There is a serious shortage of qualified motorcycle mechanics in Japan and one of the biggest reasons why is because of pay which is a pittance for the considerable long hours they work. The other factor is a rapidly changing domestic motorcycle market in Japan. A few of the more resilient motorcycle mechanics working at dealerships throughout Tokyo have attempted going into business for themselves hoping to bring their customers with them, but motorcycle riders in Japan prefer to stay with the same mechanics who have been servicing their motorcycles for years. Even far fewer are mechanics who are familiar with maintaining and repairing Ducati (Italian) and Triumph (British) motorcycles because of lack of adequate training. Yesterday, the owner of a new Ducati 1300cc (204 hp) brought his motorcycle over to the shop for some maintenance and repairs after taking a slight fall on the motorcycle damaging it in a few places after losing control while braking.
This Ducati is engineered and designed with the engine being a component of the frame and it is actually more like sitting on an engine with 1300cc of power. Can’t explain where in Japan a person can ride a Ducati 1300cc motorcycle without serious threat to life and limb with such enormous power. I took this bike out for a ride around the neighborhood and this Ducati with the slightest twist of the wrist on the accelerator is menacing. This Ducati comes in around ¥3 million (US$30,000) new in Japan. And with Ducati consolidating in Japan there will be fewer dealers in Japan where this bike can be serviced adequately and with any skill.
These motorcycles, another Ducati and a Triumph are in the shop for repairs and maintenance. These motorcycles are top of the line for Ducati and Triumph with sales in Japan decreasing every year. Parts on the motorcycles make it prohibitively expensive which means most of the owners of these types of foreign motorcycles in Japan are over 50 years-old. This group of men are usually stable with fairly good paying jobs which makes owning these types of motorcycles possible for them. One of our customers is the owner of three Ducati motorcycles and as it turns out he’s over 60 and the president of a large company.
These two Ducati motorcycles are waiting for parts and as soon as they arrive the new parts will be installed, all the systems checked and then the bikes given a test ride to make sure the bikes are operating the way they should be as a high performance motorcycles. The tires alone if replaced run about US$800 a tire. Explains why it is prohibitively expensive for the average person in Japan to own a Ducati motorcycle. I’ve noticed over the years there are many motorcycles parked under canopies at large apartment complexes covered in tarps collecting dust. Some sit there for years with the owners preferring the motorcycles sit there and rust collecting dust rather then sell them on the cheap to a motorcycle shop to be repaired and resold. I’ve looked at some of these bikes and they have years of dirt and dust caked on them even under the motorcycle covers. The owners often don’t want to spend the money to keep them maintained or to renew the national insurance.
2015 Ducati 1299 Panigale – EICMA 2015