This weekend I visited the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show. As it’s geared towards consumers, I enjoyed it much more than my recent experience with AIMExpo. Admittedly, I ended up spending so much time chatting with friends that I didn’t get to see everything I was planning to, but I still wanted to share some of my personal highlights from the show to motivate you when IMS shows up in your part of the country.
At Long Beach, they open up the show early on Friday for press/media. I had to get some work done in the morning so I showed up after a few companies had already made their presentations. Most of the major OEMs were present, though I was disappointed that KTM/Husky decided not to show off their wares (especially that new 790 Duke).
In March, Yamaha will open up reservations for the GT model, which has an upgraded front suspension, center stand, heated grips, and other touring features like a larger windscreen, comfort seats, and luggage.
Next stop on the media tour was Moto Guzzi, and it was instantly obvious that the motorcycle industry is very excited about the upcoming V85 TT.
I got up close for a detailed look, but I was so focused on the bike that I didn’t notice Ari Henning’s photobomb until he came up to me later and told me to take another photo.
If you’re interested, here’s a preview of Throttle Out – the first episode debuts this week!
I got an email from Suzuki’s Press Relations department this morning which said [emphasis added] “Unlike competitors who style and equip retro models with throwback technology and looks, the 2020 KATANA is a sportbike that has elements of the original, iconic Katana and blends them in with thoroughly modern styling and performance.”
Yet the next sentence was, “Just like the original Katana had a connection with the GS1100E, this new KATANA is built upon the proven, extraordinary performance of the long-stroke GSX-R1000 engine and the solid stability of the GSX-S1000 chassis.”
The motor Suzuki’s referring to is from the K5 (2005-2008 GSX-R1000), so I guess “thoroughly modern…performance” is from 13 years ago. Still, it’s a great motor that Suzuki’s used in many of their bikes since 2005, and the claimed output in this bike is 150 horsepower and 79.6 lb-feet of torque. When IMS opened to the public on Friday afternoon, Suzuki put on a show that involved Japanese Taiko drummers – here’s a little teaser:
The new Royal Enfield twin. Even though the original was called the Interceptor, Honda now owns that trademark so this is officially called the “INT650”.
It’s easy to get excited about all the new bikes (it’s a good year to go motorcycle shopping) but there’s plenty more going on at the show. I’m most excited about a program called Discover the Ride, which is all about getting non-riders to sample the joy of motorcycling.
The program has several portions, starting with a Kids’ Zone that introduces young kids to riding with battery-assist balance bikes built by Stacyc. Yamaha has also provided some power-assist e-bicycles so that riders can prove they balance a two-wheeler before they hop on a demo motorcycle provided by Zero. Zero specifically provided modified FXS‘ which are limited to 12 miles per hour and have diminished acceleration. This enables a team of instructors from the California Motorcyclist Safety Program to walk alongside riders and talk them through the basics. And of course, because the bikes are electric, it can all be done indoors. Not a big deal in Long Beach, but it’s a helpful feature when the tour goes to New York in a couple of weeks!
In addition, Yamaha, Harley-Davidson, and Ducati have provided bikes for a “Dyno Experience”, which lets new riders sit on a bike and try going through the gears and learning how to use a clutch while secured on a dyno.
Lastly, stunters from the XDL have something in store for advanced riders. They call it the “Wheelie Experience”, and it gives you the chance to loft the front wheel in a safe environment.
After the show was opened to the public, someone from District 37 (the organization that puts on LA-Barstow-Vegas) spotted Nathan and I. She asked if we’d take a photo to send to a friend, so we had to go to the Ural booth.
This photo is from two years ago, when Spurgeon and I did LAB2V on a Ural. That was dumb.
There was all kinds of stuff that I didn’t have time to check out as well. There was a beautiful collection of vintage machinery provided by Moto Doffo, AHRMA, AMCA, and AJMC (I can’t believe I never got around to taking any photos there), lots of demo rides from BMW, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, and Yamaha, and the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show.
There are 6 additional shows as part of the Progressive International Motorcycle Show tour, and most of these same OEMs and vendors will be there for you to check out! Get more information and buy tickets by going to the International Motorcycle Show website.