2007 International Motorcycle Show

Kevin Duke
by Kevin Duke

The IMS, now in its 27th year, has taken its annual stroll through the American motorcycle industry’s epicenter of Southern California. The Cycle World-sponsored International Motorcycle Show presented by Toyota was well-attended despite unseasonably cold weather, and the event continues its cross-country trek until mid-February in a big town near you.

The media day in the LBC began with a look at the first radical tuner project of a 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa.

Designed by L-R-G and built by Custom Sportbike Concepts, the project was done in a partnership with American Suzuki, which is well aware of the popularity of the Busa among the tuner crowd.

“Beyond its well-deserved reputation for best-in-class performance, the popularity of the Suzuki Hayabusa can be attributed to the way it has long been embraced by the many facets of popular culture, including fashion, style, music and entertainment,” said Glenn Hansen, communications manager, ASMC, Motorcycle/ATV Division. “Suzuki’s relationship with L-R-G provides us with a not-to-be-missed opportunity to vividly illustrate our iconic sportbike’s storied connection to urban culture.”

This Busa has the requisite fat tire and extended swingarm, but what caught our eyes on the “lifestyle-inspired” custom were the clear wheels manufactured by CSC

Next up was the U.S. unveiling of the awesome 1098R Superbike from Ducati, plus our first look at the new Monster 696. Debutante custom bike builder Roland Sands was on hand to uncover the first of many bikes at the show that he’s built. Staying in the Italian section, Bimota lifted the lid on its impressive DB7, a work of art powered by the Ducati 1098 motor. Also on display was the DB6R and innovative Tesi 3D.

A few rows over, we took a dip into the Bonneville Salt Flats with Denis Manning and Chris Carr, holders of the motorcycle speed record set with the BUB #7 streamliner in 2006. Also on tap were several vintage Bonneville bikes.

Perhaps the most interesting display of the event was in the Star Motorcycles area. Part art and part prototype (they call it a “visual interpretation”) called “Awaken,” it’s our best clue to what the next generation VMax might look like. And if you think this is just a concept bike, a close look at the production-ready variable-length YCC-I intake snorkels on the V-4 powerplant tell us that we can expect a street-ready version to debut within the next nine months

For something even odder, we checked out the three-wheeler from Vectrix, similar in layout to the Piaggio MP3. Yossef had already taken us for a spin on the electric-powered Vectrix scooter, and this new machine combines that motor with two front wheels that lean into corners. Pretty cool, even if you can’t wake up your neighbors when you start it up! Also unveiled was the “Superbike” concept, an electric sportbike that is said to be able to top 120 mph.

Moving along, we saw the new Piaggio MP3 400 and Vespa S scooter, plus a look at the highlights of Harley-Davidson’s product line. Then the ubiquitous Roland Sands took the wraps off a custom sportbike based on a CBR1000RR that will benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Ride For Kids program. Another custom sportbike of note was the one-off Kawasaki ZX-6R built for Supercross champ James “Bubba” Stewart.

Attracting a huge amount of traffic was the Discover Today’s Motorcycling “Women’s Studio.” The place was packed with all kind of female movers and shakers, including Friends of MO “Super” Sarah Schilke from Fairchild Sports and DTM’s Manager, Emerging Market Communications, Jessica Prokup. Lots of good advice going around, plus displays of entry-level bikes and women’s riding gear.

The KTM stand showed off its latest wares, but the most eye-appealing was the custom creation from superstar bike builder Jesse Rooke built around KTM’s liquid-cooled V-Twin LC8 engine. It’s a stripped-down road burner with a single-sided swingarm and an ultra-minimalist exhaust system.

The media day was capped off with some celebrity bling in the form of actor Tom Arnold. The motorcyclist is trying to bring attention to the Big American Heart Ride event that raises money for Camp del Corazon, which is a charity that provides experiential opportunities for children faced with the challenges of growing up and living with heart disease. His spiel was followed with a short concert by the band Whiskey Falls.

Also on tap at the rest of the events on the tour is the BOSS Stunt show, which consists of freestyle ramp jumping and the gravity-defying Ball of Steel globe.

But for many attendees, it’s the chance to see and feel all the new bikes for 2008 that brings them to the IMS show, more than 800 motorcycles, ATVs and watercraft according to show promoters. Time to think about which machine will fit nicely in your garage.

The 2007-2008 Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows Presented by Toyota schedule

December 28-30 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center New York, NY
January 4-6, 2008 Rock Financial Showplace Novi, MI
January 11-13 Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C.
January 18-20 Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA
January 25-27 IX Center, Cleveland, OH
February 1-3 Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN
February 8-10 Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Chicago, IL

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2007 Milan Show Wrap-up

2007 Tokyo Motor Show

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