IMS 2017, Minneapolis
I took the afternoon off and headed to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Friday afternoon. I arrived less than an hour after the doors opened at 3:00 PM. I went solo, which is never as fun as with company, but I wanted to be able to see, feel, and compare several bikes in one day. It’s kind of hard to decide what you’d really put your money on — there are so many cool bikes — but it’s a choice we have to make!


I’m starting right off with the bike that is in the forefront of my mind when I think about a dream bike to purchase once I pay off my other auto loans. 🙂 The Ducati Multistrada. Since it was close to the entrace anyway, I strolled over to Ducati first. I’m a little disappointed at the unexciting dark grey color shown here. When natural shadows blend in with the bike colors, the edges of the bike don’t catch your eyes. Plus, the color itself doesn’t send you any fun vibes either. I would easily take white or red over this. (Red is my current favorite, but I’d probably get whatever was a better deal.)

I learned that I will want the S model with the Touring package added on. That will get me the suspension, heated grip, cruise control, and removable bags options I want. Oh, and Moon said that they will have a Ducati demo this year!

I left the show with only two contenders in my mind. It’s not much of a spoiler to say the Multistrada was one of them.

160 HP! This is what weeds out many of the other brands creating bikes in the adventure category.

Here is the Enduro version of the Multistrada 1200. Looks way cool! Though, I have no need for nobby tires, spoked wheels, belly protection, etc.

And here is the all-new Multistrada 950! It has more traditional suspension and cruise control is not an option in any packages. You save a lot of money going with this one. It’s also only 500 lbs.

This is also a new model, the Supersport. It’s supposed to be a little more comfortable than their other better-for-the-track crotch rockets. I didn’t pay much attention to it. I did sit on it, and my thought was, “Never again.” Now, I’d love to have the ZX-14 back in the garage; that was still more comfortable than this Supersport. But I don’t think I could have a full out crotch rocket as my only bike.

Deserves some admiration. Doubt I’ll ever have one though. If a crotch rocket would only be in my possession as a secondary or track bike, I couldn’t spend the dough required for this guy!

205 HP! We are in crazy times.

What you might not notice right away simply looking at a picture of the XDiavel is the forward foot pegs. It looks like a muscle bike, resembles a street fighter even, but you sit like a cruiser. You lean into corners feeling like you’re rebelling against some unwritten law of cruising. Ducati delivers in the performance cruiser space like none other. You can finally have a comfortable cruise and high performance.

No suspense here. Let’s get right down to business. The KTM 1290 Super Adventure T is the one and only bike that competes with my Multistrada acquisition dreams. On paper, I knew I had to give this bike a chance. Video comparisons I’ve seen pushed that point forward. Seeing and sitting on the KTM solidified the thought. The 1290 is appealing enough that I must test drive it before I make a monetary commitment (someday) to the Multistrada. It doesn’t show it here, but the KTM has the same power as the Duc. And, I hate to say it, but this seat feels better. Maybe the Multi’s seat would be just fine on a 2-hour ride. It’s hard to judge on a 20-minute one. My concern is it’s angled forward a little bit which leans you toward the tank. (There is an aftermarket solution.) Not here. The KTM seat is much more neutral and less worrisome.

The looks are the kind that grow on you. Same with probably all the adventure bikes, really. It doesn’t look very cool at the get-go, but there’s something that makes you hesitate. You look at it a little longer because you can’t quickly decide if you like it or not. It’s a weird look that I think I would learn to love over time for its character. I’ll be honest and say that right now, I don’t love the looks, but there’s something about it that keeps me curious. Did you know that I didn’t really like how the ZX-14 looked when it came out? That one grew on me the more I read about it and looked at it.

When I was on the 1290, I thought, “Hey, every manufacturer puts their masterpiece engines into multiple models. What other KTM has this powerful 1290 in it?” It didn’t take any time to remember the Super Duke. I almost wrote this one off since it looks so much like a Z1000 style bike. And I don’t like riding those kind of bikes. This one was not the same. The riding position is a little more upright. The seat was comfortable. Peg position was pretty good. Wind deflection looked promising. I knew the power was there. I don’t really think I’d buy it over the adventure bikes, but I’m not ruling it out. I need to ride one.

I think this one looks considerably cooler than the Super Adventure, but I have no reason to get nobbies on a street-heavy bike.

These Indians are so beautiful.

Even these colors that aren’t really my style looked perfect.

Ugh, I can’t get over how much I like the brown leather.

