a bike for Japan

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by RabidDeity, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. RabidDeity

    RabidDeity Frequent lurker

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    Okay, so I'm headed over to Japan, and I want to get a bike for everyday use and some scenery viewing. Right now it's a tossup between 250 and 400cc. I know they both seem small in the U.S. but Japan has a graded motorcycle licensing scheme, and it's a royal pain to get anything above 400cc. Plus there's really nowhere to open up that kind of power anyway-- no freeways and no long highways, and most speed limits are under 40mph. To make matters worse, they actually GIMP the engines on larger bikes sold domestically, meaning that you have to "re-import" a bike if you want the real thing. The good news is that because of these restrictions, most of the larger bikes are available in 400 models.

    So why would I pick a 250 over a 400? Well there's one oddball consideration, which is vehicle inspections. Vehicles over 250cc are subject to a state-sponsored raping every two years. Even if there's nothing wrong with your vehicle, you have to pay a large fee (basically a bribe) for a thorough inspection, vehicle tax, and road tax so that you can keep your vehicle on the road. This adds up to about $600. If there's something wrong with your vehicle, it's even more expensive. This is the reason Japan still develops and releases bikes like the 250cc Ninja. So as much as I'd love to start out with a nice 400cc, it's going to be much cheaper to stay smaller.

    Also, it's going to snow there in the winter. With ice. I'm certainly going to invest in some decent rain gear considering this will be my primary transport, but do you guys have any advice on handling in cold weather?
     
  2. DaisyCutter

    DaisyCutter

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    Are you a big guy?

    I recently rode a 250 Ninja, the bike would scoot on flat ground if you gave liberal amounts of throttle and let the revs build. I weigh 175lbs.

    I still thought it was a bit slow for my wife, so we got her a Ninja 500 instead.

    BTW, I ride a ZRX1200R and a CR500 (dirtbike), so I'm horsepower biased.

    In Japan I'm sure there isn't much need for big displacement bikes. It's puny island, and I bet a 400cc bike with one of those little Japs on it would haul butt. Plus with the whole "Kamikazee" heritage... I can see why the government has the restrictions. At any time one of those little buggers could decide to turn himself into a kinetic weapon. ;)
     

  3. RabidDeity

    RabidDeity Frequent lurker

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    Yeah, I'm about 5'10" and 155lbs, and I certainly won't gain any weight over there.

    You hit the nail right on the head. People tend to be generally smaller there, and there just aren't any wide open roads. I'm not even talking the interstate system, but even something like the U.S. highway system where you're expected to go at least 65mph (and can often go much faster). I wouldn't expect many of these little grasshoppers to be stable at 85mph up and down hills, but then again they don't really have to.
     
  4. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    You might even get the better versions of the 250 over there in Japan too. You might not be able to pop a wheelie at 80-mph, but you will be wielding the bike like a surgeon's scalpel.
     
  5. thook

    thook

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    We recently came back from being stationed at MCAS Iwakuni Japan and I found that there are some hot little 2-stroke and 4-stroke bikes over there. I am 6' 240lbs and rode a street legal RMX 250 Suzuki and a FZR 400 all over Japan for 3 years with no problem. If you go with the 250, consider the 2-strokes. Good luck!
     
  6. Rosey

    Rosey

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    I've got a Japan market Honda VFR400R (NC30). It's the baby brother to the exalted VFR750R (RC30). I'm 5'10", 175 and it fits me like a glove, although it is woefully undersprung. Even so, "like a scalpel" is a pretty good description.

    Like fnfalman said, there are tons of really cool bikes over there that we've never seen. Take the VTR250 (MC33) for example. I always thought the Honda Hornet 250 would be cool too. I'd bet there's a bunch of great 250s I've never even seen (400s too).
     
  7. jthuang

    jthuang On The Jazz

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    My first bike was a Yamaha 400. I was a bit lighter than you are right now (around 140 lbs) and it got me around Philadelphia just fine. It took a while to spool up to highway speeds when I hit the interstate but it was a nimble bike and very forgiving as a beginner bike.

    That said, it looks like it's a real PITA to go with the 400 over a 250. One question: are the regulations all based on displacement? I imagine you could do some minor modifications to boost the power on the Ninja 250 without stroking it. ;N

    To your second question: cold weather riding (in the snow and ice) is a really tricky thing. I rode my Yammie year-around (it was my commuter vehicle to school) and it snows here in PA as well. To be honest I tried to avoid using my cycle when snow and/or ice was on the roads themselves; it was better for me to take public transport until the roads themselves cleared up.

    Buy warm gear to be sure. I would normally bundle up in my leather jacket, sweatshirt, turtleneck and undershirt for the 50 mile trip back to my parents's place. Vanson has an electrically heated Streamliner vest which is a nice option, if your bike has a plug.

    Riding in the rain: I hate it. I always had problems with the proper balance in braking between front/rear brakes -- always used too much rear brake. If you are like me the rain will increase the odds that your rear tire will fishtail out. Watch out for this if you're heavy on the rear brake.

    PS don't be so sure about not gaining weight over there. While red meat is expensive and not a typical dinner dish, there is a ton of fried food over there (tempura). Last time I was there (2000) I stayed for four days -- by the end of those four days I was ready to kill someone just to get a hamburger. ;f
     
  8. epsylum

    epsylum Boolit Hoze

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    MY brother used to have a bandit 400. That thing turned on a dime and screamed like a banshee (thanks to the over 14k rev limit). I would suggest any 2-stroke 250 or a 4-stroke 400.
     
  9. DaisyCutter

    DaisyCutter

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    If they let you ride a 2-stroke 250cc, that IMO would be the best option. Gear it right, and it'll rip. ;)
     
  10. Angel Of Death

    Angel Of Death Wrenches/BMWs

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    There's only one bike you need to find: Honda NSR250. These are the street legal versions of their MotoGP NSR500s that won countless championhips.

    Hard to find though. I searched the Lemon Lot on Kadina AB weekly and only found one and it was overpriced.

    Worth finding though!