Highlights from the Bangkok International Motor Show 2023

jimboy

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This year the 44th edition of the Bangkok International Motor Show was held at IMPACT Challenger, Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi, between the 22 March 2023 and 2 April 2023.

Part I: Mostly Honda

Honda_TransAlp750.jpg


One of the new motorcycles to be revealed at this year's show was Honda's TransAlp XL750 (price 340,000THB tbc.) It is based on Honda's 2022 short-stroke, eight valve, twin cylinder 755cc cross-plane crank engine (reported 91bhp@9500rpm, 55lb-ft@7250rpm) also recently installed in the new Honda Hornet. Initial reports of the Transalp are that it handles very well with a road biased and a characterful engine (see Motorcycle News 2023 Honda Transalp XL750 Review and YouTube, "Honda’s affordable new XL750 Transalp impresses both on- and off-road.") What can one tell from sitting on a bike at a show? Not much other than the seat felt comfortable, there was plenty of space for a passenger, and the bar and peg position for this six foot rider fell into the "all day ride" category. I liked it.

Honda_TransAlp750_front.jpg



Honda_TransAlp750_21inch-front-wheel_1.jpg

21" Front Wheel with dual discs


Honda_TransAlp750-TFT.jpg


It appears that love them or loathe them, TFT screens are standard equipment for many bikes these days. I question their durability, and whether spare parts will be available in several decades time. 1990's bikes such as Honda's original XL650V Transalp are relatively easy to keep on the road since they don't require specialized electronics.


Honda_TransAlp750_LHS_1.jpg

2023 Honda XL750 Transalp: The rear rack provides excellent grab handles for the rear passenger.

The new Transalp will be worth a test ride when it is available in Thailand later this year. We are spoiled for choice in the mid-weight touring/dual sport category with Yamaha's own cross-plane 690cc twin, the Ténéré 700, and Triumph's Tiger 660, not to forget motorcycles such as the 790 and 890 from KTM (absent from the show this year), and BMW's F850GS.

Honda_Hornet_750.jpg

The Honda Hornet CB750 (price 319,000THB) looks like a respectable alternative to Yamaha's popular MT-07. It comes in black, too.


2023-Honda-CBR1000RR-R-&-Monkey-Bike.jpg

His and Her's; foreground Honda Monkey Bike (109,900THB), background Honda's wet-your-knickers-fast CBR1000RR-R SP Anniversary. Women in Thailand ride sports-bikes.

Honda-Monkey_Bike-Cherry-Edition.jpg

Honda Monkey Bike Cherry Edition (109,000THB)

2023-Honda-CBR1000RR-R-SP-Fireblade-Anniversary.jpg

The glorious Honda CBR1000RR-R SP 30th Anniversary (price 1,149,000THB) pays homage to the 1992 Fireblade CBR900RR: Get one while it is still legal to damage your own hearing with an internal combustion engine.

There are no power figures quoted on Honda's Thai website. For years Honda used to reduce the engine power of the CBR1000 imported into Thailand. Can anyone confirm whether this is still the case?

Triumph_Tiger_Sport_660.jpg

Triumph Tiger Sport 660

Relative to the Honda Transalp, the semi-fared Tiger Sport 660 (price 359,000THB) has a lower seat height and less reach to the bars. It felt very comfortable. In my opinion, if considering one I would test ride the other too. Both are very competent motorcycles well suited to exploring Thai roads where lightweight and good ground clearance is an advantage.

Honda_CB1100.jpg

The Honda CB1100RS (559,000THB) exuded high quality. The engine note alone is worth a chunk of the purchase price. :cool:
 
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Moto-Rex

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Excellent write up Jimboy.
I'd say the Transalp will be a big seller in Thailand, and at 340,000 baht, it represents pretty good value for money.

Moto-Rex
 
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jimboy

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Part 2: Kawasaki

As most readers of the GT Rider forum will realize, for more than a decade motorcycle manufacturers have been mining a rich seam of nostalgia to sell their wares. From the retro or "heritage" brands such as Triumph and Royal Enfield to this year's Honda Transalp the marketing evokes mythical past glory. New motorcycles are described as "sharing DNA" with models of yesteryear, a neat trick for a lifeless, quasi-animate, machine. To further their religion cause the manufacturers set up "museums" to persuade the validity of their brands, encouraging their loyal customers to worship at the alter of their engineering and artistic skill. It's a strategy that works, up to a point.

