This past Sunday I attended the IMS in Washington D.C. It was fairly typical as far as the IMS goes with a few standouts for me. It was nice to see BMW return to D.C. after a few years being absent. Zero motorcycles made their first appearance that I’m aware of but Moto Guzzi and URAL where absent. All in all I was able to see most of the bikes that I had an interest in and was pleasantly surprised by a few.
My first stop was Triumph. I have read more than a few articles about the new Trophy and really wanted to see it in person. My thought was how much more compact the bike was then I thought it would be. Obviously aimed directly at the BMW R1200RT, the Trophy has a footprint that more matches the old R1150RT than the newer R1200RT which in my mind is the right direction for Triumph to go in. The BMW has become a larger bike over the years but I’m not sure that’s translated into a better bike. The Trophy is comparable feature for feature with the RT but maintains a more compact and sport touring feel making the BMW look massive. The Trophy feels good too. Even though it looks smaller than I expected it fit my 6′ 2″ frame well. The price however puts this on my have-to-raid-the-college-fund list instead of on my next-ex-bike list.
I was pleasantly surprised by the BMW F800GT. This is the 2013 version of the F800ST which it replaces in the BMW lineup. I was always a fan of the ST for its size and engine but never really keen on its looks or storage options. The GT has a vastly improved set of hard bags and less severely angled fairing. I think if the GT had existed before I bought my Concours I would have snatched it up in a heartbeat. It’s light, powerful, has decent luggage and is about half the weight of my Concours. The new fairing design is sleek and streamlined. Seat height, comfort and reach to the handlebars was perfect for me and everything I remembered loving about the ST. The big attraction is the size of this bike for me. Having ridden the Connie for close to two years now it is a do everything bike but its weight gets in the way at times. That weight makes it a great touring bike for the open road but is a hindrance in tight switchbacks. The GT seems, to me, a great alternative to the larger displacement sport touring bikes on the market today.
Speaking of larger sport touring bikes I was able to throw a leg over the redesigned Yamaha FJR. The earlier incarnation of the FJR was on my short list when I was looking for a new mount. Unfortunately this generation, as with the last, just does not fit me very well. The pegs are a little too high forcing my knees to bend at an angle that’s just too tight for my long legs. I do think that the new fender and switch gear freshen up the look of the bike and bring it more up to date with other similar bikes. The second gen FJR was starting to look a little dated. I’m glad Yamaha have continued to invest in this bike. It’s worth it. Maybe this will push Honda into an update of the ST1300?
I was truly disappointing to not see Moto Guzzi at the show. I really wanted to get a better look at the Stelvio 1200 NTX, Norge GT 8V and the California 1400 touring. Alas they where not there so I’ll just have to wait until I see one at a rally or another show.
I took a few moments to look over the new Honda Gold Wing F6B cruiser thing. I remember the first time I saw the Victory Vision. It’s not really my kind of bike, but I can see where it will appeal to a small group of people looking for something unique. Personally I think this will be another miss for Honda like the Rune, Pacific, and the DN01 to name a few. I will say that at least Honda is taking risks. Sometimes those pay off like with the NC700X, and then there are times when they don’t (see the Honda V45 Magna).
It’s always a treat to spend a Sunday looking at bikes. I look forward to the IMS every year. It’s a great way to get my motorcycle fix when the temperatures and weather outside keep me in my car.