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Old 05-19-2013, 06:34 AM   #1
sendler OP
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Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Syracuse, NY USA
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Americade 2013 bike festival

Americade is the world's largest motorcycle touring rally! Located in Lake George, New york.
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I'm pre registered for Americade this year so I can pick up my pass on Monday, tent camp at Adirondack village 2 miles away Monday and Tuesday nights, and be first in line at 6:00AM to sign up for demo rides. First bike on the list will of course be the new Honda CBR500R. I also joined the Riders Of Kawasaki club for $30 per year which includes roadside and towing for all 4 of my bikes, admission to the VIP tent for back pack check service and refreshments, and priority on demo choices. I will see them at Americade and again at Mid Ohio in July. Kawasaki has one of the biggest traveling demo programs in the USA. I would like to ride the new Ninja300 (even though I will be trading my Ninja250 for one soon) and the new gen Ninja650 (updated for the second time last year). Also on my list would be the NC700X and an automatic CTX if they had one but that bike isn't really out yet so it will probably be a static display as the NC was last year. If I get time I wouldn't mind trying a BMW GS650G which are probably the last bike anyone signs up for when the think of BMW. Ducati brings a lot of bikes and has half naked girls hanging around to chit chat. I hope Kymco brings a Downtown 300i but they only had the smaller scooters there last year. People at a cruiser rally ( Honda will flip you the keys to a brand new GoldWing and Harley brings a ton of bikes) don't have any interest in scooters so the Kymco demos just sit there for the taking with no appointment or line. Yamaha doesn't make a bike I am interested in other than the Majesty but I didn't see them or the Suzuki tent last year or I would try to get on a V-Strom.
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The vendor section is ok but I was hoping for Revzilla or similar to be there with high end sport touring clothes and boots but there was nothing like that. Kuryakyn has a huge tent with every gizmo and dress up part for a cruiser and plenty of leather. It's amazing how busy the dynos and techs stay. People wait all year just for this event to get their bikes serviced or to have new pipes installed and tuned. The cops are nice enough to let you spend all of your money before giving out tickets for loud pipes on your way out of town.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:40 PM   #2
sendler OP
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The Weather was perfect Mon-Tues-Wed at Americade 2013. Sunny and 65F days. 45F nights. The early week crowds were manageable but the evening streets were already packed in every available parking spot with custom show bikes by the thousands. Like Times Square on wheels from all the added lights and chrome.
I was late getting in both days. 7:10AM. Early is 5:30. Honda does very few demo rides and is essentially sold out by 6:30. Which is half an hour before the first Honda employees even show up to start giving out numbers to the already too long line. I was very lucky to get the last spot on the lone CBR500R for the day by hanging around their tent all morning while they shuffled the schedule into order and some gaps appeared.
Kawasaki brought at least twice as many bikes and sent them out continuously in two different groups. Generally with sport bikes in one line and the cruisers in the other. And caution seemed to fly with the wind on the later afternoon time slot I had on the second day. Three ZX14 at the front including the ride leader. A ZX1000, Ninja1000, three 636, two Ninja300. And me, third from the tail, right where the whip cracks, on the Ninja650 with the caboose chaperone on the other 650. The riding was a mix of fast super highway and beautiful down hill twisting river gorges as we rolled back toward the lake. We were told to ride in our own comfort zone but I was surprised we were allowed to run so fast that it required some hanging off to keep the heavy 650's from sagging the pace. The latest version of which does feel stiffer and more accurate and has zero rattles compared to my 07 even if the torquey big twin still has some vibes in the seat. Kawasaki's VIP tent was worth the $30 per year as a handy place to snack up and chill my gear bag and includes roadside towing for all four of my bikes. I like the Ninja650even with it's confused ergos for larger riders but still wonder what a Concours650 on the same frame and engine might be like.
Suzuki was an easy ride to get and they did bring a Hayabusa and all of the other supersports they tend to rely on for survival. I rode the V-Strom650 and can see why it is a cult classic for professionals. Nice square ergos and a big fairing and windscreen make it very relaxing to ride.
The Ninja300 is a great deal even if I think they left the new design a little small and seems more evolutionary than revolutionary. I would have to ride a 250 back to back but it is still a bit buzzy. The bottom end torque gains were countered out by the longer gearing but with the added benefit of only turning 7,500 rpm at 70 mph where my 09 is winding along at 9,000. Most people will want to add an adjustable clutch lever as it lets way out but it feels good at the engagement point and the slipper clutch works perfect.
Of course my favorite bike was the Honda CBR500R. You are surprised the second you key the starter. Like butter. Everything is so smooth. The clutch, the trans, the shifter, brakes. Even the feel of the switch gear is very dialed in. Similar to the excellent CBR250R but more and better. Nice soft suspension that will squirm in the twisties a bit but will soak up hours of rough pavement without rattling your eyeballs. Even better wind management and just enough extra power to pull a bigger rider and weight to tame highway buffeting. Nice roomy and balanced ergos. And $1500 less than the Ninja650 and should get better fuel economy as a slick commuter. The new Goldilocks bike in a niche of it's own.
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