Ok all minus KTM and a few other notables, but there’s still plenty worth seeing. We snuck in early during setup yesterday and come up with these 10 highlights
1. First Time Feels in “The Discovery Zone”
Someone at the International Motorcycle Show needs to get a raise for cooking up this idea, because there’s nothing like that “first time.” That moment when the feet lift up and the centrifugal power of wheels in motion take over. This year for the first time at an IMS there’s a closed course inside the Javit’s Convention Center where anyone can show up, sign a waiver, and without a license or even a second of experience riding a motorcycle, then can throw a leg over a Zero electric bike, and have at it. This is a great way to get your friend/girlfriend/boyfriend/cousin/boss—whoever—onto a bike for the first time. Grins guaranteed.
2. Nicky Hayden Replica RCV1000RR
There are always loads of display bikes littering the floor and aisleways of the Javit’s Center, and they’re not always that pretty. This one stood out. Builder Wilson Vasquez has been working in New York City Motorcycle shops for over a decade. Last year he built and displayed at IMS a CBR600RR Moto2 race replica. The bike was a stunner, but one repeated question began to bug Vasquez—do you have a MotoGP replica, too? He didn’t, but shortly after last year’s show Vasquez bought a frame on eBay, and started work on this gob-smacking Nicky Hayden RCV1000RR.
3. N-MOTO “Nostalgia”
Based on a 1934 R7 concept bike, this new NMOTO bike brings all the 1930’s swoops and curves, but underneath the extensive metal bodywork is a late model BMW R-Nine T. As the glossy sales brochure puts it, this bike “provides enthusiasts slice of the past without sacrificing performance or rider experience.”
4. Suzuki Katana – 1981 & 2019
Based off the GSX-R1000 K5 powerplant, the new Katana puts out 150BHP into a slightly more upright riding position than the iconic OG Katana. Alloy twin-spar beam frame, GSX-R Swingarm, USD forks, big honking radial Brembos — this thing looks the business. As of yesterday morning the “new” Katana that was unveiled weeks ago at EICMA was still under wraps. Go to the show, or just click here to see it.
5. Indian FTR 1200 – Rally Edition
We’ve all seen the new Indian FTR lineup and we all agree it’s the cat’s meow. This is the first time the entire range has been presented locally and this Rally model caught our eye.
As this Indian propaganda video clearly demonstrates, the Rally is for that Indian customer who wants to, well, rally this bike through trails and not be afraid to shove it into berms, or hit an occasional woop—but who can also afford $6k worth of accessories and guards and alloy footpegs to not just look cool, but keep the bike intact. (Base piece is $13k)
6. BMW R1250GS
Much more than just 50 more cubic centimeters, the new 1250GS brings all sorts of whizbang new features that’ll make riding off-road or on-road easier, safer, and more fun/fast, whether you’re a dirt bike kid or an old white-haired man who seems to be the target demo for this bike.
It has a self explanatory Hill Start feature, a few new ride modes that let the rider enjoy dirt w/out turning ABS off completely, a shift-assist feature that makes the clutch lever optional (nice), and a variable cam feature that promises greater torque across the whole power band, especially down in the low end. Also it now claims a whopping 50MPG. Starts at $17,695 and it’s already in stock at your local Max BMW dealer.
7. Triumph Scrambler
The all-new Triumph Scrambler makes the old model look like a base model Bonneville. Especially if you go for this top-shelf XE variant—and yes, “X” stands for eXtreme. This model sports a slightly longer swingarm over its other Scrambler siblings to support correspondingly longer rear-wheel travel. SHOWA big-valve forks (presented in Ohlins-gold) take up suspension duties in the front, and a fancy new TFT heads-up display comes Bluetooth ready for google map directions or even GoPro controls. Millennials – meet your new adventure bike.
8. The Monkey
This is a Honda Monkey, and it has 12-inch wheels and it is adorable. It’s not an original one, dusty and stuffed into the back of your uncle’s garage – it’s a brand new, dealer-prepped 2019 bike that everyone’s inner child instinctively wants to own. And now you can too, for less than the monthly cost of a cell phone.
9, MV Agusta Brutale 1000
Brash. Red. Over-the-top. The all-new limited edition, $45,998 Brutale 1000 is nothing less than the most powerful 1000cc production naked bike ever produced. It’s been clocked at 184.32MPH, and that explains the wings built into the design—downdraft spoilers to keep this beast from going airborne like a paper airplane. Every bit of this bike is complex CNC curves and custom carbon fiber. Production of a limited run of 300 bikes starts in June, and they’ll deliver next fall. See here for the full propaganda flick.
But it doesn’t quite capture the imagination like this single-cylinder, utilitarian Himalayan. Sure it’s a bit of a wimp with just 400cc’s putting out 25hp. But for New York City… that’s sort of perfect. And for a newer rider? Even better. Plus, the best part about the Himalyan is its potential for real adventure—on a real tight budget. Expect to pay about $5k for one of these new. This thing is trail and off-road capable, can hold plenty of camping gear, and costs less than the sum total of farkles (Hard Cases, bash plates, LEDs) that most big adventure bike riders will spend on upgrades alone.
And remember if you don’t have tickets we’ve got em on sale for just $10/apiece. Reserve yours online or get down to the store and buy it in person. While supplies last!
All photos by David Genat.