The big hitters in the motorcycle game has released so many new bikes in the Super/Hyperbike category over the last two months it has really, to me, put a revival in the category as a whole. I wanted to wait until I saw said bikes in person to honestly give a review on them so I had to wait until the Progressive Insurance’s International Motorcycle Show in NYC to get my first taste. The last time I was here was a let down back in 2011 so I didn’t hold any great hopes for this year’s event either but here we go.
Before I start I wanted to express my intrigue in the following new additions to dealer floors: BMW’s S1000RR/Ducati’s 1299 Panigale/KTM RC390/Yamaha R1/R1M/Kawasaki H2/H2R so these were on my hit list first. What was unfortunate was the absence of Aprilia, so that meant no RSV4RR, Honda also didn’t bring their RCV213V-S which was VERY upsetting to me because I really wanted to check them out.
BMW was conveniently placed its booth by the entrance to the expo so first off I made my way to see the new S1000RR. Thankfully they have gotten rid of the ugly headlights that plagued the last generation. After a while anyone could have gotten used to the last gen’s looks bur even the mother of all bikes couldn’t accept that in her stable. Not COMPLETELY redone in the sense of the word but it does look much better.
BMW also made a naked version of their street going champion called the S1000R. Yes just one R in its name but it sure looks to be a hit.
I moseyed my way to the Ducati booth next to check out their newly increased displacement 1299 Panigale. It is understood that this wont come in the R version like its predecessor the 1199, but will have some of its internals brought over. I could be wrong, but let us definitely see how it will perform in the upcoming season of World Superbikes.
This year the turnout for Triumph has been more than in recent I must say. Went from riding with zero Triumphs to having 5-6 friends pick them up literally over night. They had the Eslick Daytona winning bike on display (oh RD also sold one of the actual bikes a few weeks ago, new owner is in for a joyous time at the track) and being with a friend at the show who owns a, new to him, Daytona, we stopped by.
Before I bought my R6 race only bike I was very intrigued with KTM’s new RC390 that was coming to the states. I thought about buying this bike to give me a daily that will be fun to ride around when not at the tracks. But after much thought and debate I decided acquiring a track only bike would be best in the long run, that didn’t deter me from checking out the steed at KTM’s booth.
The whole reason why I came to the IMS this year was really to take a close look at Yamaha’s new R1 and R1M. Why trouble yourself with the travel just to see the bike? WHY NOT I SAY!
Yamaha completely redesigned the bike inside and out and it shows. The standard R1 is already a proven performer, winning championships is no easy task but not for the R1, now they kicked up the spice meter with the R1M. What’s special about it? Electronic suspension by Ohlins that you can change, adjust and upload wirelessly via an app connecting your phone to your bike. How nifty is that? Not to mention lighter magnesium wheels, stainless steel brake lines, four piston brakes over the hated six of past gens and a quickshifter to name a few up the upgrades.
The looks have been a hit or miss amongst the crowds but to me this thing looks almost identical to the M1 that both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo races. In race trim it will be hard pressed not to agree.
A few steps away from the R1 displays I found a gem amongst the rest of the piling heap of poop that the IMS show had on display, Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi’s M1. Yes his baby was in presence at the show. Many people walked by, just gawked at her, made a remark of how nice it looked and stepped away. Pfft they must not know who VR is! I ran towards her and just followed suite with touching every surface of the bike.
They also have newly crowned 4-Time AMA Superbike and MotoGP points scorer Josh Haye’s Graves Yamaha R1 on display. He was there that day but sadly I had missed him.
As I peered over to Suzuki I saw a bike on the ground, figuring they were doing lean angle photos for the people attending, it looked like the GP bike they are contending next year so I got a little excited to rush over there. Sadly though upon my entrance into their booth I realized it was just another GSXR-1000 dressed in replica race outfits. No saving grace for that, but the people lining up for lean photos made me stick around.
There was nothing really new in the booth but I did manage to see some parents starting their kids young:
Oh and Quang testing the waters on a 250cc dirt bike:
Last was the Kawasaki booth to check out the new H2 and track only H2R. Supercharged, 300hp, trellis frame and Brembos. All the makings of an epic speed demon. Capable or 200mph or so they said in the booth but I was more interested in seeing the carbon bits of the H2R in person because honestly it looked out of this world online.
Rickey Gadson was also on hand to show his drag prepped H2R:
I had asked the Kawasaki rep at the booth a simple question of why they chose to go with the Trellis frame and his response proved that he really had no idea why or even what a Trellis frame was. It was very unfortunate to have staff that has very little knowledge about the company’s flagship being represented at a trade show.
There were other bikes, customs one with fat tires and speakers not to mention famous on InstaGram accounts mixing it up with the big leagues. I didn’t care much for them but they were there in the hordes. Patched leathers and the like, very much Sons of Anarchy, but very little badassery was had.
Overall I will say that aside from the big hitters the show was a bust in general. Attendance seemed to be at an all time low from the last time I visited the show back in 2011. Maybe its the commute for people outside of NY to come or maybe it’s the fact the show is held in the middle of December of all times, I am still wondering why they don’t put this earlier on the calendar, when it’s warmer.
I saw what I wanted to see and was impressed with the new Yamaha myself so it was worth it for that alone, and maybe fondling Valentino’s girl for a little bit.