Cycle World Motorcycle Show 2009
Qwest Field Center - Seattle Washington

 

First off I would like to define the scope of this article. These shows are big. There are allot of venders and products.  I could write a full page just on the accessories and their manufactures alone. Since my site is focused towards road riding I will limit the scope of this article to just that. I will cover the road bikes and try to go into some detail on some of the hot items. That said lets get on with the article.

The long awaited Cycle Word Motorcycle Show arrived in the Seattle area December 12th as a 3 day event starting the 12th at 4:PM. A grey cloud of severe weather was looming in the forecast and was projected to bring severe cold temperatures and moisture in the form of snow. the forecast was 0 to 8" in the lowlands north. This was something most  riders do not want to hear or deal with. Fortunately the low pressure that was tracking our way took a turn and we enjoyed a partly cloudy day with no precipitation. To the right is the video I put together from the show. Just click play...

People have been asking me if I was going to attend and what bike am I going to ride. Hmmm.... Goldwing or B-King?  Well my step son wanted to go and I decided to climb into my FJ Cruiser and cage it up to Seattle. And as expected the ride in the cage was boring. Once we arrived the traffic wasn't bad and we made our way into the parking garage after paying $10 to park. The garage was full and we worked our way through each floor of parking up to the roof. Not bad, we had the best view in the house! We grabbed our camera gear and headed for the ticket booths. The line was long but seemed to move fairly quick. Soon I was handing the cashier $26 for admittance. Ouch! We entered on the mezzanine with a great view of the entire showroom floor. I was surprised there were so many folks. I guess I expected fewer due to the bad weather reports. The first display was some old bikes such as a Ducati 750 and a Norton. The next display was the Aprilia motors display. I really liked the blue & silver Aprilia Mana 850. I just had a nice clean precision look to it. We moved on to the Moto Guzzi booth where we looked over the new Moto Griso 1200 8V. Again a clean looking bike but it just didn't grab my attention. I also noticed many people around the Aperilia and just one guy next to the Moto Guzzi. That's the nice thing about these shows, folks are drawn to the hot ticket items so if your looking for something folks think is really cool, just stand on the mezzanine and see where the clusters of lookers are located.

 My plan was to see it all so Matt and I just took out time snapping photo's and drooling over the bikes we really fell for. Our next stop would be at Star Motorcycles. The revealing of the new 2009 V-Max was really hyped up this year as Star Motors released it's new 200 HP (at the crank) street fighter. I was curios as to how it looked in person. I was not impressed by the photos but really liked the looks after seeing it in person. And as you would guess, it's all engine. The power plant is a 1679cc liquid-cooled 65 V-4 sporting DOHC with 4 valves per cylinder. The massive torque and power is moved to the rear wheel via a shaft drive. Unfortunately it's 683 lbs, the cost is over $17,000 and has only a 5 speed transmission. I'm a big fan of a 6th gear in the gearbox.

Next in line was the Polaris Victory's. Made in The US as is Aprilia and Harley Davidson. Victory has been the driver behind Harley Davidson stepping up with new innovative products. This is just my opinion of course. There is no disputing this when you look over all the Harley's then stand in front of the Victory Vision or the Hammer for that matter. Victory has raised the bar for American made cruisers.

You can't have a cycle show and not have some of the rare older bikes. I was amazed by the what I thought was beautifully restored Royal Enfield's. Honestly I never heard of them before this. As it turns out they are brand new. I learn something every day. As we stopped for a lunch break we sat across the table from a guy who was working that booth. His name was Matt same as my step son. Since I mentioned lunch the cost of 3 small chicken strips and 2 Jones Cola's was a little over $17. Ouch! I can't help but thinks they would sell more tickets to events as well as food if they were more realistic with their prices. After all we need to save money to invest in our bikes right?

Next up was the Ducati booth. Ducati had a very strong showing with a nice line of bikes. My favorite was the Ducati Hypermotard. You have to give up some love to their Sport Classic line as well. There is the Ducati GT 1000 and the new GT 1000 Touring. Very cool with that old school look. I'm drawn to these but not in a big way so they are beast suited for a second or third bike. Not far away was the Triumph boot boasting its big or should I say mammoth cruiser the Rocket III. This bike is a shaft drive, liquid-cooled, DOHC, in-line 2294cc 3-cylinder. That is one torque monster. I work with a few guys who own them and they really love the bike. Triumph also brought their my favorite from there line, the Street Tripple. Great looking bike athat would look great parked between my Goldwing and B-king. Kudos to Triumph as the also brought their Classic Style line as well as their other sport bikes. As Ducati, they had a very nice line up.

Up to bat next was Buell. Buell's hot sport bike at the show was the 1125 R. Very nice looking sport bike. My favorite from the Buell lineup is the Lightning XB12. The Lightning XB12 is more like a street fighter. It has a very dark powerful look about it that screams light up my tire! Buell also has an adventure motorcycle line but they just don't do it for me. We soon moved on to the Kawasaki booth. Kawasaki has a pretty decent line of bikes. My favorite was the Kawasaki ZX-14 (Ninja).  This is a 1352cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline-four that is nestled in a nice package that weighs 567 lbs. This is a 190 Horsepower rocket! I have had a thing for this bike as well as the Hayabusa but the rider position is to forward and the pegs are a bit too high for me. Outside of that the ZX-14 is a force to be reckoned with. I can't forget Kawasaki's Sport Touring Concours 14. The Concours ha s a 1352cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline-four with VVT. The Concours has been growing in popularity and rightfully so. The ergonomics are great and I hear it has allot of power.

