Sunday, 10 January 2010

A great way to spend a winter Sunday

After a hiatus of several years the Ottawa International Motorcycle Show was back this weekend. Previous attempts to resuscitate what was once a very good show had had limited success, so it was very encouraging to now see it in a larger venue and seemingly well attended.  Friends in the dealer community who I met there were pretty upbeat about the show and the level of interest, so perhaps we’ve turned a corner of sorts and the show will again become a January highlight.
That’s not to say it couldn’t use improving. I was disappointed in the lack of riding gear as most dealers had only bikes on display and very few, if any, jackets or other clothing items. Show “specials” were few and far between, with show prices being, at best, a couple hundred dollars off list – sadly, not a single $10,000 Road King in sight. And aside from  one very good painter, there were no vintage bike displays or custom builders present. So from a glass-half-full perspective, next year’s show has the potential to be even better.
But all the 2010’s were there from the Yamaha V-Max (awesome) to the Honda Ruckus (cute), from the BMW S1000RR (stunning) to the 2010 Road King (drool), from the Triumph 900CC Scrambler (flashback) to a whole bunch of plasticized crotch rockets that all look, sound and feel the same (boring).  

There were a few accessories on display, things like tires and helmets, but the best (in my opinion) were these awesome sports cameras from Capable of filming video in full 1080p mode for up to 9 hours, 5MP stills, water resistant to 100’, and with a variety of helmet/handlebar/chassis/wrist mounting options, one of these quickly found its way onto my wish list for when I have a few $$ burning a hole in my jeans.GoPro Hero Camera
And although the missus kept a hawkish eye on my wallet I even managed to spend  some money. First I got a ticket on a special edition “Harley for Heroes”. A custom Road King with special paint and loaded with accessories. The proceeds of the lottery are going to the Military Families Fund Programs, so even if I don’t win, the $25 is going to a worthy cause. And if I do win, all I can say is it’s about time!

I also picked up a pair of fingerless riding gloves – the first ones I’ve found that actually feel right. The daughter raised an eyebrow at those and I patiently explained the reason they were so cheap was they had run out of cows’ teats and therefore couldn’t put the fingers in them. Until then, I didn’t know one could roll ones eyes that far back into their sockets.
Finally I got a new insurance quote that should save me about $300 next year. Just about enough to pay for a GoPro Hero camera!
So what with checking out all  the new models, meeting up with friends old and new, and getting to spend a few pleasant hours with the family surrounded by all things biker, it was a great day. Now I just have another 3 months to wait…….


  1. Good coverage of the event. The Logo of the Ottawa show actually looks pretty catchy (compared to the Calgary one...). BTW I especially like your shot of the scrambler.

  2. Sonja - Thanks for stopping by and commenting. The Scrambler was very, very nice - unlimited funds and garage space and I would definitely have one of those in the stable. Triumph has done a great job with the retro look on all their models.

  3. I went to my first bike show last winter, and look forward to going to one this winter. Nothing stimulates the senses (well, almost nothing) as much as a bike show. It seems to whet the appetite for the start of riding season all the more.

  4. I went to the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in November 08 and it sounds a lot like this one, only without that great camera. Good luck, as you make room in the garage for your new Road King. The power of positive thinking, as it where.

  5. Ken - It's a great way to inject some summer into a long winter, that's for sure.

    AZHD - I figure if I can get enough folks pulling for me, it's a done deal!

  6. Good luck with your ticket for the Road King - you did see Willie Wonka did you? Good report - factual about not many clothes retailers there, funny about the teats and socket sets, informative meaning I am going to check out those cameras as soon as I have posted this comment.


  7. Canajun, I just spent the last hour looking at the GoPro camera website. All I can say is stunning, absolutely stunning. The quality is superb and most of all, for motorbikes, no wind noise like you usually get. Wow. I have got to get one of these for my trip.

    Just check out the video clips on the GoPro website - amazing.

    Thank you so much for pointing this camera out from yur visit to the show.

    Gotta start saving again now....


  8. Gary - Thanks for the comments. That was my feeling too - the images were amazing, and apparently with virtually no jitter, which is a common problem when handlebar mounted. Could be a great accessory for your US trip.

  9. Dear Canajun:

    I love motorcycle shows... Despite the fact that I am committed to one brand. For one thing, I am fascinated by scooters. I have looked at dozens of them at various shows, yet have never attempted to sit on one. There are few opportunities, like a bike show, that will emable you to check out and compare the market leaders — or the new kid on the block — all in one location.

    Then there is the question of gear. I am an impulse buyer and I do like to see counters and counters of stuff that may or may not suit some need of mine.

    I am glad there are any bike shows at all this year. It is no secret that thre economy is in the toilet and motorcycle stuff heads the list of discretionary spending. It will be interesting to see how many marques waver on the brink of evaporation as older consumers — the core of expensive bike purchasers — hold their cash tighter and longer.

    I think it is very good news that the boys in the bund — BMW — are unleashing a couple of real street screamers this year. Naturally, the looks of these machines are getting some disapproval from the bunker purists, but Chrysler eventually moved on the the classic "airflow" design after 20 or 30 years too.

    Have a good time at the show.

    Fondest regards,
    Jsack • reep • Toad

  10. Jack - I too am an impulse buyer, especially at events like these. It would have to be a helluva deal for me to walk out with a new ride, but not so much for me to walk out with a new jacket, or some new bling, or at least a t-shirt. So I think the retailers who only bring bikes to these shows do themselves a disservice. Case in point - when I was talking to an H-D sales rep I know two separate people came up, one looking for a new seat, and another looking for a logoed jacket. They had none there - only bikes. And most of the dealers were the same. Saved me some money, but the lost sales opportunities must have been huge.
    But it was still fun!

  11. I enjoyed your write up of the show, having been to way too many shows it was good to see / read someone elses perspective.

  12. Paul - Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, but I do have one question: How can one go to "way too many" motorcycle shows?

  13. Thanks for covering the bike show. That Harley for Heroes is a fantastic looking bike. Me too, I would love a Road King in the garage.


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