Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2009 Dallas Motorcycle Show

Just got back from the 29th annual Cycle World International Motorcycle Show at the Dallas Convention Center. Absent this year were Triumph, KTM, BMW and a few others, but the attendance looked much better than last year and demo rides were offered in Dallas for the first time.

We got to talk to quite a few factory reps and get the lowdown on some of the hot machines for 2010.

For those not familiar, this is a series of events held at large venues across the country where motorcycle manufacturers show off their new bikes. In addition to factory displays there are also gear vendors, vintage bikes, stunt shows, demo rides and a series of lectures on various topics. The full schedule and locations can be found at motorcycleshows.com.Here are a few highlights- in no particular order:

For me the most interesting thing here was the XR1200. According to the Motor Company's brochure it was "brought stateside as a result of U.S. consumers lobbying for its availability." Too bad more consumers didn't lobby for a Buell.

There were several new treats on display at the Ducati exhibit in Dallas, including a couple that preempted the EICMA Show in Milan. The new Streetfighter and Multistrada 798 were the highlights of the booth.

The updated Hypermotard 1000 EVO has shed 15 pounds and copies of the 1198S and 1198R Corse was fresh off the boat from Italy in the new red and black racing colors. What... no tricolori?!? I'm surprised there's not a law in Italy. No, seriously- I really am surprised there's no such law in Italy.

Here's more about Ducati's 2010 models from Jeff Brooks of Ducati NA...

2010 Honda VFRThe big news for Honda was the all-new VFR1200F. I overheard quite a few negative comments regarding the styling. But technically it claims to be revolutionary. While the word "revolutionary" gets thrown around a lot at shows like this- Honda may have truly delivered. Consider...

The new VFR offers an optional double-clutch system that works the six-speed tranny like a paddle shifter. A shaft drive system uses a rigid swingarm that manages to eliminate the dreaded "acceleration rise" without pivot points. Plus sundry niceties like a phased crankshaft, throttle by wires, ABS and such.

We're looking forward to a test ride.

Also on display was the new (to America) NT700 which looked like a very spiffy sport-touring machine, and the Fury which boasts the longest wheelbase ever offered on a production Honda. Is that a good thing?

The folks at Kawasaki wanted their new Concours 14 to be the buzz. But the bug-eyed Versys attracted just as much attention. They parked it on the back side of the booth but it didn't help much. I think a lot of people had the same reaction when they saw the Z1000, but I personally like it.

Kudos to Kawi for offering such a wide selection of bikes for the demo rides. We made the 1/4 mile trek to check it out on Sunday, only to find a slew of bikes parked and waiting for eager riders to flog them. Maybe next year the organizers could locate the demo ride area in the same county?

Two Wheel Oklahoma

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It's a Travel Show

Two Wheel Oklahoma is a television travel show featuring the motorcycle rides of Brad Mathison and Rex Brown along the scenic highways and backroads of Oklahoma.

Each episode highlights a stretch of road or historic route and explores unique destinations along the way. Tune in three times a week on the Cox Channel.

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Brad and Rex: co-hosts of Two Wheel Oklahoma