The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

Went to the Toronto International Motorcycle Show 2011 yesterday.  I’m not in total riding withdrawal yet as I managed to get a short ride in last Sunday to my club’s breakfast.  This particular show is where they trot out the best and brightest of the coming year.  This year the Italians were well represented by Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Aprillia.  There had been a rumor that MV Agusta was to have been there but I didn’t see any of their bikes on hand.  Which is too bad because they are one of the historical premier marques of the industry.

As I’m currently very happy with my ride an 04 Suzuki DL-650 which after about five years of owning (and riding the crap out of) has evolved into pretty much the perfect bike for me as far as comfort and handling go (though we’ll be tackling the suspension this Spring) I was more interested in some new gloves and getting my hands on the new Moto GP film, “Fastest.”  However, the show did allow me to sit on some amazing machines that I must admit cause some deep stirrings of want in my soul, namely the Diavel above and others not so much such as the Zero Bikes (electric) which felt like toys.  But more on both of those in a bit.

There were a few surprises or shocks really.  BMW is finally heeding the encroachment of all the other bike makes into their Adventure Bike Turf and are lowering their prices.  This could also be an offshoot of them producing a greater amount of their product out of China.  What it ultimately means is that the brand new V-Strom 650ABS is within a thousand dollars of a BMW F800GS.  As loyal as I am to my DL-650, this does give me pause as the BMW is a sexy bitch as far as Enduro’s go.  I also sat on the Triumph Tiger 800 XC and yeah, it feels very competent and it’s also in the right price range, though by the time I get to it, I’m sure I can get a good deal on a used one.

The Yamaha Super Tenere’ was also there.  At 1200cc it’s one of the big ones and it looks and feels it.  I’ve owned a few Yamaha Enduro bikes over the years and while the ST is miles ahead of them, there is still that fundamental flaw I’ve always found with their offerings of the heavy front end.  It’s a big motor, I’m sure it pulls like a tractor but it looks like it’d want to go pig pretty quickly if you hit the soft and loose stuff and there’s nothing I hate more than going over the handlebars.

Triumph has some gorgeous new colors on the Thruxton, a beautiful candy apple red with a white racing stripe up the middle.

No range to speak of (200Km) but that’s a dead sexy bike.  There was a young man there lamenting that it was his, “Favourite bike,” and that he hoped to convince his girlfriend to let him buy one.  I advised him that if it was a too great a problem to surmount then the solution was a new girlfriend.  When I first got together with my wife, I advised her that I, “Came with two wheels,” if this was going to be a problem to let me know immediately as I’d be making other life plans.  You ride because you ride.  This state is not dictated by other people.  I didn’t stop riding when I had kids as so many do, because it’s considered dangerous.  Life is dangerous and as most accidents happen in the home I figured I was safer on the bike.

But seriously, girlfriend or wife not cool with riding?  Keep the bike, get rid of them.

Back to the Diavel.

When Ducati announced that they were getting back into the cruiser market, it was met with raised eyebrows.  There last effort had been…  Well there’s no other way to put it, poor.

I mean it looks like a Yamaha.  Very uninspired.

The Diavel is not that bike.  I will say that it is a polarizing machine.  You’re either going to love it or hate it but to my mind and my eyes, it’s the most futuristic looking machine I’ve ever seen in the flesh.  You don’t sit on it, you sit in it.  I’ve never had a bike seat grab my ass like that.  It’s surprisingly comfortable with a similar sitting position to my Strom.  The bars are nicely placed and straight so the steering inputs would be instant and the dash is very clean.  At 167 HP it would be hard not to leave a long black strip of rubber behind you at every stop light.  Yes, I’d consider being very unfaithful to the Strom for this one.  Maybe she’s not a classic beauty but she is an interesting one and I’m pretty sure she’d rock your world and leave the sheets damp and rumpled.

And then there’s the Zero Bikes…

It looks pretty sexy here but in the broad light of day, it looks like a toy and it feels like one to0.  It doesn’t feel substantial, the build quality was not inspiring and it’s got to have one of the ugliest kickstands I’ve ever see on a bike.  Plus there’s the simple truth about the range.  It’s not there.  65Km on the highway and it’s temperature dependent?  Or you can putter about in the woods for 165Km – though I’d like to know what the conditions of speed were to generate that number.  Then there’s the recharge time to get back on the road.  It’s simply not a good solution right now.  IMHO, batteries are not the answer, capacitance is.

I’m all for green options but we’re not there yet with the electric stuff.  Though a fusion powered motorcycle would be the shit.

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