Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show


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Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:16 pm



I got back this afternoon from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show. Attendance was down from last year in my opinion, but I suspect this is simply because it's Super Bowl Sunday. That said, while there were just as many bikes as previous years, the amount of apparel and accessory vendors was WAY down from last year. I went with the intention of trying on and buying a new pair of summer gloves - but was completely unable to find anyone selling any decent gloves! I found a couple vendors with an incidental small selection of gloves, but nothing decent. Previous years had row after row of apparel vendors - this year I could count the apparel vendors on one hand. Previous years had tons of unrelated vendors selling everything from food mixers to brew-your-own-beer systems. This year had none of those. So the show was definitely smaller.

Cleveland Motorcycle Show
Cleveland Motorcycle Show


While I had a look at most of all the bikes, I decided I would have the closest look at bikes that challenge the Goldwing for market share, and it's on those bikes that this report will focus. In no particular order, I give you the Bikes of the Cleveland Bike Show 2014:

BMW appears to be going all-out in their attempt to create the ultimate touring bike, and make no mistake, they are targeting the GL1800 directly with their K1600GT.

BMW K1600GT
BMW K1600GT


The amount of technology crammed into this bike makes the rather dated CB and navigation on the GL1800 look antiquated in comparison. SO many bikes I saw had electrically-adjustable windshields. Hello, Honda?

BMW K1600GT Cockpit
BMW K1600GT Cockpit


Features available only on the aftermarket on the GL1800 such as passenger arm rests can be had from the factory:

BMW K1600GT with trunk
BMW K1600GT with trunk


Modern adaptive projector beam HID Xenon headlights again make the 1990's technology headlight on the GL1800 look ancient. Why doesn't Honda's flagship feature this type of technology?

BMW K1600GT Adaptive Xenon Headlight
BMW K1600GT Adaptive Xenon Headlight


There were quite a few Japanese manufacturers who are trying to cash in on the touring market by adding bags to massive sportbikes, to make sport-tourers such as is seen in this Kawasaki Concours. The Concours is a nice (but) heavy bike, but the leaning-forward sportbike stance on it would be very tiring after a couple of hours. The seat was also quite hard, which to me would not be very comfortable after more than a couple of hours of riding.

Kawasaki Concours
Kawasaki Concours


The other type of stab at the touring market by Japanese manufacturers is the big V-Twin. Basically trying to out-Harley Harley Davidson, the Vulcan 1700 is a massive, wide, heavy bike that to me, has far too many concessions to ergonomics in the name of styling.

Kawasaki 1700 Vulcan
Kawasaki 1700 Vulcan


The Can-Am Spyder RT is obviously intended for long-distance touring, and I suspect that this reverse trike would be on my list if I had physical limitations that prevented me from riding a "leaning" bike. Tons of storage space abound in this trike. One of the features that most turned me on was the adjustable handlebars. Easily adjusted for both angle and reach, this feature should DEFINITELY exist on the Goldwing.

Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited


Whereas every bike manufacturer explicitly warns against pulling trailers with their motorcycles, Can-Am actually offers a factory hitch and trailer to go along with their Can-Am Spyder.

Can-Am Spyder Trailer
Can-Am Spyder Trailer


The bike show usually has some cool non-motorcycle things to see. These were few and far between this year, however I did see this interesting prototype four-passenger ATM from Can-Am. It's quite long with not a huge amount of ground clearance, it looks to me like it would get hung up on fairly small hills or bumps.

Can-Am Maverick Max
Can-Am Maverick Max


Of course, Harley Davidson had a huge area, right as you first enter the show, and it was crowded with the Harley-loving Ohio folk. This Electra-Glide Ultra Classic had a comfortable seating position and lots of road-hugging weight, but the vibration, noise and stratospheric price of these bikes just turns me off.

Harley Electra-Glide Ultra Classic
Harley Electra-Glide Ultra Classic


Ducati had no touring bikes whatsoever, but they did have by far the best, uh, representatives. :)

Ducati
Ducati


Triumph has a solid entry with their Triumph Trophy SE. A slightly forward seating position belies its slight sportbike influences. The easily removable bags have a unique suspension system that allows them to float free of the bike, to reduce the felt mass in corners. The ergonomics on this bike were excellent, it was quite comfortable to sit on.

