IMS Long Beach Motorcycle Show

December 7, 2009
Adam Waheed
By Adam Waheed
Road Test Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

His insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

Show goers seemed to gravitate towards Ducatis fully redesigned Multistrada.
The star of this year’s show was the 2010 Ducati Multistrada.

Whether you’re in the market for a new motorcycle or just wishing to kick some tires and see the latest and greatest powersport equipment for the New Year, there is no better place than the annual Long Beach International Motorcycle Show. If you’ve never checked out the show, perhaps the coolest thing is that it’s your one-stop shop for all things moto. Sportbikes, street bikes, cruisers, off-road machines—including Dual-Sports, ATVs, dirt bikes, side-by-sides and custom one-off bikes including exclusive high-dollar race machinery—it’s all there for you to see, touch, and sometimes even demo ride at the International Motorcycle Show.

Notably absent from this year’s show was Buell Motorcycles. The now defunct motorcycle manufacturer was recently shut-down by parent company Harley-Davidson. Also missing from the show was premium Italian brand MV Agusta, which is owned and currently up for sale by H-D.

Piaggio, owner of the Aprilia, Vespa, and Moto Guzzi brands, also opted out of the show despite the recent US release of the all-new Aprilia RSV4R and RSV4 Factory sportbikes. (Find out how it performs in our 2010 Aprilia RSV4R First Ride.) Austrian motorcycle manufacturer, KTM still had a reduced presence with just two limited-edition RC8Rs on display (more on that in the Sportbike section).

Despite the reduced amount of manufacturer participation, turn out at this year’s show was healthy and the general consensus of the folks I spoke with was upbeat, with the majority anxious to sit on and touch some of equipment on display before making their final buying decisions.


The cruiser scene was properly represented at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show.
The cruiser scene was properly represented at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show.

Highlights from the Victory Motorcycle camp were the custom painted Victory Kingpin 8-Ball and a Victory Hammer S machine. The Kingpin 8-Ball was dressed in a classic World War II olive drab paint scheme, while the Hammer S featured more modern military colors. The motorcycles are to be auctioned off on eBay with the proceeds going to the families of the recent Ft. Hood military base tragedy. Bidding for the bikes will begin at $10,000 each and bids will be accepted until Memorial Day, 2010. For more information or to donate visit

The folks from Harley-Davidson were also in attendance, however, its set-up appeared to be downsized compared to years past. One neat feature inside of its area was its “Fit Shop”, which consisted of a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy set-up with interchangeable handlebar and seat which allowed show goers to swap out the components in order to find out which combination fits best. Additionally, H-D also had a few of the bikes as used on the hit FX television show, Sons of Anarchy.

The Yamaha/Star motorcycle camp also had the new, awesomely-styled 2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxe motorcycle. This bagger-style cruiser is designed to go head-to-head with the Harley-Davidson Road Glide and Victory Motorcycle’s recently released Victory Cross Country motorcycle. After seeing this bike in person, I’m in love with its styling cues that fuse classic and modern. Discover more about it in the 2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxe First Look.

Dirt Bike

Suzukis new 2010 RMX450Z off-road bike made its debut at the Long Beach Motorcycle Show.
Suzuki’s new 2010 RMX450Z off-road bike made its debut at the Long Beach Motorcycle Show.

Next to Yamaha’s radically changed ’10 YZ450F, (read all about it in our 2010 Yamaha YZ450F First Ride), the dirt bike I was most anxious to see was the Suzuki RMX450Z. Suzuki’s newest enduro-style off-road motorcycle is designed to compete against the Honda CRF450X and the Yamaha WR450F. It represents Suzuki’s return to the trail bike market and is heavily based off its RM-Z450 motocrosser. Also on display was the new fuel-injected Suzuki RM-Z250 and RM-Z450 that will be raced in the upcoming Supercross season at the hands of Austin Stroupe and Ryan Dungey, respectively.

Other highlights from the show included a few of Honda’s off-road racing machines including Andrew Short’s No. 29 AMA Motocross CRF450R as well as Ashley Fiolek’s No. 1 plated Honda CRF250R that the teenage phenom rides in the WMA series. Also on display was the JCR Honda CRF450X as raced by Kendall Norman, Timmy Weigand and Quinn Cody. The trio recently used the bike to win this year’s Baja 1000.

