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Has Yamaha given up?


Freebird
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Was just looking at Yamaha's website.  I am totally amazed that they no longer have any touring bikes or even cruisers.  Have they completely given up on the big bike market?  Most of you know that I had bought a brand new 2018 Star Venture Transcontinental.  To be completely honest, I actually loved it.  The only reason I sold it is because I just wasn't riding.  It set here for over a year and I finally just put enough miles on it to do the first oil change.  I know that most here weren't crazy about the fact that Yamaha went with an air cooled V Twin but it was truly a great bike in my opinion.  It had about everything a person could want on a bike.  Yes, there were a handful of folks that had some small issues and even fewer had some major engine issues but few new models are introduced with no issues.

That being said, and I wanted to make sure that I wasn't bashing the Star Venture because it's certainly not my intention.  But, do you think that if Yamaha had listened to us.  The long time proponents of the Yamaha Venture, and come out with a new Venture with a modified version of the 1700cc Max engine that it would have done better?  I don't know but I feel that it would have.  Imagine that new Star Venture with the Max engine.  Water cooled, abundant HP, ability to REV like most here enjoy, it could have been an amazing bike.  Unless Yamaha has something up their sleeve, we will never know.

My real question is.  Do you think that Yamaha is completely leaving the large bike market or do you think that they are at the drawing board, deciding what mistakes were made, and will be coming out with another line in a few years?  It will probably be to late for most of us old codgers but I have to wonder what they are thinking.  

Last thought on this, at least for now.  I feel that Yamaha and most of the other Japanese bike makers have tried too hard to emulate Harley and to some extent, even Indian.  I feel that the V Twin is essentially an American Icon and the majority of riders who want a V Twin are going to go with Harley or Indian.  Let's face it.   V Twins are certainly an old technology.  Some of us actually like the low RPM torque, great sound, even a bit of vibration but you simply can't provide a great argument that they are as technically refined as the 4 and 6 cylinder bikes that are on the market.  

With electric vehicles, even motorcycles, that are being brought to the market, I seriously wonder if any manufacturers will be dumping large amounts of capital into big touring bikes.  That's sad and to me, virtually signals the end to the cross country riding that many of us have enjoyed.  

I wonder how much money Yamaha lost on the development of the Star Venture and Eluder. There is no way that they recouped their investment.  

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Oh.   And it’s not just Yamaha.  I’m hearing that Honda is also dropping some models.  Word is that they are dropping their manual transmission Goldwing models.  The predominant thought is that they are doing so because they can more easily meet future emission standards wit their automatic models. 

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It’s the younger demographic driving this trend. As us geezers slip out the market, the younger ones don’t want dressers. Triumph stopped their rocket touring line when they introduced their new, sportier line. In marketing terms, there doesn’t seem to be enough old timers out there to support continuing with a touring line. At least what we were used too. 

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I wholeheartedly agree. The proven reliability of the V4 and lack of vibration were big sellers for me in choosing the RSV. I like to make Harley jokes as much as anybody just as I do Fords, I also enjoy getting roasted about my Chevy’s and rice burner bikes but there’s nothing wrong with Harley or Ford if it’s what you like. That being said if I wanted a V-twin I’d have bought one instead of Yam. My other turn off is the addition of so much tech, I like to fix my own stuff but am a techno-phobe. I already gave up working on my truck but still like tinkering with the bike. I sure would’ve liked trying a new V-Max powered, fixed fairing, water cooled rocket without key fobs and touch screens. Maybe my old boss was onto something when he accused me of being resistant to change🤷🤷🤷

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Main thing I miss on the 18 and the Harley is fuel injection.   Even though I’ve never had any major issues with the carbs on the RSV. 

I just have to remember to turn on the petcock.  Yesterday after we left on our ride, a few miles down the road I felt the bike losing power.  I quickly remembered that I had turned it off when I parked it.  Reach down and turned it on before it died so didn't even have to stop but I'm no longer used to having a petcock.  

