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MotoMacGyver
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Hey all. Just returned from a VERY WINDY (I mean sometimes blow you into the other lane windy) ride back from the LA Motorcycle Show. I met up with Scott Araujo (actually, we pulled into the parking lot at the same time) at around 11:00 a.m. and we left at about 4:00. Time flies when you're drooling over bikes you can't afford.

Parking was free, as was the helmet and coat check. So at least that made up for the $9 dollar entrance fee. Lots of vendors aside from bikes as well.

And there was a trials riding demonstration (forgot the rider's name) who was pretty spectacular.

All in all, we had a pretty good day. Tons of bikes to sit on without being hassled like at the dealership. Tons of bikes outside in the parking area as well. However, as we were leaving, a cop said that 4 bikes were stolen in the last hour alone! Luckily ours were still there. We got some guy to take our pictures by our bikes, so Scott should post them on here pretty soon I hope.

Well, that's it. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Emrah
 

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it was great to meet up with emrah for the show. the show was excellent, lots of fun. we saw a few other zr7/7s's in the parking lot. unfortunately we didn't leave teh show early enough to test ride the buells. shame :( neither of us really goes for the styling but it's always fun to ride different bikes.

windy? dude, you need to get some kind of screen. i blasted home and back between 75 and 90 the whole way and never had a problem.

i'll post more later, gotta shower and eat now. i'll probably be posting the picture after christmas since it was the first one on the road.

awesome to meet you emrah, thanks for making the trip!

scott :)
 

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so now i've got some time, here are my impressions of the show:

kawasaki:
-the new zr-7s isn't just purple, it's *sparkley* purple! you'll love it or hate it.

triumph:
-triple is right, the 955i is beautiful!
-the bonneville america is really something. a cruiser style bike that doesn't have the pegs 18 feet forward of the seat. really nice looks.
-the speed triple in nuclear pink was rad.

honda:
-i still like the 600cc scooter even though i wouldn't buy one.
-the new 919 is sweet! i don't totally dig the satin black paint but it's still really nice.

harley/buell:
-v-rod? what's all the fuss about? i don't like the looks of it at all. maybe if they got away from the burnished aluminum finish and painted it i might like it more. right now it looks like porsche designed a motorcycle but kept getting pestered by a grumpy old man who wanted a cruiser. harley tried something new which is good. performance may be god but it seems they've left all the character of a harley out of the bike.
-the firebolt is nice. the 52" wheelbase is apparent when you see it, it look small. the cheesey part is how they put the tank graphics on. instead of a sticker or badge they have the logo cut out of 1/16" plastic and then glued on. ick! wish we got to test rides some buells but we spent too much time in the show.

yamaha:
-the muffler on the warrior is bigger than a small child. the performance slicks look really lean on a cruiser that big but overall the package works.

bmw:
-i relly dig the r1150rs. it's a very comfy sport tourer. it's a bike that would do it all but a little big for my tastes and no doubt expensive. if it came in an 800 i'd consider it. so basically i just want that super cool adjustable fairing mounted to my 7 :)

aprilia:
-falco with the fighter kit... wow! ridiculous price but so sexy! (doesn't that describe so many italian bikes?)
-wild scooters here too.

moto-guzzi:
-like thier sport bike and the "california stone" model

givi:
-even the big cases don't seem that big. i think i'm going to get a 50+ liter top case for weekend trips.
-saw one of their small screens - top notch quality!

plastic repair:
http://plastex.home.att.net/
these folks have some nice products and they're friendly too :) look them up if you crack something plastic.

luggage:
http://lockitt.com/
these folks have more disc locks than you can shake a stick at and some beautiful soft bags. i originally went to see the rka stuff on the recommendation of a friend but these bags are way better. excellent faetures, design and construction. i would definitely buy a set of the saddle bags.

emrah:
-great guy :) i'm glad we met up, i wouldn't have had nearly as much fun by myself.

