Monday, February 18, 2008

Tip 'O The Visor: Master Promotions

A big thanks to Master Promotions, who put on the first (and surely not last) Atlantic Motorcycle and ATV Show over the weekend here in Moncton. According to this morning's paper, over 20,000 people attended the show, including yours truly.

There's always something great about bike shows, and it has to do with more than just seeing what the new models are going to look like. I love the idea of sparking up a conversation with a fellow motorcyclist for no other reason than the fact that you're both looking (i.e. drooling) over the same bike.

Personally, I was feeling quite under the weather (still dealing with the tail-end of a nasty bout of flu), but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. It was funny to see a virgin, un-farkled V-Strom and remember how mine looked when I first got it. Glad to know that my memory is still pretty sharp, as the OEM seat really is as uncomfortable as I remembered it!

One new model that caught my attention was the Honda Varadero. Very nice adventure-tourer, with typical Honda fit and finish (in other words, top notch). Pricing wasn't available yet, but if they play their cards right this could bite a big chunk out of the V-Strom's sales. What I didn't get was that Honda is marketing their CBF1000 (another new-to-Canada model) as an adventure tourer also, complete with mud-encrusted bike on a sod-covered pedestal. I figured it would have been aimed more at the entry-level sport-touring crowd (ex. cheaper and lighter than a VFR), but no.

I was also glad to see that BMW has significantly lowered their pricing on many models. Case in point: the R1200RT base MSRP is now $19,000 - that makes it cheaper than most of the competition like the Honda ST1300A ($19,699), the Yamaha FJR1300A ($19,099). The Kawasaki Concours 14ABS ($19,099). One of the sales reps for the local BMW dealer told me that the new, more competitive pricing for the RT came at a cost to them, as the dealer mark-up has been lowered significantly too. BMW's betting that the number of RT's sold should compensate for the lower mark-up. Guess time will tell...

Yamaha has come out with some interesting "Dressed-up" models, which are basically stock bikes pre-accessorized with farkles out of the Yamaha catalog. For the most part, they're cruisers, but there is one interesting exception: the FZ1TE. First, take your new 2008 FZ1, then add a full lower fairing, taller touring windshield, and the sidecases off of an FJR and voilĂ : instant sport-touring bike for only $14,999. Of course, for about the same price you could get a Honda VFR with ABS and a set of Givi sidecases. Personally, I'd take the VFR as it seems a more well-rounded bike for sport-touring purposes... but that's just me.

With the Canadian dollar holding at par against it's US counterpart, I would've thought that all manufacturers would have been lowering their prices, but that didn't seem to be the case. The biggest price drops were noted at Harley-Davidson/Buell, Ducati and BMW; although a general difference of about 10% is still noted when compared to US pricing. However, none of the Japanese big-four seemed to have adjusted their prices. Take the new Concours 14ABS; it retails for $19,099CAD, and $13,799USD. That's a difference of almost 28%.

Anyway, after a few hours of checking out the new bikes and talking to the numerous reps on hand, I was pretty much worn out. Went home, took some various pills, and was unconscious for the rest of the day... but it was worth it!

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