Skratch, pinstriper extraordinaire, was hangin' with his friend Cherry Dollface and spreading his art on helmets at Bike Week 2013.
A soft breeze blew the banner strung over the quiet street. Beer delivery trucks stopped to whisk cases of the favorite beverage of Bike Week to the multiple establishments along the strip while vendors busily hung t-shirts. The city of Daytona Beach’s sanitation department stopped to drop giant green canisters along the roadway in preparations to receive the cans and bottles that would soon be emptied by the throngs gathered for Daytona Beach Bike Week 2013. Main Street had the feel of a virtual ghost town, but alas, it was the Thursday before the big shebang annually kicks off, the calm before the storm of motorcyclists who would soon flood the town.
The calm would be broken the next morning as bellowing big-bored V-Twins igniting to life served as our rally alarm clock. Just as well. We were in town to be amongst the first to ride Harley-Davidson’s latest Softail, the 2013 Breakout
. Surprisingly, the Breakout is the first new model The Motor Company has launched at Daytona Beach, especially since this is the 72nd meeting of motorcyclists at Daytona’s sandy beach and a company that has a history that stretches over 110 years.
After a quick shuttle ride over to the Speedway, we were soon in the saddle of the 2013 Breakout on a sun-splashed Daytona day. Harley’s latest Sofail represents a first, this being the first time a premium CVO model has been adapted as a production model. This doesn’t mean that the production Breakout is not a stellar ride in its own right as the new version easily holds its own. A rip on the throttle quickly elicits a smile on our face as the Twin Cam 103 delivers the goods. Soon we’re out of town and headed through Ocala National Forest. The ribbon of asphalt we’re on cuts through sand pine scrub forest, a combination of oaks,
Motorcycle USA arrived in Daytona Beach for Bike Week 2013 to ride the 2013 Harley Breakout and haven't slowed down since.
The band was rockin' at the H.O.G. Bike Week kick-off party.
pines and palms coloring the landscape in various shades of tan and green. We roll over countless bridges as water is everywhere, from springs to rivers to canals. When we hit precarious steel grate bridges, notorious for the floaty, unsure footing it provides motorcycle tires, I’m grateful for the 240mm wide patch of Dunlop rubber on the rear of Harley’s 2013 Breakout.
After a spin on The Loop, our fun-filled 140-mile ride through moss-draped trees took us back into the heart of town. The quietness of Main Street was no more, replaced by bands rockin’ on stages in virtually every other venue, the smoke of meats on the grill filling the air and the frenetic pulse we’re accustomed to once again pumping. Harley was kicking off the official start with a H.O.G. party at Mikey Luv’s with the 2013 Harley Breakout as the star attraction. A ten-strong group of motojournalists got to share in the spotlight as we rumbled into the soiree, a police escort leading the charge as we lined up the Softails in front of Mikey Luv’s for their public debut. We barely had our kickstands down before fans of The Motor Company were on us and the questions about our ride started flying. At this juncture, the Bike Week 2013 party was full-swing.
The introduction of the Harley Breakout was only the beginning of debuts at Bike Week. The next day it was back to the Speedway for the introduction of Star Motorcycles 2014 Bolt. Once again, the occasion was filled with much fanfare as people crowded the stage before the unveiling to guess at what lie beneath the cover. With Star streaming the event worldwide, the wraps came off and cheers came on. The crowd seemed to like what the saw, a clean production bob-job with a 942cc powerplant and a price point below eight grand. Good to see Star gets the importance of offering something sporty and fun to ride that has tons of potential for customization and appeals to the upcoming generation of riders. Our man Justin Dawes did a great job of breaking down Star’s new ride in his 2014 Star Bolt and Bolt R-Spec First Look
article, so be sure to check it out for more details.
There were more firsts going on at the Speedway as well. Big Bike Choppers Rage Hard Built also chose Bike Week to debut its latest motorcycle, the Titanium. The motorcycle is based upon the vaunted FXR frame. Big Bear aims to improve on a legendary bike, no small feat, but after seeing what they’ve come up with, it is one that is potentially obtainable. This thing is a ripper. BBC is building the frames in-house and teaming it to a potent S&S V111 engine. Its
Just hangin' out and chillin' at places like Destination Daytona is a big part of Bike Week.
Beer girls can make a pretty penny over the course of Bike Week. Tips please!
There's lots to see and do at J&P Cycle's retail store, including a replica of the Captain America bike.
list of components is top-notch, as names like Race Tech, Hayes, Baker and Yoshimura all have a hand in its construction. Big Bear’s Kevin Alsop says this bike’s combination of power and speed is unparalleled in a V-Twin motorcycle, something we’re hoping to find out for ourselves on our next trip down to San Bernardino. While we were there, we met two cats from Finland who said they flew all the way from their native country primarily to see the Titanium in person. Of course, a trip to Main Street and the Cabbage Patch was also on their itinerary, but most of all the big FXR fans wanted to see this bike up close and in person. For more details, be sure to check out our Big Bear Choppers Titanium Debut at Bike Week
Another company that elected Daytona Beach for a public debut is the Motorcycle Superstore
. We’re proud of our sister site who showed up early to erect a huge tent at the Speedway, constructing a full retail store in only a couple of days. They’ve been receiving plenty of praise from fans, many of them surprised to see a store they’ve dealt with many times online in the flesh. Some of the same people who they’ve ordered from over the phone are manning the shop so fans of the Superstore are getting an opportunity to put faces to names. Business was brisk, and entries to win the Superstore Sportster with the Roland Sands café treatment were steadily filling the entry box. If you’re looking for a great deal on motorcycle gear from companies like Bell Helmets, Icon, River Road and more, be sure to hit them up for a bargain.
After being in Daytona Beach for a few days, we’ve had a chance to make a few observations. Overall, attendance feels light. Traffic hasn’t been bad anywhere we’ve gone, beyond a little congestion around the Main Street area on the opening weekend. Everyone we talk to on the vendor and retail side seems generally happy though as business has been bustling but not booming. The Ocean Center, once the home to Harley-Davidson and then host to the International Motorcycle Show, is vacant as the IMS didn’t travel to Daytona this year. There’s no Limpnickie Lot set up at the Stone Edge Skate Park as the park is under construction. And during our trip to Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson empire, we noticed many storefronts that were once open have since shut their doors. So even though the industry is on the upswing, tell-tales signs of the spiraling market are still visible.
On that note, there’s still bikes to ride, custom bike shows to attend, burn-out contests to attend and more general mayhem to be had, so stay tuned for more Daytona Beach Bike Week 2013 coverage courtesy of Motorcycle USA.