Spent some time at the motorcycle shop helping out always trying to look for new business fixing, maintaining and servicing all makes of motorcycles including foreign imported motorcycles including Triumph (British) and Ducati (Italian). Business is slow and is difficult to pick up new customers since most motorcycle owners in Japan have already decided shop or dealer they take their motorcycles for repairs and maintenance. The first year is going to be a painful financial adjustment but that’s probably to be expected breaking into a new business as competitive as it is in Japan to eek out a business. Motorcycle parts are not cheap in Japan going for three to four times the cost what a motorcycle owner would pay for the same part in other countries. It is really too difficult to say where the motorcycle industry and motorcycle ownership is headed in Japan. The younger generation of Japanese don’t have the money their parents had and we’re finding that most of the motorcycle owners who bring their motorcycles to the shop for repairs, are usually older Japanese men above 50 years-old. That is not very encouraging. In fact, Kawasaki exports most of their production with a very small domestic market. Definition of “Abenomics“: It costs too much money in Japan where Kawasaki motorcycles are engineered and built to ride them than outside of Japan. The Triumph motorcycle on the stand is being repaired and inspected for the bi-annual inspection required for Japan Compulsory Insurance (JCI).
This Ducati and Kawasaki motorcycles are outside the shop for repairs and will be moved inside once the motorcycle on the maintenance stand is lowered and parked somewhere else inside the shop. Most of the customers are bringing their motorcycles for oil and filter changes as well as adjustments and minor repairs. The owner of this Kawasaki modified his bike with blue colored grips and brake and clutch levers adding a little uniqueness to his Kawasaki Ninja. Ideally, one to two motorcycles should be coming in and out of the motorcycle shop daily to make this worth while, and that isn’t happening right now. Three Ducati motorcycle customers had accidents and the damage was enough to prevent them from riding their Ducati motorcycles. The damage was too extensive to repair so the shop lost three customers recently. By far, the best motorcycles manufactured in Japan are Kawasaki motorcycles. That is another reason why business is slow at the motorcycle shop: Kawasaki motorcycles simply don’t breakdown nearly as often as let’s say a Ducati, which constantly requires work to keep them running efficiently. A lot has to do with the engineering of these motorcycles that affect to a large degree in keeping them maintained. When you start taking apart these motorcycles and compare the engineering between a Ducati and a Kawasaki, the differences are amazing.
A customer who rides this Honda 1300cc motorcycle brought his bike into the shop for servicing and wanted the oil and filter changed as well as tire replacement. Those rear tires are not cheap coming in at around ¥60,000. The pneumatic tire changer was purchased so as to not have to replace tires by hand which takes a lot of time and energy. With this tire changer, replacing tires is safer and much quicker and paid almost ¥300,000 for this pneumatic changer. This machine can also replace car tires which is why it was purchased. We can reduce our cost on car tires by fifty percent by ordering the tires online then doing the replacement ourselves. If you drive a car in Japan it is quite costly when you average the daily cost for parking, gasoline, insurance, parts and maintenance. The cost for a tire replacement on the car if tires were purchased through a retail store including replacement, would be around ¥36,000 to ¥40,000. We replaced the tires on my car for ¥16,000 for a huge savings. The maintenance stand we purchased for the shop is an absolute necessity, otherwise doing maintenance on motorcycles would requiring being on the hands and knees and that is just too physically tough on the body.