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Thread: Cycle World Show, Cleveland, OH

  1. #1
    Airhead GS convert...
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    Cycle World Show, Cleveland, OH

    Cleveland Motorcycle Show, 2004
    IX Center

    Hi all,

    I was able to make it over to the Cycle World / Toyota Motorcycle Show at the IX Center in Cleveland, Ohio over the weekend. It's only about 100 miles from my home in Luckey, Ohio; so it's about as local as such events get.

    Not a Jean-Luc weekend, and my g/f has been to the Cleveland show before, so I soloed it.

    I didn't get there early, and I didn't get in free. Some years Kawasaki mails out free tickets to customers for a Continental breakfast and free admission at 9:00 AM, but I didn't see anything like that this year. Instead I slept in, then played a game of checkers with each of my Twin nieces (born on my B-day, doncha know?*K), then took off for the IX Center. Gotta take time for the important things, as well as for motorcycle shows.

    I didn't ride. This area has been suffering from a week-long, low-intensity, chronic snow infection. Never bad enough to close businesses, but bad enough to require salt and snowplows daily. Some places along the way had clear roads, other places had slush, still other places had blowing and drifting snow, while others had snow on top of a layer of ice. Every year I think that maybe I can ride this year if I can just get the bike out of the driveway, and every year I fail to do so, and every year I'm glad I failed after about 10 miles.

    This year I was glad at the 10 mile mark (due to seeing road conditions), and at the 20 mile mark (when my car's heater finally overcame the 0F ambient temps, and began to deliver actual heat?*K).

    Arriving at the IX Center, and the entire parking lot is a thin layer of snow over a thick layer of ice. If anybody rode in, they'd have needed studded tires to negotiate the parking lot.

    Arrived about 11:30 AM, paid my $7 for parking and $11 for admission, and went in to look at all the stuff?*K.

    First thing I noticed was the crowds. The IX Center was packed. The line to buy food, any food, was very long; so I blew off lunch until a less busy time. The line to the Men's Room was long, but at least it moved quickly, and I really couldn't just blow that off?*K

    Then, finally, in to see the bikes.

    The first stop was the BMW display, as it was very close to the entrance, and because I like the brand. An outline of the high and low points of each of the manufacturer's displays:


    BMW:
    * No R12gs on display, the sales rep explained that since it's just debuted they didn't have one to show yet. Fair enough?*K
    * The best video and display. Video of ABS and outrigger bike, crashing with the ABS turned off, then staying upright with the ABS turned on.
    ÔÇ×* Rest of display was well-done placards tracing BMW's history of motorcycles. Showed all the great ones: R100rs, the GS line, K line, etc.
    * Salesman said the R1150rs will never get the new motor from the R12. Said it's perfect as is, doesn't surge anymore with the new twin-plug heads. Then adds that he has a first-year R11rs, and it never surged, none of them ever surged?*K

    I owned a first-year R11rs, mine didn't surge either, and I absolutely loved the bike. But his endless denials seem odd, for something that never happened. And the salesman's claim that the R1150rs is perfect as is, and will likely never be updated, well?*K. I tend to believe people until they say something really stupid. Once they say something ridiculous, nothing they say after that is believable. So I really didn't learn much of anything about the BMWs?*K.

    Then over to the Kawasaki display:
    * There's EFI on the Z1000. I thought it had carbs originally? I'm not really sure either way, as Kawasaki and others transition into the brave new world of motorcycle EFI.
    * Black Concours on display, and lots of folks around it.
    ÔÇ×h Nice cutaway of a Vulcan 2000 motor, protected under Plexiglas.
    * The Vulcan 2000cc is a huge motorcycle, and a very passable clone of a Big Twin Harley.

    Suzuki:
    * V-Strom 650 had a lot of interested people around it. So did the 1000. Suzuki had several, some with Givi bags and some without. Drawing quite a crowd?*K Amazing how Harleys and the Japanese and Italians and all become more and more similar over the years, with everybody building a V-Twin or several.

