Archive for the ‘International Motorcycle Show’ Category

Cycle World IMS New York: Meat the Press

January 22, 2010

While pretty much all the press attention during the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show stops is directed toward the motorcycles, it’s kinda cool to turn that focus around to the journalists themselves.

If you’ve never been a part of this roving crowd of camera snappers and flashers (CAMERA flashers) it’s often been described as a scrum al a rugby, and for good reason. As the media schedule skips from OEM announcement to OEM annoucement, the press follows in a tight bunch, each jockying for position and camera angles. It’s even crazier at the European shows (like EICMA) where it seems that a fist fight is only a shove or elbow away. This roving band of moto-journos tends to break up as the hours progressive until it’s the niche guys getting the niche news. Good times for sure.

At the opening of the New York IMS stop, show representative and extremely debonair motoguy, Robert Pandya, was directing the first few hours of the press event. At 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, the show floor was still chockablock with unopened wooden crates, union workers, cleaners, assemblers and other assorted workers. Forklifts whirred and honked their way through the crowds, impatiently navigating the crowds to deliver payloads of whatnot.

There were reps from blogs, magazines, radio shows and newspapers, a span of media representation ranging from Roadbike to All About Bikes magazine, from Popular Science to American Iron. Oh year, don’t forget the Motorcycle Radio Network and Rider. In other words, the show gets some pretty damn good press from a wide range of media. We like this.

“Move in here folks,” Pandya says while trying to start the show at the Cycle World booth. “We don’t want to play journalist shish-kabob.”

From here the group moves en masse to BMW to hear head media-man Roy Olliemuller tout the OEM’s 2009 sales numbers before introducing the BMW crew and the S1000RR. There were those forklifts again in the background (and almost in the foreground!)

Boom, off to Victory Motorcycles. Then the Suzuki Busa Beats 2010 launch. Next, Star and the Performance Machine Raider. Honda? You’re up. Harley-Davidson’s got a new bike. Let’s go see it. A Ducati fashion show AND the 2010 Multistrada 1200? Bellisimo! Hardcore Choppers. TapouT. Ducati freestyle stunt team. Phew. It’s a busy schedule.

Vectrix Shows Two New Electric Units

January 16, 2009

Vectrix Corporation today introduced its “entry-level” VX-2 and 2009 VX-1E urban commuting model at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in New York. These two new scoots join the VX-1 in Vectrix’s model line.

Available in green, blue, red, yellow and white, VX-2 is expected to arrive at dealers in June 2009 with an MSRP of $5,195.

The VX-1E uses the same platform and drive train as the original VX-1, yet features a lower price point and a more urban commuter driver profile with slightly less acceleration and top speed. VX-1E is expected to arrive at dealers in April with a MSRP is $8,495.

I’ll be test riding the Vectrix VX-2 and VX-1E next week. Stay tuned for more company information and a review of the bikes here and at Dealernews.com
2009vectrix

Piaggio Debuts 2009 Vespa GTS 300 Super

January 16, 2009

Unveiled for the world at the EICMA show in Milan last November, the
Vespa GTS 300 Super made its North American debut today at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in New York.

The 2009 Vespa GTS 300 Super (MSRP $6,199) is the latest evolution of the company’s best-selling mid-size scooter, the GTS 250.  It’s also the fastest Vespa in the company’s U.S. product portfolio.

Learn more about the scoot here.
vespagts300super

The CORE — Victory’s First Rigid

January 16, 2009

A Victory hard tail? You betcha. With an African mahogany seat containing integrated LED tail/turn/brake lights nonetheless.

This is the CORE concept motorcycle and it was unveiled today at the New York IMS stop. As far as concept bikes go, this one does more for me than the early variant of the Vision that Victory unveiled at the 2005 Long Beach IMS. I could go into how I’m partial to this long, low and sleek look but I won’t. Instead I’ll post as many pictures as wordpress allows me to do along with the specs and a few words from Michael Song, Victory’s lead industrial designer.

“CORE is pure motorcycle,” Song says. “We wanted to strip everything not critical and build a motorcycle that uses some of the production technologies we have incorporated into the Victory Vision. The frame and engine architecture of the Vision was our inspiration, but we wanted to make a statement beyond custom and create something completely unique.”

