I thought we should get to know a little about the people who receive our hard earned money every time we get bitten by the mod bug. What made me curious was seeing the packaging of the Yoshimura pipes. The name is 'Yoshimura' which is Japanese obviously but it says USA R&D on it? So I was wondering how that works. Below is the story of Yoshimura which I found very interesting and hope you do too.
Courtesy of Wikipedia:
Hideo "Pops" Yoshimura (October 7, 1922 – March 29, 1995) was a motorcycle tuner, race team owner and manufacturer of speciality motorcycle accessories. He is remembered for his ties to the beginnings of AMA Superbike racing and the Suzuki factory racing team. He was born in Fukuoka City, Japan.
Yoshimura was called into military service during the Second World War where he was trained as an aircraft mechanic. After the war, he began tuning motorcycles for American servicemen stationed in Japan and in 1954, he opened his first shop, with his wife and children helping him. In 1971, he moved his business to Los Angeles at the beginning of the four-cylinder superbike era. He gained a reputation as an excellent motorcycle tuner.
In 1976 the AMA introduced a racing class for production based bikes and Yoshimura established himself by entering fast, reliable Kawasaki Z1 bikes. In 1978 he switched to Suzuki bikes and began winning races. Steve McLaughlin won the 1978 Daytona Superbike race while Wes Cooley and Mike Baldwin won the prestigious 1978 Suzuka 8 Hours in Japan. With Wes Cooley as his rider, Yoshimura claimed the AMA Superbike national championship in 1979 and 1980. Yoshimura formed a close relationship with Suzuki and eventually his team became the official Suzuki factory racing team in the United States. His company experienced success as one of the world's largest performance aftermarket sportbike exhaust manufacturers.
Yoshimura died of cancer in 1995. He left a legacy as a master craftsman, tuner and fabricator and was one of the pioneering personalities of superbike racing. In 2000, he was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. His son continues to operate the company which still enjoys success in the AMA superbike class with rider Mat Mladin winning six championships in seven years, and Ben Spies winning the 2006-2008 championships.
In just 15 years Akrapovic has come from a one-man-band making exhausts in a shed to being the number one brand worldwide for road-riders and race teams alike.
Stories like this generally start with a visionary, and this is no different. Ours is Igor Akrapovic.
Igor was working in his father's factory making injection-moulded plastic goods, while in his spare time he was making engines and tuning stuff for his friends, as well as indulging in a spot of racing.
This was the late 1980s. And while doing all this work for himself and his friends, Igor pretty soon realised that everything was available for racers except good quality exhaust systems offering big performance advantages. From his hobby has spawned his company.
"Really, I'm just lucky to have made a hobby that I loved so much into a job," admits Igor. "This part of the job, working with the engines, I love and find most enjoyable."
Thankfully, Igor has managed to bring together a team of people to allow him to do what he does best. Tinker with engines and develop exhausts for them.
Officially setting up in 1990, Igor was joined in 1992 by Slavko Trstenjak (pronounce his name Slough-co!), an electrician with a similar aptitude for tinkering and tuning, while Marko Adamic joined as sales manager a year later.
Marko says: "We started out as a small team. Igor, Slavko and me. As the business grew we were together all the time. Even as we were growing in size the morale has been very good. People want to work for us.
Our rates of pay are up to 100% more than Slovenia's average wage. That's Igor's policy. He wants the workforce to really want to work here. Most of the employees are interested in racing. The results are printed after every racing weekend and posted up on the walls. They want to know if the bikes with our exhaust systems have won."
Igor adds: "This is a big part of what makes us successful. The workers have to have a passion for what they're doing, they have to have a passion for motorcycles. That way they give 110%."
At the start Igor spent half his time tuning engines and the rest building exhausts. His first products were well enough received that soon the decision was made to concentrate solely on manufacturing exhausts.
The small 'workshop' was in fact a house, and pretty soon things would get too big for its 450 square metres. The house is still there, a good stone's throw from the 7000 square-meter modern factory that Akrapovic has resided in since 1997.
