NEW YORK – What the Progressive International Motorcycle Show this weekend lacked in heft, with such major manufacturers as Ducati and Triumph not having corporate displays, it somewhat made up for with exciting new models and one model that a lot of riders would like to see. Sure, the size of the show continues to shrink but this go-round it at least dangled some fresh two-wheeled carrots.
Honda’s new slimmed down Gold Wing, Royal Enfield’s new 650cc twins the Interceptor and Continental GT, and Kawasaki’s new retro Z900RS and Ninja 400 up-sized small sport bike were among some of the models getting attention as well as Indian’s dirt track-inspired, one-off FTR1200 Custom, a bike that many hope eventually goes into production.
At press day on Friday, Steve Menneto, who is President of Motorcycles for Indian owner Polaris, reported that 2017 was “an outstanding year for us” with Indian now having more than 450 dealers in 45 countries after four years of existence. Menneto also spoke briefly at Polaris’ Slingshot display where the big news was that a roof is now available for the Slingshot three-wheeler.
Getting swamped by attendances at the show were three examples of Honda’s revamped Gold Wing. “It appeals to a broader range of customers. It’s lighter, more nimble,” said Honda’s Tony De Franze. (Separate story on Gold Wing coming soon.)
Call it a tie between the two brands having the biggest story to tell.
Kawasaki rolled out several new models that cover loads of territory. It had Yoshi Tamura, company president and CEO, and Kawasaki Racing Team member Tom Sykes, who suffered a bad crash back in September at the WorldSBK race in Portugal, on hand to help with the press presentation.
Kawi’s hottest two models were the Ninja H2SX SE and Ninja H2SX, priced at $22,000 and $19,000 respectively.
More accessible was the retro standard Z900RS. Kawasaki also brought a 1973 Z900 for comparison purposes. The Z900RS will run $10,999 in black and $11,199 with a root beer and orange pain scheme.
Indian manufacturer Royal Enfield had a coming out party of sorts, displaying three new models that it expects to draw a broader range of customers this year beyond its concise range of 500cc single models – the enduro Himalayan and two 650 models, the Continental GT and Interceptor. The Continental GT and the Interceptor are both expected to sell for less than $7,000. (Separate story coming soon.)
While not having a high profile at the show, the growing electric motorcycle segment was represented with more brands than in the past – Zero, Alta and the new Italian manufacturer, Energica, which currently has only three dealers in the country.
Not only was manufacturer participation at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show down this year, it also appeared that vendor participation was off significantly, too.
The show shifted to the less spacious lower level of the Jacob K. Javits Convention but even so there were wider aisles and more space between bikes in the displays, which couldn’t mask the fact that there were fewer displays and vendor stands overall.
The vibe, though, was good thanks to new models, including several from BMW.
Harley-Davidson had its usual large display.
There were customs to admire, too, and attendees didn’t shy away from trying out the new models.
Photos by Bud Wilkinson unless otherwise noted.