The CORE is powered by a Victory Freedom 106/6 Stage 2 engine (which cranks out 97 hp and 113 ft. lb.). And now for some pics.

SPECS
• Victory Freedom 106/6: 106 cu. in. V-twin with 6-speed overdrive
• Aluminum alloy 356-T6 tempered 5-piece frame
• 304 Stainless Steel left-side scrambler high pipes
• Carbon fiber rear fender and fork covers
• Victory X-Factor Wheels
• Tires: Avon 130/70-18 front; Avon 150/70-18 rear
• Front Brakes: 320mm dual discs
• Rear Brake: 240mm single disc
• Suspension: WP 48mm-diameter inverted forks with 135/160mm travel
• 20mm Gates Drive Belt
• African Mahogany seat with integrated LED tail/turn/brake lights
• Dry weight 469 lb.
• Seat height 28 in.
• Wheelbase 64 in.
• 3.25 gal. fuel tank

Of course, Victory has a lot more to say about its new concept baby, but to read that you must go to the company’s Web site because it’s kind of esoteric and PRish at the same time — if you can imagine that.

Trust me, I’m way big on esoteric — I like to use words like aesthetic and talk about the feel of language — but how can I copy and paste phrases like this: “We want to create a new design language, but never in a way that interrupts the function of the motorcycle,” without coming across as a goofball? I’m even really fond of the guy who said it, Polaris Industrial Design director, Greg Brew, but a fella’s gotta draw the line somewhere.

At any rate, I’d like to tip my hat to Victory (I’m a huge fan, if you couldn’t tell) on furthering the cause of motorcycle design among the OEMs.

Victory’s Super-Secret Concept Bike is …

January 14, 2009

Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of Victory Motorcycles. Not only do I dig the motorcycles the company builds, I like that it is one of the more forward-thinking OEMs out there. For goodness sake, the Victory crew came up with the Vision.

Now the born-from-snowmobiles company is ready to spring something new upon the waiting public Friday Jan. 16, at the New York City stop of the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show. At 2:30 p.m. New York time (that’s 11:30 p.m. for you left coasters) Victory will unveil the CORE concept motorcycle. At this point, the only picture I’ve been able to find for this appears here so I thought I’d post it here:

core-crop-2

It looks like the Victory Design Team is channeling H.R. Giger.

The following is from the IMS site and is almost certainly channeled directly from a Victory press release:

Created by the Victory Motorcycles design staff, CORE is a reduction of the motorcycle to its most pure form using some of the latest production technology. Join the staff of Victory Motorcycles in the Victory display as they host the first public reveal and discuss the CORE concept motorcycle.

Hit us back up on Friday Jan. 16 at 11: 30 a.m. WEST COAST time (because we prefer thinking in our own time zone) to see pics of the CORE — as long as Pandya receives the bribe I sent him in exchange for the TOP SECRET pics.

(disclaimer for the literal: OK, it was an embargo agreement, not a bribe.)

One Man’s Take on the Motorcycle Industry

January 5, 2009

Not mine, but that of Bruce McLaughlan, a motorcycle blogger (read him here) for The Detroit News. In his latest posting, McLaughlan riffs on the result of the most recent J.D. Power and Associates Motorcycle Competitive Information Study — yes, we love studies with unwieldy, ponderous titles — and the Novi, Mich. stop of the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show tour. To see the result of the J.D. Power study go here.

KYMCO unveils the Quannon at the Long Beach IMS stop.

KYMCO unveils the Quannon at the Long Beach IMS stop.

McLaughlan, a marketing executive/club racer, digs into one of the study’s main results and that is being able to test ride a bike is a big HUGE factor in buyer satisfaction. He points to the crowds at the Novi IMS show, noting how most everybody spends the better part of their time test-sitting on bikes. And in his words:

Potential buyers can spend a few hours trying the “fit” of bikes representing all of the major brands, and perhaps even ask questions of knowledgeable factory reps.

This saves a lot of running around, and sadly, it represents a more personalized level of attention than you’ll get in the typical multi-brand dealership. That’s pretty pathetic.

