This Ducati 1299 Superleggera stickers for $80,000, makes 215 horsepower and weighs 340 pounds. Only 500 will be built, and most are already spoken for. Photos by Jim O’Clair and Kurt Ernst.
Tourists flock to New York City in December for different reasons. Some come to take in the spectacle of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, while others make the trek solely for the holiday shopping. Those with a love of two-wheeled (and three-wheeled) transportation, however, have an entirely different reason to visit: The Progressive International Motorcycle Show, held annually at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
Big news from Polaris: Its Slingshot trike will now be one of the vehicles used in the International Race of Champions.
To the casual observer, it may seem that little has changed in the motorcycle market over the past year, but nothing could be further from the truth. Motorcycles are more sophisticated, technologically speaking, than they ever have been, with even “affordable” models offering electro-wizardry that senses things like lean angle, throttle settings and rear wheel speed to determine when (or if) it’s safe to allow more torque from the engine. Brands are diversifying product lines to target new and returning riders, and in the case of the Polaris Slingshot and Can-Am Spyder, consumers who may not even be interested in two-wheeled transportation.
BMW R nineT Club Sport.
What was once old is new again, with nearly every brand launching a lightweight, retro-styled, off-road-inspired “scrambler” model, while standards and even café racers are one again hot commodities. BMW, for example, built on the success of its retro-themed R Nine-T, launching a drool-worthy club sport variant and a scrambler that borrowed heavily from its original adventure bike the R80 GS.
The Vanguard Roadster. Notice the absence of fuel lines, oil lines, wiring and control cables.
Bikes for new riders were plentiful, too, with BMW debuting a range of G 300 series models aimed at the entry-level market, and Suzuki launching a new GSX-250R that certainly doesn’t look (or likely perform) like a bargain offering. A new American motorcycle company, Vanguard, even made its debut at this year’s New York show, and if all goes as planned will begin building bikes at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the next two years.
Got blower? This custom Harley does.
There was no shortage of custom bikes on display, either, ranging from a pint-size Honda (sporting, somewhat ironically, East Coast Timing Association stickers) to a blower-equipped Harley that used enough tubing to replumb the United Nations headquarters. While some were clearly designed as kinetic sculpture, others were obviously meant to be ridden (though, sadly, no one offered us a set of keys and a loaner helmet).
Restored BMW R69 S parts laid out in the Max BMW booth, awaiting the start of the live build.
In the next week, we’ll have stories on Vanguard, the Brooklyn startup, as well as new bikes from Ducati and Suzuki. We even sat down with Gary Gray, director of motorcycle product for Polaris, to get his take on the rebirth of the Indian brand. Until then, and assuming you couldn’t attend last weekend’s show, enjoy these shots from the 2016 Progressive New York International Motorcycle Show.