IMS Motorcycle Show Atlanta, 2021

in 2021 Articles

The International Motorcycle Show returned to the Atlanta area for the first time in many years. This year’s event was held at the Olympic Horse Park in Conyers on a cool rainy Friday-Sunday October 29-31.

Dave rode his VStrom to the show on Saturday with the express purpose of snagging a demo ride on a Triumph Tiger 900. It turned out much better than that. The weather was to our advantage as the event was not crowded and until early afternoon you could pretty much walk up and ride almost any bike. All the major brands of motorcycle manufacturers were there and each brought truck loads of bikes to test ride, including Harley Davidson, Suzuki, Triumph, Yamaha, Honda, Royal Enfield, Kawasaki, Indian, and Zero. At the far end of the exhibit there were also equipment and accessory vendors including Cardo, Mosko Moto, Continental Tires, and the MSF.

The first bike Dave rode was at the first vendor area, just inside the entrance gate. He got his pick of half a dozen Harley-Davidson Pan America motorcycles. It was the first ride on the 12 mile loop and was quite enjoyable. The Pan America is a big, powerful bike with a fantastic clutch pull. It’s a tall ride with suspension that lowers at stops making it easier to manage for the vertically challenged. The knobby tires on wet roads and being the first loop of the day the pace was rather reserved.

The next ride was a Triumph Tiger 900 Tally Pro. The seat warmer was on so took the chill off the cool damp day. Ergonomics and wind protection are outstanding, and the noise the triple motor makes under hard acceleration is fabulous (Dan can attest to that with his 2010 1050 Tiger!). Overall the Triumph Tiger a brilliant motorcycle. The pace on the loop for this ride was decidedly faster.

Dan arrived just as Dave left for the loop so we talked Tigers with the Triumph team upon Dave's return to the paddock.

In addition to the amazing motorcycle representation there was also the opportunity to test drive Kawasaki and Yamaha side by side 4WD off road vehicles.  The very muddy test ride area was a short bus ride away.  Dan got into to the pilot action this time, driving a Kawasaki ES side by side with Dave co-piloting and being cameraman as they sped around muddy tracks and picked through a wooded course. The jumps, mud and narrow trails were a blast at speed, and sideways was a frequent orientation for the quad when there was opportunity to open it up.

After a food truck lunch Dave went back to the Triumph paddock to ride a Rocket 3. Unfortunately the Rocket and Speed Triple were both sidelined for the day due to the conditions. Both bikes are too overpowered for a test rider in the rain. Instead Dave rode a really sweet Bonneville T100. The upgraded stainless steel exhaust made the 60 HP sound awesome!

For a completely different experience Dave rode a Royal Enfield Himalayan. The 30 HP was enough for a fun loop with a group of riders, but pretty quickly went close to redline even in top 5th gear.  Of course, the limited horse power and basic configuration of the Royal Enfields is also reflected in the price and you can get two, maybe three RE Himalayan's for the cost of a single Triumph Scrambler!

For the last ride of the day Dan and Dave both chose to ride Zero electric bikes, choosing the SRS and SRF respectively. This is the first year Zero has offered demo rides at an event like this so this was a led group ride. Both bikes were really identical mechanically (electrically?) with the exception of the SRS sporting a full fairing.  The riding position was almost standard. No clutch lever or gears involved, this was pure unadulterated twist and go excitement! In Eco Mode the bike uses regenerative braking to charge the battery, and the side product of this is that you barely have to use the brakes. Halfway into the ride the group leader paused at a parking lot to give the option of switching into Sport Mode, if you were comfortable. There was no hesitation from Dave or Dan.  In Sport Mode the bike is almost freewheeling, with just enough drive / regenerative braking engaged on the rear wheel to add control when the throttle (switch?) is closed.  In Sport Mode the bike generates twice the power as in ECO Mode, bringing it up to 140HP. Dave and Dan both discovered the exhilaration of that boost on a long straightaway where a twist of the wrist produced immediate performance response. This was instant acceleration that will put a smile on your face, and it certainly did.

Last stop on the way to the parking lot was the vintage and custom bike exhibit. This was an unexpected bonus for the day and Dan reconnected with the Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA).  Dan also discovered that the AMCA Executive Director at the show, Keith Kizer, had published an article on Gary Breylinger in the AMCA monthly magazine. Gary is Dan's antique motorcycle mentor in Montana and who Dan got most of his antiques from. What a small world!

IMS is an event not to be missed next time it comes to the area. You can easily spend a day or two making 12 mile loops on almost any motorcycle made.