanese Bikes Over Americans?

If you are a biker, you must have come across this question:

“Why do so many people prefer Japanese bikes over Americans?

This question determines what type of motorcyclist you are. It also tells about your liking and the kind of rider you are. You may be a beginner who needs help determining which bike to get. The rivalry between the Japanese and American-made bikes is quite old. People are often seen comparing the two even in the U.S.

American motorcycle brands like the Harley Davidson and Indian have a strong hold over the U.S. market. Nonetheless, Japanese bikes have also successfully invaded the U.S. motorcycle market. A majority of riders when asked to choose between Japanese and American-made bikes, go for the Japanese options. However, make sure you don’t ask this question to a die-hard Harley-Davidson fan.

This article explains why Japanese motorcycles are an attractive option. Read on to learn why so many people prefer Japanese bikes over Americans.

1. Why Many Riders Choose Japanese-Made Bikes Over Americans?

Japanese motorcycles are quite common on the roads. There is a reason why these bikes are more popular among riders. So what makes them so special compared to American motorbikes and competitors? Let’s discuss some key factors that make riders go for Japanese motorcycles.

1.1 Reliability and Efficiency

Motorcycles that are manufactured in Japan are very reliable. Most Japanese-made models require low maintenance. They are less prone to breakdowns compared to American motorcycles. This translates to fewer expenses on repairs and more time riding your bike.

Furthermore, Japanese bikes are well-known for ensuring satisfactory fuel consumption. More miles per gallon means more fun and savings. It is a very important aspect for riders to consider about the increased gas prices.

1.2 Variety and Innovation

As opposed to American motorcycle manufacturers, the Japanese provide more motorcycle choices. Japanese manufacturers are experts in manufacturing cruisers that are perfect for new riders. These cruisers provide a reasonable competition to American cruisers. They are perfect for riders who want to enjoy comfortable rides over long distances.

On the other hand, Japanese manufacturers have no competition when it comes to high-performance sports bikes and sports touring models. They have produced some of the fastest motorcycles ever built, including the Suzuki Hayabusa and the Kawasaki Ninja H2/H2R. Whether it is quarter-mile sprints or drag races, they have dominated all race tracks for years.

The Japanese motorcycle industry is also well-known for its innovation. They have been active in developing new ideas for decades. Some of their latest developments include advanced fuel injection systems and ride-assist technologies. The latest riding aids help improve safety and motorcycle control.

1.3 Affordability

Another major reason why riders keep coming back to Japanese motorcycle brands is their low cost. This is true for both latest and old models. This aspect of Japanese bikes enables new riders to join the motorcycling world with ease. It also enables experienced riders to change their bikes more often.

1.4 Focus on Performance

Not all Japanese motorcycles are about muscle though they emphasize more on performance. They are generally lighter and highly maneuverable than their American counterparts and therefore, more enjoyable on twisty and curvy roads. Japanese manufacturers pay more attention to the engine technology so that riders can feel the power. The power delivery, throttle response, and ride quality are also smooth and precise.

2. The Role of the Big Four Japanese Manufacturers

Japan's motorcycle industry wouldn't be where it is today without the "Big Four": Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki. These top motorcycle brands have made it possible for the Japanese motorcycle industry to reach the height and success where it is today. Such great companies have gone a long way in making Japanese bikes the preferred motorcycles of many riders across the globe.

Here's how they did it:

  1. The Big Four manufacturers don’t wait for the technology to grow, but they prefer being innovative. It helps them keep their bikes fresh and updated.

  2. Japanese motorcycles are well known to be dependable bikes. This is the reason why riders expect them to be long-lasting and able to perform efficiently for years.

  3. When it comes to motorbikes, Japan has some of the best brands for both beginners and experienced riders. The Big Four are available in numerous styles and engine sizes at an affordable price range.

  4. Japanese motorcycles are powerful and affordable. However, adding power to the bike does not increase its cost much. The cost you spend is worth every penny you spend.

With these factors in mind, the Big Four brands have contributed a lot in making Japanese motorcycles recognized as high-quality bikes with great performance.

3. How Honda Successfully Invaded the U.S. Motorcycle Market with Honda Super Cub

How Honda Successfully Invaded the U.S. Motorcycle Market with Honda Super Cub
Photo Credit: Cycle World

In the 1950s, American motorcycles were the most common on the road. These bikes were the most desirable at that time. These big bikes were perfect for cross-country touring and long-distance rides. However, American motorcycles were hardly practical to maneuver within the city traffic.

Thus, in 1958, Honda realized the gap in the market and introduced a unique bike in the form of the Honda Super Cub. This was not an ordinary Japanese motorbike. The Honda Super Cub was small and lightweight which made it ideal for use in urban areas.