Things really picked up in the early 1990s, thanks to Igor's intuitive knowledge of engines and a range of then-new techniques and materials.
"I started out as Igor's helper," remembers Slavko, "Igor would do pretty much everything himself. He would strip and re-build motors, change valve seats, the lot. He'd even test the bikes. The only thing he didn't do was the welding. "
Igor and Slavko began to use new configurations of tube diameters, crossover tubes and conical headers as well as using thin-gauge stainless steel, titanium and carbon-fibre.
Shrewdly, Igor invited Kawasaki Deutschland to test his new exhaust. The team found it was better than the factory system, and it was the beginning of a remarkable roll. From a number of German Pro-Superbike teams, Akrapovic grew to dominate in superbike racing across the globe, with every single Japanese manufacturer using Akrapovic exhaust systems during the 1999 World Superbike season!
"And our badges meant our exhausts on the bikes," explains Igor. Just because it said one thing on the exhaust didn't mean it came from that manufacturer. For many years it was often a factory exhaust with an aftermarket supplier's name emblazoned on it, for which they'd pay handsomely. Rossi's Honda V5 of a couple of years back? Akrapovic exhaust, that. So why didn't it have the Akrapovic logo on it? Money and sponsorship. Valentino and the Repsol team had a sponsorship deal with Polini exhausts so, instead of the accolades, Akrapovic were paid by HRC to be a silent partner and do some development work. One of Rossi's original RC211Vs is still at the Akrapovic factory today. The funniest thing of all is that Polini only make scooter exhausts. Either way, it's something that Akrapovic can't be drawn on, as they have a good relationship with the Japanese manufacturers. Even though... "they once told us they had made a copy of one of our exhausts," says Marko. "They wanted to see if they could do better. Their exhaust made two bhp less than ours!"
If there's a comparison to be made to others in the business it's with Yoshimura. Legendary tuner Pops and his son Fujio made a range of top products. Similarly to Akrapovic, their exhausts work well because they're engine tuners, and the quality of their workmanship is second to none.
Like Yoshimura, Igor eventually put his name to his products. His exhausts were originally called Skorpion for the first seven years of trading, before friction with other holders of that name (albeit with a different spelling) in the car exhaust world led to a name change. And what better than the name of the man himself? And if you want to know how to pronounce it, say 'A-KRAP-o-vich'. Okay?
And since the successful name change they haven't looked back. Although some might say their exhausts are plenty pricey to your average punter.
"The extensive use of crossovers does make a big difference to performance, but also to the price," smiles Slavko, in reference to Akrapovic's trademark convoluted, tapered pipework. "Top performance is always a little more expensive."
And the continual search for performance year-on-year will always come at a price. "We're trying really hard to make improvements to our products every year," explains Igor. "As engines get better we have to work with these new engines and make exhausts that improve with them. It's continual."
After doing so much to pioneer the use of exotic materials, a new one is now being used. Inconel is twice the price of titanium but, while titanium can get as brittle as glass with constant stresses and heating, Inconel is much more durable - and all for the same weight as titanium.
So is it this bold, pioneering use of new ideas and materials that has made Akrapovic what it is today?
"Why is Igor so successful?" Asks Slavko. "It's because he has very big balls and he makes the big decisions. Buying that first tube bending machine was a big gamble and a huge investment. Switching from the old, small factory to this one was another big investment. He knows it's all down to him."
The final words must come from the man himself. Igor, what makes your exhausts the best?
"We know how engines work," he shrugs. "We've been tuners, we've worked on engines and that means we can make the exhausts work for those engines. After that we put in so much effort. We explore different ideas and do a minimum of 200 dyno runs to get something that works. We also have extremely high quality control, and try to use the best possible people."