    Then off to a KTM dealer's display, Laidigs, where I saw:
    * A pair of Adventure 950 V-twins on display, an orange one with hard bags and a sliver one without. Both look incredible, and are perhaps the most interesting bikes (to me) that I saw at the show. Bags are totally water-proof, look like beer coolers, and can be used as beer / soda coolers in a pinch. That bike really got to me?*K a cross between a Harley Sportster, a V-Rod, and a BMW GS. A totally functional machine, and yet totally a toy. That's what I want!
    * A BMW guy that just wouldn't shut up about the bikes he owned, all while I was trying to look at the Adventure. Hint: if you want to really mae a bad impression with me, make your first question "So, do you actually ride a motorcycle?" Then when I try to answer, interrupt me and don't let me get a word in edgewise while you talk about how many bikes you've owned, all BMW. I don't think it's the quantity that counts, but how you use them. I can't tell him that because he won't shut up. I'm eventually rescued by a salesman asking if he can help us. I politely thank the BMW guy for the conversation (one-sided as it was) and exit quickly. Last I saw of him, he was complaining about the price of KTM parts to the salesman, as he has a friend the pays $30 for an oil filter for his KTM single?*K.


    At the Yamaha stand:
    * Looked at the FJR-1300, as did quite a few other people. A very nice bike, too. Electric w/s this year, and ABS. I could imagine myself on one, if I got rid of the Concours. More likely is that I'd keep the Concours, and get something from the motorcycle buffet of a totally different flavor, like the KTM Adventure.
    * Engine cutaway from the Yamaha sportbike was very cool. Very petite engine parts, it seems every year the metal cases are a smaller and smaller shrink-wrap fit over the internal engine components.

    Then over to the Honda display, the highlights being:
    * Lots of dirtbikes, including the winner of Baja, still with dirt and oil intact. You could still smell the race on that bike.
    * An NS-50 mini-roadracer, for the 50cc class.
    * A Dream 50r, which looks like a 1960's Honda GP single-cylinder racer. Limited production, off-road use only, but what beautiful lines. Long gas tank, tube frame, twin shocks, dual megaphone mufflers. Nice to see that Honda as a company has matured enough to celebrate its own unique heritage, instead of just copying English or American styling.
    * A Honda Rune on display on revolving platform, which is the HUGE custom bike based on the 1800c flat-six in the Valkyrie and the Gold Wing. It's big, and bodacious. Lurking quietly, blending in with the crowd, and there's a lot of comments on the Rune, both pro and con. No neutral comments while I was there, people seemed to either love it or hate it.

    At the Triumph display:
    * A cutaway of the BIG new triple on display. Salesman tells a customer that the driveshaft rotates CW to eliminate rise and fall in the shaft-drive system. But I think the real reason is so that the bike has 5 gears in forward instead of 5 in reverse... This salesman just qualified himself in my mind, earning his place next to the BMW sales guy that claimed the R1150rs was perfect and would never be updated again?*K.
    * Triumph had some gorgeous factory "customs" for sale, celebrating the late 1960s and early 1970s, based on the modern Bonneville platform. Several had Classic English styling, low bars, rearsets, and beautiful paint; and appeared from 10' away to be handmade works of art. Look closer, and I think they were production units. Some Triumph "chopper" customs also on display, but they left me cold.
    * Plastic bikes left me slightly cold, I guess I'm getting old. All sportbikes look just about the same now, there's very little individuality there.

    Moto-Guzzi:
    ÔÇ×h Another company that has really got the concept of "factory custom" down pat. Beautiful, deep red paints, beautiful castings, and topped with perfectly machined parts for eye-candy desert.

