So long and thanks for all the fish | Page 4 | GTAMotorcycle.com

So long and thanks for all the fish

crankcall

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total number of people the have held a pole position in formula 1 (4 wheels) not the formula bikes. About 100. Total number of people that have been in outer space? about 100
Its a bit much to discount the skill sets involved at 200mph, in any sport
 

GreyGhost

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total number of people the have held a pole position in formula 1 (4 wheels) not the formula bikes. About 100. Total number of people that have been in outer space? about 100
Its a bit much to discount the skill sets involved at 200mph, in any sport
Well ~550 people have been to space. Therefore, F1 pole position holder is a much more exclusive role in humanity than astronaut.

Up to a certain speed, almost any idiot can handle a car/bike/motorized couch. Above the critical speed (probably mainly limited by geometry, aerodynamics and suspension), skill required increases exponentially.
 

Mad Mike

Well-known member
...
Up to a certain speed, almost any idiot can handle a car/bike/motorized couch. Above the critical speed (probably mainly limited by geometry, aerodynamics and suspension), skill required increases exponentially.
You forgot the big one, Courage. This idiot had the engine, geometry, aerodynamics and suspension checked and setup for 300. At 230 I lost courage to let my eyes off the road (last glimpse at the speedo), my GPS told me I lost all courage at 290.
 

GreyGhost

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You forgot the big one, Courage. This idiot had the engine, geometry, aerodynamics and suspension checked and setup for 300. At 230 I lost courage to let my eyes off the road (last glimpse at the speedo), my GPS told me I lost all courage at 290.
kph or mph? Also, you are just playing with odds. Courage is required and may be sufficient one time (or not) but numerous repeated successful attempts require skill (or lots of luck).
 

Mad Mike

Well-known member
kph or mph? Also, you are just playing with odds. Courage is required and may be sufficient one time (or not) but numerous repeated successful attempts require skill (or lots of luck).
I've met a few pro racers, I have found they all have courage. Not just the courage to go fast, but courage to operate on the razor's edge on speed, equipment, and trust in their opponents.

My speeds were 290KMH on a bike (GSX1300R), 255 is my best in a car (Stillen 300ZX). The bike had more to give, courage was the limiter. In the car, rev limiter kicked in, I imaging courage limiter was only one or two clicks higher.
 

FullMotoJacket

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All are pedal-assist city bikes with mid-drive motors, integrated batteries, and a design that is unmistakably Harley-Davidson.

But will we see them with bags in the Corkscrew?

 

Trials

Well-known member
lol He had to find a restaurant where he could take the bike inside, or it would be gone for sure.
 

Priller

Well-known member
I'm very late to this particular party, but I can't believe a thread about Harley bailing on racing hasn't had a single mention of this ill-fated bit of hubris:

1605740878501.png

They managed a few podiums with the VR-1000, but no wins. It was hugely unreliable and ultimately a big money pit.

As for flat tracking, Honda destroyed Harley in the '80s to the point where the AMA changed the rules to strangle the Japanese bike and Honda quit the sport in disgust. And in drag racing, I'm pretty sure they only existed at the top level in the pro stock class, with rules designed to keep them competitive.

I have no beef with HD as a brand - they do what they do very well. But outside of dirt track, their racing history has been meaningless since the '60s, and as mentioned above, they should've been made irrelevant there in the '80s.
 

Roadghost

Well-known member
I'm very late to this particular party, but I can't believe a thread about Harley bailing on racing hasn't had a single mention of this ill-fated bit of hubris:

View attachment 45922

They managed a few podiums with the VR-1000, but no wins. It was hugely unreliable and ultimately a big money pit.

As for flat tracking, Honda destroyed Harley in the '80s to the point where the AMA changed the rules to strangle the Japanese bike and Honda quit the sport in disgust. And in drag racing, I'm pretty sure they only existed at the top level in the pro stock class, with rules designed to keep them competitive.

I have no beef with HD as a brand - they do what they do very well. But outside of dirt track, their racing history has been meaningless since the '60s, and as mentioned above, they should've been made irrelevant there in the '80s.

Well you need not worry about that now. HD is out of racing altogether. Not sure that it ever did anything to sell bikes.

As for Honda "quitting in disgust" the bias against them (and other Japanese manufacturers) was in large part due to the massive R&D subsidies they were getting from their government, the almost non-existent taxes - all part of the Japanese government's agenda to make them the world's dominant MC manufacturing player. Japanese dominance didn't just happen, they played dirty while other governments did nothing, until Reagan slapped them with a tariff.
 

