In pictures: The 42nd Tokyo Motorcycle Show 2015
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 that roam Japan, the Tokyo Motorcycle Show is very much a see and be seen event. These riders were also a welcome sight for the many manufacturers at this year's show as motorcycle sales in Japan have recently slowed, dropping 0.6 percent last year compared to 2013 (416,723 units down from 419,398 units). The majority of these sales are in the under 50cc 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 60s and 70s on suitably retro-styled machines – a trend reflected in the many 1960'- 70's style 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 brought their wares to Tokyo along with an wide assortment of international and boutique producers.
Honda had the biggest presence on the floor with its chunky Bulldog Concept grabbing plenty of attention. This so called "Lovable Touring Partner" sits on 15-inch tires and has a seat height of 730mm, creating both a low center of gravity and a solid stance. Power comes from a liquid-cooled 4-stroke DOHC inline 2-cylinder 400 cc engine driven through a 6 speed transmission. For camping and touring, the concept is equipped with front and rear carriers and accessory storage on both sides of the fuel tank.
Other concept/prototype Motorcycles from Honda included the CRF250 Rally, an adventure model based on the CRF250L with styling inspired by the CRF450 Rally; the SFA (Small Fun Advanced), a Street-fighter style light-weight motorcycle with a single cylinder engine mounted on a trellis frame; the RC213V-S road-bike, which shares design features with the RC213V MotoGP works machine; and the True Adventure off-road tourer.
On the Yamaha stand, production machines took center 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.
Other notable machines included the new MT-09 Tracer, an 850 cc rally version of the normal MT-09; the new TMAX 530 Big Scooter and the 3-wheeled TriCity.
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 center stage.
Best of the rest
KTM 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 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 under the banner of Ignite Straight Six. There was also a range of radical customizations bikes from the R nine T Custom project on display.
This year also saw the launch of the ADseries from a Adiva, while Harley-Davidson's Tri Glide Ultra trike also drew the crowds.
Our final mention goes to two creations by Zuun Kumamoto from Junk Art Studio – Kazama and the Big Bike. Unfortunately, these machines don't run, but they certainly made a serious impact on visitors arriving at the show.
Check out all the highlights in our 2015 Tokyo Motorcycle Show photo gallery.
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The 600cc supersports are popular but make more power than necessary for public roads (or new riders). Out of the R3, 300 Ninja, CBR300R, and KTM RC390 the Honda is the cheapest and slowest and the GSR 250F will probably land solidly behind that.
It's an important threshold because the CBR300R seems to start to struggle above 80 MPH so I'm not sure if going with something any slower than that would be worth the compromise because you are mostly stuck needing to replace it with something faster once you learn how to ride.
The other bikes seem like a better choice because they are still new rider friendly and you can choose to keep them once you get the hang of things. The Honda is listed at 77 MPG but the gap probably closes between it and the others at 75-80 MPH instead where you would need to leave it almost pinned.
Some of the bikes in that segment are listed and dyno'd here: http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/2015-yamaha-r3-dyno-run-video-and-power-comparison-dyno-test