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Good topic ...I started my on ride on the street on Harley 45 in 1963 , and although I have a 1983 venture I do miss the V-Twin design ..I will be turning my XVZ1200 into a trike , I will keeping a old version of the Virago as a 2 wheel standby ..I spent time on dirt bike on and off the race track , where handling is a first ...The same goes for riding the 500cc flat track , and at 76 years old seat height and handling come first ...90 percent of the guys my age here in Manitoba have traded in their import version of touring bike ( Yamaha ...Honda ..BMW )  for a Harley ..As far as technology goes Harley has made a move to the electronics system for control ...Which has brought a bunch of growing pains for Harley , because of updates their control system needs...

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@RDawson@FreebirdI agree with both of you altho I never owned either of these BUT have driven quite a few just to try them out (Harley's on test drive and new Venture at New York rally) Really liked Venture for power and performance thru the mountains  design was OK   BUT I didn't like the belt drive system as I had too many problems when I owned a 2000 Road Star 1600(V twin belt drive) nice sound and power but not enjoyable for long rides! Most problem was had to replace 2 belts at around $800 each time in 1 season. Still don't know why! They said that Harley used them for forever! I never beat bike or drove down many gravel roads to pickup any stone excreta to cause this break! Another thing was way too much heat on the Harley's which made it uncomfortable to ride any distance. Mostly  PRICE  was the MOST and defining object for NOT buying either and led me BACK to the 2012 Venture I bought new! Both were  OVER $34000 Can here and could afford the $ 20000Can with $5500 trade(which Harley wouldn't take in--trade but their friend would give $3000Can)

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I understand.  I didn't have the '18 Venture long enough to comment on how long the belt would last.  I can say that having owned 3 Harley's, '86 FXRD, '13 Road Glide Ultra,  and '08 Ultra Classic, I've never had to replace a belt.  The heat on the 107 CU Road Glide was very noticeable.  The '18 Venture was almost as bad.  The '08 98 CU wasn't nearly as bad unless you got stuck in traffic as we did going to Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago.  My right thigh got pretty hot during that traffic jam.  I did find the '18 Venture to be very comfortable on the road after I got my backrest, highway pegs, and handlebar risers on it.  Same options that I always add to my bikes.  As for price, I agree that they are way too high.  I lucked out though.  I bought my '18 Venture brand new from a dealer in New York who also sold Honda.  He just couldn't sell the Yamahas.  I bought it brand spanking new at the end of 2018, I think it was, for 18,000.00. 

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2 hours ago, RDawson said:

I wholeheartedly agree. The proven reliability of the V4 and lack of vibration were big sellers for me in choosing the RSV. I like to make Harley jokes as much as anybody just as I do Fords, I also enjoy getting roasted about my Chevy’s and rice burner bikes but there’s nothing wrong with Harley or Ford if it’s what you like. That being said if I wanted a V-twin I’d have bought one instead of Yam. My other turn off is the addition of so much tech, I like to fix my own stuff but am a techno-phobe. I already gave up working on my truck but still like tinkering with the bike. I sure would’ve liked trying a new V-Max powered, fixed fairing, water cooled rocket without key fobs and touch screens. Maybe my old boss was onto something when he accused me of being resistant to change🤷🤷🤷

I too fit this category and also get accused by my boss who is younger than my 1st three kids  and used to be my apprentice, of being resistant to change. However I am a big advocate of keeping life simple  and comfortable rather than complicated and having to constantly keep up with change. I like stuff that is self repairable and even though I am more than capable of working on the higher tech stuff it is the fact that A) it can not be patched on the side of the road if need be and B) most of the high tech stuff each require their own specialized additional tools and software (plus the means of working with it) beyond that found even in the most extensive average tool set. The technical world is removing our ability to be self sufficient and forcing us to be dependent on stuff we did perfectly well without in the past and really don't always need to exist. That is not to say I am against all advancements as some advancements, specially in medicine are a good thing but where do we draw the line. Obviously there are those who disagree and love nothing more than to indulge in every new gadget that hits the market but that's not me. I'm totally content to manually turn my lights off and on, lock and unlock my doors or use an old fashioned key to start my car.

Edited by saddlebum
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An '18 Venture with the VMax engine, water cooled and shaft drive would have been nice.  We can all dream about that as being the upgrade for the '99-2013 RSV.  Looking at the market now though, with Honda and Kawasaki getting out of the big bikes (European emission requirements from what I heard, as well as poor sales numbers), had Yamaha given us the bike we thought they would rather than the v-twin, odds are that it would now be end of line as well.  Touring bikes are a small market and not enough for a manufacturer to continue with.  Maybe a V-4 would have taken away sales from Honda but we'll never know.