Of course, retro-marketing is all nonsense - no machine is going to match the spiritual significance of the Emerald Buddha, the intellectual elegance of Pythagoras' theorem, or hold a holy candle to the artistic merit of Leonardo da Vinci. But despite Christian commandments not to worship a false god, such as a manufactured idol (Exodus 20:3, 4-6), the use of heretic myth and pagan fable conjures "the story" that boosts sales.

There is one serious disadvantage; how to sell a new, high quality motorcycle in a market dominated by built-to-a-price and past glories, emissions asphyxiated moto-ricers (looking at you Honda CBR250RR)?

Kawasaki_ZX-4R.jpg

Kawasaki ZX-4RR - 400cc of inline four cylinder goodness with a 16,000rpm rev limit to prove its virtue.

The Kawasaki ZX-4 is the best 400cc motorcycle to be launched since the early 1990's. Then there were the famed Honda CBR400, VFR400, and RVF400's, Suzuki's GSX-R400 and Yamaha's FZR400R. The Kawasaki ZX-4R and ZX-4RR arm Kawasaki's existing ZX-25 250cc road frame with a 57.0 x 39.1mm water-cooled inline four tuned with a 12.3:1 compression ratio for a claimed output of 79 BHP and 26.5 lb-ft @ 11,000 rpm. Vehicle weight is quoted at 188kg.

In Thailand as of April 2023 the ZX-4R is priced at 320,000THB and the ZX-4RR is 360,000THB.

Kawasaki_ZX-4R-bars.jpg

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4RR bar controls and TFT display

Electronic rider aids include Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC) with four settings and an option to turn it off. There are four riding power modes; Sport, Road, Rain, and a Rider (Manual) mode which saves a custom setup.

The "RR" version offers the following upgrades over the ZX-4R:
  • ø37 mm SFF-BP front suspension with adjustable preload
  • Horizontal Back-link rear suspension with BFRC lite shock
  • Dual-direction Kawasaki Quick Shifter
No difference in the software between ZX-4R and ZX-4RR has been reported other than the dual direction Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS.)


Kawasaki_ZX-4_black.jpg

2023 Kawasaki ZX-4R in black (price 320,000THB)

A fair criticism of the new ZX-4 is that it is heavy at 188kg. Like all new motorcycles these days there's probably 5kg excess in the exhaust and catalytic converters that's easy to remove (though remapping the engine would be a good idea if you go down this route.) If the battery isn't lithium, 3kg can be saved changing out the lead acid unit for a Lithium battery. Drop the passenger footrests and change the tank filler for aluminum and with a few farkles one can cut another 1kg cost-effectively. That would still leave the bike at 180kg with further weight savings to come from changing the wheels to lighter alloys or carbon BST's if budget isn't an issue.

The electronics package is useful but no match for Aprilia's RS 660. The 100bhp Aprilia has a full package including lean angle traction control derived from their litre bikes. But in Thailand it costs 699,000THB, double the price of the Kawasaki ZX-4.

There are some ugly rumours that the ZX-4's to reach the US market may be unreasonably restricted. Time will tell. The following considers the Kawasaki ZX-4 in the context of Thailand.

What price quality and fun?

For the contemporary generation of bikers bought up on increasingly stringent emissions regulations and equally strict cost-controlled quality standards, the price of the ZX-4RR may be a sticking point. Which might be to forget that quality always costs more. As a point of reference, in the United Kingdom the 1994 RVF400 cost about as much as Honda's CBR900RR Fireblade.

Sports-bikes are not designed to be practical. They are for recreation and racing. They are about fun. The trouble is with a modern sports-bike on the open road, power does not equal fun. Across Europe and North America power = high speed = prison. With no chance to get out of third gear under 100mph, large capacity sports-bikes have migrated to the track. Which is a different kind of fun but one that most people can not experience every week. A sports-bike for the road, that's a different proposition and it is exactly what the Kawasaki ZX-4 offers.

Riding outside of the cities of Thailand, can you get into sixth gear on a 600cc sports-bike? Only if you're not afraid of pick-up trucks doing their thing across the ubiquitous U-turns, feral dogs playing in the road, and the inevitable pedestrian crossing the road who is not expecting you to arrive at 100mph. The idea that a ZX-6R is better value because it has vastly more power and only 8kg more weight misses the point. I see them almost every day on the road in Bangkok. They are far too much bike for the conditions.

Before the relatively new addition of speed cameras, one of the joys of riding in the Thai countryside has been the lack of enforced speed restrictions. It places the responsibility for matching speed to conditions on the rider. Go as fast as you like but.... you will suffer the consequence of just one mistake. There are no helicopter ambulances in Thailand.

