Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ottawa International Motorcycle Show

So, I attended the Ottawa International Motorcycle Show last weekend. Many show-goers thought it was pretty lame, mostly because of the size and scale of the show. Yes, it was pretty small compared to the big Toronto show from a few weeks ago (the two shows are not related, not the same event or promoter). The complainers whined that not all of the dealers showed up, and that the aftermarket dealers didn't bother to come. Some people went with the intention of seeing only one type of bike (like just sport bikes, or just cruisers, etc,). However, the show is meant to offer a wide selection, something for everyone -- not just one segment of the motorcycle industry. Given that it was only the 2nd time this show was held, I think it was actually pretty good overall. Certainly a good effort, and the vendors who did participate demonstrated a very good cross-section of what's out there in the world of motorcycles.

No matter how big the show is, you could never please everyone because everyone has their own tastes and interests. And everyone goes to the show to see different things, with different expectations. Maybe it's because motorcycles have become so specific, so purpose-built in the last 2 decades. In the 1970's there were motorcycles, period. Some time around the end of the 70's, they started to split off into street motorcycles and off-road motorcycles. Now there are about 20 sub-categories of street motorcycles (cruisers, bagges, sport bikes, super-sport bikes, sport tourers, etc,) and at least 7 or 8 classes of off-road bikes (trials, motocross, supercross, enduro, dual-sport, etc,).

Either way, I spent twleve bucks to look at a bunch of motorcycles on a cold, snow Saturday night in January. I had a couple of hours worth for my money and I'll do it again next year.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice variety of bikes, from cruisers and Harleys, to Japanese, European, , dirt and dual-sport, utilitarian, girly, and retro-bikes. It was nice to see the new Honda CBR250R. I still don't know why they haven't been producing this bike for the last 2 decades (the Ninja 250 is an extremely popular bike, probably because there has been no competition until now). I thought I took a couple of photos of the new CBR250R but I can't find them on my camera's memory card. Oh well, here's a photo I stole from the Interweb:

As you can see, it bears a striking resemblance to the VFR1200.
The base model is $4,500. For an extra $500, you can get it with ABS.

I spent a good hour chatting it up with owner of Woody's Cycles in Perth (an hour's drive from Ottawa). For me, he had the best display by far, and the largest display in terms of the floor space. He sells the full KTM line, but he did not bring them to the show because Wheelsport (from Orleans) was pushing the KTM (you can't have 2 dealers selling the same brand at the same show, which is fair) so Woody showed up with his other 2 brands: Husqvarna and Husaberg. Both of these brands are relatively unknown around the area, easily out-numbered 20-to-1 by the Japanese and Euro brands But, wow, are they sweet machines. Top quality components all around for both the Husky and the Husaberg bikes. My favourite was the 2011 Husqvarna TE449, although the Husaberg FE450 was also very nice.

Woody's a great guy, and well know by anyone who rides off-road around the Ottawa area. He's been racing motorcycles since the 70's and he's now got teenage boys who are following in his footsteps. He's raced on pavement, dirt and ice. I've seen him ride at a couple of Bytown Motorcycle Association events, and he's an awesome rider. Anyway, here are some photos from the show:

The new Honda CB1000R

Husaberg FS570

Husaberg FE450

Husqvarna TC250

Husqvarna SMR630

Husaberg FE570

And the nicest bike of the show, the Husqvarna TE449

Husqvarna TE449 rear view

Husqvarna TE449 front view

Husqvarna TE449
I love that front fender!
Too bad you can't get it registered for the street :(

ZERO S - Electric
...yes, electric motorcycles are here. Range is 100 Kms per charge,
and performance specs on par with the best of them.

Moto-Guzzy Stelvio 1200
Travelling on this bike would be the equivalent of a road trip in a
Mercedes E-Class sedan, only on 2 wheels instead of 4. This is one
sleek, sexy, luxurious bike.

KTM RC8 track missle

KTM 990SMT (Touring). If I were in the market for a bike
to take 10-day road trips with, I would consider this.

KTM off-roaders

KTM with snow track conversion kit

German-built Sachs, using a 125 cc engine from the venerable
Honda cub moped/scooter. 

 Very utilitarian and practical, yes

but very cool and I hope they sell a bunch of these.
These will be for sale in Canada in a few weeks.

Royal Enfield still builds motorcycles that look like
the old ones from the 1950's, but they were only
available in Asia until recently. Now they've brought
them to Canada. This is a 2011 model, not a restored
1950's model.

Royal Enfield

The all new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

The new Z1000R. A sexy muscle bike.