It’s been three years since I last attended the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows held in Dallas. Then, the show was the final one of the IMS tour, and all newsworthy items such as new products and motorcycles were already exposed during previous shows.However, this year’s Dallas IMS held in late January was the eighth stop on the 2015 tour, and was highlighted with some bike debuts and new product lines. A resident of Texas, I took the opportunity to attend the Friday media opening and have a longer visit on Saturday.
During my visit, several items caught my attention and worth noting:Suzuki GSX-S750 and GSX-S1000 – The one major announcement that was not broadcasted at previous IMS stops was the release of two new Suzuki models in the USA – the GSX-S750 and the GSX-S1000.These are standard type motorcycles with the GSX-R detuned engine to allow more torque on the bottom end for commuter-friendly riding. The GSX-S750 is due to be released in April and the GSX-S1000 somewhere from July to September.The GSX-S750 will be offered in two trims: Basic and Z, which is $150 over the basic model. The Z upgrades include a number of items such as LED accent lights in the headlight housing and blue-plated chain.As for the GSX-S1000, even though the prototype was on display and I took the opportunity to sit on it, Suzuki still has not determined the final weight and sell price. What struck me from this announcement was how enthusiastic the Suzuki personnel were about this model and cannot wait for its release in the U.S.Mosko Moto – This is a new company out of Oregon that makes soft side bags and tail bags for adventure and dual-sport bikes. What’s unique? The side bags have a stiff plastic backing that allows attaching to most hard-case racks from companies like Tourtech and Happy Trails.The “tail” bag is rather wide and opens on both ends and this bag easily converts to a backpack. Additionally, it has a compression-strap overlay on top that allows placing items such as a base layer or light jacket while keeping it covered from dust and mud. The material is heavy grade and 100 percent waterproof. The cost for the bags is competitive with other soft side luggage.Royal Enfield – I had the opportunity to talk with Rod Copes, the newly hired North America president. During our conversation he did confirm that Royal Enfield firmly believes that the North America, and specifically the U.S., market is critical. He also sees very good opportunity in the US market for mid-engine bikes that are affordable both in purchase price and ownership. Additionally, the company has opened a design center in the U.K. and hiring talent.Harley-Davidson LiveWire Project – Harley Davidson’s all electric bike project – Project LiveWire – is still in the development phase. At this point HD is collecting customer inputs at the shows.Currently, with the Lithium-Ion battery pack the travel range is anywhere from 30 mi (power mode) to 60 mi (range mode). Charging the battery relies on 220V/3phase, basically what is used for house dryers, but they are looking at the more common 110V charging setup.A couple of quick notes are that hen decelerating or braking, electrical regeneration (charging) from three-phase AC motors to DC system; the style seems to be a cafe racer with a narrow “tank” area, narrow handlebars, single disc front brake, and LED lights.Heidenau Tires – Heidenau Tires is based Heidenau, Germany, which is just southwest of Dresden. The company started in 1999 and began importing to the U.S 2007. They appear to have good distributer coverage and the price point is competitive with Continental and Metzler.
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!