I happen to agree with McLaughlan’s take. I’ve never been able to understand why more dealerships don’t offer test rides. I mean, if there’s anything where a perfect fit is essential it’s with a motorcycle. I understand the worries about liability, etc., but I’ve talked to enough dealers who do offer test rides (usually with the help of their OEMs) and say they are critical to selling units.

I’m not a dealer, nor do I own my own business, so I can’t say I’m second-guessing anybody, but I’d think that having a tool like test rides in your sales arsenal would be a no-brainer. Even working with the local Eagle Rider franchise to help customers size up their potential rides seems like a smart idea. I’m lucky enough that I get to ride a lot of new bikes and for some of them I’m thankful they’re only on loan to me and not sitting in my garage on a payment plan (though I’d really like an MP3 500 or a Star/Yamaha Raider for a l-0-n-g term test. You hear that Brandware and Yamaha?). But if I were in the market again for a new bike, I’d certainly gravitate toward dealerships and brands that offer test rides as an option. Given the current state of the economy (mine and the country’s) I’ll have to stick to the press loaners.

As sales get tougher will dealers and OEMs take note, not just of my ramblings, but of McLaughlan’s take and the J.D. Power results?

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – want one

December 23, 2008

OK, it’s already been floating around the Internets for a while but I wanted to take a moment to talk about the new Moto Guzzi V7 Classic. Since word first broke about this bike and I got to see the pics, I’ve wanted one. Now that I’ve been able to eye one up and saddle it at the Long Beach IMS stop, I want one even more.

This will be the one sold in the U.S.

This will be the one sold in the U.S.

The specs of the V7 aren’t all that impressive — 48 hp at 6,800 rpm/40 lb. ft. at 3,600 rpm — the aesthetics are. This thing thrives on its classic profile that easily recalls the V7s that preceded it. . Much like some people have a type when it comes to their love interests, I have a type when it comes to motorcycles. The V7 is my type, much like my Thruxton is my type and the old stripped- down ironhead Sportster I used to have was my type (when it ran).

This is the V7 Cafe Classic unveiled in Milan at EICMA. Of course this bike needs clip-ons.

This is the V7 Cafe Classic unveiled in Milan at EICMA. Of course this bike needs clip-ons.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about the profile of all these various machine — oh, and don’t forget Ducati’s Sport Classics — that tweaks my inner design freak. So if everything goes well and the folks over at Brandware Public Relations pull through, I’ll be testing one of these suckers when they hit Piaggio’s West Coast press fleet.

Until then, we’ve got some of the particulars from MG:

The 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic is available at U.S. Moto Guzzi retailers for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $8,490. The exclusive body color is Moon White, a lustrous pearl white accented with classic Moto Guzzi tank decals.

V7 CLASSIC
Four-stroke V 90 twin
744 cc
80 x 74 mm
9.6 : 1
35.5 kW (48 HP) at 6,800 rpm
54.7 Nm at 3,600 rpm
Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection
Three-way catalytic converter with lambda probe5 speed
Shaft drive, ratio 16/21=1 : 1.3125
Marzocchi 40 mm telescopic front forks
Light alloy swingarm with two hydraulic shock absorbers, pre-load adjustable
5.1” / 4.65”
Floating 320 mm stainless steel disc
four piston opposed calipers of differing diameters
260 mm stainless steel disc
Spoked steel rims
2.5” x 18” / 3.5” x 17”
Metzeler Lasertec 100/90- 18 56HTL Metzeler Lasertec 130/80 -17 65HTL
86” / 31.5” / 43.9”
57”
31.7”
401.2 lbs
4.5 gallons (reserve 0.7 gallon)
*All current Moto Guzzi motorcycles include a 2 year unlimited-mileage warranty, and 24-hour roadside assistance.

