Total Motorcycle 2016 Calgary Motorcycle Show Coverage Review
The 2016 Calgary Motorcycle show, presented by Dalton Timmis Insurance from January 8th to 10th at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park was off to a good start. Good as all the displays, bikes, presenters which leads me to conclude overall organization of the show was done well. Foot traffic was commented to be lighter than normal though by various presenters. This was generally expected as Alberta is under some pretty tough economic times in 2015 for the first time in a decade due to oil & gas and unemployment. Days 2 and 3 are the big days for the Calgary Motorcycle show and will really determine the interest level and the success of the show for this year.
Day One Impressions:
I did get to sit on quite a few bikes but really, Day One for me, was getting an overall show experience rather than "in your face media"...lol.
Bikes, bikes and more bikes galore!
Being Day One, the presenters were fresh and in fine spirits with lots of energy. Day One is generally (I think) the best day to go to a show like this because of this and the fact the crowds are generally lighter than the weekend ones. Also if you are into free swag, it's here-there-and-everywhere.
Speaking of free-swag, Friday was She Rides Night (http://www.calgarymotorcycleshow.ca/she_rides_nite/) and this year they were giving away a Ninja 300 for just entering the contest in Green. To the ladies only though. I was a little surprised they didn't do something special to the bike for the ladies, but hey, it's a free bike, what's not to love?
A few model insights:
- Honda had an impressive display of models on show.
Africa Twin: The big crowd draw was the 2016 Honda Africa Twin, in fact, the Africa Twin was the shows main crowd getter that day. They even had the Africa Twin Adventure Sports Concept as well on display on a rock above it: http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/motorcyc ... oncept.htm . I did get the opportunity to sit on the Africa Twin and as expected it is quite a tall bike. First impressions were good, it is a little top heavy and it's reminds me a lot of a KLR650 with a mix of V-Strom than a luxury off-roader. But it's great to see a dual-sport legend return to production again. The price tag of $13,999 (CAD) or $12,999 (USD) isn't bad, but as mentioned above, it's more of a KLR Honda than a BMW GS1200 so you get what you pay for.
VFR1200X: A luxury adventure bike vs the African twin, more money, heavier but more solid. Not sure if I'd really take this off-road or not but it would made a great do-it-all highway/B-Road tourer to cross continents.
NC750X: I really wasn't sure if I would like this bike from it's photos but in person, it looks much better and with it's lower than skyscraper set height will appeal to many more riders than either the Africa Twin or the VFR1200X. Honda had two versions of the NC750X, one stock and the other with off-road knobby tires. The Knobby tire one really was impressive and it would be the bike of the three I would personally take off-roading if I had to choose between the three. With it's lighter weight (465 vs 611 of the Africa Twin), lower seat height, good range, $5000 cheaper price tag and similar ground clearance (165 vs 210) it's a win-win.
I did happen to ask about the possible discontinued models... the VFR800, Rebel 250 and even the Grom. The word is, the VRF800 is in the 2016 Honda Motorcycle Brochure but it's not at all on the media or consumer sites. The Grom they did have on display but as a 2015 model and the Honda rep found it odd Honda didn't have it there nor on their sites as in 2015 it was a good seller. The Rebel 250 wasn't there at all but again, the rep did find it odd Honda would discontinue it and nor was it in the 2016 brochure...it is on the US sites as a 2016 model though just not in Canada.
I really love how Suzuki brought back that SV650... the legend. I got to see it and sit on it at the show. It's a comfortable bike, and makes you want to ride it. It's the model I was most excited about after I left the Suzuki area.
The V-Strom drew some crowds still, it's a great value contender and one that will draw riders away from the Honda Africa Twin.
The BIG draw over at Triumph was the Classic model lineup. http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/motorcyc ... riumph.htm The Triumph Bonneville T120 Black (you could sit on), Street Twin and Thruxton 1200R (unfortunately was on a display) were impressive. The T120's and Street Twin seat was never cold! Both are quite comfortable bikes, the T120 being a tad even more so.