That the new Kawasaki ZX-4 produces 79bhp is astonishing compared to the nineties legends. The 1993 Honda VFR400 used to produce 62bhp in standard form. Which was quite enough for Joey Dunlop to beat big Ducati's around tight circuits in Ireland. With 79bhp on tap, the ZX-4 has enough power for road use.

Lighter weight and less power also reduces wear and tear on the consumables such as chains and sprockets, brake pads and tyres. You learn to get the most out of the machine, reading the road ahead to find the best line and to select the correct gear as that mountain road steepens and the corners get tighter.

Motorcycles are about riding engines. Downshifting on a blood and guts motorcycle requires the skill to blip the throttle to match the road speed at just the right moment. The reward is a perfectly timed shift and the satisfaction of not becoming part of the scenery. It is an exquisite feel as bike and rider become one. Personally I'd order the ZX-4R without quick-shifter and spend the money saved on a better slipper-clutch. It's the pilot not the machine.

The new Kawasaki ZX-4 is the best and quite possibly the last way to experience a high revving internal combustion engine at full chat on a public road. The electric bike of the future may accelerate harder but it will never excite the soul, assault your eardrums, and blur the vision as you hit the red line.
 
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jimboy

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Part 3: Triumph

Triumph_Moto2_Engine.jpg


For the Bangkok International Motorshow this year Triumph were displaying their Moto2 three cylinder engine together with a 2024 Street Triple Moto2 Edition. Announced in Thailand back in January this year, it seems odd to call this a 2024 model. The 765cc engine is said to put out 128bhp @ 12,000rpm with 80Nm @ 9,500rpm, compression is quoted at 13.25:1 (12.5:1 for the RS), and "wet weight" comes in at 188kg (414lb.)

For 2023/2024 Triumph have been working on their colour palette. For the Moto2 Edition this means a choice of a vigorous you-can't-miss-me fluourescent yellow with silver subframe, and a "Crystal White" tank with yellow subframe. The Moto2 also comes equipped with carbon fiber bodywork and lowered clips-ons, and in common with the Street Triple RS fully adjustable Olins suspension, Brembo Stylema brake calipers, and 5" TFT screen with some race specific modes.

Comparing the Street Triple Moto2 to the 2020 Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 the specification, bar the lack of fairings, looks very similar.

2023_Triumph_Street_Triple_Moto2_Edition.jpg

2024 Triumph Street Triple Moto2

The 2024 Street Triple Moto2 is priced at 599,000THB and the 2024 Street Triple RS is up 10,000THB (on 2022) to 499,000THB.


2023_Triumph_Street_Triple_765.jpg

2024 Triumph Street Triple RS in a colour that must do well in Thailand.

Bodywork changes for both the Moto2 and RS models are a new tank shape which takes the capacity down from 17 liters to 15 liters, and a lowered front instrument panel. The handlebars are 12mm wider than the 2022 Street Triples which, if you ride in town, might not be an advantage. The purpose of the latter is hard to devine. While the '24 colours are eye-catching, the front headlight/instrument cluster appears to represent change for change's sake rather than for performance or functional reasons. Is there anyone from Triumph who can cast light on their reasoning?
 
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jimboy

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transalp-black.jpeg

2023 Honda Transalp XL750 in black.

A test ride is definitely required. If the price of the Transalp is confirmed at around 340,000THB - 360,000THB it will be very competitive vs the V-Strom 650XT (379,000THB) and other similar bikes aka the BMW 850 GS, KTM 890 Adventure, Triumph Tiger Sport 660 (359,000THB), and the Yamaha Ténéré 700 (459,000THB). The Transalp will be made alongside the new Hornet in Thailand so import tax is not an issue. Local manufacture might make spare parts easy to come by, too.

The 208kg weight of the Transalp puts it closest to the Ténéré 700's 205kg. The venerable V-Strom 650XT weighs 216kg. The new V-Strom 800DE is better equipped including a quickshifter, numerous electronic modes and slightly longer suspension travel (220mm at both ends vs. the Transalp’s 200mm front/190mm rear) but it weighs 230kg. The BMW 850 GS weighs 229kg.

Bearing in mind that Honda's quoted power output is 92bhp, Cycle World dyno tested the V-Strom and got 66.85bhp at 9,210 rpm and 43.04 pound-feet of torque at 6,560rpm. Power output for the Ténéré 700 is 74bhp.