More on RSD and AOI

December 11, 2008

Not to belabor the subject, but there were a few cool bits I forgot to mention in my original post here about the Roland Sands/Toyota Trucks/Upper Playground collaboration, Architects of Inspiration.

aoi-header

Sure I talked about the RSD-influenced works of art by Sam Flores and Mr. Cartoon, but I didn’t mention The NOTHING machine by artist Rodney Aguiar. I love creative, Rube Goldberg sh*t like this. Take a close look. It’s a motor-drive collection of gears, sprockets, chains and crankshaft that repeatedly types out the word “nothing” on a mutilated electric typer. I want to make something like that brushes my teeth for me.

photo from RSD blog

photo from RSD blog

There was also the collaborative piece between RSD and Smokin’ Seagulls in which they transformed three dirt bikes into some kickass cafe racers. I’ve got an old YZ250 that I’ve wanted to do this to for a long while.

Seeking a bit more information about the project so I tossed a couple of questions at Sands who came back at me with the following:

How were the artists selected?

I worked with Matt Riveli at Upper playground to select artists that matched what we wanted to accomplish. We really wanted to create an environment. I was already fans of guys like Sam Flores and N8 VanDyke so those guys were some of my top picks and they jumped on board to do it so it was great. The Smoking Seagulls guys were friends and we were amped to work together on the café racer piece. Bell helmets brought Jona on board and he was a huge talent. I brought my friend and a great talent Karl Drehsen from Long Beach and Tom Clark is a pinstripping genius I work with all the time. A classic master.

Who came up with the concept?

It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I’ve always enjoyed painting and creating and this was the next obvious step. Take all the things I love to do and put them together. If there was a guy doing a back flip over the whole thing we might of combined it all … next time.

Check out the RSD blog for more on AOI (and other stuff RSD is up to).

Naked Vision (and one clothed)

December 9, 2008

Here’s some more stuff from out at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show this weekend. I thought this was really interesting. I’ve seen a Victory Vision sans bodywork before but really dug seeing it again. Just being able to see the chassis, gas tanks, etc. go a long way toward explaining the final finish of the bike. I can’t count how many times people have commented on the radical design of the Vision while asking “Why?”

A Nake Vision

A Naked Vision

And one fully clothed

And one fully clothed

This usually precedes a discussion that goes one of two ways: That’s the ugliest bike I’ve ever seen on God’s green earth or Man, if/when I get a touring bike that’s the one I’m gonna get. Victory knew this when it designed the bike, in fact the company’s head honcho Mark Blackwell told me Victory set out to polarize the public with the Vision. Read it here. It knew it had to shake things up.

I was once riding one of these (the blue one) down to San Diego. I stopped at a rest stop and decided to take some pics. While shooting a guy came over, started chatting and then after confirming that I wasn’t the owner or a Victory employee decided to tell me how horrible, ugly and freakish he thought the Visions were. The whole time I was thinking, really, I actually like them.

Oh well, there’s a style for every taste.

Roland Sands and Art

December 8, 2008

Admittedly I’ve got a moto-fetish and the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show stop in Long Beach always leaves me satisfied. Well, I’ve also got a thing for art and design —  namely outsider art/low-brow art, whatever you wanna call it. You know it when you see it. —  and this year’s IMS brought the two together in a pretty remarkable way.
Smack in the middle of the show was a display called Architects of Inspiration. It was a collaboration between Roland Sands Design, Toyota Trucks and progressive arts juggernaut, Upper Playground. Now I’m not quite sure what the press materials tell me it was, but my interpretation is this. A number of great artists were called upon to create art using RSD’s bikes and Toyota’s trucks as inspiration.

What they came up with was pretty cool. I particularly dug the work from tattoo artist Mister Cartoon and the Sam Flores piece. I took a coupla (semi-OK) pictures. Scroll down to check them out.

You gotta love Roland Sands. I think the dude is just brilliant. Lest the ass-waxing fest end here I’ll add that I can’t think of a more progressive, out-there designer in the powersports industry. There’s some pure geniuses, but he’s in a whole different league.

Here’s the entire stable of artists involved:

* Sam Flores
* N8 Van Dyke
* Saber One
* Estevan Oriol
* Mr. Cartoon
* Jeff Decker (bronze sculptor)
* Roland Sands and the Smokin? Seagulls crew (friends of RSD)
* Jona Cerwinske
* Karl Dreshen
* Tom Clark (pinstriping)