Unseasonable cold and Saturday morning rains couldn’t keep dedicated Southern California enthusiasts from coming out to last weekend’s Progressive International Motorcycle Show in droves to see, touch and talk about the latest crop of motorcycles on the market. While the rest of the U.S. was embroiled in a battle against the elements that paralyzed much of the country, riders from around the Los Angeles area and beyond were at least still able to get out and ride. The weather was even more cooperative Sunday as rains subsided, resulting in another good turnout for the 2013 show.
“The fourth stop of the 2013/14 Progressive International Motorcycle Shows rolled into Long Beach Convention Center last weekend. On Friday, over two hundred registered media attended the West Coast’s ‘Media Day’ tour. Despite the rain Saturday, the show floor was packed all weekend with enthusiasts and the responses from the OEM’s, exhibitors, media and attendees were overwhelmingly positive. Overall the show attendance was 54,527, which was level with last year’s attendance numbers. Total Southern California attendance was 54,527, level vs. year prior of 54,392,” said Julie Messing, Public Relations and Communications Director for the IMS.
The Long Beach show served as a springboard for the North American debut of many motorcycles, from the new BMW roadster to KTM’s Super Duke 1290 R. Zero Motorcycles used the Long Beach IMS for the U.S. debut of its full line of 2014 electric motorcycles, which first launched at EICMA but had yet to be introduced here in the States. The 2014 models feature a new Z-Force Power Tank accessory said to extend range to 171 miles in the city and 88 miles on the highway. Zero is trimming its model line down to three primary models this year, the 2014 Zero S, Zero DS and Zero FX, but a new “R” version of the Zero S is also available. The Zero SR is claimed to go from 0 – 60 mph in 3.3 seconds while putting out 56% more torque and 24% more power than the base model.
Over at the Triumph booth, the marque was busy showcasing its 2014 Thunderbird LT, while Can-Am had the new Inline Triple-powered 2014 Spyder RT on-display and was busy introducing its newest spokesperson, too. The company held a special media event whereby NASCAR’s Danica Patrick took a 2014 Spyder RSS for a ride, the occasion being her first time behind the controls of Can-Am’s three-wheeler. Patrick was all
2013 AMA Superbike champ Josh Herrin gives us a big thumbs up at the Long Beach IMS. Herrin earned a ride on the Caterham Moto2 team for 2014.
business on the obstacle course, treating it with almost the same intensity as she does behind the controls of her GoDaddy Chevy SS. Patrick took CNBC Los Angeles reporter Jane Wells along for the ride and afterwards talked to the press about her experience.
Indian Motorcycle Co. partnered with Jack Daniel’s at the Long Beach IMS to launch its “Operation Ride Home” program with the goal of sending members of the America’s Armed Services home for the holidays. It donated a special 2014 Indian Chief Vintage with serial number ‘No 7’ for the cause and let the talented crew of Klock Werks work its magic on it, from hand-laid pinstripes to applying the Jack Daniel’s and Operation Ride Home logos to the bike to adding a custom seat. The customized motorcycle will be auctioned off by Barrett-Jackson at an upcoming auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, on January 12-19, with proceeds going to the “Operation Ride Home” program as administered by the Armed Forces YMCA.
“All of us at Polaris Industries are proud of our decades-long support of our U.S. Armed Services personnel and their families, and the Indian Motorcycle brand has an even longer heritage of supporting the United States military dating back to World War I,” said Steve Menneto, Vice-President of Motorcycles for Polaris, in a company press release.
Harley-Davidson had plenty of people flocking to its booth to check out the “Project Rushmore”equipped motorcycles and to inspect its first liquid-cooled V-Twin offerings, the 2014 Ultra Limited and 2014 CVO Limited. The package also includes the Reflex linked braking system, a redesigned Batwing fairing and high-end electronics package. There was a lot of curiosity surrounding its 2014 Street 750 and 500 models, but these motorcycles aren’t slated to debut publicly in the States until the second quarter of 2014.
There was plenty of star power at Victory Motorcycles booth, as both R. Lee “The Gunny” Ermey and iHeart radio personality and Sixx Sense host Kerri Kasem were on-hand meeting with fans. Ermey has been serving as an official
Actress Kristy Swanson, best known as the original ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ is a proud Victory owner and helps out as brand ambassador on occasion.
Chris Richardson of LA Speed Shop won the ‘Modified Harley’ class at the Long Beach Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show for this 1959 Harley FL he turned into a bagger.