FullMotoJacket

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Well you need not worry about that now. HD is out of racing altogether. Not sure that it ever did anything to sell bikes.

As for Honda "quitting in disgust" the bias against them (and other Japanese manufacturers) was in large part due to the massive R&D subsidies they were getting from their government, the almost non-existent taxes - all part of the Japanese government's agenda to make them the world's dominant MC manufacturing player. Japanese dominance didn't just happen, they played dirty while other governments did nothing, until Reagan slapped them with a tariff.

You must not like F1 or WEC, then.
 

sburns

Well-known member
total number of people the have held a pole position in formula 1 (4 wheels) not the formula bikes. About 100. Total number of people that have been in outer space? about 100
Its a bit much to discount the skill sets involved at 200mph, in any sport
Though I like your comparison, I am curious how long as Formula 1 has been around vrs sending people to space?
 

Priller

Well-known member
Well you need not worry about that now. HD is out of racing altogether. Not sure that it ever did anything to sell bikes.

As for Honda "quitting in disgust" the bias against them (and other Japanese manufacturers) was in large part due to the massive R&D subsidies they were getting from their government, the almost non-existent taxes - all part of the Japanese government's agenda to make them the world's dominant MC manufacturing player. Japanese dominance didn't just happen, they played dirty while other governments did nothing, until Reagan slapped them with a tariff.
I wasn't worried about Harley racing, except for cheering them on. That VR-1000 had Miguel Duhamel for a brief stint, and then Pascal Picotte, both Canadians. I cheered for them because of that, not because of the logo on the bike. It did result in the V-Rod, the sales of which proves your point that Harley buyers of that generation aren't interested in race-derived tech (though I think the V&H drag bikes added an aura that helped). The biggest consequence of the whole affair, though, was it seemed to convinve HD corporate that truly competitive racing wasn't worth the risk or expense.

I'm not sure I see the connection between the AMA's treatment of Honda in racing with Japanese governmental support of their export industries except to say that it was a similarly weak-kneed response to having your tail handed to you. The reality is that they built a better mousetrap, and if there was the same governmental support as you claim, that was a business decision on their part that they felt had worthwhile payoff in some way, be it employment, tax revenue, etc. The British motorcycle industry was the most obvious casualty, both in racing and sales, and Harley nearly went under. I would have thought a country that talks as much about healthy competition and free markets as the US could have supported HD R&D to compete rather than trying to tear down others while making essentially old tech bikes, but maybe that's just me. The Buell thing is a fascinating case that I won't even get into here.

The Japanese and Italian brands have used racing both for sales and R&D for ages. It's not just the 'win on Sunday, sell on Monday' thing, but its also that racing is an arena that breeds innovation. There's a reason KTM are all in, despite only having one small-displacement model that's anything like a road race bike. For example, all the traction control/lean ABS/anti-wheelie stuff that's on so many bikes these days was first developed at the track. Better efficiency, better reliability, better handling, all are products of racing, whether it's a direct translation or simply added knowledge about how motorcycles work and don't work, what lasts and what breaks.

I genuinely don't have any issue with HD or the bikes they make. (Though I do have a beef with some of the straight pipe riders who seem to have throttle-gunning tourettes, especially around town, but there's plenty of Japan/Euro riders with the same affliction.) They make a bike that does what it's designed to do very well. The Evo motor solved most of the reliability issues, so for a place to sit that offers the look and feel that so many of a certain generation are drawn to, it's hard to beat. Only time will tell if HD can either convince a younger generation that what they offer is what they want, or whether they can develop a new lineup. I do think that racing can help with the latter, so not participating will make that path a lot more difficult...
 
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Roadghost

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You must not like F1 or WEC, then.

Everyone who rides benefitted from the onslaught of Japanese techie bikes in the 1980s. But no motorcycle company could have ever bankrolled the rapid-fire succession of new bikes, new engines and new tech on sales numbers alone. The bikes that came from Japan were astonishingly ahead of anything in the world - 5-valves, 6-cyl turbos, liquid cooled V-4s, V-twins, transverse V-twins, flat fours, flat sixes - almost any bike in any configuration you can think of sold at below market prices - all compliments of government subsidies. If a competitor came out with, or even rumored a new design a similar design amazingly appeared from Japan a year after it was introduced.

Everyone seems to be in the corporate welfare game now. The Europeans, the Chinese, the Japanese. Even the Americans and Canadians.
 

