Americade 2017


Today was a washout. Rain forecast all day. Dave had to pickup his registration materials, and Peter had to register, so we geared up for wet ride to the Holiday Inn and breakfast. With the rain pouring down we lingered quite a while over breakfast trying to decide what we could salvage from the day. We decided to put up with the rain and do some shopping, first at a dealership just south of Lake George that was offering 15% off for Americaders, and then we would hit the main outdoor TourExpo.

Miserable ride down to Sportline Power Products in Queensbury. I was looking to replace my non-squeegee Bilt rain gloves and was happy to find a pair of Scorpion EXO that would fit the bill at a reasonable price - even better with 15% off. Dave picked up a matching pair of Klim rain gloves to match his jacket, and we all used our $1 coupon for a can of Spray&Polish each (even though I had to 'persuade' Peter to use his coupon for me since he wasn't interested in it).

We rode back up to 9, parked on Beach Rd, and donned even more rain gear to walk around the TourExpo. My REI rain jacket on first (would need the hood), then motorcycle jacket, then Revit rain jacket over that. We wandered past the Yamaha booth and briefly checked out the new Star Venture touring bike. Of course all of the manufacturers had cancelled their demo rides today given the weather.

Not much interesting to see at TourExpo, most of the stuff appears geared towards the leather & chrome crowd. We chatted a bit with the folks at Tilting Motor Works, and I scored a free kickstand plate, but it was really just an hour of walking around in the rain. Headed over to our old standby The Adirondack Brewery for a late lunch, and then back to the hotel for a while to dry out.

Thoroughly bored after a couple hours, Dave and I took the trolley downtown to Canada Street just to walk around and get some ice cream. A very inebriated guy got on and sat next to Dave, and talked him up the whole ride. "I really like bourbon!"

A beer back in the room with the guys finished the day out. Fortunately the forecast for Wednesday and blue skies and sunshine.

Not going to be a great day


Even Dave's giant foot-shaped kickstand plate was no match for the gravel driveway


We ate in the overflow tent next to the diner. Big heaters so felt great



Parked up outside Yamaha on Beach Rd


TourExpo. Don't we all look happy?


There would be no demo rides today


Nothing to see here

Is it still moonshine if you're selling it legally?


Surprisingly tasty and refreshing


We were up and out early to get to the Honda booth by 7am when they started giving out deli tickets for the 'real' signup session at 8am. We had stopped by in the rain yesterday and got an RFID wristband that speeded up registration this morning. Dave set out in vain on a coffee search while we we waited around for the other signups to start. The only Honda I really wanted to ride was the retro CB1100EX, and there was no competition with other riders for that. Dave signed up for the F6B, and Peter the Africa Twin DCT. None of us would be on the same ride, which would be a theme throughout the day.

Once Honda was squared away a short walk to the Ducati booth had me scheduled for a ride on the Multistrada 950 at 1pm. For Dave I suggested one of the Monsters, as the Multis were just too tall for him and he has no interest in sportbikes. He picked the Monster 821 (my favorite), and Peter the Multistrada 1200. Surprised they didn't have any Scramblers to demo.

From there right over to Aprilia/Moto Guzzi to schedule a ride on the V9 Roamer. I really really like the looks of that, and the idea of a retro simple fun bike has appeal to me (see CB1100EX above). Honda had RFID wristbands, Ducati had driver license scanners - and Aprilia/MG had 2 guys named Antonio writing things down on slips of paper. When I arrived to sign up I asked what they had available at 2pm. "No clue. We should probably make a chart. Anontio! Make a chart!". I encouraged Dave to go for the Tuono, as I suspect he secretly lusts after a naked superbike. Peter did not sign up for anything and tried unsuccessfully later to score a no-show substitution. Available were to ride were lots of all the variations of the 1400 Guzzis, V9s and V7s, and Aprila Tuonos, regular and Factory. No Shivers, Caponords or Dorsoduros.

I registered with Indian, which gave me a wristband I could use to get in line anytime during the day for first-come, first-served rides. Figured I could use this to fill in the gaps between scheduled rides. I would end up on the Scout and the Chieftan Dark Horse. Somewhere in there we got an early lunch at the Caffe Vero - we tried for the Brewery but they didn't open until noon.

I had an outside obligation on Thursday but was planning for Yamaha, BMW and Harley demo rides on Friday.

7am deli ticket distribution at Honda

Much, much nicer day than yesterday

Seen on an Indian near the hotel entrance

Peter on the Africa Twin

Dave on the F6B

Me on the CB1100EX. Honda had a great route - actually 2 different ones depending on bike group - that went up along the back of the lake and came back on the popular Goggins Road that many of the demos used. The CB was....OK. Very smooth and good power from the inline 4. Didn't really do much for me though, no passion. If I was in the market for a naked, retro or not, no way would I buy this over a Monster, Tuono, or even a ZRX.

Dave trying out the 821 Monster

Me on Multistrada 950. Ducati had a unique route that went up 9 to Diamond Point Road and returned on Lake Shore Drive and 9. I had demo'd the 1200 Multi last year, and enjoyed it, but it didn't excite me the way the Caponord had. I hoped maybe the 950 might have something special up its sleeve, but it didn't really stand out for me. Nothing at all wrong with it, and very comfortable and quick, but it didn't make me start planning a trade-in.

I so wanted to like this V9. Really, I really really did. Overwhelmingly the most disappointing scoot of the day. Barely enough power, I was constantly bouncing against the rev limiter. One of the LCD modes of the simple speedo/gauge must include a tach but I didn't see it. Hard to believe we were riding the same section of Goggins Rd that I did earlier in the day on the CB - I was feeling every bump and surface irregularity that the CB smoothed over. It was also quite muted which is disappointing on a Guzzi.

The Indian Scout, best ride of the day. What a fun, fun motor! The bike is a wee bit cramped for me, and the seat really locks you in one position, but it's gorgeous, sounds fantastic, and has a mountain of easy torque. Could gladly have ridden it again, and I did start thinking about what it would take to add one to the stable. Indian's route was a common one - Northway south to Goggins Rd exit, Goggins Rd back to 9. Really really enjoyed this one.

Peter takes the Scout out

My bad-ass self on the Dark Horse - complete with ridiculous ape hangers and Stage 2 exhaust. Certainly more spread-out than the Scout, but those apes were right on the limit of what I could comfortably reach and ride. Much easier tooling through town with just one hand on them, and they did allow for LOTS of air movement through the mesh sections of my jacket :). I had a lot more fun on the Scout.


We headed back to the hotel after all the demos to get cleaned up and then hit the Smokehouse BBQ for dinner. After that it was time for one of my favorite Americade pasttimes, watching the bikes on Canada Street. Unfortunately at the end of the evening I had a family emergency that meant I would be making a beeline for home first thing in the morning, so this would be only day at Americade. So here are some of my favorite pics of the night.

An orderly line of Indians

This Morgan is here every year I think

Cool old Indian

Always draws a crowd


A Bond Bug

Lordy I love ZRX's

It's a little out of focus but I like all the lights

I'll have another post soon with final thoughts. Thanks for reading!