I took a spin round the Toronto Motorcycle Show at the Direct Energy Center yesterday. There was some cool stuff there but really I just wanted to go and be around people who like bikes. I had a good chat with a bunch of off road guys and I may try to do some organized days in the dirt this year if time allows it.
To be honest though there’s not too much new stuff on offer as everybody seems to be consolidating their bike lines. As much as I like the Suzuki brand, they really haven’t stepped outside of the design box for a very long time, preferring to make their bikes resemble their European counterparts, rather than carve their own esthetic. Kawasaki still seems very geared towards the hooligan market and Yamaha continues to refine what seems to be working for them.
Honda though does seem to be trying to push the envelope a bit. The NC4 (New Concept) platform is not available in North America unless you buy it sight unseen and have one built for you. It’s pretty comfy in a Barca lounger sort of way though the automatic transmission (sort of a slipper clutch in reverse arrangement) would take a bit of getting used to. I had a hard time getting good pictures of the thing as the Stealth Fighter lines of it play merry hell with my autofocus points. Still it’s selling to a select few and according to the sales guy, you can order a complete aftermarket Akira body mod and wrap kit for it, so you can ride around saving New Tokyo at your leisure.
I did get a good look at the Ducati Scrambler, which is their entry into the retro market as well as the semi dual sport market. Brand aside, I wasn’t super impressed with the ergos of the bike. The fit and finish are fine but it didn’t feel like a good fit for me and the single LCD speedo / data center looked like an afterthought and actually detracts from the whole retro feel.
Still, it was nice to get out and see some old friends and talk bikes for a few hours while the snow fell outside. I’m looking forward to Spring and a chance to ride again.
In other news, I’ve sold over 60 copies of Devil’s Gambit and it continues to sell consistently and Two Wheeled Maniac is also selling pretty well too. I’ve got one more week to go in the day job and then it’s nose to the grindstone to get the next books out.