Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

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Crimson
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Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

Post by Crimson » Thu May 11, 2017 2:29 pm

I was wondering about this. It seems that lots of people are turning these into cafe racers and streetfighters, and although such mods aren't to my taste, their owners have every right to do them. However, if the bike will be a classic one day, then those converted ones won't benefit from classic bike price inflation, as the number of unmodified bikes that still work will reduce over time. What do you think? Is it a reasonable expectation that this bike will become a classic in the same way as the original XJ600? I think it might.. On the other hand, perhaps it's silly to think that, and those people who rat, streetfighter, chop and bob, etc. have the right idea. I must say, in the short time I've owned this bike, it's grown on me a lot. It seems to be designed by people, not just robots. It's looking nicely anachronistic now, but on the other hand, back in the day (in the UK) it was just a commuter and courier hack. What's going to happen? What are your thoughts?
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Re: Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

Post by kk600cc » Fri May 12, 2017 12:37 am

In the uk I don't think the 600 divvy will ever be a in demand classic the 900 divvy maybe. I use to do a lot with honda cx's in fact sold my last one after restoring it then got the divvy, most cafe conversions are looking for a cheap good reliable bike were the engine looks good in the frame as the base the honda cx500 use to be first choice but they now cost so much others naturally come though. In the uk the 600 divvy is put down buy press etc as dull boring etc but it does just what it was supposed to do, so the 600 divvy makes a good base to make your own cafe racer etc were it's not all just about how fast your bike is. As for me I will keep mine in standard trim and just do any mod's touches to suit me and enjoy the ride I have, if was looking at thinking what it will be worth as classic then everything on the bike would have to be kept as it left factory exhaust's,paint,screen etc.If I ever had an off and it was just cosmetic damage then I would be inclined to make some sort of survival rat type bike. In the end the bike is for you and you should do what you get the most out of and if that's chop, cafe, rat,street etc then that's great there still on the road with the riders enjoying their little xj600.

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Re: Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

Post by Crimson » Fri May 12, 2017 7:59 am

Good thinking. So conservation isn't anything to worry about.. By the time I've rebuilt all the functional stuff on mine, I can think about a respray in a non-standard colour then.
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Re: Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

Post by fateddy » Tue May 16, 2017 8:40 pm

The XJ600 is probably about as likely to be a classic as say a Toyota Camry. They're neither interesting enough on their own (like the CB550 Four) nor ubiquitous enough (like the Honda Super Cub). They're pretty firmly in the middle of just about every scale you could measure a motorbike on.

None of which makes them less of a bike, of course. I just don't think they have what it takes to make an icon.
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Re: Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

Post by Crimson » Wed May 17, 2017 3:29 am

Interesting thoughts... The 1980s Toyota Camry was a great car. We don't see them around any more, at all, for the most part. But it definitely has a 1980s Japan vibe about it. It slots perfectly into that time and place. The movie Black Rain, like other movies that weren't so big, shows the streets of 1980s Japan, with cars like the then-ubiquitous Toyota Camry in great condition everywhere. Movies do a lot to create or preserve the iconic status of cars and bikes. The really iconic movie Robocop (1987) features the original XJ600, and that, IMO, cemented the bike as a classic, if only because that movie isn't going away, ever, and the photographic record will supplant the memory people have of other bikes in the 1980s, and accordingly magnify the importance of the XJ600. Recently, I watched a Youtube video showing a motorcycle licence exam in Japan, and it was striking just how many of the 1980s Japanese cars are still on the road there, even in 2017. Testament to the quality of those cars... I think the XJ600S is similar to the 1980s Camry insofar as its build and finish quality is a lot better than Japanese bikes in the 2000s. The steel is good, the engines are strong and the nuts and bolts don't just seize up. But those 1980s Japanese cars weren't valued in Europe apart from as cheap transport. So good quality cars like the old Toyota Carina and Nissan Bluebird are nowhere to be seen now, when really they should have been looked after just as carefully as the old 3- and 5- series BMW cars from that period.
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Re: Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

Post by fateddy » Wed May 17, 2017 10:41 pm

Toyota Camrys aren't as common around here as they were in the 90s and 00s, but they're a bog standard sedan in the US. One that says "I have no interest in cars, I just need 4 wheels and preferably a roof to get places."

The comparison that I remember reading when I was first looking at XJs was a Vauxhall Astra. I've never seen one and don't know much about their general perception by the driving public, but my mental response when I see a picture is "Yep, that sure is a car all right." Which, even as an XJ enthusiast, is kind of how I see the Seca/Diversion. Like when I see one on the streets, I only pay attention to it for longer than any other bike because I know what it is and I'm curious if I recognize it from the forum. One of the more modern nakeds or a supermoto or an old thumper holds my attention for longer.