For reference, the Transalp's seat height is quoted at 850mm, the V-Strom is 820mm, and the Ténéré 700's seat is 875mm (895mm on Yamaha Thailand's website).

The only disadvantage I read on paper might be the Transalp's 16.9 liter fuel tank for long distance riders. The V-Strom 650's fuel tank is 21 litre which gives better range (David, perhaps you would care to comment on this?) The Yamaha Ténéré 700's fuel tank is 16.0 liters. A back of the envelope calc suggests that 16.9 liters is more than sufficient to ride Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. Personally I need to stop for a coffee before going any further.

Who on GTR is going to be first on the Transalp with a video to show us?
 
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Dodraugen

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Great thing that the Transalps are made in Thailand. Should soon be a lot of accesories and stuff available for them then….and spare parts should be readily available.

Are they already at dealers in Thailand?
 

Heineken

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Funny I was told by the Honda salesman at the Bangkok Motor Show that the new Transalp would be priced 420k to 430k baht ?


And I thought the seat was too narrow and as hard as a rock ;)


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jimboy

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Funny I was told by the Honda salesman at the Bangkok Motor Show that the new Transalp would be priced 420k to 430k baht ?

No doubt Honda have considered whether to price the Transalp competitively ie close to the Thai made Triumph Tiger Sport 660 at 359,000THB, or at a premium alongside imported bikes such as the Yamaha Ténéré 700 at 459,000THB.

Given that the Honda Hornet CB750, which shares the same engine as the Transalp, is priced at 319,000THB, and that prices in some foreign markets have already been announced (the UK price is GBP9,499 = 404,000THB), I think Honda would have a hard time justifying more than 400k given that the Transalp is made in Thailand. At a guess, 360,000 seems reasonable. If it comes in less than the Triumph it would be highly competitive and IMHO "win" in the mid-sized touring category in Thailand. It depends on how much Honda want to dominate the Thai market where they already have a dominant market share in small capacity bikes.
 

moskito

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I am really sitting kind of on red hot coal here. I want to have the new TRANSALB but until know obviously nobody in BIGWING Thailand can tell you when she will be on the market.
I am riding still a couple of CRFs, a 250L since 10 years since its the best commuter bike for Thailand doing short trips in the city, a new 300L for playing around a bit and a CB500X 2019 for longer trips but this one i want to sell and upgrade it.
OPTION A was the T7 the TENERE 700, excellent bike for longer tours and offroad and I just loving the looks of her... unfortunately the YAMAHA Dealer in Phuket dont want to let me sit on it, so bad luck for him and i saved 459,ooo.-Baht because i was ready to buy her immidiately.
OPTION B the brand new KOVE 450 RALLY, comes in for around 8-9ooo.-USD a Chinese Motorcycle, yeah right, MADE IN CHINA ....and they started with 3 of this bikes at the DAKAR and finished with all 3 of them. Check out the YouTube Videos, its looking great and for this price....
OPTION C and my favorite is the new TRANSALB. Its available in Austria, in Switzerland in EUROPE but WHY NOT IN THAILAND???? We are just around the corner from good old NIPPON and there is for sure a market here.
:
IF anybody has any infos on WHEN the TRANSALP is available at HONDAs BigWing (or any other shop...but i guess BigWing is having a monopol here) PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
THANKS in advance and ride safe. ...and dont forget to check the Videos about the KOVE 450 Rally out ... KOVE 450 Rally
 

moskito

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If it comes in less than the Triumph it would be highly competitive and IMHO "win" in the mid-sized touring category in Thailand. It depends on how much Honda want to dominate the Thai market where they already have a dominant market share in small capacity bikes.
If the price is everywhere else in the WORLD around 10,000.-EU or 10,000.-USD i honestly do not belive it will be more expensive in Thailand. I guess the price would be around 330k to 360k and even if they sell a TRIUMPH for 260k i and for sure many others would ever buy one. Same goes for DUCATIS or APRILIAS or TIGERS ... Ducati is selling its Bikes relatively cheap in the past couple of years but never break a mirror or need any other spareparts... its kind of like buying a printer for 50.-Bucks when the new colour costs you about 60.- :)
I am living in Asia, therefore i am buying Asian made motorcycles.
Btw, you wrote the Transalb is Made in Thailand too, like the CRFs or the CB500X ... shouldnt it be available than here in Thailand first?
 

jimboy

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Honda_BigWing_Thonburi_Electric_SwapStation_SM.jpeg


An update on the price and availability of the Honda Transalp. I am reliably informed that the Transalp, like all of Honda's large capacity bikes, is being made in Japan. We should expect a price of circa 420,000THB (Heineken was right!), and a launch in Thailand around September, subject to official confirmation.

