If you’re new to motorcycles, and are looking to get your first motorcycle, chances are you’ve debated with yourself as to whether you should get a Japanese or European motorcycle. While in most cases, the decision would depend on your budget, there are certainly many other things to consider such as running costs, reliability, and aftermarket support. Today, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each, as well as a few things to consider when buying either a brand new or used Japanese or European motorcycle.
Japanese bikes - pros
Japanese bikes generally have two strong points that make them extremely popular. Firstly, they tend to have excellent reliability. This means that they’re pretty much the types of bikes you can just ride and not really worry too much about. On top of that, Japanese motorcycles tend to have parts in abundance, as well as cheaper running costs than their European counterparts. Of course, the second strong point is pricing. When compared to their direct rivals from Europe, Japanese motorcycles are a lot more affordable, while offering similar levels of performance. For example, look at the Kawasaki ZH2 priced at P890,000, as against the Ducati Streetfighter V4 at P1,395,000.
Japanese bikes - cons
Of course, Japanese bikes also have their cons, especially if you’re one who wants cutting edge technology and performance. A motorcycle like the new generation Suzuki GSX-S1000 is leagues behind in terms of technology versus its closest European counterpart, the BMW S 1000 R. Granted, of course, the BMW is almost twice the price of the GSX-S1000. That said, though, even the most premium Japanese liter-class sportbikes like the new Kawasaki ZX-10R are still rather dated in terms of technology when compared to the latest and greatest superbikes from Italy and Germany.
European bikes - pros
Euro bikes, as mentioned earlier, sit on the bleeding edge of technology. It doesn’t really matter what class you look at either. Beginner friendly bikes like the KTM 390 Duke put its Japanese counterparts like the Kawasaki Z400 to shame in terms of technology and features. The same can be said at the flagship level, where features like radar-powered adaptive cruise control and sophisticated electronic rider aids come as standard in European adventure bikes like the Ducati Multistrada V4, while bikes like the Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT still come with a basic suite of electronic rider aids.
European bikes - cons
Of course, when it comes to cons, European bikes are notoriously expensive. Nearly all European liter-class adventure bikes fetch upwards of P1,000,000 brand new, while bikes like the Yamaha Super Ténéré can be purchased for close to the P900,000 mark. Additionally, European bikes tend to be less reliable than Japanese machines, simply due to the level of sophisticated technology found in these machines. As such, expect service intervals to be a lot shorter, repair bills to be more expensive, and trips to your dealership to be a lot more frequent.