LAS VEGAS — Yamaha’s dealer meeting here featured ATVs, off-road bikes, scooters and Star motorcycles — super sport bikes won’t be unveiled until September. Garnering the most dealer excitement was a new 1300cc V Star in two trim levels, a 700cc utility quad with power steering, a 50cc fuel-injected four-stroke scooter and re-tooled WR 250 and 450.
Sales of Star brand cruisers — up 16 percent from 2005 to 2006 — account for 66 percent of Yamaha’s motorcycle sales in the United States. For 2007, the manufacturer plans to offer 24 models of Star brand motorcycles, all available with a host of optional parts and accessories designed to allow for maximum personalization.
The 2007 Star line-up ranges from the 249cc Virago up to the 1854cc Roadliner and Stratoliner, and includes the new-for-2007 V Star 1300 and V Star 1300 Tourer (available in September and October, respectively).
“We didn’t drop any other bike in the line-up to offer the 1300,” said Brad Banister, Yamaha media relations manager. “In fact, we think it fits perfectly between the V Star 1100 and the 1670cc Road Star models.”
Describing the cruiser market as containing “Entry” level bikes up to 900cc in size, “Mid-Size” models between 900cc and 1199cc and “High-End” cruisers of 1200cc and larger, Yamaha calls the V Star 1300 “an authentic mid-size cruiser with big cruiser character.”
Priced at $10,090 ($11,190/$11,390 for the 1300 Tourer) the belt-driven fuel-injected 1304cc 60-degree V-twin features a hidden liquid cooling system, a flangeless fuel tank, steel fenders, a chromed handlebar with painted clamps, and floating floorboards with an adjustable heel/toe shifter. The Tourer gets a windshield, passenger backrest and leather covered hard saddlebags.
On June 23, American Honda announced via press release that Honda R&D Japan developed “the world’s first” Electric Power Steering (EPS) system for ATVs. Two days later, on June 25, Yamaha Motor Corp. USA showed dealers the 2007 Grizzly 700 FI Automatic 4x4 — a unit featuring Yamaha Electric Power Steering (YEPS).
While Honda said the first application of EPS on a production ATV “is anticipated in the United States in the near future,” Yamaha started shipping the ’07 Grizzly 700 to North American dealers earlier this month.
Yamaha says the YEPS system employs an electric motor to assist the driver in turning. The electronic control unit in the steering system takes inputs from a torque sensor in the steering shaft and activates the EPS motor when the driver turns the bars, thereby reducing the turning effort.
Retail priced at $7,999 ($8,349 for Hardwoods HD Camo), the Grizzly 700 FI Automatic 4x4 is powered by a liquid-cooled 686cc single-cylinder engine radically different from the powerplant found in the Raptor 700R.
Another ATV surprise for dealers was the introduction of the Grizzly 350 Automatic 4x4 IRS, which joins the Grizzly 350 Automatic 4x4 and the Grizzly 350 Automatic 2WD. The new unit has everything the others do, plus fully independent rear suspension, sealed wet brake unit, on-command 4WD with differential lock, and a new front grab bar.
In the side-by-side line-up, look for six models of Rhino: the Rhino 660 Automatic 4x4, Rhino 660 Automatic 4x4 Special Edition, Rhino 660 Automatic 4x4 Sport Edition, Rhino 660 Automatic 4x4 Exploring Edition, Rhino 660 Automatic 4x4 Ducks Unlimited Edition and Rhino 450 Automatic 4x4.
The Motorcycle Industry Council said scooter sales for its five member companies climbed 17.5 percent last year — from 48,445 units in 2004 to 56,899 units in 2005.
Yamaha plans to capitalize on the market trend with five models of scooter in 2007, including the new 49cc fuel-injected C3 and returning 49cc four-stroke Vino Classic, air-cooled Vino 125, 249cc liquid-cooled Morphous and 395cc liquid-cooled Majesty.
Yamaha said the fuel-injected 49cc four-stroke C3 achieves 117 miles per gallon and will be available in November in Liquid Silver or Team Yamaha Blue. Carrying a suggested retail price of $1,999, the unique-looking 187-pound scooter features an instrument pod with analog gauges, an easy to swap clip-on handlebar, a 1.5-gallon fuel tank and nine gallons of underseat storage.
Yamaha said the returning 49cc Vino — the company’s best-selling scooter in the United States last year — also will be available in November, retail priced at $1,899; the Vino 125 will be made available in September with an MSRP of $2,549; the Majesty arrives in August priced at $5,799; and the Morphous 250 was delivered this month retail priced at $5,199.
The two Vino are priced $50 above the MSRP for 2006, the Majesty and Morphous hold their prices.
While Yamaha’s super sport bikes won’t be unveiled until September, the company did reveal the returning YZF600R, YZF-R6S, FJR1300, sport quads and off-road competition bikes.
A new WR 250 and WR 450 are among the highlights of the sport category.
Although returning models, the units are outfitted with completely new engines, frames and suspensions,
The YZ family also was updated. The YZ250F and YZ450F received a forged triple clamp, longer rear shock, revised engine balancing, an updated clutch pressure plate, new titanium exhaust and a new white color scheme. The YZ125 and YZ250 get a lightened rear shock, different bolts to ease maintenance, new jetting on the 250 and ignition map revisions on the 125, and Pro Taper handlebars instead of the previous Renthal models.
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business