Saturday, February 14, 2015

How to spend a dreary winter day

Yesterday morning dawned bright and cold, –40 to be exact. At –40 it doesn’t matter whether you are using the Celsius or Fahrenheit scale – they cross over at –40 which, in anyone’s experience, is just damned cold. Today was milder (only –16C) but windy and snowing so not all that pleasant either. So what to do? Why, go to the motorcycle show, of course!
And so I slipped and slid my way (on 4 wheels) into Ottawa to attend the 2015 International Motorcycle Show. Truth be told I wasn’t really sure it would be worth the trip as I’d been pretty disappointed the last time I went. But I’m glad I did as the show had improved a lot and was much better than expected.
There seemed to be more dealers in attendance, and they all had lots of bikes on display, including some of their used inventory. The custom bike exhibits were more expansive and well laid out to afford good views of some of the artwork on display. And, for the SOA fans, there was even an autograph signing by Chibs and Bobby – for a fee, of course.
There weren’t many aftermarket vendors there, but in the past I’ve found their offerings to be mostly old stock that they were trying to finally get rid of, so they weren’t missed by me. But one group that I’ve always enjoyed seeing that wasn’t there this year is the vintage bike owners. Usually the CVMG (Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group)  could be counted on to have a dozen or so of their prime specimens on display, and I would usually meet a couple of people I know at their exhibit. Too bad. I hope they’ll be back.
As mentioned, the dealers were well represented and I (along with many others) got to try on various bikes for size. (Sorry to have to use internet photos, but crowds around these bikes made getting pictures difficult.) Having long lusted after a new Triumph Bonneville I had to give it a go. Immediate flashback to the sixties: uncomfortable slab seat, narrow tank and bars, and a sit-up-and-beg riding position. I think I’ve moved on.
MH6_MY14_Bonneville_MM_RHS(Photo: Internet)
Enough nostalgia, on to the BMWs. The adventure tourers and the sports bikes did nothing for me, but the K 1600 GTL felt like I was sitting in my La-Z-Boy at home. Beautifully balanced, perfect ergonomics (for me, at least), I could easily envision myself heading out to the wet coast in a series of 600 mile days. Very, very nice indeed, but what would I do with all my Harley tee-shirts?
normal_36(Photo: Internet)
The Ducatis were next. The last time I actually rode one was decades ago and it was a Desmo 450cc single. Well, we’ve come a long way since then baby and now the pride of the pack is the Ducati Monster 1200 S. With that almost-cafe racer positioning and some incredible Italian engineering between my knees I had visions of tearing up the twisties at an outrageous clip. Then I remembered how many birthdays I’ve experienced and disembarked, slowly, with a hint of regret.

And, of course, all the new Harley models, especially the Road King and Electra Glide – both on my when-I-win-the-lottery list. Maybe even this CVO model for a cool 46 grand, plus taxes. (Worth every penny ‘cause I really like the paint scheme.)

When I go to these shows I also like to see what I can’t see in the showrooms, so I’m always attracted to the custom bikes. While I’d never own one (Two thoughts always come to mind. First, that looks really uncomfortable to ride. And, second, how much would it cost to fix a stone chip in the paint?) I do admire the creativity and artistry involved.
Also got to check out some of the 3-wheeled offerings although I don’t think I’m quite there yet. But, to be fair, I’ve never ridden one either. Who knows, maybe it would be love at first sight ride.




So, I managed to escape this year’s seemingly endless winter for several hours, dream a little bit, immerse myself in all things motorcycle, and see Chibs and Bobby on the show floor (when I didn’t have my camera ready, of course). All that and I got in on a senior’s discount! Not a bad day.

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting the pictures. I've never been to a motorcycle show before so it's nice to see one. As far as -40°, I'm glad it left here last week and moved on. Apparently to you...

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    1. Richard - Yup, it's here. -40 with wind chill again this morning. Looks like February will be a record cold month for us - a record I'd just as soon not have.

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  2. Nice post. I last went to the motorcycle show in 2011. I sat on a tonne of bikes, fell in love with a few and fell out of live with others. My favourite part of the show was the vintage bikes, some were wrecks, others lovingly restored and my favourite the ones that weren't quite wrecks, but wholly original. As for the custom biked, I think most people think "Wow, cool" and have the same thoughts you did about fixing paint chips & the dubious comfort aspect. I am not a big fan of the whole skull thing either, it's just not my cup of tea. I once bumped into a guy who had this big custom chop here with chrome everywhere and a pretty spectacular paint job, we struck up a conversation about the bike. I asked how much he had into it and it was over 40k, I could only think man I could buy at least two maybe three of my dream bikes with that moolah. I asked him if he rides it a lot and he said "No, it's mostly for show" it turns out he couldn't ride it for more than 10 minutes at a stretch because it was uncomfortable and he was worried about rocks & paint damage. My question was "Do you have any other bikes." His reply was "No I have too much money tied up in this one." I guess motorcycling means different things to people, but it would rather have a bike I love yo ride, am comfortable on and not worry about paint or chrome damage.

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    1. Dar - Interesting conversation you had with the custom guy. I expect he's not alone. I guess it comes down to motorcycle as art or motorcycle as fun or motorcycle as transportation - all different.

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  3. A motorcycle show can do miracles on the mood. Good to have them in winter ;-). I can't imagine ever riding a custom bike but I like to look at them, and admire all the handiwork. Like Dar, I prefer a bike that one can ride, that can get grimy and where a paint chip is no drama.
    Did they lower the age for admission? You are way too young to account for a senior discount.

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    1. Sonja - Nice of you to say but I don't think you'd believe me if I said senior discounts start at 40. ;-)

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  4. Dreaming is always a good way to help pass the winter

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    1. Gary - Very true. Just seems sad that we spend half our lives dreaming for the other half to get here. :(

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  5. I am glad you decided to brave the temperatures and head out to the show. Might as well look at bikes when the temperatures are that cold.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. I often wonder what people are thinking when they design those custom bikes.

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    1. Trobairitz - I don't know but I expect they just see a motorcycle as a blank canvas and go from there, like any other piece of art/sculpture. Whatever the thought processes they are pretty amazing works.

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  6. Fun post and I enjoyed viewing it with my coffee cup in hand, from the warmth of my kitchen!

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    1. Deb - If it kept you in out of the cold then my mission is accomplished. :)

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  7. Seems we northerners expect and receive some intangibles from the Shows. Always worth it to me and as mentioned, such a nice break from our weather.

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    1. Coop - It is a nice break, and even though I sometimes complain about not getting value for the time, effort, and money to attend, I nearly always go back next year. It just beats the alternative of sitting home and looking at snow..

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  8. Can't believe I missed it - Damn! And I was in Ottawa all weekend. Glad it has improved since last year and you had the chance to enjoy and share. I'll have to be more on top of things next year.

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