I guess I didn't realize that there was a Seca in Robocop. Can't even dredge up a picture of it online.
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Re: Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

Post by Crimson » Thu May 18, 2017 4:15 am

It's always difficult to compare cars with bikes. Even a middle-of-the-road bike is a thousand times more fun than a car, just because the experience of riding it is so much more involving, you have to proactively maintain it and can't just leave it there, it accelerates like a bat out of hell when compared with a car, etc. The motoring press reviews concerning bikes like the Seca/Seca2 is already vintage. The Astra was a small family hatchback in the UK, for working class and lower-middle class people. It didn't work all that well, it was an unreliable car, but it was relatively cheap. So most of them were run into the ground, the only maintenance given to that was adding fuel, and the species went extinct quite quickly. There was only one 'respected' iteration, and that was the Astra GTE, which looked the part but was, underneath, a poor quality rust bucket. Again, they are nowhere to be seen today compared with Golf GTIs and similar. What's called a Vauxhall Astra today is a completely different car from the famous one from the 80s and 90s: it comes in all sorts of spec, it has space age technology, computerised everything, etc. It doesn't have the reputation of the true, old, Astra, because it's a completely different (better) company making a completely different car under that name.

The way I see it, there were 2 major business trends in automotive tech during and in the later parts of the 1990s. The first was 'let's copy Toyota' in project management and manufacturing processes, leading to nonsense such as Sigma 6 and Kaizen, which harmed the quality of later cars and bikes. The second was the change in use of bikes. During the Seca 2's production run, couriers and commuters used to buy and ride bikes like this one. That world is mostly gone. Nobody buys big(ger) bikes like this to have 'cheap transport' any more. Cars got a lot better in efficiency, reliability and price. It isn't uncommon to find 200,000+ mileages on cars that also outperform bikes on fuel efficiency. That wasn't the case when the Seca 2 was being produced. Likewise, the market for the scrappable (it was the culture in the UK to replace your car with a new one before 5 years were up, because cars weren't so good) small family hatchback car for low-income people, like the original Astra, is gone. Real bikes are leisure accessories now. You would be hard pressed to find an exception. Couriers use smaller bikes (125s) because they make much more economic sense, and commuters will commute with a car, or occasionally their leisure bike when the weather is good, or, again, a small 125 if they can afford neither or their city makes keeping and driving a car impractical.

In addition, the British motorcycle press is full of nonsense and has never really influenced consumer behaviour. They will always pump up British brands and the latest very high performance Japanese superbikes. But people then go and buy a Kawasaki KLR or something. It's momentarily amusing that they would compare any bike to a Vauxhall Astra when, for the most part, the people who wrote those articles no longer ride, and their readership ignored them, went out and bought and had fun on their Diversions and Suzuki Bandits. The market decides, not those guys.
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Re: Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

Post by TonyKZ1 » Thu May 18, 2017 7:56 am

fateddy wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 10:41 pm
I guess I didn't realize that there was a Seca in Robocop. Can't even dredge up a picture of it online.
If I remember right, a "bad guy" in the early part of the movie was riding it. After robbing a gas station and during a shootout with RoboCop, the gas pump line was hit, he then threw a cigarette and started a big fire. Ahh after watching the video, looks like it's an older XJ.
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Re: Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

Post by fateddy » Thu May 18, 2017 11:12 am

Huh. I don't think that's quite enough of an appearance to be the sole source of a cultural icon.

Working just off my memory of the last few years on this forum, the thing that drives 1990s XJ600 ownership is almost entirely "I wanted a bike and this one was affordable." Lots of first bikes, lots of first upgrades from a smaller bike. There are a couple users who have one or two because they liked them enough after their first experiences and either kept the first one or bought another, but I have yet to see someone come on here and say "I always wanted a Seca/Diversion and finally found one." Yeah, all bikes have an inherent fun factor that you have to consider when comparing to cars, and XJs are more fun than a lot of bikes, but they're nothing special. Especially in the context of the last few years' boom in mass production of really interesting standards of all displacements, they don't stand out at all. Even at the time, they were not especially powerful, they were a bit heavy, were neither especially modern nor retro in styling, and key performance things like suspension were far too mediocre to compete with something like an FZR600. The platform is moderately customizeable, which is nice. But unless you really put a lot of effort into their appearance and styling, they're too easily forgettable to ever be a classic.

It'd be cool to be wrong, though. I just saw something on a show last night about a Norton that was purchased new for 400 GBP or something similar that recently appraised for 250,000 GBP.
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Re: Will the XJ600S Diversion/Seca 2 be a classic bike?

Post by Crimson » Thu May 18, 2017 11:28 am

It doesn't have to be a cultural icon to be a classic, but it helps. And Robocop (1987) is an encapsulation of 1980s Zeitgeist that will be around forever, and which will go from strength to strength. That's no pulp fiction, but a classic of sci-fi and world cinema.
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