The motorcycle industry in Canada may still be bleeding from the recession, but there are promising indications that it’s out of intensive care and its condition can now be listed as “guardedly optimistic.”
Next weekend’s Toronto Motorcycle Show kicks off the 2013 riding season and most manufacturers will showcase their current lineup of motorcycles, scooters and ATVs, as well as some exciting new models. All the majors are there except of Kawasaki Canada, which is again hitching its corporate wagon to the larger and better-attended Supershow in early January.
Here’s what show-goers can expect next weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
has confirmed the much-anticipated, liquid-cooled R1200GS adventure tourer will be at the show. Horsepower is up to 125, it’s got a new look, and electronic aids include changeable ride modes and electronic suspension adjustment.
The S1000RR sportbike gets a high-performance, limited-production HP4 version with 193 horsepower propelling its feathery 169 kg. It also gets new electronics, including a semi-active suspension system and updated engine control modes.
The aging 800ST twin gets replaced by the GT, complete with horsepower increase, improved ergonomics and better wind and weather protection.
will have special 110th-anniversary editions of certain models, the Street Bob gets restyled and new Dark Custom models will be introduced, along with a couple of specials from the Custom Vehicle Operations branch.
Harley is also launching its Hard Candy Custom program, where customers can order metalflake paint and brilliant chrome to customize their rides.
will have several new models: the air-cooled, retro-styled CB1100, three versions of a new CB500 twin, and a chopped and stripped Gold Wing called the F6B.
will introduce the BV350, a sport touring scooter with distinctive styling and a 33-horsepower, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine. Also look for two new 750cc Moto Guzzis — the V7 Racer, which pays homage to the growing café racer movement, and the unfortunately named V7 Stone, which is more of a retro-styled standard.
has revamped its mega scooter 650 Burgman Executive. There’s also a commemorative GSX-R1000 to celebrate the 1 million GSXRs made since 1985, and the Boulevard C90T returns. Suzuki’s nifty little GW250 has been available in Europe and Asia for awhile. It’s styled like a mini B-King and would provide a naked alternative to Honda’s CBR250 sportbike. Rumours have it coming to North America but Suzuki Canada says, “No comment.”
Canada confirms that the 2013 Trophy 1200SE will be there for sure, as will the new 675 Street Triple (one of my favourite motorcycles), now with ABS. For custom fans, the Empire/ICON/Monster Speed Triple “drifting” motorcycle will be there (this thing generated 13 million hits on YouTube). Also, Triumph roadrace star, Kenny Reidman, is confirmed, along with his AMA Pro roadracing D675R triple.
Canada will again have the Young Rider’s Academy, where kids aged 6 to 12 can be safely introduced to riding by qualified instructors aboard the latest Yamaha TT-R off-road motorcycle. In the past seven years, more than 200,000 youngsters have learned to ride through the Academy.
The new FJR1300 sport tourer will be there (see my exclusive, first North American ride at wheels.ca.
Also new this year is the V-Star 1300 Deluxe, a touring version of Yamaha’s tried-and-true 1300 cruiser with hard bags, fairing, GPS and an iPod/MP3 hookup.
Friday night is She Rides Night, with women admitted for half price after 5 p.m., and special seminars, demonstrations, celebrities and other events that will appeal to female riders.
This year, Tourism Ontario is heavily promoting riding in our home province. Representatives from various regions will be on hand to promote the best riding roads, as well as motorcycle-friendly accommodations, restaurants and attractions throughout the province.
They’ll also be explaining GoTourOntario.ca, a trip-planning site where riders can customize a route to their personal requirements, and then download the route and all of the assorted waypoints into their GPS or smart phone.
Mike Jacobs, Tourism Ontario’s official motorcyclist, will be on hand all weekend with videos and image galleries of the best roads in Ontario. You might just find a hidden gem not far from where you usually ride. I found one last year that I’d overlooked for decades. You can also pick up an official Ontario road map as well as a copy of the Top Ten Motorcycle routes in the province.
In addition, several retailers will be on hand with bargains on riding gear and accessories.
Show hours are noon to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Adult admission is $16. torontomotorcycleshow.ca