TimHuber

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Event Recap: IMS Long Beach 2018

Long Beach, California, United States

We count down our favorite two-wheeled finds from the touring annual trade-show

The Progressive International Motorcycle Show at Long Beach just wrapped up, and we attended the media day to see all the latest and greatest offerings from across the motorcycle industry. Here are some of the coolest things we spotted at the annual event.

We were there as manufacturers pulled the covers off all their 2019 models at IMS Long Beach

We were there as manufacturers pulled the covers off all their 2019 models at IMS Long Beach

Harley’s 2019 FXDR 114

Back in August, Harley pulled the cover off the 2019 FXDR 114 —a new drag-inspired power-cruiser. The 10th model to be built upon the latest Softail platform, the 2019 FXDR was designed for cruiser enthusiasts wanting a little more performance out of their bike than Harley usually affords. This means offering a decent lean angle (over 32-degrees on either side), a 43mm inverted front-end, aluminum swing-arm paired with an adjustable monoshock, aluminum Ace rims, a 27.7” seat-height, ABS-linked dual 300mm discs, and a massaged version of the torquey Milwaukee Eight 114 V-Twin.

The 2019 H-D FXDR 114

The 2019 H-D FXDR 114

At IMS I got the chance to see the new FXDR in the flesh for the first time, and though I’ve never been much of a cruiser guy, I was actually pretty impressed with the sleek new Harley. The jet-fighter and drag-inspired bodywork looks modern and aggressive, a fact furthered by the 2019 114’s LED lighting and slick looking two-into-one exhaust. The forward-facing intake and futuristic headlight cowl help to differentiate this new model from previous offerings from the MoCo. The 2019 FXDR has an MSRP of $21,349.

The drag-inspired FXDR features beautifully designed stock lighting, cowl, intake, tail, and exhaust

The drag-inspired FXDR features beautifully designed stock lighting, cowl, intake, tail, and exhaust

Brutale 1000 In The Flesh

Earlier this month MV Agusta debuted its new Brutale 1000 Serie Oro — a stunning 205hp, 410lb, production naked, dripping in precious (and expensive) materials. Seeing photos of the gorgeous Italian two-wheeler is one thing, but seeing the sexy scoot in person was a completely different experience, and one that’s vital to fully appreciating the near-obsessive level of detail and unparalleled fit and finish.

The raw beauty that is MV’s Brutale 1000 Serie Oro

The raw beauty that is MV’s Brutale 1000 Serie Oro

While I realize showing you photos of a bike to convey how awesome it looks in person is objectively illogical, but I’ve nonetheless taken a few up close shots in an attempt to illustrate how ridiculously trick the glorious new Brutale truly is. Everywhere you look there are carbon fiber and CNC’d billet and carbon fiber bits — the latter of which uses a special weave that boasts a red hue depending on the lighting and angle at which it’s viewed.

The newest Serie Oro features a ridiculous amount of carbon fiber and CNC’d billet

The newest Serie Oro features a ridiculous amount of carbon fiber and CNC’d billet

Honda Happenings

If you read any of the major Moto publications or frequent any of the popular YouTube channels, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Ari Henning and Zack Courts of Motorcyclist (and “On Two Wheels”). Well the duo have recently jumped ship for MotorTrend where they’ll be debuting their new series called “Throttle Down”.

Zack and Ari giving a presentation during IMS’ press day

Zack and Ari giving a presentation during IMS’ press day

American Honda invited the likable pair of riders to IMS Long Beach’s press day, where the two showed off footage from the inaugural episode of the new series, in which Zack and Ari take a pair of new Honda Monkeys on a long-distance trek through Mexico, following the route of the iconic Baja races. Journalists in attendance also got the chance to meet the two moto-aficionados as well as their show’s director and producer, which was a real treat for me as a big fan of their “work”.

