Just got back!
Scored a very nice new GMax GM68 helmet for my wife for just $90. We've scoured the earth for a helmet with the right shade of blue to match her jacket, and a fit to match her head. The quest is at last fulfilled.
Also grabbed a couple of pairs of RoadGear Coconut Socks, on the advice of a trusted friend. Talked to Mansoor (the owner) a bit.
Lotsa little freebies. The insurance companies (Progressive & Dairyland) had the best swag.
Finally got a chance to try on the new top-of-the-line HJC RPS-10. Me likey! Will definitely be ordering one later this spring. It's an impressive helmet -- very lightweight, gorgeous quality and details. It's a Shoei-beater, no question.
Slobbered on several jewel-like Ducatis. The more you look at these things in person and absorb all the tiny, perfect details, the more you understand the devotion people have to the brand. I don't know why they're not more expensive, frankly.
Sat on a bunch of new bikes. The Yamaha Super Tenere felt a lot like a DL1000. There was a lot of extra Yama-bling -- tons of unnecessary details and pointless decor that I think really clutter up the bike. Nothing a few thousand miles of dust, dirt and drops couldn't cover up, though. I bet the S10 windshield isn't a torture device, though, and you gotta give them props for trying shaft drive on an adventurer. The S10 also has some very subtle but effective built-in crash/drop protection. Too bad Suzuki gives no thought to this.
I really really really want a DR650 now. (Wouldn't turn down a KLR650 either...) At least Suzuki's booth wasn't downright pitiful this year, but they were missing a few things, like the new Bandito-based sport-tourer. Sort of a half-assed effort.
Triumph had an impressive booth with tons of bikes for the sitting, and it was packed with interested people all day. No wonder they've gained so much market share in the last few years -- they're making a variety of really nice bikes that are Something Different.
Ural and Royal Enfield were there with some very fun and funky-looking examples.
It was nice to see the blinged out hawg-based bellybutton choppas were pretty much completely ignored. No, plastic snake fangs do not make your bike badass... Some weird little chopper with a tiny longitudinal inline-4 had a goodly crowd trying to figure out where the engine came from. (edit: found it! http://www.bikermetric.com/2009/11/d...nda-cb550.html
Talked to the Lee Parks people -- Lee hisself was there, but he had several people waiting to talk to him. Didn't see my instructors, but I later heard they were around.
Yeah, it was a good time. I met up with several riding buddies from the vintage GS forum, and plans were laid for an epic 2011 riding season... EPIC, I tell you.
Besides, what the hell else is there to do in the middle of a rotten midwest February?