New bikes take centre stage at the Vancouver Motorcycle Show
Although the weather says otherwise, January means motorcycles in B.C. Specifically, the Vancouver Motorcycle Show, which takes place from next Thursday to Sunday (January 19 to 22) at the Tradex Centre in Abbotsford. As well as the usual array of new bikes, ATVs, clothing, and accessories, there will be other attractions such as a vintage-bike display, a stunt-rider show courtesy of the Westcoast Freestyle Stunt Team, touring seminars, a She Rides get-together for female riders, dynamometer shootouts, bike giveaways, and live music. Admission is $13 for adults and you can order your tickets online at www.vancouvermotorcycleshow.ca/ .
Here are some highlights of bikes you can expect to see at the show.
Revised for 2012, the ridiculously powerful S1000RR gets a slightly modified suspension setup, new paint combos, and some new accessory choices. Why is it ridiculously powerful? Because BMW is claiming a maximum engine output of over 190 horsepower for the S1000RR. Factor in the fact that the bike has an unladen weight of some 200 kilograms, and you have a power-to-weight ratio worthy of a Formula One racer. Fortunately, it has several performance modes, so you can tone things down a little.
This Italian manufacturer recently got together with German skunkworks customizer AMG to produce the exclusive Diavel AMG Special Edition. As well as things like special carbon fibre body work, a one-off exhaust system, and special ribbed seating, the Diavel Special Edition will have the name of the technician who assembled it engraved on the engine casing, and each model will have its own limited production serial number. For the rest of us, Ducati is also bringing its Panigale to Vancouver, featuring superbike-calibre handling and braking, an 1199cc engine, and what Ducati describes as “the most extreme benchmark” the company has ever produced.
Speaking of engines, Harley’s new 103-cubic inch, twin camshaft V-twin will now be standard equipment on all Softail and Touring bikes, as well as some Dyna models. With some 100 foot-pounds of torque on tap, it will have sequential fuel injection and be mated to a six-speed transmission. Other changes for 2012 include the usual tweaks and refinements to models such as the Fat Boy Lo and Heritage Softail, and a new model in the form of the Switchback. This is essentially a Dyna with an Electra Glide front end, hard bags, and a windshield. Tagged as the FLD, it gets the aforementioned new engine.
Available right about now, the Stateline ABS cruiser, in Honda’s words, “blends two worlds of motorcycling style: traditional looks plus progressive elements.” The Stateline joins the Interstate cruiser, the Crossrunner sport tourer, and a slightly revamped CBR 1000RR—among others.
Now in the warm embrace of Polaris industries, which also manufacture the Victory line of bikes, Indian has three models on offer for 2012, all of which are variations on a vintage theme. Different trim and paint separates them, and now that Polaris has assumed control, things are about to get even more interesting in the heavy cruiser marketplace.
Joining the Vaquero line of big tourers/cruisers is a restyled Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition, which is on the receiving end of a new suspension treatment, tweaked 1,441-cc four-cylinder, and other refinements. Canadian buyers also get a crack at the Ninja 400R, which won’t be sold in the United States, and the aforementioned Vaquero gets ABS.
One of the fastest motorcycles ever made, the Hayabusa returns for 2012 and will be front and centre at this year’s show. This bike has been taken up to speeds of 300 kilometres per hour right out of the box, and is, in Suzuki’s own words, “not for everyone”. It joins a revised V-Strom sport-tourer.
With a nod to Hollywood legend and Triumph enthusiast Steve McQueen, the new 865-cc Scrambler will feature fuel injection, retro-style mufflers, an engine skid guard, and various other styling cues reminiscent of the bikes he used to ride around on in the 1960s. For those who like their bikes a little taller in the saddle, Triumph will also bring its Tiger 1200 Explorer dual-purpose model.
Not sure if Victory mouthpiece R. Lee “Gunny” Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) will be on hand for this year’s show, but busy with its acquisition of Indian, perhaps, the Polaris subsidiary is offering various refinements on its models for 2012, including the cross Roads Classic LE, which offers buyers a chance to personally customize their own bikes, with various paint combos and so on.
Inspired by its recent superbike championships, Yamaha has a new YZF-R1 for the new model year. It has a traction control system, various paint choices, and other refinements, and joins a revamped Stratoliner Deluxe cruiser and the Super Tenere adventure-tourer. This latter bike is loosely based on the famous Paris-Dakar race and has a 1,200-cc inline twin, ABS, and a traction control system. Also look for the new FZ8 sport naked bike.
It’s no secret that things could be better in the motorcycle business. A weak U.S. economy, the faltering euro, and supply problems in Japan have all contributed to weak sales and, off the record, some executives are deeply concerned about the future of this industry.
In the meantime, you can still window-shop.