Finally we made our way to the Suzuki booth. I'm a big Honda and Suzuki guy. Why? Because I have owned these bikes over the course of 30 years give or take a few. I have never had a bad one. In every case the bikes have been trouble free and extremely dependable. Suzuki did not bring a B-king. For those of you who haven't heard, the B-king won't be sold in the US in 2009. It will be sold in the UK.  From what I understand, it just didn't sell in the US this year. It has several things going against it. The price was almost $13,000. This was way more then other naked street fighters. The looks were futuristic and some did not accept this. Another plus is that it sports the Hayabusa Engine that delivers almost 170 Hp to the rear wheel. That coupled with the fact my local dealer (Hinshaw's) lowered the price by almost $3,000 was enough to cause me to lose sleep until I bought one. Suzuki did bring a great lineup from their Boulevard M-90 street cruiser to their SV650 naked street fighter. Of their line I really like the Suzuki Bandit 1250 ABS. I was fortunate to be able to test ride several Suzuki's (Thanks to Hinshaw's) in the last several months. These included the B-King, Hayabusa and Bandit 1250 ABS. I really loved the bandit 1250 as it demonstrated exceptional handling and had allot of low end torque. We can't forget Suzuki's well know GSXR line. These are very fast and agile sport bikes ranging from the GSXR 600 to the GSXR 1300 (Hayabusa). The GSXR 1000 is a extremely powerful bike for those who do not want to cross over into the realm of crazy fast such as the Haybusa, B-King, ZX-14 and the new V-max just to name a few.

Honda was our next stop. I mentioned I prefer Honda bikes. Well, I didn't like the bright yellow carpet they laid out on the showroom floor. It was horrible. The color of the carpet reflected in every piece of chrome and shiny paint. They literally ruined the looks of their bikes. I tried taking some pictures and the pictures looked like crap. Do you think any editor of any bike magazine would allow such a photo on their cover? no way! I mentioned this to two of the Honda guys and they just kind of laughed and shrugged it off. OK... So as far as Honda, I ride a Goldwing. Away from bright yellow carpets it's a beautifully made bike with great ergonomics. The Honda naked 919 is probably their best buy. The VFR 800 Interceptor is probably one of the most raved about bikes over the year. The ST1300 is one of the top Sport Touring bikes and is know for it's ergonomics, handling and braking. I owned a 2006 and put almost 12,000 miles on it the first year. I can tell you more just from owning them then I can from my brief (blinding) visit to their booth. What were they thinking?

Soon we were back at the Yamaha Booth and their line including the Yamaha R1 and the FJR 1300. The FJR is Yamaha's flag ship sport touring bike. The power plant is a 1298cc liquid-cooled inline 4-cylinder; DOHC, 16 valve fun machine! The bikes wet weight is 671 lbs and it has a 5 speed transmission. Where is 6th gear? Allot of folks like the FJR and it has a good reputation so far. The R1 is Yamaha's Super Sport bike and with it comes a 998cc, liquid-cooled 4-stroke DOHC 16 valves (titanium valves) power plant. The bike is very fast and nimble  weighing in at 454 lbs.

We made a brief stop at the KTM booth. KTM's bike that gets me going id the Super Duke. They have a great dirt bike line that is very popular. They also have an adventure motorcycle called the 990 Adventure. So much for creativity. I really don't like to bad mouth bikes but this bike to me was the ugliest bike on the floor. Not from the sides but behind the bars. You sit on it and the view is horrible. I'm sure there are folks who will disagree but I bet there are allot that won't.

We stopped by the Harley booth and the Road Glide was cool as was the Road King. I have to say out of all the Harley's the V-Rod Line just does it for me. What a great looking bike. I'm torn between the dark "Vader" like looks of the V-Rod SPecial and The clean & mean looks of the V-Rod Muscle. For some reason they brought out a V-Rod Special with it's flat black pipes with brushed ends and the black part of the pipes had allot of marring as if some non-metallic (plastic) things had been rubbing up against the pipe. If your going to bring bikes to a show as big as this in hopes to bring in a sale or two at minimum, you would want to bring bikes that were as close to flawless as possible. As for the V-Rod itself, the power plant is a 1250cc liquid cooled Revolution V-Twin engine. Harley claims a robust 115 HP and 85 Ft. lbs. of torque @ 7,000 RPM but several magazines had conflicting results placing it more close to the 109 HP.  I have only seen but a few Dyno charts on the V-Rod and so far it appears, as one would hope from a bike like this, the torque curve is very flat. Harley has done well bringing this in at under $15,000 (V-Rod Special) and $17,200 (V-Rod- muscle). I'm sure the additional bling will greatly drive the cost up as Harley Davidson is notorious for this. We also walked around looking at gear. Gerbing's was there as was Two brothers and Twisted Throttle. I made it a point to go up to the mezzanine and visit with the great folks from Sound Rider. Sound Rider had a nice display of bikes that included some of the oldies but goodies. They even had a tricked out Yamaha V-Max from the 80's. They are a great resource for motorcycle relate information. Of course my favorite Puget Sound  website for motorcycle rides is Road-Quest.com.

After our visit with the folks from Sound Riders we exited the building and endured a caged ride home. I ran into a few riders I had met on the rode and a couple I worked with. All in all it was a great event with the exception of the ridiculous prices. The weather held out until later and as I type this page the snow has begun to fall and accumulate. With any luck we will have snow for Christmas.

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Tacoma, Washington - United States (USA)
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