We’re back from AIMExpo 2018 and have had time to noodle over what we saw at the annual event. The good news is that, by having the show a few weeks later than 2017, more 2019 motorcycles were announced, and some that were previously unveiled at Intermot were on display in Las Vegas. The tone for the show was upbeat with the aftermarket on hand to display their new wares. Naturally, you may be curious to see what caught our eye as we wandered the show floor. So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 shiny objects sighted at AIMExpo 2018.
People usually associate adventure touring bikes with big, hard saddlebags. Well, what’s the AT rider who doesn’t need that sort of durability – and cost – supposed to do? Twisted Throttle had SW-Motech’s new SysBag system on display at the AIMExpo. These textile bags are lined with internal stiffeners to maintain their shape regardless of load. Additionally, they have a waterproof liner that will keep your jammies dry during an all-day rain. The capper for these bags, though, has to be their ease of removal from the mounting racks. Just pull a cord and lift the bag free. The SysBag soft luggage is available in 10, 15, and 30 liter capacities. Learn more at Twisted Throttle.com.
As helmet communication systems have advanced beyond merely providing voice-contact between riders, the question of sound quality has become significantly more important. Earlier this month, Cardo announced a partnership with JBL to produce premium-quality speakers for the PackTalk system. At AIMExpo, we got to experience what the speakers should sound like when they’re available. We can’t comment on the actual speakers since the sound was provided by headphones rather than speakers mounted in a helmet, but what we heard sounded good. We can say that the JBL speakers aren’t the only addition that will be provided with this upgrade. An unlock code for the Cardo Connect app enables the rider to choose different EQ modes, including flat response, emphasize bass, and emphasize voice. These will allow the rider to tune the sound to their preferences or to account for earplugs. Look for the Cardo/JBL speakers in 2019. Price has not yet been set, but more information about motorcycle communications is available at the Cardo website.
The 2019 Indian FTR1200 didn’t just draw crowds at its Intermot unveiling. The attendees at the AIMExpo industry/media days seemed to gather around the examples of the FTR1200 that Indian had on display. If you liked the FTR in the press photos, you’ll love it in three dimensions. The riding position feels comfortably upright for tackling every riding situation – except, possibly, touring or extended freeway rides. The TFT display is stunning, and the fit-and-finish is what we expect from Indian. We can’t wait to throw a leg over an FTR1200 that isn’t bolted to the floor.
If you liked the look of the Simpson Ghost Bandit but really wanted a modular helmet, you’re in luck. The Simpson MOD Bandit is just that. Features include tri-composite or carbon fiber shell combined with a polycarbonate alloy chin bar locked with metal components for security. The chin bar can be opened with one hand. An internal sunshield takes care of the road glare. Color options are: White, Black, Flat Black, and Carbon. The retail price for the MOD Bandit is $480. The flat black is available now, with the other colors coming soon. Visit the Simpson website for more information.
A wide variety of phone mounts are available for motorcycles, but all of them have, until now, relied on a wired connection to the bike’s power supply. We’ve always found this to be a rather inelegant-but-necessary solution since smartphone GPS apps can suck down the power if you run the screen non-stop. With the advent of wireless charging on iPhones and Android phones, the obvious next step would be to wire a charging pad into the bike’s electrical system for simpler charging out on the road. Well, SP-Connect has done just that with its new Wireless Charging Module, which locks into place with a 90° turn on the company’s existing Micro Rail mounts. The charger’s maximum output is 10W, which means it should be capable of fast charging both smartphone platforms. Look for the $60 SP-Connect Wireless Charging Module in early 2019 and learn more about the company’s mounting system, cases, and weather protection here.
Troy pretty much covers the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in his review, but we still felt that we should comment on it in our best of show article. For Kawasaki to offer this bike in its base form for $9,999 is big news. Then there’s how nice it looks in person. We’ve watched with distress as the 600cc sportbike class has languished, and we hope that it can be revitalized again with an assist from this bike. Read our review and then pop on over to the Kawasaki website.
For riders who don’t have a motorcycle with one of the sexy, new matte finishes, this will sound like a silly product. However, for those of us who have tried to wipe out the streaks left behind in matte paint by other, non-dedicated detailers, this is exciting news. Not only does Muc-Off claim that this detailer will leave your satin paint streak-free, but it also says that it will help prevent dirt from sticking to the finish in the first place. The Matt Finish Detailer is a biodegradable product and is available in a 750ml container for $25 from the Muc-Off website or Amazon.com.
We find it only fitting that, just a week before we race a sub-150cc bike in a 24-hour endurance event, Suzuki teases a 150cc GSX-R and even displays it in race-kitted form. If you’ve never raced a tiddler like this little GSX-R, you have no idea how fun it can be. We hope that enough Americans respond to Suzuki’s request for interest in this bike. That way we will get a chance to
play with test it for our loyal readers. Learn more about the Suzuki GSX-R150 here.
Yes, that Skully. We understand the origin of the helmet name because the current Skully has indeed risen from the ashes of the disastrous initial incarnation of the company. The good news is that Skully has gotten DOT approval and is now shipping helmets to paying customers. The list of features is formidable and should make the most tech-addicted rider happy. The carbon fiber shell incorporates a Pinlock visor and Emergency Quick Release Straps (EQRS). The tech includes an integrated Head-Up-Display (HUD) with a rearview camera, turn-by-turn navigation, and smartphone integration featuring hands-free music controls. Yes, the $1,899 price tag is steep, but you’ll be the first on your block to own one. More information can be found at the Skully website.
The Yamaha R3 gets some updates for 2019. First, the new look is not only influenced by the other members of the YZF family, but it is also claimed to reduce aerodynamic drag and enable a 5 mph increase in top speed. The fork becomes a 37mm KYB inverted unit and features a new axle mount. The LED lighting and instrument panel are also new. Read more about the 2019 Yamaha YZF-R3 here.
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