Star Motorcycles’ 2014 Bolt is becoming a popular platform for customization. This beauty was done by Chris Hagest and the crew of Low and Mean.
spokesperson for Victory for a couple of tours now while Kasem was helping promote the custom Sixx Sense Victory Cross Country 8-Ball sweepstakes bike. Built with the same flash and panache as the rock & rolling bassist of Motley Crue, the Sixx Sense 8-Ball was designed with the help of Kasem and her radio show partner, Nikki Sixx. We got a chance to talk to the lovely Kasem about the bike, so look for our interview with her on the site next week. We also ran into the original “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Kristy Swanson at the Victory booth, Swanson being a proud Victory Boardwalk owner who can frequently be found supporting the industry at functions like the annual Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s “Legends Ride.”
Star Motorcycles’ 2014 Bolt has been a popular platform for customizing lately, evident by the various versions located at different areas around the show. The one Low and Mean built for the Bolt Build-Off competition, with its meaty tires, air ride suspension and industrial girder fork, was set-up at the Progressive Suspension booth while another L&M customized Bolt was being showcased over at J&P Cycles. Another stripped down Bolt brawler built by Burly Brand, inspired by the “Bratstyle” builds popularized in Japan, was on display at the Star Motorcycles booth.
Other motorcycles we noticed attracting a lot of attention were the aforementioned 2014 KTM Super Duke 1290 R and BMW’s 2014 R nine T. Ducati’s Monster S 1200 and Honda’s new 2014 Valkyrie also always seemed to have a curious crowd collected around them.
The Motorcycle Superstore had quite the set-up as part of the IMS Marketplace. Flanked by popular brands like Mustang Seats, LS2 Helmets, Kuryakyn, Vance & Hines and others, the area featured a bevy of motorcycle aftermarket goodies. If you saw something you liked, product specialists were at the ready to provide shoppers with information about that product and help you locate it on the showroom floor. Because of its competitive prices, fast shipping, and far-reaching network, many needed to look no further than the Motorcycle Superstore’s popular website to source the products they sought.
Over at the Bell Helmets booth, we ran into 2013 AMA Superbike Champion Josh Herrin. We talked to Herrin about competing overseas next year for the Caterham Moto2 Team. Herrin says he’s excited about the opportunity to race on some of the fabled European tracks and to test his skills against international competition. We congratulated Herrin on his AMA Superbike championship and let him know we’ll be pulling for him in Moto2 next year.
We also ran into our friends from the Quail Motorcycle Gathering who informed us that the event has new dates for the upcoming year, moving back a couple of weeks to May 17 from its traditional timeslot at the beginning of the month. The event is two-fold, the first offering a 110+mile ride through scenic Carmel Valley and ending with a couple of parade laps at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The second part is a concours featuring splendid collectible and vintage motorcycles against the scenic backdrop of the Quail Golf Course. The event seems to grow in popularity yearly, so be sure to mark your calendars for the third week of May, 2014, if you’d like to attend this year.
The J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show had one of its toughest fought competitions yet as 40 custom creations battled for “Best of Show” laurels. Chris Richardson of LA Speed Shop, one of the most gifted builders around, brought his interpretation of a bagger to the Long Beach Ultimate Builder. Based on a 1959 Harley-Davidson FL,
The Motorcycle Superstore ‘supergirls’ encouraged plenty of people to stop and check out the Superstore’s marketplace at the IMS.
Richardson created a streamlined, minimalist fairing for the front to go along with squared-off hard saddlebags. In typical Richardson fashion, the build features a host of handmade, one-off parts, from its tank to exhaust, from its fenders to its Springer front end. His work earned him top honors in the ‘Modified Harley’ class.
But it was Sam Baldi of Profile Cycles who rode away with the prestigious Freestyle class victory for his 2013 custom build called “Lost Angel.” The Softail motorcycle is full of outstanding features, from its trans brake to its centrifugal clutch. Powered by an EVO Patrick Racing 113 cubic-inch V-Twin, it was details like a seat by Paul Cox and some of the sickest wheels around that helped seal the deal and the $2500 first prize check that went along with the Freestyle class title.
The International Motorcycle Show heads to the Big Apple this weekend at the Jakob K. Javits Convention Center with another great schedule of events, from an appearance by Jason DiSalvo with the 25.5-foot-long Triumph streamliner he will attempt to break the motorcycle land speed record on to special guest Steven Tyler who will be at David Uhl’s booth to commemorate a special painting the artist did of the motorcycle enthusiast and part owner of Dirico Motorcycles. Dirico will be debuting a special custom built “Black Hawk Down” motorcycle at the New York IMS with the help of Ret. U.S. Army LTC. Danny R. McKnight, one of the veterans who survived the “Black Hawk Down” incident in Mogadishu.