The Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, California gave us a glimpse of where a few companies decided to strategize. Held every year at the Convention Center, major players in the motorcycle industry show where they see the future. Some had truly innovative designs, others were reigniting days gone by, and others still are resolutely here to have fun.
Progressive International Motorcycle Show, BMW Motorrad
I found my dream motorcycle! The new 2016 BMW R1200R is not only versatile enough to keep up with my GS friends, it also looks like a comfortable highway bike, but above all, it is a looker! BMW stepped up its design well the last few years with a much more aggressive look. It looks like BMW is not slowing down its attacks on the Japanese motorcycle, judging by its across the line modernized looks. Today’s BMW motorcycles are still great quality and make for amazing ride, in almost all conditions. It makes me wish their car counterparts would put the same zest into designing and performance, without the weight they suffer.
The refreshed 2016 R1200R does away with the classic look and combines sportiness with a comfortable position. One thing purists will lament is a straightforward front fork instead of its traditional telelever front fork. Still, Ohlins are available, as usual. Also, away with the air cooled twin-cylinder, and welcome a double over head cam system with water cooling. Signs of time?
Progressive International Motorcycle Show, Yamaha and Honda
The Japanese war of bikes is well alive, however it seems to be mostly shared between Honda and Yamaha these days. Yamaha is bringing back its illustrious YZ names and famous yellow/black colors for those of us who fondly remember the wild 1970s years. It would be fun riding a YZ in super motard set up. Honda is not left behind either, while it enjoys its racing success.
Progressive International Motorcycle Show, Suzuki and Kawasaki
Strangely enough, Suzuki and Kawasaki seem to be in a lull when it comes to modern design. Both companies seem more interested in pushing the American cruisers than race or street bikes. This is not a bad thing. It’s a strategic choice. It had some interesting bikes to show, such as the Kawasaki’s new Ninja, also harboring an old illustrious name, the H2. The Vulcan is the highway cruiser version of the brand and continues its peaceful evolution. Suzuki showed its GSX Concept, which caught the attention of many show goers.
Progressive International Motorcycle Show, Ducati and Triumph
Ducati showed its Scrambler, now available in 400cc. The Italian brand has diversified well over the years and the introduction of the Scrambler has been met with success. The Ducati Diavel line looks amazing and if you like that riding position, it should provide with oodles of fun. I found the new Ducati Monster line to have a better ride position. As always, the beautiful presenters make it difficult concentrating on the matter at hand.
Triumph was also there showing with its modern classic lines, something it seems to master brilliantly. The show centered on its Modern Classics line up and the Triumph Thruxton took center stage. It would be my second choice for a new motorcycle. It’s classic lines screams a winner for the company. It just looked great. The rest of the Bonneville line up was there to prop up the amazing Thruxton.
Progressive International Motorcycle Show
Overall, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show was exciting as it always is. The crowd of enthusiasts is something the automotive industry wish it could have, but fails to deliver to the mass. I’m looking forward to getting the BMW R1200R or the Triumph Thruxton, both amazing bikes begging to be ridden.