 

The future is electric bikes.  Until they develop technology to give comparable range for a day's worth of riding (600 miles +), big cruisers and tourers will be a thing of the past.  E-bikes don't have the capacity to haul a big bike and are going after a small segment of in-city casual riders.  I'll be keeping my '09 RSV for as long as I can ride.  Nothing out there now or for the foreseeable future compares to the range, comfort, or reliability.

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I agree but actually think it would have been easier to meet admissions standards with a water cooled V4. 

I have heard that Honda is continuing only their DCT (automatic) version of the Wing because they can more easily control the emissions on it than the manual. 
 

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I just can't give up with Yamaha just yet.  SVTC bikes are loved by many and off course has some issues as well, but easily addressed with Yamaha's 5 Year warranty.  I remain optimistic that Yamaha will continue to innovate and put out fun bikes for us to enjoy.  

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It was hard for me to grasp why they went Air Cooled vs water cooled. Harley and Indian both have had to add or build water cooling to their bikes to meet emissions. Higher head temps to bur gasses. So it puzzled me why Yamaha didnt stay with an engine they new would be easier to meet emissions with. I am riding a V-Twin Victory, mainly because the heavy feeling weight of the RSV. Here in Fla with the temps we have had is miserable. I was having some issues with my bike and was seriously a trade. I was looking toward BMW touring bike. What I have noticed is they're seems to be a lot of interest in the ADV market. Being vertically challenged it can be a challenge to find a bike I can touch ground with.

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I just think an air cooled engine is the wrong choice for a big heavy touring bike.  Years ago I remember reading a Los Angeles county police test of potential police bikes and they tested everything including oil temperature to see if it stayed within the manufacturers specs.  The spec for the oil temp on the Harley was 400 degrees F!  It was 300 for the BMW R bike and about 260 for the water cooled bikes.  It just seems to me that 400 degrees is pushing it too far.  And the Harleys came close to the spec limit in their testing.  

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Harley has done a good job of keeping seats and COG low. Harley also keeps the wheelbase shorter for low speed maneuverability and that inspires confidence. Notice the age of touring and cruiser rider's is at the upper end of the motorcycling demographic so naturally Harleys design is continuing to take market share. The older we get the more we want something easy to handle.

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And BTW, My sister and 76 year old mother are both 5'2" and both ride the Heritage Classic. No other manufacturers make a large bike that is as easy to handle. 

Unfortunately I'm just not a fan of HD. Owned a couple, ridden a bunch and not impressed.

 

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Years ago, before Mom Yam revealed her failed attempt at producing a new Venture that "will turn the touring upside down" and would "set a new benchmark for all touring bikes in performance, handling and comfort" @Freebird started a thread called "let the discussion begin" here on VR. Many many of our club members responded and most of the club echoed the same "wish list". I am going to post here my response in that thread only because I still stand by it. I, like most here, followed the new Venture from start to finish and I even chase it to the unveiling at Lake George with MUCH excitement. Tweeks, TIP and I went out to Lake George for the unveiling with cash in hand and ready to buy/order that new 1700cc 175 hp shaft drive machine that I was SURE Mom Yam would be unveiling. I know for fact there were others on site that day at the unveiling with the same hope/dreams and intent, I spoke to many of them. @videoarizona was actually on the phone with me (or texting, cant remember) and clearly heard my response as soon as they started the 1st bike (they had two) hidden behind the curtain and I heard the familiar sound of ANOTHER FREEKING HD CLONE V-TWIN. I think my response was something like "ohhh crap".  Like many others there, I had no interest in buying one after that. What a shame,, I am 100% certain that had Mom Yam actually completed her promises stated above there would be one in my garage right now as well as MANY others here. At the unveiling I actually heard Mom Yam's competition LAUGH and watched them walk away saying "no competition here thats for sure". I know for a fact that at least 4 of those people who said that were Honda Reps. I was so disheartened,, embarrassed, I had NO INTEREST in even test riding one then BUT, after a few months of reading promotional's, Tweeks/TIP and I did cave in and went to Sturgis that year for test riding and to ask questions concerning some other promises Mom Yam made about the bike. I took my infra red temp gauge and video camera along with a list of questions from fellow club members and we headed out on Tweeks. 