The CB650R completes Big Red’s Neo-Sports-Cafe lineup

The CB650R completes Big Red’s Neo-Sports-Cafe lineup

Honda also used IMS to debut the newest new-retro machine in its CB-R range with the CB650R. Like the CB300R and 1000R, the new mid-size naked sports the same visual theme and design traits, albeit without the single-sided swing-arm (on the 1K) or side-mounted exhaust. While I really dig the entry-level and liter-sized versions of the bike, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the 650, despite middle-weight machines being my favorite. The radiator covers don’t extend down far enough, the gold anodized fork looks weird with the dark red livery, and the tail-section looks like it was something of an after thought. Still a cool bike, but I had high expectations for the CB650R that weren’t quite met upon meeting the scoot face-to-face.

I wish the 650 got a single-sided swing-arm and a retro-inspired muffler

I wish the 650 got a single-sided swing-arm and a retro-inspired muffler

Aprilia’s 2019 RSV4 Factory

Aprilia, to the best of my knowledge, was the first marque to release a production motorcycle sporting aerodynamic winglets, though they were only available on the race-spec, limited edition variant of its flagship superbike. With the new 2019 model year however that’s now changed. This year Aprilia has gifted its base-model carbon winglets, and though the rest of the bike’s bodywork hasn’t been tweaked, the addition of the external pieces make the 2019 RSV4 (Factory) a markedly more high-end and track-bred. The blacked out mate carbon livery certainly helps too.

Aprilia’s flagship V4 superbike

Aprilia’s flagship V4 superbike

The R3’s Retro-Themed Bolt-On Bodywork Kit

Every year IMS plays host to the J&P Cycles custom bike contest. This means throughout the venue there are dozens of bespoke builds on display. While examining the one-off two-wheelers, I came across a small Yamaha-powered sport bike. I later spoke with the builder and learned the bike wasn’t a custom, and was in fact a stock R3 adorned in a bolt-on bodywork kit. Designed and produced by Southern California’s GG RetroFitz, the new “Rocket Street” kit transforms the entry-level sportbike into a beautiful, retro-inspired machine. I was so taken with the kit that it ended up receiving a full write-up, which I’d recommend if you want additional details (and photos).

GG RetroFitz awesome bolt-on bodywork Kit for the Yamaha R3 complete with “GG Podium” graphics package

GG RetroFitz awesome bolt-on bodywork Kit for the Yamaha R3 complete with “GG Podium” graphics package

Heroic’s Impressive Gauntlet Gloves

I don’t typically have a lot of faith in small motorcycle gear companies’ offerings. Developing a state of the art jacket or gloves usually requires enormous amounts of resources, and little boutique companies can’t normally compete with the likes of Alpinestars and Dainese. At IMS however I was introduced to Heroic Racing Apparel.

Heroic’s top-shelf SP-R Pro V1 gloves

Heroic’s top-shelf SP-R Pro V1 gloves

Heroic makes custom race suits — including a genuine race-grade top-shelf kids suit which is identical to the adult version only smaller — and armored hoodies, but it was the New York-based brand’s SP-R Pro V1 gloves that really caught my attention. The gauntlet-style gloves feature a kangaroo skin chassis and Stingray fish leather on the palms — which is almost always the first point of contact with the ground. The pinky finger is also connected to the ring finger to protect the pinky from breaking in a low side. I was amazed by how comfortable the gloves were and how unrestricted my wrist, hand, and finger movements were, while still feeling like the gloves afforded ample crash (and slide) protection. Heroic’s SP-R PRO V1 gloves aren’t cheap at $300, but you definitely get what you pay for.

The SP-R Pro V1 gloves feature stingray fish skin palms and a connected pinky and ring fingers

The SP-R Pro V1 gloves feature stingray fish skin palms and a connected pinky and ring fingers

Guzzi’s Production V85 TT

The V85 TT was another bike that debuted in Europe in the last month or two that I hadn’t seen in the flesh until IMS. Fortunately, the pictures do this model justice. I can say up close that the bike’s fit and finish looked solid, and the bodywork didn’t have a cheap or plasticky feel to it. It’s definitely an attractive model, largely thanks to Guzzi not straying very far from the original concept which was a fan favorite. The V85 TT is scheduled to hit showrooms in the second quarter of 2019.