    Harley-Davidson:
    * A very nice display, with each of their "star" bikes on a revolving pedestal. One of the bikes on a pedestal was the new 1200cc Sportster, with its rubber-mounted engine, done up in Orange. Looking very 1960s-ish, and with lines and color recalling an XR-750 dirt-tracker. This is the Harley I'd like to buy, since the V-Rod is too much money, and many of the other Harleys are just too much weight and bulk for my tastes. Though even the Orange Sportster may have been one-upped by that Orange KTM 950?*K..

    Other cool stuff, a vintage bike display:
    * A Neracar (get it? Near-a-car?*K.) from the 1920s, with center-hub steering. The Bimota Tesi wasn't the first, by at least 60 years?*K
    * Several Harleys and Indians, including more than a couple XR-750 Harleys.

    Continued......

  2. #2
    Airhead GS convert...
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    ....Continued.

    I try to grab a bite to eat around 1:30 PM, but the lines are still long, so I buy a package of dry fruit to dull my hunger. While eating the dry fruit, and typing out an outline of what I've seen so far, a young man asks us (people at the table w/ me) to fill out a survey on how we liked the show. The Survey asks, among other things: "Did you use the free motorcycle parking?"

    I wish!

    Then over to the Kawasaki display at 2:00 PM, to meet up with some folks from the Concours Owners Group and the COG List. We mange to find each other around the black Concours on display, then we introduce ourselves to each other. I'm terrible with names, but I got to meet Ralph Hanson, and a few others. I remember his name best as I've seen it several times over the years, and he told me he was going to be there. We talk tires, and accessories, and pretty much the same stuff people talk about on the Lists.

    After a time, we head over to one of the food vendor areas to get a drink. Long line everywhere except at one counter, so I go there. All they have to drink is some sort of Lemon-Mist cola. Tastes pretty good actually, and I'm the first one to have a seat.

    Then a bunch of noise, and the riders start going round and round in the "Steel Ball of Death". It's a 10' diameter ball of steel mesh. Three riders get inside with small dirtbikes, and start riding round and round the inside, fast, chasing each other. First they circle horizontally, then as speeds increase they circle vertically (as if they were rotating around a horizontal axle). Looks like it would actually be fun, as long as it was just one bike, and you didn't fall or brake hard at any time. Lots of noise, and eventually the ball is surrounded by a haze of blue exhaust smoke, almost like a small planet.

    Then browsed some more of the small vendor displays. Talked with a machinist who makes metal floorboard inlays for some Harleys. Beautiful. I appreciate the machining, even if I don't have a Harley. They have a milled non-slip surface, then a CNC milling machine carves out whatever pattern he programs into it. Really nice work I think he's got a great job, and he tells me I have a great job (designing components in 3D, including prototype and test units). I wish him the best

    Then I ran into Katherine Becker, Phil Ross, Phil's g/f Jen, and Chip. After quite a bit of talking and catching up, it was time for supper with the Honda Sport Touring Association over at the Brown Derby Roadhouse, a faux Texas-type roadhouse where you throw peanuts on the floor, and the main item is steak in about 100 variations. Since we were in separate cars, it was a little iffy on finding each other in the IX Center parking lot, till I mentioned that I had a pair of whitewater kayaks on the roof of my car, purple, just in case I wasn't the only kayaker with boats on their car in 10F weather. Found each other pretty easy then, and zipped over to the Roadhouse.

    What a zoo! There were 60 people in the Honda group at the Roadhouse, and the place was packed. We were eventually all seated, Katherine and myself at a table for 8. I recognized Nikki, but nobody else, so we did introductions around the table. Several intros before it was Katherine's turn, and a bunch of people knew her for here writing. Then my turn, and like Katherine I was already "known". In a good way, thankfully!

    Our whole table was full of good conversation, though the noise meant that over the course of supper the conversation was mostly with the people closest to you at the table. So I talked a lot with Katherine, which was fun.