At Sturgis I asked the Yam Factory Reps about the question of air cooled V-Twins being HOT and how Yam solved that issue as I could not see any indication of such on the exterior of the bike. I also asked permission to take some temp readings.. They refused to allow me to take ANY temp readings on the Demo bikes and simply said YAMAHA FIGURED OUT THE SECRET TO SOLVING THE HEAT ISSUE WITH AIR COOLED V-TWINS. From that point on I was told to write Yamaha for any more answers to the questions both the club members and I had. 

While I still 100% believe the new venture could have been a REAL DEAL trend setter and could have been a real boost for Mom Yam and our sport and they would have sold like Hot Cakes had they of just listened to the faithful Venture riders of which I am one, I am still not quite sure what happened to the (supposedly) huge backing from the V-STAR RIDERS I met at Lake George who stood on the stage there and claimed they had designed the bike. It does not appear that even that group took a liking to the new bike. When they rode the bike up onto the platform at Lake George my first response to Tippy was "I SEE POLARIS VICTORY WRITTEN ALL OVER THAT THING! I WONDER IF ARLEN NESS LEFT POLARIS AND HAD HIS HAND IN THE DESIGN".  Strangely enough, it seems the Polaris Victory riders ended up being the main supporter of the new Venture from what I see but even they didnt have the numbers needed to keep the steed in production.  Fact is, IMHO, chasing Harley Davidson is/was NEVER a good plan. HD riders are in love with HD,, the sound, the vibes, the ride, the clothes, the QUALITY in both paint and looks.. I have owned and ridden MANY Harleys and LOVED em all so I get it BUT,, its wayyy to late in the game to even think about challenging HD, thats not possible. Their piece of the pie is theirs alone, they somehow survived the ages and have EARNED respect and honor in the Industry for doing so. Mom Yam should have forgot about chasing HD and focused on fulfilling her promises leading up to the unveiling,, I am still very very sad that she didn't. 

Here is that "wish list"/response to Freebirds thread entitled "let the discussion begin",,, I still wish it!! LOL: 

 

""""""I have been a Yamaha enthusiast for many many years and they have proven to me over and over again that they are TOPS!! Owned a couple early YZ monoshock MX bikes way back and they were AWESOME!! My little RD350 and RD250 (remains still in my basement) were giant killers - proving Yamaha's superiority in R&D!! My 73 XS650 beat across the country with me on its back several times, chopped it and rode it many more miles until sold. Bought a brand new 650 Special, AWESOME "cloned" mini Harley that saw the west too!! My faith in mother Yamaha has been proven 5 times over by my continual riding of the 1st Gen Ventures starting in 1987 until present day with my 83 that has almost 300k on it!! Fact is, folks at Yamaha, I AM READY FOR THE NEXT PHASE!!

All that said, here is my feeble wish list:

 

1700cc V-4 "V-Max" motor.. Detune it if you must (just like before) but please,, dont do another V-Twin - got enough of em.. You guys can do it,, I KNOW YOU CAN!!

Shaft drive!

EFI with a tunable tuner - even if its an add on - please provide one so we can tune it!!

LED lighting.

Engine guarding and saddle bag guarding.

Adjustable bars like on the first gen.

Factory tank and windshield bags.

Fixed Fairing.

Get the same Doctors who advised you on constructing the seat of the 1st Gens (cant remember what you call those guys) to advise you on this one - my kids, wife and I LOVE what they did!! Keep the seat height difference between the rider and passenger no more than 3 inches (2 is great) - raising the passenger higher causes weight imbalance and makes slow speed riding harder.

Ease of removal of the trunk(s) for changing rear tire.

Center stand.

Forward boards with normal foot pegs located rearward so standing up while riding is still possible, shift and brake levers at both locations (no heal toe please).

Hand warmers.

Key removable rear trunk and bags.

Grease zerks on all main pivot points.

High output stator even though it has LED's.

Double check the gear sets in the tranny and make sure they ramp up solidly.

Oversized clutch to insure NO slippage in high gears with xtra weight.

42 millimeter front fork tubes with progressive springs.