This one would be my choice. It’s not the most rad, but that green is so classic that I love it. The lower-back rest was spot on. Those leather bags felt so sweet. They aren’t hard bags all around with some tightly wrapped leather around it. They are made of more of a hard frame with soft, bendable leather to create the bag. The lids are actually floppy. I love it. It comes with leather conditioner.

Pictures don’t do it justice. When I was eating my snack of fries, I think I ate the whole bag staring at this Chieftain. It’s a beautiful machine.

I’m glad that wasn’t the stock seat because it felt pretty bad.

As much as I like the Indians, I would choose this as my #1 cruiser. It’s not an easy choice. The reason I choose the Magnum is it’s a little bit nicer ride somehow. (I’m speaking from demo experience riding all Indians and all Victories.) That said, this is the only Victory I would choose over the Indians. It’s pretty sad that Polaris is going to shut Victory down.

You’d think I’d be more excited about this one. Based on reviews and my short session sitting on it, it’s not as comfortable as the others I’m considering. I tried to imagine if the hard seat would be a good choice on a long ride — you know, for support — but it’s one of those things that you can’t leave to imagination. I don’t think I’ll get an opportunity to ride it until my butt hurts, so I’ll stick with my short sitting test and published reviews.

I’ve ridden the K1600GTL at a demo before. It’s really nice. Really smooth. But it’s not snappy and nimble enough for me at this time. This is a touring-only bike, not a commuter+touring bike, at least not on my route.

Close to the mark, but not enough spunk. (My I-wish-I-still-had-a-ZX-14 demands are pretty high.)

Other than that red frame seeming a bit copy-cat-ish, this looks like a good setup. Too bad it only puts out 125 HP. I know, that should be plenty. But I’ve already felt the Duc’s 160 HP and love it. That’s a difference of 35 HP, which is huge on a motorcycle!

So cool. So overkill (for me).

Again, power is the only reason I put most of the BMW’s aside.

There was a time that I really wanted an S1000RR. That’s in the past.

I think they borrowed some design cues from both Victory and Goldwing to come up with this new look. It’s kinda cool but kinda weird.

I don’t think I would want this, honestly, but man it looks sweet!

Some riders at work go on trail rides and it got me looking into dual sports. Initially, I was interested in the KLR but moved on to lighter bikes. I definitely respect it though.

Kinda gaudy.

The design is a little too bold in my opinion, but the machine is amazing. On the other hand, it’s very recognizable.


I would love this bike, so I don’t want to knock it, but where would that fin by the seat go when you’re in a hard corner?

They got the riding position right. This is a fine bike. And it feels light. The price is fabulous, too. It starts around $10K. If my dreams for premium power and features doesn’t become a reality, then these more affordable adventure / sport touring bikes will be in my attack vector.

I, uh, spent some sad time sitting on the green ZX-14. I really miss my 2007. I was regretting getting rid of it in order to get my ’06 Stratoliner. Now that it’s been a couple days since the show, I don’t totally regret ending my time with the ZX-14, but man I still miss all that power without accordion ergonomics.

Pretty neat looking. I rode the FJ-09 at a Yamaha demo last year and not this FZ10. It does have cruise control and just about 160 HP. Not sure if you can get factory heated grips or not. Price starts in the $13K range. Hmm, I guess I need to give this one a little more attention. I didn’t even sit on it for crying out loud.

I’ve ridden this and the comfort is there but the thrill is not.

I don’t know if this was a concept, special edition, or the new normal VMax. This one looks much more like a Diavel than the previous VMax. I hope this is some weird, special edition because those handlebars are way too low for the market Diavel is aiming at. It does look cooler than the normal VMax though.

Looks a tad like a Versys, huh? Except, it’s pretty boring looking.

The theme on the Honda bikes this year seems to be a slab of retro paint ribbon. I don’t think I care for it. This CBR1000RR looks too friendly. Also, the muffler looks like it was stepped on and bent.

There was a custom bike competition spread around the whole show. It was a cool setup. I didn’t vote, and I kind of regret it. It was fun to see what people were able to fabricate.

I almost chose this as my favorite custom. I ended up deciding it to be second place. It’s pretty radical.

This is my favorite! 😀 The old fashioned tricycle look gets me. Plus, it’s a Road King.

I joined this club while I was at the show. I’d call it more of a co-op. It’s a big directory of bikers around the nation that are willing to help out fellow bikers when they break down. It’s been around over 30 years is what they said.

I dig the horseshoe and spur. 🙂


Made it to the end? Yeehaw! Watch this clip of indoor motocross stunt riders.