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Thread: Why are CBs and KZs the popular ones.

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    Default Why are CBs and KZs the popular ones.

    Whenever I'm scrolling on Instagram looking at suggested pages I always see photos of honda CBs and Kawasaki KZs, original or cafes that's the bunch of what I see. I get happy when i see a GS on a suggested page photo, and I've noticed that pages from the middle east seem to enjoy the GS alot.

    Now I didnt live back in the day, so I dont know how it was back then, but I know that at least on social media the KZ and especially the CB steal the thunder.

    Does this all have to relate with Honda having the first affordable four cylinder and Kawasaki bringing out the Z soon after?

    Note: there was a German I believe who made a 4 cylinder bike before honda, looked very short and stubby and was a wheelie machine i assume, one of the photos of it is the front wheel being up. It was not a normal consumer bike though.
    Ian

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    Honestly I'm not even mad, it keeps the GS at a good price, and they handle well.
    Ian

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    Want a "twin" for my bike

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    I would say you nailed it because that's what I thought even before I read your view on why - the CB750 and Z1 just left such a huge mark. They were watershed bikes and the GS trod the same path, but as we know they are better!

    Quote Originally Posted by timebombprod View Post
    Whenever I'm scrolling on Instagram looking at suggested pages I always see photos of honda CBs and Kawasaki KZs, original or cafes that's the bunch of what I see. I get happy when i see a GS on a suggested page photo, and I've noticed that pages from the middle east seem to enjoy the GS alot.

    Now I didnt live back in the day, so I dont know how it was back then, but I know that at least on social media the KZ and especially the CB steal the thunder.

    Does this all have to relate with Honda having the first affordable four cylinder and Kawasaki bringing out the Z soon after?

    Note: there was a German I believe who made a 4 cylinder bike before honda, looked very short and stubby and was a wheelie machine i assume, one of the photos of it is the front wheel being up. It was not a normal consumer bike though.
    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldGSfan View Post
    I would say you nailed it because that's what I thought even before I read your view on why - the CB750 and Z1 just left such a huge mark. They were watershed bikes and the GS trod the same path, but as we know they are better!
    Maybe it's because suzuki brought out the GS right before the 80s, and people wanted to forget the 80s.

    All jokes aside i probably did hit the nail on the dot with my reasoning but knowing about the katana being a huge thing, I would think its predecessor may get some recognition. Probably not how the autoworld works though that's why a mk3 toyota supra Is 5 grand while a mk4 is 50.
    Ian

    1982 GS650GLZ

    Want a "twin" for my bike

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    The big Kat had impact but not sure sales followed. I sure miss mine! I still can't believe I sold an '82 Katana and '82 GPz1100, my two dream bikes. But I was moving overseas thinking I'd never return. Yet here I am back. Viva the 80's ... early 80's anyway. Bikes anyway...



    Quote Originally Posted by timebombprod View Post
    Maybe it's because suzuki brought out the GS right before the 80s, and people wanted to forget the 80s.

    All jokes aside i probably did hit the nail on the dot with my reasoning but knowing about the katana being a huge thing, I would think its predecessor may get some recognition. Probably not how the autoworld works though that's why a mk3 toyota supra Is 5 grand while a mk4 is 50.
    Tom

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    Ian, there were lots of 4 cylinder bikes 100 years ago, Indian being the best of them
    In the 50/60s, Gilera and MV had 4s. Kawasaki essentially copied the Gilera 500 to make the Z1
    1978 GS 1000 (since new)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big T View Post
    Ian, there were lots of 4 cylinder bikes 100 years ago, Indian being the best of them
    In the 50/60s, Gilera and MV had 4s. Kawasaki essentially copied the Gilera 500 to make the Z1
    Oof I forgot about the Indian 4! And dont know much about the beginning of motorcycles, I know there were MANY companies following the new motorized bicycle.

    Gotta learn about before the UJM bikes and 2 strokers.
    Ian

    1982 GS650GLZ

    Want a "twin" for my bike

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldGSfan View Post
    The big Kat had impact but not sure sales followed. I sure miss mine! I still can't believe I sold an '82 Katana and '82 GPz1100, my two dream bikes. But I was moving overseas thinking I'd never return. Yet here I am back. Viva the 80's ... early 80's anyway. Bikes anyway...

    Those are two beautiful bikes, they're both so nice I couldn't favor over one based off their looks! Theres a guy here with a gpz900r, I wish he'd pull the dang tarp off it and let me nerd out over it.
    Ian

    1982 GS650GLZ

    Want a "twin" for my bike

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    In the KZ world it's mostly the 900 & 1000 that have the rabid popularity. The smaller bikes are like GS's in that they are not nearly as popular.

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    Honda was, of course, first to market in many categories (not just four cylinder bikes), and the first to demonstrate that motorcycles could be reliable and keep their oil on the inside. Their marketing was extremely well done, and I think the name "Honda" was also a factor; it's simple and doesn't sound nearly as "alien" or obviously Japanese as the others. Honda opened the door for the rest.

    Kawasaki, of course, focused on developing the reputation for engine performance. Not just the KZ, but the insane two-stroke models as well. They were quite a bit behind in handling, including some infamous faults, but quite a few people didn't care about anything but quarter-mile times. Bold styling also played a large part for Kawasaki and Yamaha as well; people don't buy motorcycles to blend in.

    Suzuki was the first to get all the basics of handling right. Frame construction, geometry, and ergonomics were light-years beyond the competition for several years. Styling wasn't as "in your face" as Kawasaki and Yamaha and they were perceived as a step behind on power as well for a while. Any doofus can yank a throttle open, but the advantages of ergos and handling were completely lost on a lot of people.

    So anyway, I think those market positions from the '70s and '80s explain a lot of the lingering differences in appeal. If you were in high school in 1974 or so, you had a poster of the Z1 on your wall. That's the kind of thing that sticks.

    Fast forward 30 or 40 years, and we find that Suzuki's GS models are extremely reliable, with far better handling and ergonomics than other vintage bikes. Once sorted out with a few basic upgrades, a GS can be flogged mercilessly for years and years, and is a joy to ride and live and travel with. Sure, modern bikes are more powerful and handle a little better, and ABS is a game changer. But if you know what you're doing, you give up very little in spirited street riding, reliability is just as good or better (and repairability is definitely better), and the ergonomics are far superior to almost any modern era motorcycle.

    In all my experience, I've seen for an absolute fact that GS owners ride much further and faster than KZ and CB owners. There may even be more restored CBs and KZs on the planet, but I will guarantee that we are wearing out far more of the side treads of far more tires.
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