Imbed reflective tape (or use reflective paint) in paint lines (like pin striping) so all profiles of bike light up when grazed by car lights.

Add a large foot onto side stand - tired of bending over to pick up stand plate after parking on loose ground.

Explore which tire sizes are the most common and build around those standards so tire choices and finding them are easy.

Remember those long grips you used on the first gens? Use those, I love bending them back onto my knees.

Enclose the motor well to keep ANY objectional heat off both riders BUT - use lots of venting with plenums to act as heaters when needed.

Windshield it so the rear rider remains in the protective air pocket - functional vents in shield and fairing to adjust air movement if needed (hey,, could be asking for servo operated shield but I dont care for more things to go wrong).

6 speed Over drive tranny.

Use GOOD solder, especially with ECU pins. QC the daylights out of it! DONT go cheap and trust the Chinese!!

Dont short us on wire harness leads so wiring is tight - xtra 1/4 inch really helps!!

Make fairing panels easy to remove but not so they fall off.

Supply printable shop manual disc and printed well written owners manual. Supply GOOD factory tire pressure guage.

Chrome is out for me, I LOVE dull stainless (like the pipes on the "New" V-Max),, matter of fact,, build mine with no rustable chrome and all dull stainless!!

Intercom, CB and radio would be nice.. Keep the tape deck.

 

OK, if you REALLY are reading this and you like what I am talking,, PLEASE make mine just a little faster in stock form than anyone elses.. Not that I would ever use the extra pazzaazz but I have buddies that I gotta compete with and just KNOWING I have the fastest one would be worth an extra grand to me:big-grin-emoticon:

 

I KNOW you can do it!! Keep the faith mother Yamaha - I AM!!

Puc"""""

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 9/6/2022 at 9:37 AM, larrydr said:

Good topic ...I started my on ride on the street on Harley 45 in 1963 , and although I have a 1983 venture I do miss the V-Twin design ..I will be turning my XVZ1200 into a trike , I will keeping a old version of the Virago as a 2 wheel standby ..I spent time on dirt bike on and off the race track , where handling is a first ...The same goes for riding the 500cc flat track , and at 76 years old seat height and handling come first ...90 percent of the guys my age here in Manitoba have traded in their import version of touring bike ( Yamaha ...Honda ..BMW )  for a Harley ..As far as technology goes Harley has made a move to the electronics system for control ...Which has brought a bunch of growing pains for Harley , because of updates their control system needs...

Look familiar :) 

 

 

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On 9/6/2022 at 10:55 AM, XV1100SE said:

An '18 Venture with the VMax engine, water cooled and shaft drive would have been nice.  We can all dream about that as being the upgrade for the '99-2013 RSV.  Looking at the market now though, with Honda and Kawasaki getting out of the big bikes (European emission requirements from what I heard, as well as poor sales numbers), had Yamaha given us the bike we thought they would rather than the v-twin, odds are that it would now be end of line as well.  Touring bikes are a small market and not enough for a manufacturer to continue with.  Maybe a V-4 would have taken away sales from Honda but we'll never know.

 

The future is electric bikes.  Until they develop technology to give comparable range for a day's worth of riding (600 miles +), big cruisers and tourers will be a thing of the past.  E-bikes don't have the capacity to haul a big bike and are going after a small segment of in-city casual riders.  I'll be keeping my '09 RSV for as long as I can ride.  Nothing out there now or for the foreseeable future compares to the range, comfort, or reliability.

I TOTALLY agree with you @XV1100SE.. I have been on the E-motorcycle thought for a good while now and have mentioned "hybrid" for a long time.. Personally, I think the 1st manufacturer who produces a GOOD hybrid so stopping for recharge is not necessary will be onto it,, big time. Our little Hyundai Ioniq hybrid regularly gets +60 mpg and will maintain +50 mpg while cruising triple digits for long hours. What an amazing vehicle. It will also run its AC for 13 hours on 1 gallon of gas maintaining 68 degrees inside while its +100 degrees on the desert, its unreal. I still think the 1st one to go Hybrid with a touring bike so +100 mpg can be maintained at highway speeds will definitely be onto something.. Forget this electric car nonsense, until both Canada and the U.S. has the infrastructure to support the needs of mass produced electric vehicles and battery tech increases so a 500 mile range is easily doable the electric car is a no dice for anything other commuting short range BUT even then,, in cold climates where people get stranded on hiways for an overnighter,, woe to those who are caught with a current (no pun intended) electric car even for commuting.. 