    Actually, both women at our table reminded me of a thread on the IBMWR List a while back, asking where the female motorcyclists are. Nikki at our table has been a mechanic in the past, is good looking, and rides a BMW R11rs. Katherine used to ride bicycles long-distance, I think she's a member of the IBA, and I've ridden with her once or twice in southern Ohio twisties.

    But the thing that really dazzles me about Katherine is that when I first met her, she asked me why her bike handled a little strange. The steering bearings were shot. She asked me if that was hard to fix, and I told her it was like her bicycles, but you have to remove and replace an awful lot of parts to get at them on a motorycle.

    Couple weeks later she emailed me, told me she'd fixed it, that there were a lot of parts to R&R but it really wasn't too bad a job. Wow! I know lots of men that wouldn't have taken on that job, and here comes Katherine with her attitude of "It's just a big bicycle", and she simply fixes it herself. After that, she was more than welcome to ride with me anytime, anywhere. She's also a very good writer, has a great sense of humor, and I consider her at least my equal in just about every way. Hoping she takes that as a compliment, since that's how it's meant.

    So when I think of women that ride, I think of Nikki, and Katherine, Helen TwoWheels, Voni Glaves, and women like those four. Mechanical ability, mental ability, riding skill and toughness aren't linked just to the male chromosone.

    Katherine is tall and broad-shouldered, and I'm short and slim, so we traded stories about people guessing our gender wrong when we're fully dressed in our riding gear. Not exactly a flattering situation, but the stories are funny At least so far, it's only been women that have guessed my gender wrong.

    Katherine's best story is how the three friends that got her interested in motorcycles staged an intervention to try to talk her out of riding them, after they'd given up the sport. They failed to save her, luckily.

    By then it was 8:30 PM, and we paid the tab and split up. Several of the HSTA people went to someone's new house to watch motorcycle videos, while I headed west on the Ohio Turnpike, and then north on I-75 to my g/f's home in Dearborn, Michigan.

    A pretty good show, made better by having cool people to hang out with.

    Best,
    Doug Grosjean
    Luckey, Ohio & Dearborn, Michigan
    douggrosjean@wcnet.org

  3. #3
    Registered Loser SHAG's Avatar
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    I was there!

    After 3hr. 15min drive, we pulled in at 9:15, packed the coat pockets with food & drinks. The line for tickets went very fast. Went thru the gate with about 40 people ahead of us at 9:30 sharp. Visited the bike displays until we heard the noise of the bikes running for the show. The ball was much smaller than expected! Decided to hit the mens room, renew AMA membership & rider subscription. Picked up a shirt from the BMW trailer & a few other things while the crowd was watching the show! ( no waiting in line) Had two 14 yr olds with us that were having a ball! Really enjoyed the displays & vendors, along with the many attractive young ladies handing out stuff & signing calenders! Picked up a couple of squid, burnout, stoppie, wheelie & crash DVD's for the boys to watch on the way home. We all grabbed a bite at the food court at 1:30 after emptying our pockets of the snacks we were packing. (no waiting in line)! It was good to see all the bikes that I have been looking at pictures of in the mag's recently. Good time had by all. Didn't see one familar face, except for a guy with a Four Winds rally T-shirt! First time for that show for us & we will definately go next year.
    Go like hell, You'll get there quicker
    05-GS Rock Red 86k miles
    2013 TW200

  4. #4
    Airhead GS convert...
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    Shag,

    Sorry I missed you.

    Ran into other folks I know, so I wasn't exactly solo.

    Very cool show.

    Best,
    Doug Grosjean
    Luckey, Ohio
    douggrosjean@wcnet.org

  5. #5
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report

    Plan on going to the show when it hits Detroit in two weeks. Yippee skipee sounds like fun.
    Should we buy our tx ahead of time??
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!
    www.yearroundriders.com

  6. #6
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    How interesting- the weather here in Dallas was good enough to ride to the show in November, yet we seem to have had a much smaller version of it than you did. I was hard-pressed to find a good reason to stay more than two hours. But yes, it was fun and I had a blast!
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

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