I was given the chance to cover the formal opening of the 2012 Yamaha International Motorshow last September 7, 2012 at the Mall of Asia Atrium area in Pasay City. I knew we were in for an awesome display of Yamaha’s newest offering to the local riding scene.
Arriving early, I had a chance to view some of the semi-hidden bikes in the venue of the launch. There seemed to be a good mix of exotic bikes and the ever popular street bikes already found on the streets of the Philippines. Since they were partly hidden I had to wait till the formal tour before I was sure. What wasn’t hidden was the display of the new FI engine that Yamaha has used as a fulcrum for the entire event. Far from being a gearhead it took me a while to identify the bits and pieces of the new engine configuration and when I did, it honestly still didn’t make sense to me. Not Yamaha’s fault, it’s my utter lack of mechanical skills which is to blame.
As several other members of media as well as some very good friends in the industry start to arrive, we were given notice that the launch was about to begin any minute. We obediently took our places and waited for the proceedings to start. As the event went underway, the Japanese executives of Yamaha Motors Philippines as well as Yamaha Japan were introduced. I was rather impressed at the way the Japanese head office had thrown its support to Yamaha Philippines’ event. We hope this is an indicator of better things to come for Yamaha here in the country which in turn would be a great thing for the riding public.
After the VIP’s introductions, Yamaha’s Ads and Promo Section Manager Ryan Jude Camus delivered his short but very direct opening remarks focusing on the current drive of Yamaha to lead in innovation and the drive to “Make It Different”. It’s a philsophy that believes in forward thinking and preparing solutions to problems and challenges which have yet to come. Being prepared and being ready is now not only a rider’s daily habit, Yamaha has ingrained it in it’s entire working model. As we, who have been riding for a long time, have always said, “Riding is not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.”
After the formalities, we were thent treated to a tour of the different Yamaha products on display on the floor. First up were the Yamaha racing bikes. Displayed were the different models which are used by Yamaha for racing all over the world and in all classes. These include a couple of bikes which are used in the ASEAN Cup (The Yamaha ASEAN Cup is an international one-make race that uses Yamaha’s sporty four-stroke underbone motorcycles.1). Next up were the venerable YZF-R1 and the YZF-R6, still very popular among the superbike racers and road warriors in the country. Also making a special appearance is Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha M1 which he used to dominate the 2012 MotoGP Season. I’m not sure if it was a replica of the real thing or not, but it looked really good.
Next on the tour is the hefty WR450F. At home in the dirt or in the mud this baby will surely eat up any mountain trails or motorcoss tracks you can throw at it. Following the WR450F was the FZ800 or more popularly known as the Fazer 800. It’s one of the bikes on the floor that caught my eye. I’ve always loved to own a Fazer but felt it was still a bit too sporty for my type of riding (which is slow and not too slow). Oh and another thing, the unit was white which is always a big big plus for me. Nice lines, nice look and I’m sure a really nice 800cc engine.
Up next were the scoots which I really thought (and were mildly dissapointed when they didn’t) they would launch here in the country. The Yamaha TTX 115i is a highly cusomizable scoot. Powered by a 115cc fuel injected power plant the scoot also sports a wider rear tire than most other models. Being marketed as a commuter bike, it surely fits the role in the often unpredictable road conditions of the country.
The Super Tenere 1200 was next. This was the bike I was waiting for. Having had the urge to move into Adventure Touring riding since finishing the Luzon-Mindanao ride on a Vespa, I was keen on seeing this monster up close. And it did not dissapoint. I have only seen one other of these machines and this was the first time I had seen it in detail. 1200cc is more than enough power to get through any “adventure”, on road or off road, you may think of. I was also dissapointed that they were not bringing this in, but my wallet was not. I also have to grow a couple of inches to ride this beast. With a ride height that varies from 33.5 to 34.5 inches, elevator boots are in order.
And for something closer to my heart, here comes the Yamaha TMax 500. This has long been on my want list but has sadly never materialized. Having been a maxi-scooter rider for a long time, I had always wondered how it was to ride the scoot which is generally considered to be the best maxi-scooter in the market. The wondering will continue I guess since the scoot will not be available to the Philippine market either.
After these bikes (none of which are available on the market), we moved back to the front of the display where the locally available bikes were displayed. This is where there was a bit of chaos on the floor since they had allowed people to enter the display area already as the tour was taking place making it hard to find a good place to take pictures as well as follow the guide.
The popular and really good looking FZ16 was displayed and was briefly introduced (really brief). The other geared bikes were there too, the Sniper, the Vega and the YBR. The automatic models followed, the Mio (and all it’s iterations), the Fino and the Nuovo. These bikes have long been a staple of the market that they really don’t need any introdution nor elaboration.
The next on display were several customized bike, I’m guessing they were Nuovos. They were really well made and any of them could win any motor show anytime. It’s such a treat to see how riders and shops customize the scoots. Creativity and ingenuity reigns.
The tour wound it’s way to the engine cutaway which I mentioned earlier, then past a couple of really cute electric bikes which I’m sure won’t be able to carry me to work, and another scoot at the end of the display which for the life of me I cannot remember the model of (sorry Yamaha it was a bit chaotic by then). The last to be introduced were the Yamaha Powerboats which I passed on already since they were well ummm boats. Oh I almost forgot, the Yamaha Apparel line was also introduced and should be available in your favorite Yamaha 3S stores soon.
A brief question and answer portion followed the tour. Several queries regarding the new engine were asked, mostly regarding the support for the new technology in the service shops. There were concerns that once out in the market, no shop would be qualified to fix the new FI system (which was to be released on a Yamaha Mio by the way). Yamaha assured everyone that there were already certified mechanics trained to handle the technology and that they have had the necessary training well ahead of time. A good example of Yamaha’s forward thinking.
Yamaha seems to be on the right track when it comes to reaching out to their market. With such a lavish and grand event, which ran for 7 days, they seem to have the pulse of who their market is. Identifying your market is not a hard thing to do. All you have to do is look out the window and 8 out of 10 people could be a potential client. But it’s how you make them clients and keep them that makes the difference. Yamaha hit a home run with their event as well as their new Fuel Injected technology and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a beeline at Yamaha dealers clamoring for the new scooter, after all it is different.