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Electric cars cannot be sustained with the Green movement. Reference California, The CA Governor signs a gas car sales ban for 2035 and a couple of days later he's telling EV owners not to charge their vehicles due to power grid issues. here's another article from WV.  Coal Miners push stranded DC driver's dead electric car to charge it up at coal mine (bizpacreview.com)

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Puc - almost 100% agree with your list of what the 3rd gen shoulda been.  Shoulda coulda.  Yamaha blew it and had they listened to us, at a reasonable price (somewhere between what a 2013 RSV cost and a HD) they would have taken Honda Goldwing and HD tourer sales away .... as well as BMW, Kawasaki....
 

Whatever group Yamaha said they listened to were the wrong people.  Maybe a division at Yamaha wanted to cheap out and jump into an overcrowded v-twin market.  Mind you, Yamaha marketing seems to be like what IBM marketing used to be.  Produce a great product but not tell anyone about it.  Someone at the time said that Yamaha monitored VR.org ... obviously not.

 

On Puc's list....only thing I would change would be heel/toe shifter with floorboards.  Heel/toe shifter has spoiled me and I wouldn't want to go backwards to just a toe shifter.  With heel/toe you don't have to worry about how tall the toe is on your riding boots.

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It is definitely a shame! I love my 1st gen and to me some refinements to that would have been ok in my book. Heel toe or not I think should be something flexible in the design so each individual can choose what they want as well as the option to have forward pegs or floor boards or underbody foot pegs (my favorite, a real back saver in my book). The design should also incorporate the bikes ability to handle a small degree of off road, which I found the 1st gen not too bad at. Quick lock removable bags (but rattle free design) would be nice as well. A Harley clone to me is just effort after foolishness since if someone wants a Harley they will just buy a Harley. When I ride by Harleys being pushed at a busy border crossing or stop and go traffic on a hot day, I am so grateful for my 1st Gen.  I want a bike for its reliability and its rideability on a variety of not so perfect surfaces, not its fashion factor.   

Edited by saddlebum
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On 9/6/2022 at 4:19 AM, Freebird said:

Oh.   And it’s not just Yamaha.  I’m hearing that Honda is also dropping some models.  Word is that they are dropping their manual transmission Goldwing models.  The predominant thought is that they are doing so because they can more easily meet future emission standards wit their automatic models. 

Interestingly enough, BMW has come out with a new large cruiser-style touring bike, the R18 Transcontinental:  https://www.bmwmotorcycles.com/en/models/heritage/r18-transcontinental.html 

Reviews are mostly good, but the boxer engine foregoes a good foot-forward resting place, which might just be a deal breaker.

The Indian Pursuit is getting very good reviews and a bike I am personally very interested in to replace my Venture. 

I love my Venture, don't get me wrong, but its going on 16 years old.  That in and of itself doesn't bother me, I know these bikes are reliable and at only 32k miles, it has a lot of life left in it.  The issue for me is the dealer will no longer touch it.  My local dealer did agree to do a valve adjustment in January because they were seasonally slow, but they said that's it.  Before I went there, I checked with a small local indy shop, who does all my tire swaps, and even they said no, they won't touch it other than tires, or basic maintenance.

I'm getting more comfortable working on bikes, thanks to the group here, but if it needs some work that's more than I'm comfortable doing, or if I happened to be on a road trip, I'm screwed.

If Yamaha announced they are re-introducing the V4 Venture, with fuel-injection and ABS, I would go put my deposit down the same day.  But I'm not holding my breath on that.

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15 hours ago, bpate4home said:

Electric cars cannot be sustained with the Green movement. Reference California, The CA Governor signs a gas car sales ban for 2035 and a couple of days later he's telling EV owners not to charge their vehicles due to power grid issues. here's another article from WV.  Coal Miners push stranded DC driver's dead electric car to charge it up at coal mine (bizpacreview.com)

We're pretty savvy here in Cali.  Give us a problem and we'll find a solution!

 

irony.png

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