Well that was a bit of a bust. I went to the Ottawa bike show yesterday, spent a couple of hours surrounded by bikes and bikers, and came away quite disappointed.
After last year’s inaugural show I was looking forward to a bigger and better event with more dealers, more vendors, and more bikes. And there were signs of improvement in some areas. Certainly the show was better attended than last year – in fact the crowds were a bit of problem in my opinion as the venue was small for the number of booths and movement around the show floor was difficult at times. And it was nice to see a few more aftermarket and accessory vendors there than last year. But what was most disappointing to me were the motorcycles themselves.
Based on some previous blog comments (bobskoot and others) I was looking forward to seeing the Yamaha Super Tenere. Well, if Yamaha had one on display I certainly couldn’t find it. Otherwise, all the metric crotch rockets look and feel the same to me, as do all the Japanese cruisers, so nothing of interest there. But the muscular Yamaha V-Max is still a hard to ignore show stopper that, in my opinion, would have attracted more attention had it not been pushed way in the back of the Yamaha display.
Since I have a soft spot for Brit bikes, the new Triumphs were high on my list of must-sees as well – but Triumph wasn’t even present. Nor was BMW, which always has some interesting models to display. Both marques are carried by the same Ottawa dealer which appears to have made a business decision not to be involved this year at all, which was too bad, and I think it may hurt them in the long run. (After last year’s show, a sales rep there told me they very disappointed with the results of their participation, so it’s not surprising I suppose.)
The Harley booth, the largest at the show, was quite good with a couple of new models on display and a selection of clothing and other gear. But I get to see those bikes at my dealer whenever I want, kick the tires, and get a chance to actually talk to a representative without being jostled by people trying to get a better look or a picture of their friend sitting astride a Harley.
The only motorcycles that did catch my eye were the Royal Enfields. With classic lines these bikes are a throwback to the 50’s in appearance, but under the skin are thoroughly modern with disk brakes, electronic ignition, EFI, modern suspensions, and so on. A very interesting amalgam of old and new, an Enfield would satisfy the need for a nostalgic ride, but in a much more reliable fashion. And they just look great to my ‘vintage’ eyes. Seeing there’s now a local dealer carrying the brand is encouraging, and hopefully we’ll see a few more on the road.
But overall the show did not meet my expectations. I know it sounds like a lot of whingeing, but I’ve been to great motorcycle shows and this just wasn’t one. Still though, it was a day of bikes in the middle of winter, and that isn’t all bad. And next year will be better.