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Motorcycle Show Has Plenty To See For The Outdoorsman

We visit Long Beach to see what's new

By: Bill Baker, for OutdoorChannel.com

The Progressive International 12-city motorcycle and power sports show circuit is underway with plenty of new products of interest to outdoorsmen.

Show goers can check out hundreds of new motorcycles, ATVs, ROHVs along with plenty of gear designed for pavement, dirt, racing or commuting.

The shows, which are sponsored by Progressive Insurance should appeal to the experienced and those who are new to the sport - from kids to females and fans who aspire-to-ride.

What's New

This is the first time I’ve seen a display of electric motorcycles at one of these shows. The Brammo company out of Oregon has several models including the Enertia Plus which uses lithium ion batteries to give anywhere from 40 to 80 miles per charge depending on riding style. Top speed is 60 mph. There are state and federal incentives to help off-set the $8,995 price. Many cities and colleges are installing charging stations to promote usage. I wondered if it might be a good idea to attach a playing card to the spokes so pedestrians could hear you coming.

Probably the fastest growing power sports segment is the side-by-side ATV. We were attracted to the new Kawasaki Teryx 4. Two-passenger ROVs have been around for about a decade but these newer units can be had with four bucket seats and a full roll-cage. Powered by a 750cc Vee-Twin engine and weighing 1300 pounds, the Teryx 4 has enough torque to haul four people and equipment across rough terrain while the four-wheel independent suspension absorbs the shocks.

For $15,200, a machine like this could be as much fun as a Jeep for a lot less money. You can’t drive it on the road though, so plan on buying a trailer or toy hauler for it.

Several manufacturers now offer 4-seat ROVs. Check out www.rohva.org for more information.

On the more traditional one-seat ATV scene – more power, brilliant graphics and improved capability are the rule. Can Am showed its new Renegade with an 82hp 1000cc Rotax engine, four-wheel trailing arm independent suspension, big disc brakes and new steering technology that allows this beast to hustle while keeping its tires firmly planted.

On the two-wheel front, adventure calls.

Yamaha has updated its popular 650 V-Strom to add ABS as standard. The 2012 Adventure model is kitted out with aluminum side cases, brush bars, adjustable front forks and rear springs, 3-way height adjustable windscreen, carbon fiber paint effects and more. This machine is easy to ride on- or off- pavement. For less than $10,000, it’s a great all-‘round-er.

The venerable Triumph name has been on a lot of motorcycles made in Britain since the late 1800’s. While the company has had its ups and downs, and multiple owners, it now has the widest model range ever. The 1215cc three-cylinder Tiger Explorer pumps out 135hp and 137 lb/ft of torque.

It’s a big bike so anyone heading for the hills had better be stout themselves. Available next May with price to be set, but a good guess would be $15,500.

We’ve spent a lot of time on Honda Four Trax Foreman ATVs over the years. For 2012, Honda has made the dead-reliable 475cc single liquid cooled and given it fuel injection.

When you check all the options, you can run the price close to $9,000. But if you’re on a budget, you can get a FourTrax for just under $6,900.

Loads of accessories for work or recreation.

Finally, BMW has put together a riding academy in the Rocky Mountains for next summer. The event traces the Continental Divide from Montana to New Mexico. If you have your own bike, the ride will cost you $4495. If you want to rent one of BMW’s dual purpose bikes, three models are available for an extra $1295 to $1895.

We’ve spent a lot of time in this part of America, believe us, there’s nothing better. More info at http://www.bmwoffroadacademy.com/.

And to learn when and where the next Progress International Motorcycle Show will be logon to www.motorcycleshows.com.

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