Shoei is a Japanese company producing motorcycle helmets since 1958.  Its roots go back to 1954 with the founding of Kamata Polyester Co., whose first helmets were produced primarily for use in the construction industry. Shoei's founder, Eitaro Kamata, began to produce helmets for the motorcycle racing sector and in 1960, the Tokyo factory began to produce the first motorcycle helmets to meet the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS). In 1965, Honda Motor Co. adopted Shoei's helmets as their 'genuine' helmets, increasing their popularity and availability. The Shoei Safety Helmet Corp. was established in 1968, shortly after construction of the Ibaraki factory. The current Iwate factory was built in 1989. Despite their success, Shoei remains a relatively small company, with a workforce of under 500 people worldwide. Shoei sponsors several MotoGP riders, like Chris Vermeulen and Toni Elias.
Since the foundation of the company, all Shoei helmets have been designed and manufactured in Japan, although they are distributed and sold globally. Shoei's GRV helmet was the first helmet to use carbon fiber and Kevlar. Shoei also created the first coverless shield system and the Dual Liner Ventilation system.  The flagship X-Spirit was introduced in 2003 and was promoted by Shoei as the most advanced helmet in the world, winning MCN's Product of the Year 2003 award in the clothing category.  It was followed by further development and the introduction of the RF-1000 (sold as the XR-1000 in Europe) in 2004, and the later introduction of the X-Eleven. These helmets paved the way for the current RF-1100 and X-Twelve models. In September 2010 the QWEST was released, the successor of the RAID II, a top of the line sport touring helmet.
Financial Effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake
Shoei was a victim of the Earthquake that struck Japan in 2011. Two factories named Iwate and Ibaraki were damaged and had to be (partially) restored. Its costs calculated on an accrual basis were estimated at around 63 Million Yen.
"You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist."
Brembo was established in Bergamo, Italy in 1961. Soon after the company was formed, it specialised in disc brakes, which were imported from the UK at the time. The company entered into a supply contract with Alfa Romeo in 1964. It became the supplier of brake components to Moto Guzzi in 1972.
In the 1980s, Brembo began supplying BMW, Chrysler, Lancia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Porsche with brakes. The company went public on the Milan Stock Exchange in 1995.
Corporate headquarters are located in Bergamo, and the company has more than 6,000 employees within the Italy and at branches in Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, US, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
In 2000, Brembo purchased the UK-based racing brake and clutch manufacturer AP Racing (a former division of Automotive Products).
Brembo specializes in performance braking systems and components, as well as conducting research on braking systems. Brembo sells over 1,300 products worldwide, and is known for their aftermarket automotive brake components, including calipers, drums/rotors, and brake lines. Except in the North American market, Brembo owns the foundries which produce their initial materials and supply the manufacturing plants. In all other markets the company controls the entire production system from raw materials through distribution. The company holds QS9000 and ISO 9001 certifications.
Brembo brakes are also used by a variety of Formula One teams including Ferrari, and the majority of MotoGP teams use Brembo brakes
Honda Motor Company, Ltd. is a Japanese public multinational corporation primarily known as a manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles.
Honda has been the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, as well as the world's largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more than 14 million internal combustion engines each year.Honda surpassed Nissan in 2001 to become the second-largest Japanese automobile manufacturer. As of August 2008, Honda surpassed Chrysler as the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the United States. Honda was the seventh largest automobile manufacturer in the world behind Toyota, General Motors, Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Group, Ford, and Nissan in 2010
Honda was the first Japanese automobile manufacturer to release a dedicated luxury brand, Acura, in 1986. Aside from their core automobile and motorcycle businesses, Honda also manufactures garden equipment, marine engines, personal watercraft and power generators, amongst others. Since 1986, Honda has been involved with artificial intelligence/robotics research and released their ASIMO robot in 2000. They have also ventured into aerospace with the establishment of GE Honda Aero Engines in 2004 and the Honda HA-420 HondaJet, scheduled to be released in 2012. Honda invests about 5% of its revenues in research and development.
...and a little extra for you all for christmas, oo whats that...is it, wait....600rr's being made!! i posted a while back they took an hour to make a 600rr and some of you didn't believe me, well here they are doing it, merry christmas :)
I know there is more to these two just cant find it.
