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A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Phoenix

Yamaha MotoGP bike front brake.
Well, that was interesting, sort of. The big bike show hasn't been in Phoenix for a few years, poor attendance in the past  kept it away according to one manufacturer rep I spoke with.  I went on Friday and it was predictably light in attendance but I heard that Saturday was much busier so maybe they will come back next year bigger and better.

In all candor, the show wasn't great, most of it was booths from the big bike companies, a hand full of interesting customs, a few vintage Japanese bikes that show up at every event here, and an assortment of vendors hawking products in which no one seemed too interested.

Which comes first, a great show or good attendance?  I'm thinking the show needs to up it's game a lot, including in promotion, if they expect great attendance.  I had reasonable fun at the show but there is lots of room for improvement.

Yamaha MotoGP racer
First time I'd seen a for real MotoGP bike in person. I asked a Yamaha rep if the bike was an actual race run bike. He said they didn't know and in fact didn't even know how old it was or if it had enough parts to run, it was just in Lorenzo livery for promotional reasons but in fact may have been a Rossi bike as far back as '06.  "Nobody gets near a current machine" he said.   Lots of carbon fiber bits and titanium widgets.  A bit cobby in some respects, sort of like you'd expect an old race bike to be.  The Brembo brake system is used on all the better MotoGP machines and will set you back about $100k.  Imagine what the rest of the bike costs to produce.

Yamaha Bolt custom scrambler by Hageman Motorcycles
Yamaha generally had an interesting booth with some custom bikes created from their Bolt model. The Bolt itself did zilch for me, to me it was another plastic copy of a Sportster.   The custom bikes looked nice, if impractical, since the Bolt has a belt drive and that's not a great thing on a dirt bike. 

A Kawasaki for the ladies

Reaching out to women riders is getting more common.  I think one of the best trends of the last 20 years in motorcycling is women riding their own machines.  Kawasaki had one of their small sport bikes garnished to get the ladies' attention.

Harley bling
In the custom bikes were two Harleys trimmed out with Swarovski crystals by it's lady owner from Las Vegas.  I asked her if she did the work herself and she said "No, I just kept writing checks."  She rides with a women's club in L.V. called "the Lunachicks."

Twin engine Triumph LSR bike "Double Vision." I'll bet.

Speaking of double vision, Ducati had a nice booth. I think there were motorcycles in it somewhere.

This member of a local M/C had his Harley entered in the show class.   I asked if I could take his picture and he said "Yeah."  I said "Smile pretty, show me your teeth" and that's what I got. We talked for a minute and he was a nice guy behind the look.

And finally...

In the Yamaha booth, a Super Tenere with a winch.

When have adventure bikes gotten too big?  I'd say when you need a winch on one.

Other stuff:  Harley had their new 500cc entry level bike on display. I sat on it, it seemed nice but pretty much looks like a Honda Shadow.  As my friend Brent pointed out "If everyone can copy Harley year after year I guess it's okay if Harley copies them once."  Regardless, I think the bike will be a hit with entry level women riders in this country and huge overseas where regulations and high prices force riders onto smaller displacement machines.   Harley seems to be doing a fine job of catering to the ladies, they even had a young woman their booth demonstrating how to pick up a dropped bike and she'd pull a woman from the audience to do it to show how it's about technique, not strength.  I think that's better marketing than skull shirts and loud pipes.

A few more pictures here on Flickr


Unknown said...


Our recent Mot

orcycle show was probably too crowded. Hard to see everything as too many people are in your way. They usually give away free bikes (draws) and because we are the largest city in Canada west of the Mississipi we usually get a lot of manufacturers.

. . . but I liked your eye candy. The ones in RED . . .

Riding the Wet Coast

Trobairitz said...

Shows can be hit or miss even between years. We've attended the Seattle one the last few years, but I don't think we are going next month.

You can always count on the Ducati booth having an abundance of gorgeously smooth high maintenance plastic body work. Wink wink. chortle, cough.

Can't figure out why someone would put crystals on a bike, but then if you have too much money, why not.

Walter Cronenburg said...

That Yamaha Bolt looks like a good machine for ripping over the Moroccan desert, one spring!

VStar Lady said...

Looks like a much better show than this past weekend's show in Ottawa - Ducati didn't even bother to send the gals to that one!

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