The International Motorcycle Show (IMS) comes to NYC once per year and used to fall right in the of the non-riding season where it was a welcome oasis in the two-wheeled desert that is winter. Now that it falls in December, and in the case of this year, in a mild beginning to winter where riding is still a possibility for us die-hards, it is somewhat less dramatic. It also falls fast on the heels of much news from EICMA about new bikes, and after the CA IMS in Long Beach. So we were expecting to see some new machines in the flesh, but no real surprises.
It was as expected, but that is not to say it was a yawnfest. There was some nice vintage machinery hidden amongst the bright shiny new stuff which was of interest to fans of old iron. But we also had a chance to throw a leg over the new small kids on the block such as the BMW G310R, the KTM 390 Duke, and the Yamaha R3. All high quality machines that will be good choices for commuters, beginners, and general fans of small displacement. Max BMW had an impressive trio of restored BMWs including an immaculate R80 G/S that started the whole adventure craze. Speaking of that, KTM had the new big adventure bikes on display, the 1290 Super Adventure, and the 1050 adventure R. We have to admit struggling with the new “face” on the 1290 machine. The Yamaha Super Tenere in sand beige looked like just a livery change for this year, but the Honda Africa Twin looked and felt good.
Elsewhere, we had a brief chat with Eric Buell who had yet another set of machines and another promise of a stable future. We hope he is right this time. The Harley Davidson booth was all about the new motor, which one die-hard fan described as “too smooth”! Victory further emphasized styling, but also had an Empulse electric bike, reminding us that they are now a player in that space (and they proved it on Pike’s Peak!). Indian seems to be doing very well with the Scout, now planning to fully campaign in dirt track and amp up the new rivalry with Harley. There were also the usual series of custom show machines and accessory vendors. All in all, the show is still a fun way to pass several hours.
And we end with a modern interpretation of where we began….Nice job, but I’ll take the original thank you.