The Cycle World International Motorcycle Show made its annual visit to Denver this past weekend…
Overall, it wasn’t a particularly exciting show this year, as only a few new bikes have been announced for ‘05. The highlight of the show was definitely having Rossi’s M1 MotoGP bike on display in the Yamaha display. They also had some of their AMA race bikes on display, specifically Gobert’s title winning Superstock bike and Hacking’s Supersport bike. Yamaha definitely wins the award for having the best eye candy.
Of the other manufacturers, there were only a couple of stand-outs. The booth-by-booth breakdown is:
I was pretty impressed with Triumph’s new Thruxton version of their Bonneville platform. They are now up to five different permutations of the Bonneville: The standard model, the T100, the America, the Speedmaster and the Thruxton. While the T100 is a nice looking bike, I think its the Thruxton that finally pegs the classic look meter. If I had a big enough garage, its a bike I’d be willing to pay hard earned cash to own. Sadly, the good looks of the Thruxton are offset by the horrid styling of the Speed Four. The Rocket III’s looks are growing on me, with only the radiator really spoiling the overall look.
Suzuki was same-old, same-old. Changing the names of their cruiser line doesn’t mean much as long as they are still peddling the same stuff. I like the new GSXR-1000, though the muffler didn’t look any better in person that in the photos. Still, the specs are just right and the exhaust is easy to replace. Its inching its way up the short list of bikes I may actually buy in ‘05. I was surprised to see how stock the Carmichael Supercross bike looked. I’m sure there are plenty of unobtanium in the forks and shock but no much that jumps out to the untrained eye. Mladin’s Superbike, on the other hand, looked much different from the stock GSXR. Nice!
The only thing in the Honda tent that raised my eye brows, other than the Duhamel Formula Extreme race bike and the Baja 1000 winning XR650, was the CRF450X enduro bike. Almost makes me wish I was a good enough dirt rider to do justice to that bike. Honda also had a Rune on display and I still think that’s a good bike, if only because it stands so far outside Honda’s normal boundaries.
Kawasaki had a particularly low key display. I guess they made their big splash last year with the ZX-10R and ZX-6RR. Even Tommy Hayden’s championship Supersport bike looks pretty mundane since so few modifications are allowed in that class. That said, the ZX-10 still looks evil, in just the right way, so I walked by it at least five different times throughout the day. One of those would look really nice in the garage…
BMW didn’t have the new K1200S, so they were a disappointment from the beginning. They had the new R1200GS but I’ve already spent enough time on one of those at the local dealer that my butt can automatically remember the seating position just from muscle-memory. On the plus side, they had my buddies Chris and Erin there talking about their around-the-world trip and Edelweiss had my pal Scott hawking their tours.
I breezed past the Harley booth so fast I didn’t really notice anything in particular. The new Buells always catch my eye and the fancy translucent false gas tank on the CityX Streetfighter looks particularly cool. I wouldn’t yet buy one since they use that massive sportie motor but their styling continues to stay fresh and interesting.
Another surprise was how much I liked the styling of the Victory cruisers. The massive 250mm rear tire on the Hammer is more form that function but I love the tank/engine/tail section design on the other bikes. The Vegas is really the first cruiser that I could see myself riding (if not buying). Sweet looking bikes and I’m glad to see Victory is doing so well.
The Urals always look good in a retro way but since they are still making the same bike as when they first introduced them in the US they need to do something new to be interesting. I mainly went by there to show Jonna what old Beemers looked like….
Just like last year, I’d have to say that nothing in the Ducati booth did anything for me. The entire line looks like its been beaten with an ugly stick. Doing a nose job on the 999R was a step in the right direction and I enjoyed seeing the cut-away motor but I still don’t find it as beautiful as the old 916. I just avoided looking directly at everything else because of how much I hate the looks. Between the Multistrada and S4, they’ve managed to completely ruin the reputation Ducati had developed for leading the revolution of making drop dead gorgeous bikes.
The Aprilia/Moto Guzzi booth was downright depressing since it had only a sub-set of their models and no real marketing material available. I hope its just that their 2004 marketing budget was scuttled when the company went bankrupt and that the Piaggio money will give them a stronger presence next year. I’ve always liked the look of the ‘04 Mille and the Moto Guzzi V11 LeMans and enjoyed seeing them again but would rather see something new like the Guzzi MGS-01.
Finally, KTM was glaringly noticeable in their absence. Dirt bikes are in a boom in the US, they have a seriously lust worthy line-up, KTM has surpassed BMW and Triumph in world wide sales but they don’t have the bucks to set up a booth? What’s with that? I’m particularly disappointed because all of their V-twin powered bikes peg my crave-o-meter and I was hoping to spend some time drooling on their Adventure (still hate the front fairing, though), the Duke (ooohh….ahhhhh) and their new Supermoto bike.
As always, I loved seeing the old vintage bikes on display and the Cycle World display with various bikes including Ward’s ‘04 championship winning Supermoto bike. Still, nothing can touch seeing Rossi’s MotoGP bike, so the highlight of the show was only ten foot inside the front door.
Maybe next year will offer more surprises.