As you may have gathered from the onslaught of stories this week, the Toronto Motorcycle Show runs this weekend at the Enercare Centre (details here). It’s kind of a big deal for the moto-public, as it really breaks up the winter and is a great way to see new models. It’s also a place to see a lot of other interesting stuff. Here’s what caught our eye at this year’s show on Friday.
Canadian Superbike/Super Sonic Road Race School
The CSBK booth is always a good stop, because you can catch up on the details of what’s going on with Canada’s national roadracing series. But this year, it’s not all litrebikes; Canadian track legend Toni Sharpless is at the booth as well, promoting her new Super Sonic Road Race School. We’ll have more details soon, but Sharpless is up to something really cool, starting a school and also working on a minibike race series that will work as a feeder to the Canadian Superbike Lightweight Sport Bike series.
Sharpless is looking for riders age 5-95 for her school: “If you can bend to get on a bike, we’ll teach you.” Can CMG’s resident almost-a-pensioner Mark Richardson fit onto a minibike for this course? Stay tuned, maybe we’ll find out.
It’s cool to see all the new bikes at the show, but Harley-Davidson has gone to the effort to bring in two pre-production machines, the Bronx streetfighter and the Pan America adventure bike. This doesn’t happen often in Canada, and that’s too bad.
And not only can you see a couple of not-yet-produced machines, you can also get a free tattoo (that will wash away, no permanent ink jobs here, but you’ll sure look like a scary biker … maybe). And, you can also sit on a LiveWire electric bike and twist the throttle. It’s a booth where you can have a lot of fun.
Honda’s got the other cool OEM booth, The new bikes are there, but Honda’s gone to the effort of also integrating its Junior Red Riders display into the booth. Bring your kids along, and they can play tabletop hockey and other games. The message is that motorcycling is fun—well done, Big Red!
Sidecar Racers Association
OK, there’s not much to see here but a couple of sidecars, and the keeners behind the Sidecar Racers Association. But, that’s definitely a lot more interesting than a lot of other stuff going on in the racing world! Especially when you find out you can sign up for, get this, a chance to go to monkey school. That’s right, if you want to learn how to race as a sidecar passenger, the SRA will teach you over a weekend. We’re gonna throw a bunch of bananas at Dustin, and make him sign up.
Trooper Mark Wilson Ride
There are a lot of charities on the show circuit every year, but here’s one that stuck out as a good cause. The Trooper Mark Wilson Ride raises funds for the veterans at Parkwood Institute. There are more than 120 World War II and Korean War veterans at Parkwood, and the money raised helps improve their quality of life. The ride itself is on May 9 this year, but if you can’t make it, you can at least spend $20 on a ticket to win the giveaway bagger in their booth; even a twenty helps out the cause, and hey, you might win a motorcycle! Better start making room in the shed.
Vintage Road Racing Association
Racing is cool. Old bikes are cool. Therefore, old race bikes are extra-cool. The VRRA stand doesn’t have wild flashing lights or blaring music (probably because everybody involved has hearing loss, thanks to years at the track). What it does have, is a lot of cool machines from different eras, and dedicated personalities from the VRRA scene who are keeping these bikes, and these races, alive. Stop by and check it out.
We’ve already gone over Clutch Society here on CMG, but it really does live up to its advance billing. This is like a show-within-a-show, with the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival, the MotoSocial founders, and plenty of other cool kids. And the bikes! Some of Canada’s top custom builders are here, and there’s also a trio of machines from internationally-renowned customizer Walt Siegl. Speaking of which, if you’re there on Saturday afternoon, you might see Siegl, as he’s planning to be on-site.
I went today – good to see the new bikes – better was seeing Clinton Smout’s demonstration – just wish I was closer to Barrie to attend one of his courses.
My wife and I were they on Friday. I actually prefer this show to the January one, though we try to do both. We drove down from Kincardin and had an awesome time. We had a great chat with John Cooper (Cycle Canada’s early days) at the CVMG both, and another with the salesman that sold me my current bike at the Triumph booth. There were a couple of bikes I really wanted to see that weren’t there, so that wws a little disappointing, as was the fact that 2 of my favourite exhibitors no longer bring printed brochures to shows. All in all though it was an excellent day out.