cycle parts west;
-nothing in particular but these guys have a shop near my girlfriend in north park/hilcrest, and another one in chula vista. they're an old school shop with lots of goodies. they sell parts but no new bikes. there selection and prices are great for assorted parts and other doo-dads and i was just glad to see them there. they had some basic alpinestar boots that i've got to go take a better look at :)

we both agreed that it was a lot more fun than an auto show, maybe because you get to see and sit on so many differnt bikes and there are very few sleazy sales people. every vendor i talked to was friendly.

other notes:
i got some earplugs just like the hi-fi hearos and they work well, especially on those low frequency wind rumbles that bug me.

i'm spoiled by my corbin seat and thought just about every bike seat at the show was lacking :p

this was my first long freeway ride with my new lumina screen, about an hour each way at an average speed of 80mph. it did a nice job. emrah said he got blown away on the trip back. we did go in different directions but i had no problems. i could tell it was windy but it didn't affect me.

if you get teh chance go to the show. it's definitely worth the trip.

scott :)
 

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MotoMacGyver
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Discussion Starter #4
Maybe my ample posterior presents more of a "windsail effect" :( :(

I'll have to agree with Scott on most of what he said. I'm not a fan of the "nuclear pink" colour on the Speed Triple, but it is a pretty cool bike; bug eyes or not.

I've also changed my tune about the Buell XB-9 Firebolt. It looks much better in person. All the other Buells are still butt-ugly in my opinion, but the Firebolt wasn't bad. Except for the 1/16 inch of raised lettering on the tank that Scott mentioned. I mean, it just looks like a kindergarten class were hired to put the stickers on. Even though the bike is very trick, it still has that mechanical simplicity thing going on that makes it appealing to me. The V-Rod, however, was even uglier than the first time I saw it! The "louvers" just below and in front of the tank look like HVAC ducts on your ceiling. The whole silver/metalic scheme isn't pulled off right. It just looks unfinished; like it's prepped and awaiting painting of something.

Another note about the platic repair kit from Plastex. This stuff is REALLY REALLY strong and very simple to mold. For example, you can mold a tab (e.g. mounting tab), glue it on, and you CANNOT break that "seam". You'll break the original plastic nearby if you REALLY try, but you're not gonna break the repair. Fantastic stuff.

Emrah
 

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Wheelie for Safety
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Great reporting guys!

I enjoyed reading your report. Now I'm really sorry I missed it when it was up here in San Mateo a few weeks ago.

Gee it seems like a few bikes get stolen at every show. You would figure they would hire more security to watch over the bikes.

Andy
 

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Here's a writeup I posted to the local SD mailing list. I bought the jacket from CPW. It was a little windy from O'side to San Clemente I was getting blown around a bit but not bad enough to make me slow down from an indicated 90. :D You guys *may* have seen my bike. It was the '00 with the top box parked next to the black manufacturer's rig, I think it was even Kawi's truck but I don't remember.

Anyway on to the write-up:

Got my ride on an XB9R Firebolt after waiting in line for an hour. OH MY GOD! That bike is awesome!!! I love everything about it except for the height of the bars. Actually the bars are great when you are moving at or above your average inner city speed limit (35 mph) or working the corners. However, I think they would be a bit tiring for commuting duty. Add about 1.5 - 2 inches and I think that "problem" would be solved. The bars look like the unbolt very easily so who knows, they may offer it as an option. Back to the bike, the power was great. It pulled hard from about 2000 to 7000-ish. The redline was a very un-Buell 7500rpm or roughly 1200 rpm higher than any other Buell. Those extra revs make all the difference in the world. On my last Buell demo ride at Willow, I was constantly hitting the rev limiter on the M2 Cyclone. With the extra revs, I only hit the limiter twice, once when I forgot to upshift coming out of a corner and once on when I was banging through the gears *very* hard. The brakes are phenomenal. They haul the bike down fast and hard with great feedback and low effort. Stoppies are ridiculously easy by just giving a quick extra tug on the lever, and up comes the rear wheel. Wheelies were done on command in the first two gears and I weigh 260 and was sitting forward against the tank instead of back. When requested the front-end would come up very controllably. If you wanted the front wheel to stay down it could, you just needed to roll on a little slower. The transmission shifted so smoothly that I didn't even notice it. It doesn't have the need to be deliberately shifted like the Buells of old. I would have to say it was very close to a VFR, which has been recognized as having one of the better transmissions. The seat was pretty comfortable and the peg position left a lot of room for me to move around (I'm 6'0 with a 30" inseam) and they didn't feel cramped at all. There wasn't a noticeable amount of heat being shed off the bike and they were being run pretty hard (15 minutes out, 5 minutes back, repeat). Based on my ride, I will probably (gotta find out about the bars) be heading down to SD Harley/Buell in the spring to pick up a blue XB9R. Anybody want to buy a clean lightning blue '00 ZR-7 with the factory hard bags? :)

Harley was giving demo rides on the V-Rod by appointment, but I didn't really feel like riding it. BMW was doing long demo rids, also by appointment and I heard that they had booked the whole day by about 9am. Aprilia was also there but their appointment were all booked too. Indian was doing demo's too but I wasn't interested. If they're going to play the nostalgia game they need to start making their own motors and turn out a Scout that's really a Scout and not an entry level Chief. Until then, they're just a Harley with fancy bodywork.

Oh yeah, I went inside the show too. Saw all the cool new bikes. I like the Honda 919 even more now that I have seen it in person. Maybe I'll like it better than the XB9R, have to wait until I can get a ride on one. Checked out the new VFR, like the tail and the sides, think that nose is too busy, but sitting on it felt just like my 91 only a little taller in the seat and lighter. Saw the new ST, like that one a bit too. Looked at the new Honda PWC, whoa that thing is big. Sat on the Road Star Warrior, blech, didn't like it a bit. Sat on an BMW R1150R, that's a long bike but comfy. Sat on the Suzuki DL1000, like that one too, nice wide seat. Sat on the Sportster 883R too, nice seat but otherwise standard Sportster from the saddle. I took advantage of a couple show specials too. I subscribed to Motorcycle Consumer News, 2 yrs for the price of one and I bought a new Joe Rocket Meteor 3.0 jacket. I also picked up a Throttle Rocker and it made a big difference on the way home, $10 well spent. And that's about it, I got there around 10-ish and left at about 4pm.

Whew, that was a long one. If you're still here, thanks for hanging in.
 

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thanks for your post mike, now i'm really sorry i missed the buell test ride.

if you want to sell the hard bags separate let me know :)

scott
 

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I went on Sunday. Got there just before 11:00. It wasn't to crowded and I was able to sit on any bike I wanted, with almost no waiting.

I find it amazing how different bikes can feel when you sit on them. Even if their published weight might make you feel otherwise.

For example, with the exception of the Monster 620, all the Ducatis felt like pigs. Balancing the bike and using my thighs to move it back and forth, the 700 and above all felt VERY heavy to me.

On the other hand, I was amazed at how good the Triumph Speed Triple felt. It seemed downright light to me.

So did the Moto Guzzi Le Mans, which I think is beautiful.

I think the XB9R Firebolt looks great, and felt great. I haven't been riding long enough to feel comfortable doing a test ride, though. I also think it looks great, but couldn't help but notice the "refrigerator magnet" lettering on the tank.

It is amazing to me at just how badly photographs do justice to these bikes. Heck, even the "ugly" ones don't look that bad in person.

The new ZR-7S does not look as bad as I thought. It's kind of a metallic purple. It's definitely unusual, which is part of the reason I think it was chosen.

I brought home a boat load of literature, enough to keep me busy for a week.
 