It was a scooter-style motorcycle with a reasonably powerful engine that everyone wasn’t expecting. However, it was very convenient to use which was the best thing about this bike. While American-made big bikes were challenging to use, the Honda Super Cub became a prominent beginner-friendly bike. The handling of this bike was also very smooth.

Besides, all of the above-mentioned beginner-friendly qualities of the Honda Super Cub, it was also very cheap. It was an ideal option for those new riders who could not afford a big and expensive motorcycle.

Honda came up with innovative marketing campaigns that promoted the idea of the Super Cub as a perfect daily and urban commuter. Honda also advertised the Super Cub’s efficient fuel economy and it turned out to be a great advantage. Fuel economy was a major issue at that time as the fuel price was quite fluctuating.

How Honda Successfully Invaded the U.S. Motorcycle Market with Honda Super Cub
Photo Credit: City Bike

The Honda Super Cub turned out to be a huge success. It was not merely a motorcycle; it was a symbol of a new way of travel. This motorcycle changed the American motorcycle market entirely. It established that motorcycles were not only designed for the risk takers or skilled riders. They could be a useful, cost-effective, and exciting solution for anyone seeking a mode of transport to travel within the city.

4. The Most Popular Japanese-Made Motorcycles

Japanese-made motorcycles are well-known for their durability, smooth ride quality, variety, and longevity. Let's talk about the most popular Japanese contenders and why they are better than most American bikes:

4.1 Suzuki Hayabusa

Suzuki Hayabusa
Photo Credit: Top Speed

Also known as the ‘Busa’, this motorcycle is a speed machine famous for its high-speed capability, top-end aerodynamics, and refined motor. These features allow the Suzuki Hayabusa for a comfortable riding experience at high speeds. Despite being the fastest, the Hayabusa is a sports touring bike. With American muscle bikes, one can get a lot of power but not the sort of ride quality and comfort that the Hayabusa gives at high speeds.

4.2 Honda Gold Wing

Honda Gold Wing
Photo Credit: Honda Powersports

The Honda Gold Wing is the all-time favorite touring bike for most touring lovers. It features one of the most innovative technology, engine, and ride features. The Gold Wing boasts a sports-touring design, a wide and comfortable rider and passenger seat, adequate storage space, and the best infotainment system. It ensures one of the most comfortable long-distance rides.

4.3 Kawasaki Ninja H2/H2R

Kawasaki Ninja H2/H2R
Photo Credit: Pixabay

The Kawasaki Ninja H2/H2R are futuristic machines and are all about power. They come with boosted engines and are commonly known as motorcycles with the quickest acceleration. They are high-performance motorcycles equipped with technology to regulate the power safely. Most American bikes may not be as efficient or competitive as this remarkable machine.

4.4 Honda Rebel

Honda Rebel
Photo Credit: Motorcycle Cruiser

The Honda Rebel is an ideal bike for beginners and those who want to ride a lightweight bike. It is user-friendly and it's tolerant of most mistakes that beginners may make while riding. This quality of the Honda Rebel makes it a great bike for practicing. Comparing it with heavier beginner American cruisers available in the market, the Rebel is a confidence-inspiring motorcycle.

4.5 Yamaha MT Series

Yamaha MT Series
Photo Credit: Rider Magazine

The Yamaha MT series is a range of naked bikes designed for a thrilling riding experience. They have incredibly strong engines and superior handling that make them fun to ride even when traveling w ithin the city. American bikes are less nimble and feel heavy compared to the Yamaha MT series.

4.6 Suzuki GSX-R Series

Suzuki GSX-R Series
Photo Credit: Visor Down

The Suzuki GSX-R superbikes are designed to be used for high-speed racing and hence the features are developed to suit racetrack needs. Additional features such as launch control and quick shifters can make a lot of difference. The Suzuki GSX-R series shines in two departments, including cornering and rapid acceleration. These are the two performance areas where the American motorcycles usually lack. Some American-made motorcycles prioritize raw power while compromising on the handling ability.

4.7 Yamaha YZF-R1

Yamaha YZF-R1
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Yamaha YZF-R1 has exceptional power and handling capabilities for any high-performance machine. A powerful engine provides quick acceleration, and the compact structure ensures impressive agility. This well-balanced package can even beat American muscle bikes which are often bulky and not very good in the handling department.

5. The Bottom Line

For those looking for a motorcycle that is simple to maintain, and equipped with most safety features while still being relatively inexpensive, a Japanese bike is a perfect choice. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, the Japanese motorcycle brands provide a wide range of motorcycles for every rider.

Next time, when you look for a bike in the market, give Japanese-made bikes a chance. Maybe a test ride can help you make a better decision. It must be noted that Japanese bikes don’t compromise on quality while being affordable.

American motorcycles have their advantages as well, so do not pay too much attention to the disadvantages. However, Japanese bikes are designed to suit most riders with varied riding skills. They possess the elements of performance, comfort, technology, and features that are essential to the rider.

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