Triumph Trophy SE
Triumph Trophy SE


Again, like so many other bikes I saw today, the cockpit area of the Trophy has technological innovations driven with handlebar mounted menu controls that are completely absent on the Goldwing.

Triumph Trophy SE Cockpit
Triumph Trophy SE Cockpit


This yellow flamed Victory stood out simply because of its outstanding factory paint job.

Yellow Victory
Yellow Victory


Love it or hate it, you can't argue that the Victory Vision (which in my opinion should be called the Victory Spaceship) has some radical styling. If only it would dispense with the 1950's era rattling, shaking air-cooled V-Twin that is cemented into America's consciousness as the "proper" motorcycle engine.

Victory Spaceship
Victory Spaceship


The refined, stylish cockpit and swoopy lines of the bike just don't fit with the engine in my opinion. This bike deserves a silky smooth inline or V 4 or 6.

Victory Spaceship Cockpit
Victory Spaceship Cockpit


The Yamaha FJR is another sport-tourer - bike sportbike with bags on the back. Having done thousand-mile-a-day rides, I just can't imagine doing more than even half of that on a bike that has you riding in the position this cockpit puts you in. The seat on this bike was rock-hard in my opinion, another strike against it as a long-distance tourer.

Yamaha FJR
Yamaha FJR


The "adventure" bike segment was well-represented at the show, especially with BMW and KTM, the two heavyweights of that market. However, the Yamaha Super Tenere had one feature that I heard many people comment about:

Yamaha Super Tenere
Yamaha Super Tenere


And here's the feature, something unique that I've never seen on a bike before. Having had many occasion to pull myself out of a sticky (ok, muddy) situation on an ATV using its winch, it makes perfect sense to have one on this type of motorcycle.

Yamaha Super Tenere Winch
Yamaha Super Tenere Winch


I expected to see a big crowd around the brand new Honda Valkyrie, the same way there was a huge crowd around the then-new F6B last year. Instead, the poor, unloved Valkyrie was being completely ignored. Perhaps it was a mistake for Honda to put it right next to the F6B, which itself was getting a reasonable amount of attention?

Honda Valkyrie
Honda Valkyrie


Sitting on the Valkyrie with no fairing and no windshield, it felt extremely exposed. I would expect this feeling from a tiny sportbike, not from a massive GL1800-powered bike.

Honda Valkyrie Cockpit
Honda Valkyrie Cockpit


The front end of the Valkyrie, with its modern HID headlight (again Honda, what about the Goldwing?) is, in my opinion, a disaster. It's just...ugly.

Honda Valkyrie Headlight
Honda Valkyrie Headlight


The Honda F6B, in yellow over flat black was getting a fair amount of attention from the attendees.

Honda F6B
Honda F6B


The familiar GL1800 cockpit has a few relocated buttons in order to fit the new fairing on the F6B.

Honda F6B Cockpit
Honda F6B Cockpit


People really seem to like the flat black blacked-out GL1800. To me, flat black is just about the worst color for a bike - not only is it dull and boring to look at, it's virtually invisible in traffic, particularly at night.

Honda Blacked Out GL1800
Honda Blacked Out GL1800
Honda Blacked Out GL1800
Honda Blacked Out GL1800


To me, the new CTX line of motorcycles is where Honda is really shining. The new CTX700 would be perfect for my wife, and I would buy it for her tomorrow, except for two glaring problems: the ridiculous forward foot controls, and the automatic transmission. Honda, please, stop with the automatic transmissions. We ride motorcycles, we LIKE to shift gears. The CTX700 has a perfect upright seating position, good handlebars, removeable bags, and uses that sweet 700cc engine introduced last year on the NC700X. However, you are forced to sit with your feet uncomfortably way out in front of you.

Honda CTX700
Honda CTX700


How embarrassing (for Honda) that the technology used in the cockpit on its CTX series, for the audio system, and driver informatics far exceeds that which is used on its "flagship" GL1800?