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treestman, "refrigerator magenet" describes the buell graphics perfectly!

as to how the bikes feel, there's a big dfference between standing still, parking lot speed and real road speeds. for instance, the honda valkyrie feels great and handles with a very light touch at parking lots speeds but suffers at freeway speeds because of it. many owners have installed an aftermarket lower triple tree which changes things for the better at high speeds with only a slight degradation of low speed handling.

the concensus seems to be that manufacturers often make their bikes appealling in the showroom and easy to handle during a short test ride around the block. this makes them easier to sell. for example, jumping on to corbin seat in a showroom may feel uncomfortably hard but soft and squishy stock seats suck for the long haul. but which would make it easier to move the bike out of the showroom?

i wouldn't buy the zr-7 until i took it up to 60mph, edge of the break in speed. without that i would have had no real gauge for handling or wind blast.

i rode a ducati 916. it's certainly not a 250gp bike and it's very top heavy at a standstill but it handles very nimbly at speed.

scott :)
 

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MotoMacGyver
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Discussion Starter #10
I guess there was a bunch of us there on Sunday, but we missed each other. It was neat during lunch (at a nearby restaurant a block or two away from the Convention Center) as Scott and I sat at a window booth and watched the bikes go by. Every time a ZR-7 rode by, we'd be like, "Hey look! There goes another one. Whoo-Hoo!"

I don't think there are many bikes out there that elicit such astonishment from their owners. I mean, it's not like we're a dime a dozen. You'd think we were spotting UFO's or something!

Emrah
 

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"For example, with the exception of the Monster 620, all the Ducatis felt like pigs. Balancing the bike and using my thighs to move it back and forth, the 700 and above all felt VERY heavy to me."

I find this comment interesting. I have sat on all the US Monsters and with the exception of the S4, they all felt virtually identical to me. Although there is a noted difference when you step up to the 900, it's all down low in the engine, They really are virtually identical as the listed weights are covered by a <30 lbs spread. The 620 weighs 389, the 750 is 394, and the 900 is 416. That makes the 900 only 7% heavier than the 620. Heck even the S4, at 423 lbs, is only 9% heavier. I wish the same percentage applied to the weight difference between the ZR-7 and ZRX.
 

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Mike Roell said:
"I find this comment interesting. I have sat on all the US Monsters and with the exception of the S4, they all felt virtually identical to me. Although there is a noted difference when you step up to the 900, it's all down low in the engine, They really are virtually identical as the listed weights are covered by a <30 lbs spread. The 620 weighs 389, the 750 is 394, and the 900 is 416. That makes the 900 only 7% heavier than the 620. Heck even the S4, at 423 lbs, is only 9% heavier. I wish the same percentage applied to the weight difference between the ZR-7 and ZRX.
Mike, that's why I made the comment I did. I know the published weights are similar, so I was very surprised at how different they felt despite those published weights. The 620 felt pretty light, the other Monsters all felt heavy.

Maybe part of it was expectation. For example, I knew the Speed Triple was well over 400 pounds, yet when I sat on it I was surprised at how light it felt.

Scott, I know there's a huge difference in how bikes feel at a stop, slow speeds, and highway speeds. I was not attempting to judge how they would feel on the road.

My personal opinion of the difference has more to do with where the bike's center of gravity is (i.e., where does it carry its weight), compared to where the rider's strength is when balancing the bike at a stop. I'm 5'9" and 175 pounds with a 31-32" inseam. I think some bikes just feel lighter because the bulk of their weight sits at a point where the bulk of my "balancing strength" is. I probably didn't explain that very well, but there's no denying, for me anyway, that bikes of very similar weight can feel quite different.

One more note on the show. I don't know if any of you are the crusier type, but I thought the Victory bikes were gorgeous.
 

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Ahhh, now I see, it is was the whole expectation. I missed that when I read it. Also I am 6' and 260 so a few pounds plus or minus on a bike is less noticeable for me. :) However, now that you mention it, the 750 and 900 do feel slightly more top heavy than the 620.
 
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