September 24, 2007 – Yamaha shows custom side in ’08

ORLANDO — Yamaha introduced the newest members of its motorcycle lineup at its national dealer meeting in Orlando, Fla., headlined by a custom style cruiser.
Yamaha execs call the Raider the industry’s first modern performance custom bike, with a “custom” cruiser styling influenced by choppers, but with a level of power and handling not found on traditional custom bikes. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the Raider is $13,180-$13,980.
“We’re extremely excited about the Raider, which truly is the first of its kind,” said Bob Starr, head of corporate communications for Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. “This motorcycle will provide riders with the style and look of a custom cruiser, but incorporate the high standards of power, handling and performance consumers expect from Yamaha.”
Also new for 2008 is the R6 sport bike, which features several key improvements, including increased compression ratio, Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake, wider connecting rod bearings and new valve spring, among others. The bike boasts a new fuel tank, new cowling and a re-designed headlight cowling and tail section. MSRP is $9,599-$9,799.
In the dual sport category, the company discontinued its XT225, and has replaced it with the XT250, which features an all-new 249cc engine, an increased bore diameter and a 9.5:1 compression ratio. MSRP is $4,399. The company also unveiled the 250R/X, which features a 250cc four stroke, DOH four-valve fuel-injected engine, six-speed transmission and an aluminum/steel hybrid frame.
One continuing theme at this year’s show is Yamaha’s commitment to customization, something the company did with the Raider and will continue to focus on in the future.
“That’s part of the beauty of any powersports product, most customers get an emotional bond a lot of times with the product, and they like things their own way,” Starr said. “And it’s a very basic thing, and with both the Rhinos and our Star Motorcycles it’s very easy to customize them. It’s already expanding into other areas of our product lines, and it will continue to increase. And certainly it’s a tremendous profit center for dealers.”
Kevin Foley, public relations manager for Yamaha’s street bike segment, says it’s a concept that has worked for many manufacturers in the industry.
“I do see that as a trend, and it’s not a new trend,” he said. “We’ve seen one competitor in particular do that for years and we’ve listened to our customers and they tell us that they want a unique bike. And our dealers want to sell unique bikes, ones their competitors can’t sell because it’s specific to Yamaha.”
— Steve Bauer

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