How did you communicate with designers and engineers?
I believe that communication between designer and engineer is very important. To build a great looking product with superior performance, engineers should understand the styling concept correctly, on the other hand designers should understand the engineering requirements. We need to respect each other to move the project forward positively.
I continued talking with the Styling Designer over and over in exchanging engineering data and sketch revisions. Actually, Mr. Murakami, Styling Designer is the same age as me and a good friend outside of work. Both of us are really pumped to work together on this big project, we had discussions late into the night on how to improve the looks and function of the motorcycle.
In communication with the other engineers, I asked them to submit the engineering requirements of each part, and then I plugged them into the overall layout. I would push back for further improvements to bring us, step by step, closer to the optimum layout design. With all this input and feedback from our engineers and designers, we then worked on building the clay model.
Can you tell us about the survey and your riding experience in Europe?
I was lucky to have an opportunity to ride across Europe and experience the roads and surroundings of European riders. We rode on autobahns, through the Alps on winding roads and across country borders, which we see as the typical usage of the target customer. From these experiences, we learnt the importance of comfort and stability on the highway. If you are already tired out from the long highway ride, you cannot enjoy the winding roads. Secondly, we saw the high percentage of touring user equipped with 3-piece luggage and how important this is to them. These were great steps for us in deciding the character and layout of the motorcycle.
Please explain the idea and target of the chassis layout and design.
As I mentioned, highway stability, comfort, and 3-piece luggage are important factors for a long distance touring model. However, if we think only about stability and comfort in designing the bike, it will be very bulky. We thought we should bring out the V-Strom’s identity over those fundamental elements. What is the V-Strom’s identity? Both nimble, fun-to-ride on the winding roads, but also friendly, easy-to-use for daily use. We think its versatility and sportiness are the V-Strom’s identity. To satisfy both comfort/stability performance and the V-Strom’s versatile/fun-to-ride identity, we reviewed all the dimensions including engine layout, wheelbase, riding position and frame rigidity etc.