Husqvarna history then and now. (Above) Malcolm Smith and Tom White with Steve McQueen’s CR450 and the all-new TE630 dual-sport (below).
MotoUSA is live from the Indianapolis Dealer Expo to give you a quick daily inside look of what’s new in the Powersports world.
Without starting things off on too negative of a vibe, no question industry attendance is down. Where they used to fill multiple halls and the adjoining stadium, now just about everything fits in the one main hall. At the same time, though, the overall vibe has been pretty positive. The saying, “at least we’ve still got a job” tends to pop up a lot, followed by a bit of a sideway smile. Even so, the feeling as a whole is that things may start to turn around this year and, well, it definitely could be a lot worse. That said, now on to the good stuff: New products, bikes and a couple quick rider updates.
Husqvarna made headlines as one of the only motorcycle manufactures at the aftermarket-dominated show, unveiling a pair of new TE630 motorcycles, one a Supermoto-style street bike and the other a dual-sport. Legendary desert racer and all-around nice guy Malcolm Smith was on hand for the release, as upbeat and cool as ever. Highlight for the day had to be him and Tom White (of the original White Brothers) posing in front of Steve McQueen’s 1971 Husky CR450, a photo a McQueen jumping shirtless from the cover of Sport Illustrated in the background. White owns the bike, which is part of his amazing vintage motocross collection in Southern California. McQueen plus Smith and White – that’s a tough combo to beat when it comes to dirt bike history.
Galfer had a beautiful Ducati Desmosedici decked out with its wave rotors and custom paint, done very well and without taking too much away from the graceful lines of the ultimate MotoGP-based sportbike. This was joined by several custom
Hayabusas and a few choppers scattered throughout a few booths, though not nearly as many in years past. The custom bike trend at the show has definitely taken quite a dive as of late.
Dainese and AGV were showing of its new line of Italian leather and helmets, which we already showcased online several weeks ago. We did get big motocross news from the group as the signing of Travis Pastrana to AGV helmets for 2010 was announced, joining previously-signed ’10 riders Davi Millsaps and Ashley Fiolek in its all-new MX lid.
Although we’ve already featured it here extensively, Shoei showed off its new high-end street X-12, now with a host of new colorways and replicas we had yet to see. This was alongside an array of new graphics for its high-end motocross lid, which was released last year, including several new Kevin Windham replicas. Also of note, AMA Superbike rider Ben Bostrom now has a replica X-12, which has been an attention grabber.
Speaking of AMA road racers, we caught up with defending Daytona SportBike champion Danny Eslick. The Oklahoma native and close friend to MotoUSA was on hand signing autographs for major team sponsor Geico Insurance. Fresh off Buell going out of business, the team has switched to Suzukis and downsized to just one rider for 2010. As such, Danny is keen to prove his controversial championship was no fluke.
“Man, I’m ready to get out there and to and show people I can put it up there and win on anything,” he said. “Some people had said this and that about the Buell, but we just tested on the Suzuki at Fontana for the first real test and we were right up front and there’s plenty more time we can find in that bike. It was good to be there right away and I’m ready to defend the championship and try and get another, along with as many wins as possible.”
Eslick was at the pointed end of the time sheets at the recent AMA test right from the beginning, showing people that his championship was more than just the fast bike under him. No question Eslick will be a title contender once again, as well a host of other young guns and a few seasoned veterans in the slowly-growing class.
“The Yamaha guys, (Josh) Herrin and (Tommy) Aquino will both be tough, as will (Martin) Cardenas on the M4 Suzuki and Steve Rapp on that Ducati,” Eslick added. “But we’ve got a great team at Richie Morris Racing and a good bike and a great sponsor in Geico. And I’m as ready as ever. It’s time to get this going to put some life back in our sport!”
World Superbike champion and now rookie MotoGP star Ben Spies was in attendance signing autographs for long-time helmet sponsor HJC. We had a chance to say hi but didn’t talk for long. We’ll be sure to get you an update tomorrow. AMA Superbike riders Blake Young and Larry pegram were also floating around, so expect updates from them tomorrow as well.
Capping things off for today’s report is a look at Alpinestars’ new entry-level bionic neck brace and updated Tech 8 boots. Alpinestars also has several other new street-based products for 2010, which we will bring you a look at tomorrow. That’s all for now, stay tuned for more…