BMWs soon-to-be-released S1000RR was one of the most popular motorcycles at this year’s show.
BMW’s soon-to-be-released S1000RR was one of the most popular motorcycles at this year’s show.


As previously mentioned, KTM had a substantially reduced presence at the show limited to just two limited-edition RC8R sportbikes. Only 25 of both the IDM Red Bull and the Akrapovic model will be imported Stateside for ’10. Both bikes feature a limited edition number plate, special edition body work, and an optional closed course race kit which includes an Akrapovic titanium exhaust system, thinner head gaskets, improved air filter and a tool for adjusting the camshafts for racing. Each bike will retail for $23,998.

Other highlights included the soon-to-be released BMW S1000RR sportbike. By far, this was one of the most popular bikes of this year’s show, with a constant crowd gathered around both production Beemer Superbikes throughout the course of the three-day show. Find out how this motorcycle performs in the 2010 BMW S1000RR First Ride.

Although it isn’t exactly new, one of the sportbikes that caught my eye was the Pearl White colorway of the 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 sportbike. Even more desirable is the one-off custom painted R1 by Valentino Rossi’s friend and helmet painter, Aldo Drudi. In addition to the Rossi-inspired paint job, the R1 features Roland Sands Designs wheels shod with Bridgestone’s BT-003 road racing tires and Ohlins suspension. The bike is to be auctioned off for the Riders for Health charity, an organization that raises money for reliable transportation for medical personnel in isolated parts of Africa. Also on display was the Sterilgarda YZF-R1 World Superbike ridden by newly crowned champion, Ben Spies and MotoGP World Champion, Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1 MotoGP bike.

The BRAMMO Enertia TTR powercycle made its competitive debut at the Isle of Man this year.
The BRAMMO Enertia TTR powercycle made its competitive debut at the Isle of Man this year.

The stretched and slammed custom sportbike scene was also well represented in Long Beach. Amongst the most impressive machinery was an Aztec themed YZF-R1. It featured intricate carvings throughout the bodywork and parts of the chassis and by far is one of the most detailed custom jobs I’ve ever seen. Other eye catching pieces could be seen in the form of a Spiderman and Shelby GT500-inspired Suzuki Hayabusa.

Street Bike

Without a doubt the hottest, most sought after bike of the show was the fully redesigned Ducati Multistrada. A steady stream of enthusiasts could be scene sitting on and taking pictures with Ducati’s new do-it-all two wheeler. And I have to hand it to Ducati designers as this motorcycle, like most Ducatis, looks even better in person.

After a one year sabbatical, Kawasaki is bringing back its big displacement streetfighter – the Z1000. The bike has been totally revamped for the New Year and promises even more performance than before. We’ll be reviewing this bike in the next few weeks so stay tuned for a full first ride report.

Honda had brought out one red VFR1200F, which MCUSA boss-man Kenneth Hutchison had rode a last month in Japan. (Read his opinion on it in the 2010 Honda VRF1200F First Ride.) Unfortunately, unlike the aforementioned Multistrada, this machine doesn’t look any better in person. Yet, despite its unusual appearance a surprising amount of folks could be seen hovering around the machine. One stereotypical tattoo-clad Harley-Davidson type mentioned that this was the motorcycle he was most excited to see. How crazy is that?

Local Southern California motorcycle dealer, South Bay Triumph was out in full-force with a bunch of really cool Norton and Triumph machines from both the past and present. My favorite was a race 1974 Commando 850 done in John Player livery. For 2010, the dealership will be offering both Norton and the Royal Enfield brand of bikes in the US.

This retro 1974 Norton Commando was one of my favorite motorcycles at this year’s show.
This retro 1974 Norton Commando was one of my favorite motorcycles at this year’s show.


A good part of the show’s floor is dedicated to vendors looking to show off their products. And it’s here where would-be buyers can try out all the goodies including helmets and other apparel. All day long folks we’re carrying out bags of goodies most purchased at prices well below retail price. One guy we saw walked away with a set of normally $300-plus Alpinestars riding boots for just $68!

Anxious to check out all the latest and greatest motorcycles and gear for yourself? The International Motorcycle Show has one more stop on the west coast (Seattle, Washington) before heading east for the remaining eight stops with the last one being held during Daytona Bike Week. Tickets are $15 at the door and if you purchase online at, you’re eligible for a 20% discount, bringing the cost of admission down to just $12.

Facebook comments