For those of us who have an especially tough slog through the gray dreariness of the winter season, the International Motorcycle Shows come as a welcome shot in the arm every year. It's a ray of two-wheel sunshine that gives riders the chance to see, feel, (and even sit on) the latest machinery on the market, and get the inside scoop on new models from the manufacturers themselves -- no matter what the weather's doing outside. This year, there were plenty of goings-on in the cruiser segment. The IMS is making its way across the country now, so go get your moto fix while you can. We've compiled just some of the highlights of our visits below:
At the Long Beach, Ca. show, Victory Motorcycles unveiled the new 2013 Victory Cross Country Midnight Metallic Flame Factory Custom Paint option, and announced the opportunity for a fan to win one of the limited production run bikes on January 1, 2013.
The attitude-laden Factory Custom Paint option is being offered only for a limited period, beginning the first quarter of 2013. As on every current Victory bagger, this one also features ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System), cruise control, an air-adjustable preload rear suspension, and rolls with the Freedom 106/6 powertrain. Also standard on the Cross Country are lockable hard saddlebags and that sleek wind-busting fairing, complete with comprehensive instruments and premium audio. MSRP will be $20,999 for the US market ($21,249 in California), and $22,899 for Canada.
In partnership with the Sturgis Buffalo Chip and Arlen Ness Motorcycles, Victory also unveiled a one-off Cory Ness Customized Victory Cross Country, to be given to a lucky rider as part of the Sturgis Rider Sweepstakes at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip this summer. In addition to this stunning piece of rolling art, the winning rider also gets a matching, custom-painted, Epiphone Les Paul Studio guitar that can plug right into the bike's built-in guitar amp. In addition to a hand-crafted stretched gas tank and filled-in rear section, this classy custom rocks 6 degree raked triple trees, a new 23-inch Arlen Ness G3 front wheel, modular handlebars and power LED's. The built-in KICKER sound system features an amplifier, fairing and saddlebag mounted speakers, I-Pod connection and a guitar hook-up. After a brief chat with Cory after the unveiling, we could tell he was more than pleased with the end result, and we got the impression that we'll be seeing some of the bike's slick details in the not-too-distant future.
The one thing you couldn't miss at the Long Beach Show was the huge Indian Motorcycle display (it'll be in New York too). The company is celebrating its transition from the Kings Mountain era to a new future under Polaris Industries, and it was setting the stage for a new chapter in this iconic brand's history. As a way to "tip our cap to the people of Gilroy and Kings Mountain," as Product Director Gary Gray put it, Indian unveiled the 2013 Chief Vintage Final Edition, the last run of Indian bikes designed with the Kings Mountain platform.
The display area offered another look at Indian's past by showcasing the original Munro Special, the red 1920 Indian Scout made famous as "The World's Fastest Indian" by Burt Munro. A couple of techs even fired it up for the crowd...and as you can imagine, the roar of the engine (and the attendees) was pretty awesome.
Perhaps as a counterpoint to that, Indian also featured a booth where you could immerse yourself in the sound and vibes of the new Indian powerplant being developed by Polaris. The first Polaris-designed Indian is slated to debut sometime in the second half of 2013 (and an appearance at Sturgis is likely), according to Polaris sources.
Harley displayed most of its new 2013 model lineup, including the dazzling CVO Softail Breakout and the redesigned Street Bob (in Hard Candy paint - HD1 Factory Customization is available) and also focused on its big 110th Anniversary celebration taking place at several venues around the world, throughout the year. There were also 110th Anniversary models to scope out as well as several cool interactive displays, like the Fit Shop. If you stop by the Harley-Davidson Motorcycles booth at the International Motorcycle Show you can enter to win a 2014 Harley of your choice.
The Star cruiser display was awash in customs, built both from inside the firm as well as by outsiders. They pulled the wraps off this wickedly cool V Star 950 bobber custom from Jeff Pahlyegi Design out of San Diego, as well as a very slick V Star 250 bobber. The new midsize V Star 1300 Deluxe was also on full view, for those who wanted to see the only factory middleweight bagger on the market.
Honda had its new $19,999 F6B bagger on display for all to throw a leg over, as well as its retro-themed CB1100 standard.
Ducati showed its new $19,495 Diavel Strada, the loaded touring version of its power cruiser, and Triumph had several customs on display in addition to its usual cruiser lineup
Another highlight of the IMS events is the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show, an Affiliate Competition to the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building. Returning to the series for a third year, the world's largest motorcycle builder competition showcases elite-level custom creations that compete for a $90,000 cash purse prize and a chance to head to the United States Championship finale. The competition features five classes: Freestyle, Modified Harley-Davidson, Modified Street, Retro Mod and Performance Custom.