TK4

Well-known member
Everyone who rides benefitted from the onslaught of Japanese techie bikes in the 1980s. But no motorcycle company could have ever bankrolled the rapid-fire succession of new bikes, new engines and new tech on sales numbers alone. The bikes that came from Japan were astonishingly ahead of anything in the world - 5-valves, 6-cyl turbos, liquid cooled V-4s, V-twins, transverse V-twins, flat fours, flat sixes - almost any bike in any configuration you can think of sold at below market prices - all compliments of government subsidies. If a competitor came out with, or even rumored a new design a similar design amazingly appeared from Japan a year after it was introduced.

Everyone seems to be in the corporate welfare game now. The Europeans, the Chinese, the Japanese. Even the Americans and Canadians.
This might be a good read - anyone have a copy ?
Faculty of Social Science | The Strange Death of the British Motorcycle Industry (warwick.ac.uk)
 

FullMotoJacket

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Everyone who rides benefitted from the onslaught of Japanese techie bikes in the 1980s. But no motorcycle company could have ever bankrolled the rapid-fire succession of new bikes, new engines and new tech on sales numbers alone. The bikes that came from Japan were astonishingly ahead of anything in the world - 5-valves, 6-cyl turbos, liquid cooled V-4s, V-twins, transverse V-twins, flat fours, flat sixes - almost any bike in any configuration you can think of sold at below market prices - all compliments of government subsidies. If a competitor came out with, or even rumored a new design a similar design amazingly appeared from Japan a year after it was introduced.

Everyone seems to be in the corporate welfare game now. The Europeans, the Chinese, the Japanese. Even the Americans and Canadians.

I don't think you get the relationship between the Japanese government and Soichiro Honda. They fully understood he was a big part of the reason there was butter on their bread.
 

Priller

Well-known member
This excerpt is interesting:

"The British manufacturers were particularly criticised for what was called ‘segment retreat’. This was the process by which they reacted to the advance of their Japanese competitors, who initially built mostly small motorcycles with an engine capacity of less than 250cc, but had gradually moved ‘up’ the market with larger and larger motorcycles.

As the competition increased, British manufacturers failed to develop new and improved light- to medium-weight models to counter those of their Japanese rivals, and simply vacated the various market segments one after another. By 1975 the British industry produced nothing smaller than machines in the 500cc engine displacement class, with the majority of production in the 750cc and 850cc classes, and had nowhere left to retreat."


The author is Canadian, too. Amazon has it at some hilariously high price (remember when they used to actually sell books?), but it's also available from the publisher for £20 here:

Motorcycle - Strange Death of the British Motorcycle Industry
 

bigpoppa

Well-known member
This excerpt is interesting:

"The British manufacturers were particularly criticised for what was called ‘segment retreat’. This was the process by which they reacted to the advance of their Japanese competitors, who initially built mostly small motorcycles with an engine capacity of less than 250cc, but had gradually moved ‘up’ the market with larger and larger motorcycles.

As the competition increased, British manufacturers failed to develop new and improved light- to medium-weight models to counter those of their Japanese rivals, and simply vacated the various market segments one after another. By 1975 the British industry produced nothing smaller than machines in the 500cc engine displacement class, with the majority of production in the 750cc and 850cc classes, and had nowhere left to retreat."


The author is Canadian, too. Amazon has it at some hilariously high price (remember when they used to actually sell books?), but it's also available from the publisher for £20 here:

Motorcycle - Strange Death of the British Motorcycle Industry


that sounds familiar
 

Roadghost

Well-known member
I don't think you get the relationship between the Japanese government and Soichiro Honda. They fully understood he was a big part of the reason there was butter on their bread.

Well, good on them for recognizing how easy it was to steamroll into western markets. But people need to be realistic when they say the British and American industries were incompetent. Motorcycles by and large aren't hugely profitable, and they simply didn't have the R&D money to take on an adversary with low-paid workers and big subsidies. BSA, Triumph and AMF Harley Davidson become what economists call 'make-loss' companies. That's a company that stops investing in itself and continues to profit while it declines, based on the realization there is no reasonable prospect of beating the competition. They just abandoned segments of the market where they couldn't compete, until it was time to close up shop. AMF sold HD to a group of managers who incredibly revived the company with nationalism, some tariffs and some R&D tech leveraged from Honda.

Anyway, it's all ancient history now. The Chinese and the Indians will be coming on strong into the MC market soon.
 

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