Honda CTX700 Cockpit
Honda CTX700 Cockpit


Honda's CTX1300, with its longitudinally mounted V-4, is a serious contender to the Goldwing, and I suspect will suck up some of its sales. With pulled-back handlebars, an upright seating position, perfectly positioned footpegs, a deep-sculpted seatback, huge saddlebags, and current technology, this bike is designed to eat up the miles.

Honda CTX1300
Honda CTX1300
Honda CTX1300
Honda CTX1300


I had read about the new lithium batteries offered by Battery Tender, and got to have a look at them today. With an 18 year shelf life (charge them up, and they will maintain their charge for 18 months, unlike lead-acid batteries, which lose their charge over time), 5+ year life, and weighing 80% less than lead-acid batteries, I don't really see a downside. They don't sulfate, there is nothing to spill, and they weigh next to nothing! I thought at first they were just a demonstration battery, and were empty plastic boxes - but no, they really did weigh that little!

Battery Tender Lithium Batteries
Battery Tender Lithium Batteries


Lastly, I was pleased to see bands from one of the Cleveland School of Rock music schools playing throughout the show. I'll give them a plug because I know they do good work producing great musicians - because my daughter goes there. Not only has she learned to play guitar, she's overcome her paralyzing fear of singing in front of people. These kids played amazingly well.

School of Rock on stage
School of Rock on stage


So that was the Cleveland Motorcycle Show for 2014. Did you attend? Did you see something I might have missed? Speak up and let's hear what you thought of the show!



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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby silverado6x6 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:49 am

Wow, great report!
Does kinda make me think of other options about my next bike purchase, seems like Goldwings are kinda like Disneyworld attractions, cutting edge.....20 years ago.
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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby Kactus59 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:57 am

Very nice summation for us that could not attend. Thank you. I attended the New England bike show in Boston, which I usually do and I found this year to be a grab bag of odds and ends just to fill a booth. When I go to a bike show I go to see new innovations, new products, get special deals on some as well, but here's the kicker, it's a motorcycle show and the deals and stuff should be motorcycle related, not deals for a dry basement or new windows, or a chance to win a new kitchen. There were booths for every local chapter Hells Angels in the area that I would expect to see during Laconia bike week, but not a bike show - sorry. I see at least the Cleveland bike show by your review, had more to offer to the bikers mentality. I too would have loved to find a nice pair of gloves, a bit more insulated than what I have but what I found was a flea market style table with what looked like the left over, unsold, bottom-of-the-box stuff that was sitting in someone's garage and brought at the last minute. Maybe it is just the economy and low historical sales from previous years from our area that limits the "big players" from offering up their wares. Thanks again for your report, I think I saw more from that than I did when I went in person to the NewEngland bike show!

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby Dogsled » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:01 am

All of the bikes there can be seen at the local dealerships. I think the bad showing is they overcharge the vendors (smaller vendors can't afford it) and over charge the visitors and the only one who makes out is the IX center. I quit going and just give my camera to a buddy to take a 100 pictures of the Ducati girls... :lol:
It fun for Spring rides to hit all the various dealers and get to look at alot more bikes...heck Harley will even let you take one you like for a ride. AND there's no admission.
Good to know about that BatteryTender brand battery.....
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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby Mike 545 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:00 am

Does the Honda's CTX1300 have a stereo and GPS? You are correct about the Wing's lack of tech. Heck, the new BMW GTL 1600 Exclusive has keyless ignition - the stereo does not compare
to a Goldwing's, though.

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby Fred Camper » Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:13 am

Wingadmin, this was an excellent report. I attended Novi MI this year but your attention to detail was outstanding. Good eyes.

