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I went back for a second time to Daytona Beach to take advantage of the free test rides 7 manufacturers were offering. I got in 5 rides, and could have probably gotten 8 or 9! I got to the Speedway early, about 9:45 AM, and there were plenty of slots available.

1. Indian FTR Rally: It was the funnest, most powerful, and most raucous badass scrambler/naked/standard/dirt-tracking gas-powered bike I rode today. It's got a 1200 cc V-twin that puts out 123 HP and 87 lb.-ft of torque that's always available. It's also got great looks and comes in a variety of configurattions and colors. Ergonomics were good, and there were electronic aids available. One bike had an Akrapovic pipe fitted.

2. Kawasaki Versys 1000: It's a sport touring bike with a big heart, the 1000 cc motors that been refined over the years, and puts out 120 HP. Too bad the bike weighs so much, because it seems to take forever to get up to speed. It's a smooth engine and the bike feels well-put together and refined. Electronic doodads have pushed up the price past $16k; however, it's still below the Euro-brands and good value for the money. It just won't get your heart pumping.

3. Kawasaki Z900RS: The R is for retro, hearking back to the 900 from the early 70's. I had signed up for the Z900 ABS, a totally different and modern transformer design, but more of a sport bike that the RS, but because of the high and rear peg placement, my hips started to cramp, and got offered a re-ride. It's got 110 HP and plenty of torque, handles well, and seems well put-together. No fancy electronics were to be had besides ABS.

4. BMW F 850 GS Adventure: Germans must like long names. The 850 twin puts out 90 HP and good torque, but the standard seat height is 34.4", and even thought i'm 6'3", I was on my tiptoes when stopped. The seat was also hard and wider where my hamstrings met while trying to balance the bike, but once underweigh, the seat felt fine. It needs a redesign. The bike is quite tall, and the handling suffers a bit out on the road. It feels like a bigger 650 V-Strom and provides plenty of power for a twin. The windscreen was a joke, whether easily adjusted up or down, as the airstream hit me square in the helmet, making for a noisy ride. The bike seems like it could take me to Patagonia and back. I noticed that it was averaging 47 MPG, which is good for a motor with 90 HP. There are some nice electronic add-ons, but I'm sure they will push the price up into the stratosphere. It just didn't thrill me like the Indian scrambler. BMW offers a lower seat, or a second 850 twin, but I'm not sure what thd differences are.

5. HD Live Wire: Surprise, surprise; Harley provide about 15 Live Wires to ride and people were lining up to get the chance. They provide training on the bike, first; basically, you can't rev the throttle any more or you pull up 100% of the prodigious torque that the electric motor provides and shoot forward unexpectedly. No other bike that I rode had the pulling power off the line like this monster. I could get used to having no clutch and no shifting, and also not having the maintenance, noise, danger, pollution, and expense of a gas engine. The bike is heavy, and carries weight up top, but I got used to it in a few minutes. I did not like the whine that the mortor/trans provided; it was annoying and seemed artificial, but it's way better than the typical V-twin racket. I prefer silent power and perhaps there will be a way to turn it off in the future. I like the styling, and I'm hoping the bike will be a success because the future of transportation is elec-trick. Now HD has got to find a way to slash the price in half, and I'd seriously consider owning one. They won't sell too many of these whizzbang electric bikes to the hardcore V-twin armies, but will attract newer, more sophisticated, greener, iPhone-carrying, Tesla-driving folks.

There are still two days left of the Bike Week festivities, including the bike races at the stadium, and the Main St. shenanigans and vendors. The weather was good this week, and so was the riding!
 

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Great report...........sounds like you were "busy", but having a blast. I missed last year (first time in 12-13 yrs) and of course, this year. I miss the sunshine, the noise (yes, really), the crowds, smells, Main Street, etc.........all what make up Bike Week and make it "different". Maybe next year......
 

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CV damage. They shut down the festivities on Saturday, and the weekend races. Too bad, but I got 9 demo rides in for the week. My favorite: The Indian FTR Rally!
 
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