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Discussion Starter #1

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Some people believe bigger is better. IIRC, there was an engine size limit in effect for motorcycles sold in Japan when these bikes were made so by calling the home market model the GL700 they implied to buyers in Japan that it was as big a bike as you could buy.

Model numbers of motorcycles often include the approx. engine displacement but there is no requirement that it be anywhere near that. A good example of this is the BMW F650GS. From 2000-2007 they had 652cc engines but from 2008-12 they had 798cc engines. I remember reading at the time that this may have been to make the model less intimidating to new riders.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Some people believe bigger is better. IIRC, there was an engine size limit in effect for motorcycles sold in Japan
I'd like to bike Japan. When I lived there, I didn't have a motorcycle endorsement and the USA has no reciprocal agreement. (My Aussie and GB friends could automatically get a Japanese license.) Folks often take the road test several dozen times and pay a fee each time. It can be expensive.

It would be much easier for me now with my endorsement and an International license.

In Japan, your motorcycle licenses are by cc of the bike. I found it interesting that they have full sized bikes in small displacement engines. Turbocharging is a way they use to get around it. The costs below does not include vehicle inspection $400 to $500 or the yearly tax ($20 to $60). The reason the Honda 50cc Cub is so popular is that it requires no driving test.:


BIKE CLASSES INFO
There are four classes of motorized two-wheeled vehicles in Japan, with different licensing requirements, rules, and such. The classes are demarked by engine size.

The Motor Vehicle Law (SHARYOUHOU, probably governs licencing and registration issues) demarks them into three classes, while the Road Traffic Law (DOUROKOUTSUU, probably governs the vehicle operation) into four.

Engine size: Up to 50cc
Motor Vehicle Law: 第一種原動機付き自転車 (第一種原原付き) DAI ISSHU GENDOUKITUKI JIDOUSHA (DAI ISSHU GENTSUKI)
Class 1 Engine-Attached Bicycle
Road Traffic Law: 原動機付き自転車 (原付き) GENDOUKITSUKI JIDOUSHA (GENTSUKI) Engine-Attached Bicycle
Common names: Scooter, gentsuki
Speed Limit: 30 km/h (but routinely ignored)
Passengers: Never allowed
Travel restrictions: Must stay to the left 1m of street (but often ignored). Not allowed on the expressways. See below about right turns.
License plate: Small, white
License: Easy paper-only test. Japanese car license includes this permission as well (but international endorsement of a foreign license does not).
Mandatory Insurance: 7850, 9800, 11600 yen for 1, 2, and 3 years

Engine size: Over 50cc up to 125cc
Motor Vehicle Law: 第二種原動機付き自転車 (第二種原原付き) DAI NISSHU GENDOUKITSUKI JIDOUSHA (DAI NISHU GENTSUKI)
Class 2 Engine-Attached Bicycle
Road Traffic Law: 小型自動二輪車 (KOGATA JIDOU NIRINSHA)
Small-Size Auto-Mobile Two-Wheeled Vehicle.
Common names: Small class, KOGATA (小形)
Speed Limit: 50 km/h or less, as posted
Passengers: May have a passenger
Travel restrictions: Not allowed on expressways.
License plate: Yellow, or pink with white triangle mark on mudguard
Mandatory Insurance: 7850, 9800, 11600 yen for 1, 2, and 3 years

Engine size: Over 125cc up to 400cc
Motor Vehicle Law: 自動二輪車 (JIDOU NIRINSHA)
Road Traffic Law: 中型自動二輪車 (CHUUGATA JIDOU NIRINSHA)
Mid-Size Auto-Mobile Two-Wheeled Vehicle.
Common names: Mid-class, CHUUGATA (中型)
Speed restrictions: 80 km/h on expressways, 50 km/h or less, as posted
Passengers: May have a passenger
Travel restrictions: May go onto expressways (w/o passenger)
License plate: White. Over 250cc has a green border
Mandatory Insurance: 13650, 21000, 28000 yen for 1, 2, and 3 years.

Engine size: 400cc and Over
Motor Vehicle Law: 自動二輪車 (JIDOU NIRINSHA)
Road Traffic Law: 大型自動二輪車 (OOGATA JIDOU NIRINSHA)
Large-Size Auto-Mobile Two-Wheeled Vehicle.
Common names: Large class, OOGATA (大型)
Speed restrictions: 80 km/h on expressways, 60 km/h or less, as posted
Passengers: May have a passenger
Travel restrictions: May go onto expressways (without passenger)
License plate: White with a green border.
Mandatory Insurance: 17100 yen for one year, 27800 yen for two.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
That says "400cc and over" but is there not a maximum allowed displacement?

BTW: If there is no limit now I'm still pretty sure there was in the past.
There isn't a limit on ccs. I;ve seen a bunch of Harleys in Japan and Korea. They young guys I apprenticed with said they could not afford to own bigger bikes.
 

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I'm sure I read that somewhere a long time ago. Perhaps it wasn't actually a legal limit but something to do with licensing or the cost of insurance. At any rate, when these bikes were made they were among the largest ones sold in Japan in any sort of numbers.
 

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So, you can't go two-up on an expressway in Japan?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So, you can't go two-up on an expressway in Japan?
Has to be 400cc or bigger for two on the expressway:

Engine size: 400cc and Over
Motor Vehicle Law: 自動二輪車 (JIDOU NIRINSHA)
Road Traffic Law: 大型自動二輪車 (OOGATA JIDOU NIRINSHA)
Large-Size Auto-Mobile Two-Wheeled Vehicle.
Common names: Large class, OOGATA (大型)
Speed restrictions: 80 km/h on expressways, 60 km/h or less, as posted
Passengers: May have a passenger
 

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Engine size: 400cc and Over
<<<
Passengers: May have a passenger
Travel restrictions: May go onto expressways (without passenger)
This seems to say that even on a 400cc or larger bike you can't taker a passenger on an expressway.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This seems to say that even on a 400cc or larger bike you can't taker a passenger on an expressway.
Please read carefully. The bottom line:

Engine size: 400cc and Over
Speed restrictions: 80 km/h on expressways, 60 km/h or less, as posted
Passengers: May have a passenger
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It is confusing:

Seems to be some confusion and misinformation here.
It's OK on regular roads to have a pillion passenger provided the bike is 126 cc or over and you have had your license for over a year. It's allowed on expressways (with some exceptions, such as central Tokyo), provided you are over 20 years old and have had your license for over 3 years.
No mention of how to carry small children, but that sounds dangerous.

Some Japanese resources:
Honda | Hondaの交通安全 運転アドバイス(二輪編)/2人乗り
http://www.police.pref.miyagi.jp/hp/kikaku/jitensya2/jidounirinsya.htm
 

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I thought maybe it was just a cut and paste error.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I thought maybe it was just a cut and paste error.
I am not sure which info is up to date.. They sure are a lot pickier than the rest of Asia, where you often see whole families on a moped or Motorcycle.
 
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