According to the Chinese calendar, we’re into the Year of the Snake, although I’m still writing “Dragon” on my cheques. Whether your almanac preferences include numerals or wildlife, a new year approaches which can only mean one thing — the International Motorcycle Supershow, going Jan. 4-6 at the International Centre on Airport Rd in Mississauga.
This weekend marks the 37th year for North America’s largest consumer motorcycle show. Billed as “The big one by the airport,” there are over 500 motorcycle-related exhibits covering 425,000 square feet and seven halls of the centre. Halls 1 and 2 hold touring and cruiser bikes, while Halls 3 and 3A hold the industry showcase where you can see all the new models.
Last year, Kawasaki Canada broke ranks with the rest of the manufacturers by opting out of their December show and are pitching their corporate tent at the Supershow once again.
“We’re happy with the response we got last year and are kicking off our Canadian show tour at the Supershow once again,” says Kawasaki spokesperson, Jeff Comello. “We’ll have all the new models and colours as well as Matt Goerke’s 2012 MX Championship winning KX450F on display.”
Dealers representing all the major manufacturers will be displaying many of the new 2013 models as well as a great selection of pre-owned motorcycles.
Hall 4 is for everything related to motorcycle competition. This year, look for a 20-foot long, three-wheeled, Vincent-powered streamliner with the unlikely name of Altometheus 2. Recently purchased by Supershow producer Bar Hodgson, this engineering marvel boasts a 1650cc, nitrous injected Vincent engine pumping out 180 horsepower. It posted almost 200 mph (322 km/h) on the Bonneville Salt Flats last year before the front tire (borrowed from a Harrier Jump Jet) blew and the run was aborted.
Once again, the popular Century of Motorcycles display will be in Hall 4A, which is dedicated to vintage and classic motorcycles. There’s usually an interesting mix of classic Brit and American iron as well as well-restored Japanese bikes from the 1970s.
Also in 4A, for the first time anywhere, fans can see the Mike Duff Collection consisting of trophies, cups and medals won by one of Canada’s greatest roadracers over a 50-year career. Duff competed internationally as a Yamaha factory rider and privateer at the Isle of Man, European Grand Prix as well as numerous Canadian and U.S. races.
Mike now lives as Michelle Duff and has written several books including her biography, Make Haste Slowly, and will be on hand to autograph copies of the book.
If you’re into customs and choppers, then head for Hall 5. Personally, I’d love to see some new thinking in this category instead of Harley-engined formula bikes with stretched frames, kicked out front ends and too much chrome. Some of the custom paint jobs are pretty impressive, but enough with the skulls already!
Still, it’s a very popular genre and motorcycles in this hall will compete for the prestigious Canada Cup and $50,000 in prizes.
Each themed hall has its own stage show, vendors, clubs and organizations so showgoers can zero in on what interests them.
Supershow always donates floor space to clubs and organizations and, at press time, over 50 clubs and organizations were confirmed. Whether your interests range from touring, cruising, vintage bikes, scale models or even a marque-specific club, you’ll find like-minded individuals willing to share their expertise as well as calendars of events and destination rides.
As always, the Supershow is a retail extravaganza with likely the best prices of the year on new and used bikes, helmets, clothing, gloves (I usually buy a couple of pairs), boots and accessories. Bring your chequebook and make sure you fill in the correct year . . . or critter.
So here’s to a well-ridden 2013 and remember, “Four wheels move the body but two wheels move the soul.”
The show goes at The International Centre, 6900 Airport Rd., Mississauga. Friday, Jan. 4, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults, $5 for youths 6 — 12 and children under 6 get in free.
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