Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2011 Minneapolis Motorcycle Show

International Motorcycle Shows setup in the convention center in Minneapolis, MN February 4-6. My wife and I attended on Saturday along with hundreds of others. Thanks to Lloyd and BikeBandit.com we only paid $1.50 for two tickets. Thanks for the free ticket Lloyd!
We arrived in time to catch the tail end of the first stunt show from “Team No Limit” with Jason Britton and Eric Hoenshell. By chance, we ended up at the front of the line for autographs, so we both got two posters signed! My wife was excited. I think she has one hanging up at work now. I plan to add mine to the motorcycle poster wall in the workshop.
We both love stunt shows, and it was impressive to watch Jason and Eric make their Kawasaki’s dance around the floor. Jason even managed to bunny-hop his entire bike six inches into the air. Wow! We’ve seen them both on TV, and it was a treat to see it in real life. I hope to finish the video I captured in a few days.
The show was busy in the afternoon, but it was noticeably smaller compared to 2009 or 2010. There weren’t as many bikes or major manufactures – only Honda, Suzuki, Victory, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Indian, and Harley Davidson showed up.
A number of local dealers did a decent job of filling in the gaps with other makes including Ducati, BMW, Moto Guzzi, Aprillia, and Ural. I was surprised so many locals showed up as I heard the dealer spots were running $50,000 a weekend!?
There was a small custom bike contest running too with a number of interesting bikes. Most of them looked good standing still, but would have been very uncomfortable to ride.
This one reminded me of Gary France’s red bike –“Tradewinds”. I like Gary’s bike more.
A very custom R6:
IMG_8695 IMG_8696
This one just had an LCD screen as the only gauge and speakers on the sides:
Neat to be able to adjust the suspension on the ride, but ouch. I named this one “nut grinder”
Local guy’s sportbike setup for the ice.
Ice sport bike
Check out the spikes on the rear tire!
Cool Harley XR1200 racer:
Great looking bike: 1934 GT-17 Moto Guzzi 500ccIMG_8741 IMG_8742
This was the first show I’ve intended where I wasn’t looking for a bike or really any gear. We didn’t expect much because of the poor economy. We went to see what was there and to enjoy the shows.
One of the new bikes at the show was the Honda CBR250R. Keith asked me to look at it for him, so I did. Here are two photos of guys around 6 foot tall sitting on the bike.
IMG_8701 IMG_8703
It isn’t as aggressive as other sportbikes ergonomics-wise, but I didn’t think it was as comfortable as the Ninja 250. However, the handlebars/controls can easily be lowered or raised to preference. According to cycle-ergo.com, the forward lean and the knee bend are the same.
For a $4500 MSRP bike with fuel injection and ABS, we thought it was a pretty good buy. I’d expect to get it for $4000. None available to test ride right now, so no comments on its performance. On paper, it looks quite good. I’d like to give it a ride!
This Ninja looked cool hanging in a case:
IMG_8727 IMG_8728
The Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center had a new gadget on display. Their moto trainer:
It’s setup much like a driving wheel and pedals for a car video game, but instead it has motorcycle controls – bar, levers, brakes, and shifter. I enjoyed watching different people try it. I think it will make an interesting teaching tool to provide coaching as things are happening. It could also allow students to experience different situations in a safe environment. Unfortunately, it didn’t lean into the turns. Maybe the next model!
Since there weren’t a lot of bikes, we spent much of our time at the talks and shows going on during the event.
The above talk is explaining how suspension works and how to adjust it properly. Good stuff to remember.
We also listened to talks about building a café racer, dirt bike skills for the street, buying a used bike, and how to get kids racing dirt bikes.
One of the highlights for us was the MotoFlix movie theater. They played motorcycle movies throughout the day. We enjoyed part of “Roof of Africa” a film about an extreme Enduro Race and “Globeriders: Indo-China”.
There was also interviews with Peter Starr director of “Taking It To the Limit” (on the right).
After the show, we stayed for a special screening of “Taking It To the Limit”. All profits were donated to fight prostate cancer. We both enjoyed the film, and I can see why it has won so many awards. It really reminded me of “On Any Sunday” The movie was about different motorcycle events and races in the 70s/early 80s. It had interviews and voice-overs from the racers of the time and had a variety of footage including superbikes, dirt track, grass track, hill climbs, desert racing, and sidecar racing.
One of my favorite scenes was the sidecarcross. Crazy stuff! We were both amazed at how little gear people wore during some of the events like the hill climb. A number of competitors were only wearing t-shirts, jeans, and a helmet; all of them came falling down the hill. ouch!
All in all, we both had a great day at the show, and we were glad we went. There could have been more bikes and manufacturers, but we found other things to enjoy.
Full Flickr Album here.


  1. Thanks, Chris.

    I'm eager to sit on the CBR250R. Motorcycle USA did a "Shootout" between the CBR250R and the Ninja 250R: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/9/9134/Motorcycle-Article/Honda-CBR250R-vs-Kawasaki-Ninja-250R.aspx
    Many of the things they were critical of were things that weren't a problem for me. The Kawi "won" the shootout which didn't surprise me. I'm thinking the Honda is a commuter and secondary road bike more than a sportbike.

    Again, thanks for checking it out.

    My bike is pretty much iced in the garage, but we got a big warm-up coming. I'm hoping to be on the road again this weekend.


  2. That CBR250R looks pretty nice. I may have to take a look one of these days. Thanks for the post. We don't get any motorcycle shows up here.


  3. I just was out walking the great Ivanhoe Ice Fields. I still can't see a way to navigate out to the main roads. I could use some tires like that ice racer, but then what would I do when I got to dry pavement :)

  4. Keith: I'd still go for the CBR. FI and ABS are big in my opinion. A couple of the local racers were hot on the bike to race in the 250 class too. It could be a fun commuter, but I think my WR250R is quite good for that. sucks up the bumps nicely and can go anywhere. comfy ergos and a big alternator -- the seat could use replacing for day long rides though.

    the ice tires would destroy the dry pavement ;)

    You're welcome. I don't suppose you get many, you're a ways up there!

  5. I actually was thinking the better comparison bike would have been the WR250R rather than the Ninja. Of course, the Honda isn't anything close to the WR250R, but it also costs quite a bit less. I'm with you on FI and ABS.

  6. Keith: The WR250R is a fun little bike. My friend Basher is in St. Louis and he has one too.