“We eat, sleep, breathe, live, love and dream motorcycles” -Malcolm Smith.
There’s nothing like a motorcycle show. Progressive Insurance would seem to know this, as it promotes roughly a dozen motorcycle shows around the country; their calendar of shows began last fall on the West Coast and will conclude – at Phoenix – in February. The one we attended was the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Dallas, recently held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
We hit the show running as the doors opened on a Friday at 4pm. On our radar: Honda’s all-new Africa Twin, as well as the BMW GS model lineup. These are the bikes that make you dream of faraway places, and riding down those dirt roads that will take you there.
For the next 4 hours we kicked tires, sipped coffee, ate hot dogs, watched the stunt riders, talked to the product reps, tried on gear, surveyed accessories both for sale and on sale, visited with friends old and new, and imagined ourselves on a variety of bikes. In a nutshell, we had a great time and can’t wait to go back next year.
With that in mind, what follows is a sampling of our favorite bikes at the show, and includes a gallery of photos of our show favorites; which, as you’ll be able to see, aren’t necessarily one and the same. Enjoy…
HONDA had a great display of their entire lineup, including several versions of the Africa Twin, including an HRC version. And in the background a video played with Repsol Honda’s MotoGP star, Marc Marquez, riding the Africa Twin.
BMW, which was positioned right next door, had their dual purpose GS ensemble, as well as lots of other models including the new(ish) BMW RnineT and their way over the top “Concept 101”.
VICTORY, in the midst of reinventing itself into a lineup of All-American performance cruisers, featured their Magnum, a 106 cubic inch V-Twin where “envy comes standard”. That, of course, was in conjunction with a showroom full of other beautiful – if not yet iconic – machinery. Victory’s Polaris sibling, Indian, had their Scout in brilliant red, along with a great selection of accessories; in short, everything but the feather.
KTM, housed in an expanded storage unit looking like an Austrian take on affordable housing, offered their unique variation of ‘dual purpose’ with the 1190 Adventure R.
HARLEY DAVIDSON brought their FLTRUSE CVO Road Glide Ultra in at $40,000, which stands/sits/rides in stark contrast to their Indian-sourced Street 750, priced well south of $10K.
DUCATI’s somewhat schizo display included the wildly popular Scrambler, the new Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak, and the race-spec Panigale. And the Ducati Girls were there, always willing to appear in a photo. (Or sufficiently well compensated to look willing…ed.) And where Ducati scrambles, SUZUKI offers a newish take on naked street with its GSX-S, in both 750 and 1000 guises.
In stark contrast to its already announced supercharged H2 hyperbike and aggressively revised ZX-10R, KAWASAKI had the relatively ancient 2016 KLR 650, an incredible bit of kit at just $6599. The KLR will take you down those same dirt roads mentioned at the intro, for less money than many BMW dealers will charge you for the hard luggage.
Around the show’s perimeter there were lots of independent vendors, including Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, which plays host to MotoGP on the weekend of April 8-10. Be there.