Progressive International Motorcycle Show: NYC Wrap-Up
By Jon Langston
The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows revved up New York City this past weekend, and tens of thousands motorcycle fanatics from across the spectrum of enthusiasts, from teenagers in racing suits to fat guys in Santa suits, rolled into the Jacob Javits Convention Center on the West Side of Manhattan. The TAM Communications family of magazines – American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger, and Motorcycle Rides & Culture – were all on hand to check out the new bikes, products, and gear, and revel in the two-wheeled camaraderie only real riders can provide.
While there was little in the way of motorcycle premieres, most of the major manufacturers displayed some sort of a neo-retro theme in their booths. Ducati pulled the in-person wraps off its fun new Scrambler, which is a modern-day throwback to its 60s/70s forebear of the same name – and at around $9K should easily compete with Triumph’s Bonneville line for retro/standard dominance. And in addition to unveiling its tasty new S1000XR (available next spring, it’s essentially the same bike as the ballyhooed 199hp S1000RR superbike, with a more standard structure and GS-like upright riding position), BMW showed off a gorgeous vintage Boxer-powered chopper that was so clean and minimalistic it had even American Iron Editor Chris Maida agape.
A host of Gold Wings through the ages at the Honda booth displayed Big Red’s seminal interstate mile-eater from its inaugural 1975 model year through the 300 millionth Honda ever produced, a Gold Wing that rolled off the assembly line just a couple of months ago. Yamaha, meanwhile, tried to direct attention toward its new Star Bolt C-Spec, but its SR400 retro-thumper got just as many admiring looks as Yamaha’s shameless (but admittedly superior, performance-wise) Sportster facsimile.
Triumph pointed out some nice new versions and customs from its Bonneville line, while KTM put the onus on its new entry-level 390 Duke and two-stroke dirtbikes. Its 390 race-only and streetbike was also on display.
Indian had its fine new Scout front and center, along with the stars-and-stripes custom Wall of Death version – the same one ridden in the “thrill arena” that was set up in the Indian’s Lazelle Street booth in Sturgis last summer. Indian also brought out Dirty Bird Concepts and land speed record holder Karlee Cobb from Klock Werks to pull the wraps off of a couple of nicely customized Scouts. Indian’s new Tourmaster dresser was also on full display. Meanwhile, Victory Motorcycles, Indian’s stable mate at Polaris, highlighted its excellent charitable work by showing off the custom Cross Country bagger Laura Klock and the Klock Werks crew donated to Helping with Horsepower, a group of fabricating kids from South Dakota’s Pine Bush High school. Members of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, another Victory charity, posed with the kids and the bike, which set a land speed record at Bonneville in September.
Across the aisle, Polaris also showed off its new 173-horsepower Slingshot, a three-wheeled contraption with 5-speed manual transmission and impressively manageable MSRP. While most states will register the Slingshot as a motorcycle (so use of a helmet is required, while seat belts are only recommended), it’s advisable to check with your local DMV before plunking down your $20K. Whether you consider it ridden or driven, the Slingshot looks like a real kick to pilot.
In addition to the guest speakers such as legendary travel/moto-journalist Peter Starr and racers Josh Hayes and Ricky Gadson, stunt shows, and myriad other attractions, one of the more intriguing displays at the New York IMS was Motus Motorcycles’ racing MSTR, the fastest production pushrod motorcycle in the world as evidenced by its record setting runs at the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials in August. Motus also displayed its 2015 MST series of American-made sportbikes, powered by the Baby Block V-4. We cannot wait to get one under us.
The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows continues its tour after a break for the holidays with stops in Washington, DC January 9-11; Miami, January 16-18; Dallas, Jan 23-25, Cleveland, January 30-February 1, Minneapolis, February 6-8, and Chicago, February 13-15.