A couple of weeks ago Kawasaki announced the beautiful retro-styled W800 will end its model run in Europe this year, going out with a special model appropriately called the “Final Edition”.
Yamaha has now announced it is dropping the XT660Z Tenere and XJR1300, certainly in Europe anyway.
All three models are casualties of the tough new Euro 4 emissions standards in Europe.
The new laws took effect this year, and all new models must meet those standards now.
Existing models, like the ones we’re seeing dropped, have to meet those standards from the beginning of next year.
But for some existing models, that’s just not possible.
Euro 4 not only sets tough limits for exhaust emissions from the engine when it’s running, but also for the amount of fuel that escapes from the tank through the venting system.
Fuel vapours contain far more unburned hydrocarbons than exhaust gas, and the most common way of reducing the amount of vapours escaping is to feed the venting tube into a carbon filled canister.
Once the engine is started again the vapours are drawn back into the fuel system which creates issues for the engine management system.
Although it sounds like a simple solution, this can be mean major – and costly – modifications to the engine design.
Another issue is that Euro 4 requires that the bike has on-board diagnostics to measure it’s own emissions and provide fault-finding capabilities for technicians.
And finally the manufacturers have to prove their engines will still meet the emissions standards after 20,000km.
So for some existing models that’s a big and expensive task, and it’s just not economically viable. For others, making them Euro 4 compliant is simply impossible.
Most of the existing air-cooled bikes like the FJR1300 will never come close to being Euro 4 compliant.
So what does all this mean to us?
Well firstly we’re seeing the biggest reshuffle of models in many years, and as the year goes on we can expect more announcements about which bikes won’t be sold into Europe any more.
But with that will come a range of new models. There’s already rumours that the XT660Z Tenere will be replaced by an MT-07 engined adventure bike.
For Australia, the future’s a little bit more confusing at the moment.
Our emissions regulations aren’t as tough as the European standards, so no changes need to be made to existing models for them to continue to be sold here.
Milo Dokmanovic, Marketing Assistant at Kawasaki in Australia, has said that “the current model of the W800 will continue to be available here in Australia, but that Kawasaki cannot comment on the prospect of new models at this stage”.
Communications Manager for Yamaha Motor Australia, Sean Goldhawk, is saying similar things certainly about the XJR1300 which is built in Japan.
Sean told us today that the XJR1300 and the XT660Z Tenere will be available here for the foreseeable future.
Looking ahead, as long as the manufacturers can see value in continuing production of the bikes they are dropping in Europe nothing will change for Australia.
But we could also expect, and hope, that the manufacturers see value in bringing us the new replacements that are going into Europe as well.