New motorcycles come out, new horsepower claims are made, but how can you be sure everything is on the up and up? In the auto world, Toyota and Honda have had to readjust their horsepower numbers after running their engines through the stricter SAE standards, the Toyota Camry, for instance, fell from 210hp to 190, a pretty sizable drop. Domestic cars from GM, Ford and Chrysler, though, actually stayed the same or went up. Interesting.
This comes on the heels of the recent Yamaha R6 rpm issue. Yamaha, when the R6 was first being introduced, claimed a redline of 17,500rpm, however, when the bikes actually got into customer’s hands and went on the dyno, they redlined at 16,200. Yamaha had several explanations for it but the end result was that Yamaha has agreed to repurchase the R6 from customers who feel they were deceived and they have also removed all mention of the 17,500rpm redline from their website and advertising. Yamaha admits the 17,500 number was incorrect. They have also removed all reference to horsepower numbers which were also clearly there before, I even wrote about that.
The numbers may not make a difference in the real world under most any conditions except all out competition but it raises the issue of credibility. Did they intentionally do this to gain some competitive advantage or just do what they’ve always done.
This year the ZX-14 is coming out but how much horsepower does it make? It’s the “most powerful motorcycle Kawasaki has ever made.” How powerful is that? What’s the number? Motorcycle companies sometimes clearly state the engine horsepower but sometimes it’s all vague and hazy. When you get into this sort of advertising where you clearly aim to make a statement based on a number, tell us what it is.