Scene at the show: Mark’s picks from Tokyo

It’s always good to wander around a motorcycle show, even when most of the information and the presentations are in a foreign language. The every-two-years Tokyo show is no different, and it gives an opportunity to see some gorgeous motorcycles that you can actually reach out and touch — or was that what those signs in Japanese were warning against?

There weren’t many debuts of new models; the manufacturers seem to be waiting for next month’s EICMA show in Milan for that, or let’s hope so at least. Kawasaki had the major reveals, with the Kawasaki Z H2, the Kawasaki ZX25R, the Kawasaki W800.  There are others worth a good look, though.

The Suzuki Gixxer 250 is an affordable, naked single-cylinder road bike that’s made in India. The fully-faired Gixxer SF 250 was launched there earlier this year, as well as the smaller Gixxer 150, but now there’s a naked 250 version that’s coming to Japan. Both models only make 26 hp, but then, in India they cost less than $4,000. At least it looks good.

Honda’s CT125 attracts far more attention than you’d think its little size warrants. It’s considered a “postie bike” because it’s designed along the same lines as the CT90 and CT110 that deliver the mail in various parts of the world. Not in Canada, though. Will Honda bring it over the Pacific, to join the pint-sized Grom? Don’t hold your breath, but you never know.

Honda has a parade of CBs, probably to help build interest in the new CBR1000 RR that we’d hoped to see here but now expect to see at EICMA next month. One thing’s for sure: that new bike will be a lot different from the original 1959 Benly CB92 Super Sport, seen here flanked by a 1969 Dream CB750 Four and a 1979 CB750F.

Yamaha has some different takes on urban mobility, including electric scooters and the 300 cc Tricity three-wheeler, which looks a lot like a downsized Niken. The only bike to actually ride onstage though, for an introduction by Yamaha President Yoshihiro Hadaka, was the self-balancing MW Vision. This is both refined and comfortable, kind of a cross between the Niken and the old BMW C1 scooter, and a big upgrade from the Toyota i-Road. Yamaha says it uses LMW technology, “to someday create motorcycles that lean, but do not fall.”

There are plenty of conventional bikes too, including our first in-the-metal look at the Yamaha Tenere 700 that will come to Canada early next summer.

The stars of the show are the supercharged Kawasaki Z H2 naked bike, seen to the left on the stand, and the surprise liquid-cooled, four-cylinder Kawasaki ZX25R. Kawasaki makes no claims to the 250’s horsepower, but it’s rumoured to be up to 60 hp.

And then there’s the Kawasaki H2 Carbon, just because you can. It makes 231 hp at 11,500 rpm, and weighs 238 kg before you fill it up with gas and oil and sling your lardy ass onto the seat. This is one of only 120 bikes to be sold worldwide this year. It costs $36,500 in Canada — better get two, then.


  1. Mark, reviewing the market trend in North America, there is a segment, that would pay a fair market value price for the CT 125 that would be reasonably priced if it came over. Looking at the ” cult ” status the CT segment has brought around the world…….my only issues is will Honda hear and deliver ” The Power Of Dreams ” is literally shown here……will it become a reality?? I can hold my breath for a long time BUT I still need to breath.

  2. “Kawasaki makes no claims to the 250’s horsepower, but it’s rumoured to be up to 60 hp.”

    But — at least for the Japanese-language site — they will state the power output and torque as soon as the bike is added. Power (in kW and PS) are standard specs at the JPN Kawasaki site. So, keep an eye peeled there for the goods. No guessing required.

  3. It looks like Yamaha is really serious about taking on KTM in the dirt-focussed adventure category…that upholstered 2X6 pretending to be a seat is taken right out of the Austrian playbook.

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