The Motorcycle Live show is like Christmas for us at Moto Ventura Tours and 2017 was no exception. Just being surrounded by so many shiny bikes is bliss.
We had a chance to look at the latest offerings from every manufacturer and what is most obvious is the style of motorcycles we are buying these days. Exciting because now more than ever touring bikes seem to be taking a firm lead in the market. Not just the big ones, but surprisingly smaller cc machines. We had a good catch up with motorcycle adventurer and friend of Moto Ventura, Nick Sanders and were surprised to hear that his latest long distance journey was completed on a Tracer from Yamaha instead of his trusty 1200cc Super-Ténéré. We know that everyone runs out to buy the latest 1200 (or more) when touring but actually, wait a minute. Do you need to? I would suggest if you are riding all day with a pillion and 'packing for 2' then yes but as a solo rider then sub one litre surely has to be a consideration and the market opens out with some amazing options from nearly all manufacturers.
The other growing market trend is fashion bikes, by that I mean the less practical but more enjoyable and soulful additions to the range - last year we saw the scrambler have it's foothold with everyone including Yamaha, Triumph, BMW and Ducati all pushing big bore Scramble bikes but they seem to already be taking a role as support act to the mighty Bobber. I personally am hoping Bobbers run the distance as their coolness is undeniable though practical uses are. questionable.
Sundays look so much better on a Bobber!
If I had to pick Bobbers to race for pink-slips then it would be the Indian Scout Bobber and the Triumph Bonneville Bobber that would go head to head. Any thoughts on which would win the race for cool? US v UK? If only we had a TopGear budget to play with we could fly to LA and drag race them from stock.
Naturally when you mix cool and tour you get Cool Tourers and the big cruiser heavy weight Harley Davidson has some real nice iron this year and a favourite for us is the 2018 114 cubic inch soft-tailed Fat Bob though fitting luggage on would require work it still hit the spot. Harley purists will frown but it's aggressive lines and sharp handling will surely make it one of the biggest bikes in their range over the coming years. RIP FatBob Dyna, Long Live the new King Bob!
The big cruisers from HD and Indian have long had a band of faithful. Indian seem to be setting the bench mark without trying while HD are bringing out equally fantastic bikes to stay current but may inadvertently lose the faith of the Harley pure-bloods. Interesting times coming!
BMW have looked a little towards this 'cruiser' market as they did a few years ago with the R1200C and are pushing their K1600B (Bagger) with many drooling customers throwing their German made cowboy boots over the beastie at the show. It will no doubt sell, but will it drag riders from their GT's and RT's? The GS faithful won't budge thats a given.
This brings me on to the other touring option (we do run a touring company after-all). We've done small engine, we've done big engine, So where is the fun actually happening? It surely has to be the new one-litre sports tourers. Sports Tourer used to be an evolution of sports bike with panniers fitted like the Kawasaki ZZR and the Honda VFR but now Sports-Tourer seems to be the tag placed on the likes of the BMW S1000Xr and Ducati's Multi-Strada. Theses drew more crowds than any other bike at the show...
Are we excited? Hell yes!