Among the many teams that share the AMA paddock with the factory racing teams, no other organization can boast the success of the Erion Racing Honda team. Celebrating its 16th year as Honda’s premier support team, the Erion Racing Honda team personifies professionalism in every aspect of its effort. The longevity of the association between Erion Racing and American Honda is not hard to understand. Honda has always sought excellence in its competitive endeavors, and the Erion team has produced numerous championships from one of the most formidable teams in all of American road racing—the latest win being the 2008 Formula Xtreme title, with champion Jake Zemke winning Erion’s third consecutive title. Notably, Erion has nurtured some exceptional talent over the years, including 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden, Jake Zemke, Eric Bostrom and Josh Hayes. Headed by Kevin Erion, a former racer and AMA national title holder, and anchored by Technical Director Rick Hobbs, the Erion team has amassed an impressive win record over the years, one that will likely never be equaled, including seven Formula Xtreme Championships between 1997 and 2008 (1997-2000, 2006, 2007), four consecutive Formula Xtreme titles from 1997 to 2000, two SuperTeams Championships in 1994 and 1996, a perfect season in 1999 (the team won all nine races) and back-to-back AMA 600 Supersport crowns in 1999 and 2000. The Erion team continues to prove the dominance of Honda’s mighty CBR600RR. On this machine, Honda and Erion riders on CBR600RRs have won every Formula Xtreme title since the class went to 600cc in 2004. CBR600RR-mounted riders on the Honda and Erion teams won every one of the 21 races in 2004 and 2005. Since 2004, the CBR600RR has won 34 out of 42 Formula Xtreme races, including three Daytona 200 victories. What is the secret to the Erion team’s success? In Kevin Erion’s words, “When you are fortunate enough to align yourself with a company such as Honda you can count on the quality and performance of the machines. It’s our job to get the most out of the support we receive, and that takes a concerted effort by everyone on our team.”
Craig Erion founded Two Brothers Racing in 1985. It has grown from a factory-backed AMA Superbike team to a world-recognized leader in the sales of aftermarket motorcycle exhaust systems and other high-performance accessories for sporting motorcycles, ATVs, and road bikes. Over the years, TBR has sponsored a number of world-class racers to ride for our team, including three-time Grand Prix world champion Freddie Spencer and former Canadian national champion Steve Crevier. TBR was also chosen by Bridgestone to help develop it's current line of high performance tires, the Battlax BT series tires. In 1993 TBR won the AMA/CCS GTO National Endurance Championship on Honda's then fledgling CBR900RR. This was the only national roadracing championship won by Honda that year.
TBR’s growth and penetration into the sport bike parts and accessories business was such that, by the end of the 1993 national road racing season, the decision was made to devote 100% of its energy toward building the business. We haven’t looked back.
Today, TBR continues to expand its operations and product line. Looking for the latest motorcycle exhaust systems for Honda, BMW or Triumph? Need to find the absolute best aftermarket Kawasaki motorcycle parts or the proven, brand-name replacement components you’ve always used on your KTM, Can-AM or Yamaha? As the holder of several key exhaust system patents and exclusive marketing arrangements with performance companies from around the world, TBR is the sportbike specialist you can depend on.
"You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist."
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Some people putting a lot of time into this. Cool info.
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Öhlins or Öhlins Racing AB, is a manufacturer of high-performance suspension systems for automotive, motorcycle, snowmobile, and ATV use. It is based in Upplands Väsby just north of Stockholm, Sweden. The company also produces other types of motorcycle components, including steering dampers and a two-wheel drive system.
Öhlins Rear Monoshock
The company was founded by Kenth Öhlin in 1976. In 1987, Yamaha Motor Company became the majority-owner of Öhlins Racing AB, with Öhlins continuing to operate as an independent company within the business group. In December 2007, Öhlins reclaimed a 95% share of the company back from Yamaha.
There are six design departments at Öhlins, with a total of more than 50 engineers, each specializing in a particular field. Öhlins Research centre in Jönköping, Sweden (with seven employees in 2002) are responsible for the development of the Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CES) system.