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby Deputy1952 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:36 am

The lithium battery looks and sounds good but if you have ever experienced or seen the results of a lithium battery fire, you might think twice about having one. They are just too unstable to risk on my my beautiful Wing. Boeing has had to rethink use of lithium batteries on their Dreamliners and quite a few people have had their lithium battery-powered cellphones and other electronic devices cook off in their pocket or purse. I'll stick with the heavier lead-acid battery. :geek:

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby olddog1946 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:59 am

I wholeheartedly agree about the lack of updated features on the "Wing" and would not buy a new because of that lack. I am indeed intrigued by the CTX1300, I don't like the short exhaust on it but otherwise like it far better than the new Valkyrie. Being a Valkyrie owner (2001) I've always wanted to see one with the 1800 engine, but don't think this one would look good with all the puke it would have on it (mine, every time I'd sit on it)....I will look at a CTX1300, if I can find a local dealer that will put one on his showroom floor. The closest dealer to me refuses to even bring one in unless it's bought and paid for beforehand. Seems extremely short sighted to me, but I guess it's his place to do what he wishes. I also like the F6B but would want more windshield and I would prefer removable bags but all in all a nice ride.

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby TheRobbie1950 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:56 pm

An Absolutely Amazingly Great Report.... :mrgreen:
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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby mgm1854 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:54 pm

Nice report! I'll have to agree that Honda seems to have lost its way as far as their Flagship touring bike, the Goldwing. I was hoping that the 2014 model would have some significant improvements and electronics, but I was totally disappointed. We were looking to purchase 2 new Goldwings this year but not after seeing that nothing has really changed from the 2002 and 2010 models we currently have. I guess I'll wait until next year to see what 2015 brings. If there are still no big changes, then it will be time to look at other manufacturers. The BMW is certainly a technical marvel and I even like the looks of the new Indian touring bike. It has so much more "technology than the current Goldwing.

Wake up Honda and do something with the Goldwing before all your loyal long distance touring riders are riding something else!

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby thehorseman1955 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:24 pm

great info. but I digress about the statement on auto transmissions. I have a neighbor in his 70s with some kind of nerve issue in left leg who has 3 older road bikes. just bought some Chinese bike because it has auto and he can still ride. they have a place for some people. kind of like can ams and trikes. for me when I can no longer ride 2 wheels i'll buy a convertible.
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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby canuck623 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:17 pm

Went to the Phoenix show that was held in Glendale, AZ and was disappointed by the lack of vendors. The Hondas and the Harleys were getting plenty of attention and I agree totally about the representatives at a few of the booths. I must disagree about the automatic though. That is the type of bike my wife would ride and I would feel better about putting her on that than a scooter style machine.
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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby shadontt » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:47 am

I enjoyed your summation of the show complete with pictures. It obvious you have your own opinions about certain bike features, as we all do and I don't mind those comments as long as they are qualified as your own. You did a great job! I agree with most of your observations and am truly disappointed with Honda on their lack of attention to the GW and the loyal followers of the GW. I own a 2008 and had a 1981 many years ago; I loved that '81 more than I do my '08! Anyway, I'm in the market for a new bike and the GW is not on my list of bikes to look at. The CTX 1300 is now, thanks to your show review, the BMW is not because there's no close dealership, something about the Victory bugs me even though a dealer is just around the corner for convenience, my real interest is in the Indian Chieftain and like Harley, they offer demo rides whereas my Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki dealers do not. Enjoyed your show report and hope to see more of the same! :D

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby Paulcf » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:29 pm

So how 'much' technology do Goldwing riders really want? Does Honda know? You bet they know...but know this...they will sell EVERY Goldwing they make, simply because we love it and there is nothing out there that can touch it, period. Besides, we love to customize our Wings the way we want. Want Bluetooth? Simple. Want a GPS? Simple...and your choice of vendors, etc. Sure an electric windshield going up/down would be nice but more weight, more complexity, something else to tend to and to fix when it does break...Frankly my windshield with vent is all I need, all the time. Remember, it is a motorcycle, and you are outside in whatever weather. If I need more electronics, I have my SUV.

I haven't seen any BMW 1600 trikes (I guess they could exist but would defeat the purpose of the bike?)...but I have seen plenty of Goldwing trikes, again this is how Goldwing owners are, we can customize in so many ways. So Honda says why screw up a good product base and following?

I agree that blacked out Goldwing looks pathetic. I want bright colours and chrome...and the Goldwing has what no other bike offers, plenty of farkles you can add to your hearts content.

