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How the Japanese Motorbike industry grew to the power it is today

We now think of Japanese motorbike companies as being the pinnacle of the industry. With the exception of BMW, Ducati and Triumph the best road bike manufactures that dominate the market are Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda. How did we get to this situation in just 60 to 70 short years especially since Japanese were technically nowhere? Now there are the first that one looks for when looking for a bike. However, this is not the only thing that should be looked at for example what you wear on the bike is equally important and Hot weather biker gear can mean that you can still enjoy your bike even when there is a heatwave on. What thought are the factors that led to the rise of the Japanese industry.

Japanese motorbike

You have to go back to the end of the Second World War. The Japanese manufacturing industry was on its knees after basically producing nothing but weapons and munitions for the past 4 years the country had been pounded from constant bombing and to add to the that two of its major Ports and manufacturing bases Hiroshima and Nagasaki and been practically wiped from the face of the earth by two atomic bombs. A period of rebuilding was needed, and people needed to still get to work. Into this environment Koichiro Honda started his company in 1946. He was a forward-looking man that wanted to do his best to rebuild the country and he first produced a pedal bike with an engine. He was not alone. At virtually the same time Suzuki were looking to produce a similar product but a bit more advanced. Whereas Hondas just added the rider the Suzuki version was able to not only do that but also not assist or just be standalone unit. With money to support the economy and business coming for the USA and Allies the Japanese Government were able to invest in the company and support the product. Even then Suzuki, who originally began making weaving looms, were quite a modern firm having come into existence in 1909. Yamaha had been going since 1887 starting out by producing pianos and organs, which they still do. Kawasaki started in 1896 and during the war had produced aero engines which was to prove a great advantage in their quest to produce better engineered engine and the like.

Japanese branded motorbike

From these humble beginnings at home the companies had a bedrock of support and soon began to want to expand their markets. They did not sit still with their designs and looked to produce better quick and more efficient models. Where the really scored was on their reliability and stability and by the 1950s and 1960’s their machines were being sold in the USA and Europe. The marques were much better than their European equivalents and it was the death knell for the British motorcycle industry as there Japanese rivals bikes were clear superior in design and speed too.

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