Kawasaki http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/motorcyc ... wasaki.htm
A great display of their bikes across the entire range. The Ninja300s, 650R's and H2R drew some crowds, but as the rep said, the H2R wasn't as "hot" as last year for show go'ers. Kawasaki also had a whole wall of Z800's and Z1000's. Amazing to see how "angled" the design of Kawasaki models are when you have so many in one spot.
Quite an impressive display considering the smaller space they were working with. In the middle was a custom V7II Racer with the Paul Smart fairing. Lots of crowds. Around the outside was the new V7II's (Stone, Special, Racer) as well as Griso and other models some of them even a little customized by the Blackfoot Motosports to show off the Guzzi accessories. I have to give the V7II the MOST comfortable middle-weight bike to sit on at the show award, even more so than the T120. The Guzzi rep mentioned the new V7II's engine sticks out a very little from the front of the frame now that Guzzi evened the "tilt" of the engine for cosmetics.
Had a very interesting "straight line strip" displaying their models between the isles. MV Agusta wanted to "show off their models rather than their booth". Lots of great, very beautiful bikes. It's hard not to droll over an MV Agusta!
Yamaha http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/motorcyc ... Yamaha.htm
The big surprise. The XSR700 was there at the show! I have to be honest and say it looks WAY better in real life than it does in the photos! Very interesting and unexpected tall seating position akin to a dual sport/ADV than a standard! But it's not top heavy. The one thing I'd like to see is the tach/speedo more "centered" on the bike as it seems to be taking it's cues from the Ducati Scramber.
Speaking of the Ducati Scramber, the new light-sized 400cc Scramber was at the show with it's big brothers. Again to be honest, the Scramber is one that unlike the XSR700 looks a tad better in the photos but that said it's even less comfortable to sit on. Not sure if the Scrambler really "feels" a good as the high price would suggest. Also the new XDiavel and XDiavel S was there at the show. Very nicely designed, but the XDiavel S isn't made for those over average height of leg length. In fact, for me (6'4") this was by far the least comfortable bike I sat on at the show 2/10. The XDiavel was better at 4/10. Sorry Ducati for the not so great review here.
The one model that really impressed us was the 690 Duke. Like Kawasaki, KTM loves it's "angular cues" and you would think the Duke 690 wouldn't be comfortable to sit on, but in fact, it was a very pleasant surprise! The 690 Duke was a surprising like for Andrea at the show.
Those that didn't come to the show:
I'd really have liked to see Royal Enfield at the show. RE is making a move to be "the world leader in 500-750cc motorbikes" and their Continental GT is just an awesome bike to have seen at the show. Maybe next year.
Kymco wasn't present either.
Traffic and Vendors
As mentioned, traffic was on the lighter side and talking with various venders, it was lower than last year (Friday vs Friday). There were some good deals to be had at the show as well. The tough economy is tough on everyone but if you did manage to save a little cash, deals could be had.
I did stop at the Canadian Biker Magazine (CDN BKR) booth and had a great chat with owner John Maolony. They are running a subscription special of $20/year you might want to check out!
There was a big representation of rider group booths at the show as well as yearly bike ride booths. Some vendor product booths but not as many as you might expect if you have been to UK bike shows. But still quite a lot to keep yourself entertained for a couple hours!
The mystery "what do you do" vendor booth award for the show goes (so far) to Torch Motorcycles. I kept hearing comments from visitors that they had no idea what Torch did so I thought I'd go have a look see myself. I still couldn't figure out what they do either at the show but they did have a big booth in the back. I think I'll have a chat with them today to see what they do and clear up the mystery.
Overall, if you give yourself three hours, you can see and do everything you really would like at the show. It's not that big you will get lost and even if you and your wife/friends get split up, it won't take too long to rejoin them.
It is always great to see so many readers/users/visitors/members of Total Motorcycle.com at any show and I met quite a few at the Calgary Motorcycle Show so far. If you happen to see me wondering around feel free to stop and have a chat. Do note I can chat about anything bikes for hours! lol.
See you next year at the Show!