Here's more from the Novi edition of the Progressive International Motorcycle Show:
Lois on the Loose (maximum distance rider):
Author and presenter Lois Pryce made a big impact on the crowds at the Novi show. She's the young lass whom one day decided to take a life changing trip on a motorcycle. As the story goes, she was driven to her wits end with her day job, and hence felt that life was passing her by. So she hit the books, carefully choose a small, trail-capable motorcycle (a Yamaha XT 225 "Serow") and spent the better part of a year getting ready. As a experienced rider of "British Iron" she wanted to improve her off road skills on her new, lighter, all terrain bike. She enlisted riding friends and friends of these riding friends and accidentally wound up falling in love with her riding teacher! Being a no-nonsense type, she bid him adieu and headed off to Alaska for a trip that would eventually cover 16,000 miles and would indeed take her to her final destination, the extreme tip of South America. She also chose to ride alone, quite a trip with a big, well equipped bike, and a massive undertaking riding solo on a bike capable of 55 miles per hour!
Lois was on hand to tell the motorcycle show crowds about her trip and show a little bit of the experience via a series of slides. We all laughed with her (and at her wacky escapades), and experienced a taste of what can happen on the road in the middle of nowhere. Her talk was a huge success, and if you can't get to one of her appearances at the Progressive International Motorcycle show, be sure to visit her web site to pick up a copy of her wonderful book "Lois on the Loose". It's well worth a read and full of laugh-out-loud "road moments!"
Advanced Riding Skills with Jason Disalvo
This year's Advanced Riding Skills presentation was presented by MC and all-around good guy Mason Orr and motorcycle racer Jason Disalvo, who happens to be handy with a bike. In case you don't know about Jason, he raced in the AMA Pro races in 2011 where he won the 2011 Daytona 200 with team Latus Motors Racing on a Ducati 848. Last year, Jason returned with Latus Motors Racing, this time aboard a Triumph Daytona 675R. In 2012 he finished 5th in the standings and recorded twelve top 10 finishes, including a win at Infineon Raceway and five additional podium finishes. He also runs the Disalvo Speed Academy with Brian Stokes. Jason just introduced a new mobile app with HiQo Solutions that is designed to allow amateurs and pros alike to examine his proven motorcycle racing techniques. These techniques can make a rider safer and faster while having more fun and extracting maximum performance from their bike and most importantly, themselves.
Jason and Mason used a Triumph 675R and a bottle of Gatorade to demonstrate how smooth inputs help a rider extract all of the performance that their specific bike and tires offer. Jason spoke of the importance of trail-braking and the relationship between vehicle speed, available grip and turning radius. Fascinating stuff, even for casual riders of all sorts of bikes and scooters.
Surprises of the show:
There were a few surprises at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Novi. Here they are:
Is it the year of the quarter liter bike?
It seems like almost everyone has a different take on the 250-300cc motorcycle this year. Honda has had great success with their single-cylinder CBR250R and is introducing another 250cc variant this year, this one the CRF250L dual-sport. For 2013, Kawasaki adds an irresistible 300cc version of the venerable Ninja, this time in a wallet-friendly but very serious-looking twin cylinder version. The show model wore several accessories that will help the value conscious rider keep the tank clean and the plastic scratch-free in case of an off. Will Yamaha show up soon with a 250cc? Time will tell.
Scooters rule OK
One of the biggest attractions of the show was a surprise, as Blackbeard Powersports, a local Detroit dealer representing Hyosung, Genuine, SYM, Tomos and a whole lot of ATVs, showed up with a special Genuine Stella scooter. The Stella is an old-school-looking, manual shifting scooter that is now equipped with a smooth and torquey four-stroke 150cc engine. Blackbeard brought along a cream and green two-tone Stella completely decked out with a medium windscreen, front and rear racks, a fender embellisher and crash bars, plus two soft bags color matched to the tan seat. People were lined up looking at this thing, and I think that in this configuration, it's even more of a winner. Here's an idea, go get your scoot and slowly customize it with all the accessories that are readily available through Blackbeard or from Scooterworks. That way, it will start out cheap and end up looking even more beautiful.
In addition to the shiny Hyosungs, Blackbeard brought along a red SYM Wolf Classic 150. This sweet ride is a retro-inspired, Taiwanese 7/8th scale jewel of a standard motorcycle for the beginning rider or perhaps the scooterist looking for another challenge.
Gear and more
The show was packed with all varieties of motorcycling and scooting gear, and British Motorcycle Gear was again present to tempt show goers with their variety of professional grade riding gear. From the relatively inexpensive BMG branded variety of jackets to the Barbours and Belstaffs, each piece looked great, felt great and offered a real sense of value despite some of the pricing of the higher-end leather jackets.
My standout piece of gear for this show was the simple Zodiac summer-weight jacket. Although not made of mesh (which apparently doesn't meet European abrasion standards), the Zodiac promises to keep its rider cool through the use of a military-grade fabric that not only blocks the sun, but provides easy, flow-through ventilation that's apparently good enough to allow a comfortable ride through Death Valley. All this while packing the usual armor and useful details that set these jackets apart from the rest. And at $139, it offers competitive value that will surprise you. Don't be surprised if I manage to check out their claims on the Zodiac this summer, as the old Fieldsheer mesh summer jacket is starting to look a little tatty around the edges.
What's next: It's Dealer Expo time!