Friday, April 4, 2008

CRF150-powered 'mountain motorcycle'?

CRF150 based bike...sounds great, but where's the commercial reality and product difference?

Honda won't sell the engines direct so the cost of what, buying whole CRF150s and converting them, or MAYBE buying retail engines (like the KX85 kart engines which Honda is unlikely to follow with the CRF150) at way more than they cost Honda, then developing a lightweight bike that handles the same power output (and Honda will release a re-tuned trail version most likely) from a 55-65lb+ engine (anyone know this weight?) but does it with less overall weight and larger adult geometry...

The result is a customized Honda that's not as strong as the original and costs way more.

Even Walmart had banners on their office walls saying "We can't out-Amazon Amazon" meaning its foolish for them, the largest retailer (and almost the largest company) in the world to try and compete with Amazon's online retailing.

Canondale might have saved themselves $20m or so by taking the same advice and not trying to out-Honda Honda (and Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki) in dirt bikes and quads.

Even though we have to call Sikk's 'lightweight trailbike' the first 'cheap imitation' of the FX Mountain Moto, at least they have created some differentiation by offering an adult-sized (tall adults with its high seat) all-Chinese pit-bike that looks light from a distance but is actually very close to the 170lb CRF150 at a claimed 161lb (dry?)....BUT its cheap at $2000 or less...that is its difference.

The FX difference is that it's a 125lb adult-sized trail and sport bike (with a low seat) with high performance kit (Marzocchi, Fox, Excel, Mavic, Kenda, Daytona, Sunline, rigid chassis etc) and all the power you need (and all the power a 125lb bike can handle) at the same price as a CRF150 ($3995 ex works for beta-test bikes).

The problem for FX is that this is a small niche...most motorcycle riders want MORE POWER, which is the reason for what I call 'inflation' in bikes...the same as inflation of house prices etc but in bikes resulting in larger cc, heavier, faster, wilder, deadlier machines. That's OK by me, I've had plenty of that kind of adrenalin rush, now I prefer to focus on fun rather than life-endangering thrills!

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