Team Green has a number of Japan-only offerings that are squarely placed in the retro category. The ZRX1200 once graced North American soil, yet carries on in DAEG trim for the domestic market. Other retro-oriented models also exist, as the genre is quite popular among riders in Japan.
The W800 is a domestic model that has been in the lineup for ages and shows no signs of going away soon. It is based around a 773 cc, air-cooled vertical twin that is tuned for low- and mid-range grunt. If you think of it as a Japanese Bonnie, you’ve got the right idea.
It does have some interesting tech going for it: a gear-driven single overhead cam, fuel injection and 360-degree crank all combine with an exhaust that is tuned for a vintage exhaust note to create a blend of old style with new reliability. The seating position is relaxed and is straight out of the UJM school of design. The engine isn’t exactly a powerhouse at only 48 hp, but it remains popular by virtue of the vibe it brings to a ride rather than its performance.
Styled similarly to the W800, the Estrella sits alongside the Ninja 250 as a retro-styled, do-it-all bike. Kawasaki even offers hard panniers for it (made by Givi) for those who would go touring on it. The 250 class is vitally important in the Japanese market, as it is the largest displacement that slides under Japan’s endorsement requirements. As such, it’s not at all uncommon to see small-displacement bikes dressed for long-distance riding.
The bike is based around an air-cooled, 249 cc single and features very basic suspension. Want to get your sport on? You’d better look to the Ninja for that. This is a bike for cruising to the unobtrusive burble of the not-at-all powerful single, which cranks out just under 18 ponies @ 7,500 RPM and a thunderous 18 Nm of torque @ 5,500 RPM. With a seat height of only 735 mm, it is extremely friendly to new riders and those who lack inseam.
French manufacturer Avinton Motorcycles had their Collector Roadster and Collector GT models on display in Tokyo, too. The designs were first seen under the Wakan name back in 2006 and while the designs may have been around for a while, the bikes still manage to look fresh.
Built around a 1647 cc S&S 45° V-twin, the bikes evoke a muscular and minimalist image. Components exude quality, which is probably a good thing. The bikes are expensive, with prices ranging from the equivalent of $59,000~95,000 depending on options.
An interesting difference for the products offered in Japan is that engine power is dramatically decreased. Whereas the rest of the world gets to enjoy an uncapped rating of 120 hp @ 5750 rpm, the Japanese market only sees 64 hp @ 4100 rpm. Maximum torque of 168 Nm is the same for both specifications of engine. One assumes that buyers will resort to after-sales tuning to restore the engine to its full potential.
DM Telai Pocket Racers
One of the more interesting surprises was stumbling upon the DM Telai booth. DM Telai offer a full range of frame kits and bikes right up to a ‘Midi Factory RR’ model with impressive specs. And an impressive price tag to boot.
If you’re not looking for a bike, DM Telai will be more than happy to sell you a complete engine kit. Based in Bologna, Italy, the firm has been in business for 40 years and is the biggest seller of minimotos in the country.
The model range starts with the 40 cc Aria 4.2, which pumps out 6 PS at 12,000 RPM. These little 2-strokes are the business, but get you into racing cheaply with its steel frame, SHA14 carburetor, aluminum silencer and 9-spoke aluminum wheels. Get it on with 90/65-6.5 front rubber and a meaty 110/50-6.5 rear. Price of entry is ¥365,000 (~CDN$3,860). The base model is air-cooled.
The Freni 6.2 gives you liquid cooling and 2 additional horsepower with otherwise the same specs. This pumps up the price somewhat, but should also offer longer run times between rebuilds. It does add almost $1400 to the price, though. Cute little thing!
Tateya R&D DTV8
Tateya R&D had a tiny booth at the show with an engine under glass. The booth was unassuming to the point that I passed it by most of the weekend. When I finally got around to checking out what was under that glass cover, I was surprised at what I found. How would you like to have a V-8 in a bike?
The DTV8 is a 70°, 1996 cc, V-8 that features a single-plane crank, 12.7:1 compression ratio and a 77.0 x 53.6 mm bore and stroke. Packaging is nice and compact, seemingly requiring not all that much more space than a typical inline-four.
The unit on display was a plastic mockup that was created via a 3D printer. Tateya hopes that development will enable them to have a functional test unit built by September 2015. Assuming that testing does not face any serious setbacks, the company plans to move into prototype development testing beginning in March 2016. Tateya were quick to point out that the engine is still a proof-of-concept design and that they didn’t yet have any customers lined up for purchase. Everything stems on how successful their September test turns out to be.
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled 4-stroke, DOHC
Displacement: 1996 cc
Arrangement: 70° V-8
Crank Type: Single plane
Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 53.6mm
Compression Ratio: 12.70:1
Clutch Type: Wet, multiple disc
Transmission: Constant mesh 6-speed, chain drive