Given import duty, price-wise the Honda sits in the pantheon of touring bikes in Thailand above the V-Strom and below the Ténéré.

Triumph Tiger Sport 660 (359,000THB), the V-Strom 650XT (379,000THB), Honda Transalp (circa 410,000, tbc,) the Yamaha Ténéré 700 (459,000THB), the KTM 890 Adventure (516,000THB, 103bhp/100Nm.,) the BMW 850 GS (649,000THB, 95 hp/92Nm.,) and the race spec KTM 890 Adventure R Rally (739,963THB, 889cc, 210kg. etc.).

By way of indirect comparison, the price of the new Honda Hornet, 319,000THB, appears to be highly competitive for an imported motorcycle. I look forward to test riding one.

A shout-out to "M" (Methus) and salesman "S" (sorry, I can't read the Thai!) at Honda Big Wing Thonburi who showed me around their facility and answered all my questions. Both speak English and impressed me with their relaxed and friendly style. It was a pleasure to visit. Part of the Omni Group motorcycle dealership.

Note, in the photograph above, there's a Honda Battery Swap Station. On the same tack, has anyone else noticed a profusion of EV charging sites at PTT stations across the country? They are throughout Bangkok.
 
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moskito

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View attachment 151694

An update on the price and availability of the Honda Transalp. I am reliably informed that the Transalp, like all of Honda's large capacity bikes, is being made in Japan. We should expect a price of circa 420,000THB (Heineken was right!), and a launch in Thailand around September, subject to official confirmation.

Given import duty, price-wise the Honda sits in the pantheon of touring bikes in Thailand above the V-Strom and below the Ténéré.

Triumph Tiger Sport 660 (359,000THB), the V-Strom 650XT (379,000THB), Honda Transalp (circa 410,000, tbc,) the Yamaha Ténéré 700 (459,000THB), the KTM 890 Adventure (516,000THB, 103bhp/100Nm.,) the BMW 850 GS (649,000THB, 95 hp/92Nm.,) and the race spec KTM 890 Adventure R Rally (739,963THB, 889cc, 210kg. etc.).

By way of indirect comparison, the price of the new Honda Hornet, 319,000THB, appears to be highly competitive for an imported motorcycle. I look forward to test riding one.

A shout-out to "M" (Methus) and salesman "S" (sorry, I can't read the Thai!) at Honda Big Wing Thonburi who showed me around their facility and answered all my questions. Both speak English and impressed me with their relaxed and friendly style. It was a pleasure to visit. Part of the Omni Group motorcycle dealership.

Note, in the photograph above, there's a Honda Battery Swap Station. On the same tack, has anyone else noticed a profusion of EV charging sites at PTT stations across the country? They are throughout Bangkok.
from a member of Adventure Rider Forum :
The whole earlier discussion about where the bike is made was kind of dull.
The Transalp has been manufactured in Japan, Italy, Spain and now Thailand.
Honda sets the quality specifications and does control wherever the bike is made

+++

to be honest, i hope he is right and you are wrong. IF the bike is made in Japan i guess you are right with the price of 420k ++ just about 150k cheaper as its big sister the Africa Twin (without DCT 599k) and in close range to the T700 with 459k Baht ...... will reconsider or check for how much they are selling the new KOVE 450 Rally than. If it is everywhere in the world around 10k Euro or USD i dont really hope we are seeing this price of 400k+ here
 

Heineken

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Btw, you wrote the Transalb is Made in Thailand too, like the CRFs or the CB500X ... shouldnt it be available than here in Thailand first?


I agree, if the Transalp is made in Thailand you would think they would be available here in Thailand by now ?...............................................they are already available in Australia @ $15 800 ride away, also they have no less than 5 x optioned up bikes with various extras available at extra cost.


I have been watching the official Big Wing Honda website and no mention of the Transalp as of yet, I hope I am wrong and the price is around the 350k baht ;)
 

Heineken

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how does it compare to the sitting on the NCX?

Do you feel any more / less comfortable?


A bit hard to get a feel for comfort in a few minutes David, I would like to rent one for a day and try her out..........................the biggest thing I would miss if I was to change bikes would be the frunk on the NC, its just so dam handy for storing essentials :cool: