Demo Rides

Tuesday Demos

Victory Kingpin 8-Ball 9:15am

Victory was first-come first-served this year, with one line for the Vision (of which they had 4), and one line for everything else. The vision line was about 20 people deep, and that math didn't look too good. The everything-else line had 3 people in it. Since I had some time to kill before my first scheduled ride, I grabbed a Victory ride.

Very nice cruiser, love the styling. Black is bad, in a good way. No pulling to the right like last year's Kingpin, just straight tracking. Nice power, decent handling for a cruiser, good exhaust note. Just a nice ride, nothing to complain about.

Same crappy route as last year - up the Northway 2 exits, back down 9 for a bit, back on the Northway to finish. 20 minutes tops.

Moto Guzzi Norge 10:00am

I love the idea of this bike, and the looks of it. It seemed a bit small when I first got on, and I still feel the legroom could be improved. Otherwise I'm in love. Sweet motor, great handling, felt very light. Could only hear the motor on the decel, where it would pop all the time. Not sure if that would get tiring or not. Couldn't figure out the computer, and I'm pretty good with that sort of thing. Guzzi had a good but not great route, and they kept a good-for-me pace. Quick, but not too quick.

Daddy Likey!

BMW R1200RT 11:00am

They got off to a late start due to some traffic on earlier rides. The RT is a perfect bike appliance for touring. I can't think of anything it doesn't do well, it just didn't 'speak to me'. Power felt much better than the one I rode last year, so that's a non-issue. The windscreen was great, with a wide range of movement from down low and out of the way to 'please hide me' tall. Very expensive.

Different route than last year, and no stopping in the middle for the ABS demo and bike switch. Turns out the owner of the store they did this at got tired of it, and asked them not to return. This year's route was even better, and the pace was quick - quicker than Guzzi. I didn't get a picture because I had to run - see below.

KTM 990 Adventure 12:30pm

We got back from the BMW ride at 12:30, which was the time for first KTM ride. I ran (well, walked quickly) up the hill just in time to see the 12:30 KTM demo ride away. I explained my situation to one of the KTM guys, hoping I could get rescheduled. Better yet, they offered to take me on a one-on-one demo ride! I told the guy who was going to lead that I just wanted a relaxed pace, and that's exactly what he gave me. He was on a 690 Super Enduro, and had fun doing a wheelie or 2 along the way.

I was concerned about the dual-sport tires on the Adventure because of my experience on the BMW GSA last year. I needn't have worried, the KTM's tires, while looking pretty blocky, felt just fine on the street. The bike has a great motor, fantastic ergonomics for me, and a terrible windscreen. I imagine that would be easily fixed by KTM or the aftermarket, but as is that screen was mangling the wind for me.

The Adventure was Reacted instantly to every input, would take some practice to ride smoothly. The BMW GS feels very polished and smooth, the KTM was raw and immediate. Quite nice.

Their route was pretty much the same as Guzzi.

After the ride I talked to the KTM guys a bit, and mentioned I knew someone in PA who had recently bought a 950 SM-R and I had ridden it. He said "950SM-R? That must be Garry". Yup. Turns out he's helped them on some demo ride days. Small world!

KTM 990 Super Duke 1:30pm

OH. MY. GOD! How on earth does RDoug still have a license? Most fun I've had on a bike ever. Ever! That motor is spectacular, the handling is incredible, the sound is addictive. I've never ridden that aggresively before, the bike just begs for more. Every straight is just an excuse to pin the throttle, every turn begs you to run deeper on the brakes, lean the bike harder, repeat, repeat. Mental, just mental. That bike makes me do bad things. Too small and naked for an only bike for me, but I'm seriously in lust.

Very quick pace on the demo ride.


Kawasaki Vulcan 900 2:45pm

I had reserved the windscreen version since that was all they had left, but I traded a guy in the line for one without - I hate big screens. Overall, a very nice cruiser. Fat Boy at 70% off! Sounded great, decent enough torque, handled fine for what it was. Every bump punched you right up your spine, but otherwise a nice ride.

Their demo route was like a mix of Victory's and KTM's. Up the Northway for an exit, down the Northway for 2 exits, then twisties back to RBR.

I waited at the Kawasaki booth (in the unwashed-masses general seating area, not the ROC members first-class lounge), and Jim came over to pick on me about riding a cruiser. We chatted a bit, and decided to get dinner together before coming back to RBR for the evening presentations. Cool.

Kawasaki Concours 14 4:00pm

Nuclear missile. Fastest bike I've been on by a long shot, very smooth and deceptively quick. We hit 100+ on the Northway, nothing to get fussed about. Windscreen not great for me in any position. The guy behind me was very slow, so no pressure on me in the twisties to go fast. Great ergonomics, could ride all day - except for one thing. The heat that pours out the right side of the engine is impressive, and not in a good way. I've felt the heat off Triumph's Sprint, but that was nothing compared to this. Every person who rode one on the demo (they had 4) complained about the same thing.

Thursday Demos

Moto Guzzi Norge (again) 11am

There was a screw-up on the time, we thought it was 11, they thought it was 10. The had one no-show, and sent someone back to a room to get keys to another bike. The leader took the Aprilia Tuono they had, and I took the bike he was going to use. He pointed out the busted brake lever, and the fact that the neutral light had a mind of it's own. It would flicker on and off during the ride, no matter what gear I was in.

The pace was great, and they changed the route since Tuesday because people complained it wasn't that great. The new route took us through some very technical uphill hairpins, which was great. Unfortunately, the guy in front of me panicked at the first one, stood the bike up and crossed the double yellow before coming almost to a stop. He eventually got pointed in the right direction, but his pace was way slow after that.

Loving the bike more every time I ride it.

KTM SuperDuke (again) 1pm

What can I say? Just amazing. As soon as the ride was over I called RDoug (who recently bought one) to see if he still had his license. Jim also thought it was the most fun on 2 wheels he's had.

Honda ST1300 - 2pm

Getting that bike off the sidestand was a chore. Honda's bikes are parked on a slight left incline, and it took me 2 tried to get the bike straight. Honda's route last year was terrible, and they didn't change it. Same as Victory - 75% Northway, 25% straight route 9. The ST was certainly quick enough, and comfortable enough, with a very compliant suspension. It erased almost all the bumps in the RBR driveway, which is saying something. Huge windscreen range of movement, nothing wrong with the bike at all. A bit of heat on the right leg, but nothing like the Concours from Tuesday. The bars felt a bit narrow.


Buzzier than I expected, not much leg room, but otherwise a very nice bike. Very quick, handled great, comfy upper-body ergonomics. One of the ride leaders had to bail early on because she was low on gas. We ended up taking the rest of the route a lot slower than Tuesday, probably because we now had more bikes in our group (12?).

Kawasaki Ninja 250 - 4:45pm

Jim was riding the Versys, and I was hoping to get a no-show ride on anything just to get one more demo in for the day. What a hoot! You have to let the clutch out at around 6000rpm or it would bog completely. I've never ridden a bike before where you could just pin the throttle in the first three gears as part of your normal riding. Cruising speed on the highway had the bike at 10,000rpm. Very quick to turn in, but it felt like it wanted to keep falling over into the turn. This particular bike was also squeeking when going slow, don't know what was up with that.

The ride leader said they weren't allowed to use the Ninja 250 to lead sportbike demo rides. Ha!

Friday Demos

Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport 9:00am

Love the exhaust on the Sport, not very loud but you can hear it nicely though earplugs. Spits and pops quite a bit on decel. Big reach for the bars, but that could be fixed easily by rotating them back. Loved the white clocks - wonder if you could swap these onto a Norge?

Very wet ride led to a very slow pace. Just had a great ride, really loving the whole Guzzi thing.