Well, Honda does seem to be all about, "too little too late." Heck look at their ATV lineup. Their top of the line ATV hasn't been updated since 2005, and has been around since 2003, and in terms of both power and features, it's WAAAY behind the competition.
It seems like Honda has been bringing up the rear a lot recently! On the flip side I feel like practical innovation has been coming from Kawasaki Heavy Industries!
1) The sticking with the naked bike... (Now Yamaha brings the FZ-8, Suzuki has a Naked Gixxer and the Honda "3 years too late" naked!)
2) The 250 sport bike... (Now Honda tries the strategy of hook them with the brand at noob status with their 250 entry level sport-style offering)
3) The killer liter bike...(this has always been where the kings are made! BMW set the world on fire with their new bike and the only answer to it is Kawi's new ZX10)
4) The Ninja 1000 is the final point on the KHI curve of innovation. Take a proven model and make it more practical and appealing to a demographic and you have a winner!
I love Kawasaki!
I love that there's a new line of naked bikes coming out. It does seem to coincide with the largest part of the population getting older. I'm not a Baby Boomer (I follow it), but I can appreciate the coincidence.
It's taken time for the bike makers to figure out that people don't want a naked bike that is nothing more than a detuned supersport. That's why the Z1000 is getting such good reviews.
Honda's new 250 is a really pretty bike... but it SOUNDS awful. I saw the promotional video and it just sounds horrible because it's a single. No pipe is going to make this thing sound any better. For that reason alone I would probably end up with a Ninja 250 if I wanted that kind of bike. Plus I bet by 2012, Kawi will have updated it to compete.
What gets me is the sudden increase in sales of so-called dual-sport bikes. There are three kinds of dual-sports... street-legal dirtbikes, 50/50's (like my DR650 and the KLR650), and 80/20's like the BMW GS series, Triumph's new Tiger 800, and Yamaha's near-600-lb. Super Tenere (what a stupid name). Basically, bikes that have about as much busy going offroad as a Chevy Tahoe.
But hey, if it gets more people riding, then that's great!