Not sure what else can be done with that engine either, 2,200 CC ? 8 cylinders (like the very original GL was in the early 70's)? Frankly it's just fine...so enjoy your ride!
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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby shadontt » Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:27 pm

One last point I would like to make concerning Honda and the development or lack thereof. The thing about the Goldwing is that it has been around for so long that mechanical design flaws have been identified and these could easily be remedied by Honda such as steering head bearings, wheel bearings, fork suspension weaknesses, throttle mapping weaknesses and so on. You might notice these have little to do with new electronic gimmicks. The adjustable windshield actually makes the GW more compatible with riders of various sizes. For my 6' 2" frame the current windshield has never provided decent wind flow and I've ridden other Hondas where they truly get an undisturbed area behind their adjustable windshields. Bottom line, it would take very little for Honda to provide a better product without noticeably changing the overall machine. Folks will always customize their GWs but having a better machine to start with is a good thing.

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby canuck623 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:27 pm

I am 6' 1 " and never had an issue with the stock windshield pulled most of the way up. The stock windshield does adjust quite a bit. My passenger wasn't a s comfortable behind the stock shield but that had nothing to do with the height adjustment. The Vstream took care of her problems.
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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby rachester67 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:28 am

New to Goldwing but love it so far. Doctor told my wife she couldn't ride the Harley anymore with her back. Going down the road was fine it was just the shake at the stop light. You really gave hard seats a slap. :| I have had Corbin seats on my last three bikes and love them. Just touching one you say its hard but to ride on one is pure comfort no hot spots on those long rides. Will be doing a couple hundred mile trip mid March on my Goldwing and will be able to evaluate the factory seat. Let's face it Cowboys didn't have a soft saddle yet rode all day. At least the Harley Ultra comes standard with a CB and doesn't cost you an extra $1,000 if you install it yourself.

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:44 am

rachester67 wrote:New to Goldwing but love it so far. Doctor told my wife she couldn't ride the Harley anymore with her back. Going down the road was fine it was just the shake at the stop light. You really gave hard seats a slap. :| I have had Corbin seats on my last three bikes and love them. Just touching one you say its hard but to ride on one is pure comfort no hot spots on those long rides. Will be doing a couple hundred mile trip mid March on my Goldwing and will be able to evaluate the factory seat. Let's face it Cowboys didn't have a soft saddle yet rode all day. At least the Harley Ultra comes standard with a CB and doesn't cost you an extra $1,000 if you install it yourself.


I agree 100%. The Corbin on my GL1500 seems rock hard to the touch, but I have done 21 hours straight on it, and was not sore at the end of it.

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby pauln » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:13 pm

WingAdmin, thanks for the report on the show. I attended and, like you, looked at possible competitors to the Goldwing. What was most interesting to me was that after sitting on all of the ones you listed (BMW K1600, Concours, etc.) I did not find anything with as comfortable a riding position as my 1800. Maybe I am just used to the 1800 or because I am a little tall (6'2"), but everything else either had me leaning way forward and/or with my legs tucked up underneath me. The one exception to this was the Can-Am Spyder RT - the riding position felt "right", but, boy the price sure didn't!

So.... I did not see anything that was calling out to me. Looks like I will have the 1800 for a loooooong time ;)

Like you, I live in northern Ohio, so it was nice to get out of the latest polar vortex for a few hours and dream about the coming months.

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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby GreenDragon » Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:21 pm

Thank you so much for a good review of what may be the best show of the area. I was unable to attend and was glad to see your report. It looks like the GL1800 is a fading memory of technology. I am not a big fan of the technology, but the mechanics, say a 6 speed transmission, electric windshield, factory arm rests for the passenger, etc. not a bad idea.
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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby LOMLC » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:48 pm

Thanks, a great report. Frankly I got more out of your report than had I attended in person.
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trike lady
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Re: Report from the Cleveland Motorcycle Show

Postby trike lady » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:00 pm

The CTX1300 reminds me of a GL1200 only brought into the 21st century. :o
The yellow F6B, that's nice looking.
The GL1800 could use some nicer colors I agree.


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