- The 2018 Progressive International New York motorcycle show pulled into the Big Apple this past weekend.
- I dropped by before the show opened to the public and took in the sights.
- Once again, heritage styling was a big story, but the growth of Royal Enfield, a motorcycle company big in India, was also notable.
The New York motorcycle show is one of my favourite events of the year.
The 2018 instalment didn’t disappoint. The floor at the Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side was crammed with all manner of two-wheeled delights (as well as some three- and four-wheeled attractions).
All the major players were represented. We had big ole hogs from Harley-Davidson, cool flat-track racers from Indian, style machines from Triumph, Ducati, and Aprilia, and some flash new bikes from Royal Enfield, the freshest brand to hit the US market.
Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, and Kawasaki also showcased their wide range of bikes, ATVs, and of course, JetSkis.
I also sampled helmets, riding gear, and even tires!
Let’s have a look.
Progressive, the big insurer, is the longtime sponsor of the New York motorcycle show, which pulls in to the Javits Center every year.
It is a sea of two-wheelers, from all the major manufacturers.
Let’s have a look around!
One of the coolest aspects of Progressive’s sponsorship …
Is Flo’s Chop Shop (named for fictional pitchwoman Flo). You could get a beard trim, an airbrush tattoo, or check out some merch.
A key theme for motorcycle brands in the 21st century, as ridership has declined, has been to court female motorcyclists.
A brand that’s struggled with ageing, mostly male rides is Harley-Davidson, but the Milwaukee-based legend didn’t hold back on the bikes in New York.
Here’s a Superflow.
A huge, Ultra Limited freeway cruiser.
Another big cruiser, this time a Road Glide Ultra in orange.
And hey, why not three wheels?
Harley is renowned for it large-displacement V-Twin cruisers, but it has been pushing its smaller bikes more aggressively in recent years.
For me, one of the best bikes of the show was this Forty-Eight Special, complete with retro 1970s graphics on the tank.
I also checked out an XL 1200CX Roadster…
… And a breathtaking Softail Slim.
Harley’s biggest rival these days is Indian. Here we have one of the company’s flat track racers.
The portfolio is divided between big ole cruisers, such as this nearly $US30,000 Roadmaster …
… and Scout model, such as this low-slung Bobber.
A new addition to the lineup is the FTR 1200S, derived from flat-track racer designs.
For the past few years, the most interesting story at the show has been the emergence and growth of Royal Enfield, a storied brand that is huge in India, but has only recently come to the USA.
The heart of the lineup is the Int650, a relatively small-displacement bike by the standards of Harley, Indian, Ducati, and Triumph.
Here it is in a classic “Baker Express” colorway.
The Classic 500 is an even smaller displacement motorcycle, if the Int650 is bit too modern.
And if you want to really throw it back to the mid-20th century, the military styling of this classic could be for you.
Royal Enfield puts simple motors in its bikes — and isn’t afraid to show them off.
Now for a brief Italian interlude. Ducati has been the most compelling success story in the US, breaking stranglehold by Harley and the major Japanese brands.
Venom rode a Ducati in the recent film!
Ducati’s flagship is the ultra-high-performance Panigale. Here’s the new V4 R, a 234-horsepower beast that can blast from 0-60 mph in under three seconds.
These carbon-fibre winglets add 60 lbs. of downforce to the front wheel.
That’s some good stuff, but the real story for Ducati in the US has been the establishment of the Scrambler sub-brand, which includes stylish, heritage merchandise.
And some truly glorious bikes, such as this throwback Scrambler design.
Aprilia was also at the show.
Yes, there was a flashy sport bike, complete with Italian colours.
But Vespas were also in the house. The scooter brand, along with Apriia, is owned by Piaggio.
We will now end our Italian interlude with a survey of some of the mad, mad other sights of the show. Like this lurid green Kawasaki jet ski.
Progressive rival Allstate showcased a few exotic custom chopper designs.
And there was no shortage of choppers — in fact, custom bikes were everywhere on display.
This was my personal favourite.
A steampunk bobber!
And a mirrored-out sport bike!
This BMW-based custom bike was over-the-top.
The motorcycle lifestyle means gear — and lots of leather.
Rev-It! has been my favourite brands in this space for a few years.
I had to try on this heritage model.
The top tiremakers were also accounted for.
A cool new feature this year was the New Rider Course.
In order to pull this off both indoors and for inexperienced bikers who know not of clutches and gearshifts, Zero provided a fleet of electric bikes — no shifting, and no exhaust fumes!
The Japanese manufacturers usually roll in with some ATVs.
And Polaris brought a passel of Slingshot three-wheelers.
Yamaha did not neglect its smallest customers.
Back to bikes! You can’t beat Triumph for looks.
I had to hop on.
A low-slung Speedmaster.
A snazzy Street Scrambler.
A very sharp Street Twin.
A Thruxton, with yellow springs and a gold fork.
I don’t know much about Confederate Motorcycles, other than the controversial name was retired by the original company before the brand was sold to a private-equity firm earlier this year.
The bikes are intense, steampunkish, throwback designs.
The Germans have jumped into the scrambler game with the R nine T.
Here’s a R nine T Racer.
The BMW booth always means some bikes with saddlebags.
But it also means ferociously well-engineered sport bikes.
Kawasaki, like Yamaha and Suzuki, brought many, many bikes to the floor.
Such as the legendary Ninja sport machine.
But also a bunch of dirt bikes.
In fact, Yamaha joined Kawasaki in not backing off either sport bikes …
.. or dirt bikes, including some entry-level micro-mounts.
Which is not to say that the massive freeway cruisers were neglected.
On to Suzuki and …
… dirt bikes! The category continues to thrive, even as street bikes struggle.
Although this beauty was one of the bikes of the show for me. It’s the Van Van 200, and it can be had for less than $US5,000.
Honda is always a great stop for the sheer variety of what’s on display.
This revamped Cub is based on a model that’s been around since 1958.
And the Honda Monkey, a design that dates to to the early 1960s, has been reintroduced.
Honda wants to get rider started early. Real early.
The always wonderful Metropolitan, Honda’s interpretation of the Vespa scooter.
Honda’s CBR lineup might be the best everyday sport bikes on the market.
And Honda hasn’t neglected the heritage buyer. This Rebel 500 is a beefier version of Honda’s entry-level cruiser.
Until next year, Motorcycle show!
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