Speeds were at the posted on I-95 and along the Speedway, with reports of light traffic downtown. The usual ramp jams at “Destitution Daytona” were absent, with even lighter traffic that what we saw during the peak of the recession a few years ago. “Daytona Bike Week is back”, sayeth the Chamber of Commerce… I call BS!

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Traffic was light around HOG(NYSE)’s new water cooled V-Twin, despite it being abandoned right in the middle of the main traffic flow through HOG(NYSE)’s vast exhibit. A HOG(NYSE) spokesperson termed it a “training bike”, with HOG(NYSE) clearly hoping it’ll be traded on at least a Sportster if not a Big Twin before the newbie rider’s learner’s permit expires. But a modern water cooled 750 can easily show even the 1200 Sporty up, and no way is HOG(NYSE) going to allow such precocious children to grow and flower. Take a look at the lack of space for rearsets… The foot-binding has already begun! Shame to see a bike with so much potential born into such an abusive home… Child Protection, where are you when we need you? ImagePolaris showed a bit more class with it’s new Indian brand, featuring this tasty replica of Mr. Munro’s land speed record bike. But traffic was light at the cruiser (bound) brands, and was light here also…ImageMarketing to the same target demographic, I suspect this purveyor of fetish wear is running into the same demographic dead end as HOG(NYSE) and Polaris: Elder buyers who are more in the market for depends and durable medical equipment than corseted motorcycles. Polaris will respond quickly with a line of midsize bikes targeted at younger riders… But a company that labels it’s new 500-750 cc. products as “training bikes” has the same prospects for future success as the old GM, but without a government bailout.

ImageEBR was a bit of a disappointment, and one would have expected more from Hero’s multimillion dollar investment than a floor mat. I’ve chastised EBR on another forum for the amateurishness of coming to Daytona with an 18 wheeler display trailer mislabeled as an RV, despite EBR’s new found affluence. My apologies to EBR for that mischaracterization- This time, you really were amateurs! Next time, bring a whole trailer load of those new Hero bikes you helped design, and pay your taxes like every other trucker…ImageMeanwhile, Team Green was a class act, putting on a bike show with customer’s classic and custom bikes, with several two stroke triples and KZ fours in attendance. Over at Honda they were heavy with their 700 cc. range of standard, adventure, and touring bikes, with Suzuki and Kawasaki giving ample display space to their midsize models too. Yamaha was promoting their reintroduced SR400 thumper, but with a discouraging $6k MSRP. Wait a couple years and they’ll be emptying the warehouse of them at $4k, has Yamaha learned anything since the 80s? Traffic was heavier in the Japanese big four brand’s exhibits than the domestics, and most of that heavy traffic won’t be getting AARP junk mail for years…Image But Daytona will always be Daytona, even if hardly anybody comes anymore…

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