Moto Guzzi’s gorgeous V85 TT

Moto Guzzi’s gorgeous V85 TT

The First M-Class Motorcycle (S1000RR)

I was particularly excited to see BMW’s new flagship superbike in person, and it did not disappoint. Unveiled by racer and BMW brand ambassador, Nate Kern, the new S1000RR features a new chassis, revised bodywork, and an updated engine that generates over 200hp in the base-model’s stock form. The new symmetrical nose and lighting looks fantastic, but the even bigger news was BMW’s announcement that the Bavarian brand’s M-class will now extend to its Motorrad division.

For 2019 BMW thoroughly overhauled its flagship superbike

For 2019 BMW thoroughly overhauled its flagship superbike

The S1000RR is the first two-wheeler to receive the optional M-treatment, which means the double-R gets an M-spec battery, special seat, adjustable swing-arm pivot point and tweak-able seat-height, carbon fiber rims, and BMW’s classic M-race livery. M-packages are expected to become available on additional BMW models in the near future. I’d personally love to see an M-spec R9T Racer.

The M-package includes carbon wheels and a special race livery

The M-package includes carbon wheels and a special race livery

Carducci Dual-Sportster

Back in 2014 we featured the Carducci SC3 Harley-Davidson Dual-Sport Conversion Kit. Though I’m not very into cruisers or dual-sports, I immediately fell in love with Jim Carducci’s transformative kit. Long-travel suspension, hand-forged fuel-cell, two-into-one Leo Vince Pope, skid plate, cargo rack, chain-drive conversion, flood lighting, what’s not to like? So it was a pleasant surprise when I stumbled across a Carducci Dual Sport Gera Baja on display at IMS. This specimen took runner up in the modified Harley class, as well as first place in the peoples’ choice award in the J&P Cycles customs contest.

This Carducci build won the peoples’ choice Award at IMS Long Beach

This Carducci build won the peoples’ choice Award at IMS Long Beach

**A Sexy Little R3 For 2019 **

For 2019 Yamaha updated its YZF-R3 with new bodywork that is more reminiscent of the company’s full-size R6 and R1 super sports which take visual inspiration from Yamaha’s MotoGP mount (the YZR-M1). Unlike the quarter-liter Ninja from a decade back, the R3 is one of several great-looking entry-level sport bikes. Sexy learner bikes are vital to attracting new riders, so I’m really happy to see Yamaha was able to deliver a spiffed-up version of the 321cc runner. While I do wish the new R3 got the same tunnel-sectioned tail as it’s bigger siblings, but it’s still a sexy scoot.

The newest R3 is inspired by Yamaha’s MotoGP missile, the YZR-M1

The newest R3 is inspired by Yamaha’s MotoGP missile, the YZR-M1

**Triumph’s Scrambler 1200 XC & XE **

Even though Triumph didn’t give a formal press presentation, the British marque still had a presence at IMS Long Beach — which is better than last year when Triumph was a no-show — with a large exhibition area. On display were the brand’s newly unveiled Scrambler 1200 XC and XE models — both of which simply look amazing. Even cooler was the example Ernie Vigil was slated to race in the upcoming Baja event, but a recent injury meant Ernie had to back out and thus his ride was able to be put on display at IMS.

The Scrambler 1200 looks stellar up close

The Scrambler 1200 looks stellar up close

**Energica’s Latest Wares **

Like it’s fellow Italian outfit, Energica’s bikes can’t really be appreciated without being seen in the flesh. Walking around the Esse Esse 9 Eva, it became wildly apparent how drastically a simple headlight assembly can alter the look of a motorcycle. The company also had its MotoE racer on display which will see its inaugural season starting in 2019.

The Energica Esse Esse 9

The Energica Esse Esse 9

The Most Powerful Ducati Ever

As per usual, Ducati had an impressive area setup at IMS, where it debuted the new race-regulation Panigale V4 R, and wow...just wow. The liter-sized version of the V4 makes near-MotoGP levels of horsepower, sports removable carbon winglets, and is the most powerful production Ducati ever released. You want sex-on-wheels motorcycle exotica? This is it.

The mighty 2019 Ducati Panigale V4 R

The mighty 2019 Ducati Panigale V4 R

While At IMS Ducati also showed off its updated XDiavel, as well as its new 2019 Scrambler offerings with the new Flat Track Pro and the obnoxiously cool Cafe Racer which is now adorned in a new vintage race-inspired livery.

Ducati also debuted its updated Scrambler models at IMS Long Beach

Ducati also debuted its updated Scrambler models at IMS Long Beach

Kawasaki Bringd Back The Famous “W”

Kawasaki used IMS to introduce American publications to the new W800 Cafe. Of all the modern retros, the W800 cafe is one of, if not the most, vintage-inspired machines currently available, with its style cues borrowing heavily from the retro theme and less from the modern side. Between the headlight cowl shrouding analog instrumentation, the long chrome pipes, the tuck-and-roll humped cafe saddle, rubber fork boots, dual rear suspension, the W800 Cafe is a wonderful take on a Kawa classic, elegant, timeless, and sporty all at the same time.

The new W800 Cafe

The new W800 Cafe

Cameron Talks Katana 

Kevin Cameron is something of a legend in the motorcycle journalism world. You may be familiar with the awesome explanatory mechanical videos he’s done for CycleWorld or his “Ask Kevin” series Kevin” series. Suzuki invited Mr. Cameron to speak about the history of Suzuki and it’s Katana model which was a real treat for everyone in attendance.

Sharp lines, agressive angles, and classic Katana style

Sharp lines, agressive angles, and classic Katana style

**Zero Demo Ride **

In an effort to give non-riders a chance at riding, Zero Motorcycles has taken a handful of its bikes and programmed them to only allow for minimal power (under 12mph), with throttle sensitivity greatly reduced as well. This way, anyone, even without a license, can try their hand at riding a real, full-size motorcycles. Having never ridden a Zero, I was curious to give it a go, only to learn the brakes had also been modified, preventing me from being able to perform a stoppie or from stepping the rear wheel out. Despite the low-speed, it was still a really fun experience. Plus they had gloves, jackets, and helmets on site that you could borrow if needed. This is obviously a stellar way to attract new people into the fold of motorcycling in a free, low-pressure environment.

This was my first test-ride on carpet

This was my first test-ride on carpet

**Indian FTR1200 Optional Packages **

In addition to using IMS to officially announce the newest member of Indian’s Wrecking Crew flat track team, America’s oldest moto marque also have journalists the chance to check out the new FTR1200, and the four new optional packages for the tracker-style sled; Sport, Rally, Tour, and Tracker.

The “Sport” package features Carbon tank panels, tail coal, and front fender

The “Sport” package features Carbon tank panels, tail coal, and front fender

The Sport features a low-mount Akrapovič slip-on, and carbon fiber cowl, tank covers, and fender. The Rally collection is comprised of front and rear mid-guards, “Aviator” seat, gloss pearl white tank covers, and aluminum spoke wheel set. The Tour package is made up of a messenger bag and side bag rack, luggage rack, tank bag, and mid-windshield sans headlight cowl. Lastly, the Tracker kit boasts a high-mount Akrapovič slip-on, side number plates, high license plate mount, and of course, a tracker seat base and seat.

The “Tracker” package furthers the FTR’s race-inspired side

The “Tracker” package furthers the FTR’s race-inspired side

A Fully Electric Ural

One machine I didn’t expect to see at IMS — or just in general — was Ural’s new fully-electric prototype. Boasting a 103-mile range, the side-car scoot is only a concept vehicle, though the company is currently collecting data and feedback to better understand what the market wants. Ural’s rep described the electric three-wheeler as “a proof of concept, not a production prototype.”

The electric Ural prototype

The electric Ural prototype

With exposed wires hanging between the motorcycle and the sidecar, this machine is still very much in its early prototyping phases, though certain design elements appear to be well ironed out. The powertrain’s design and housing looks near-production ready, and I absolutely love how you plug the bike in via a socket in the tank hidden beneath a faux tank cap.

The E-Ural features an electric motor and a battery housed under the seat in the sidecar

The E-Ural features an electric motor and a battery housed under the seat in the sidecar

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