Canadian Motorcycle Rider

Your Canadian source for all things motorcycle!

Featured Articles - CMR_Articles_Feed
Stories about motorcycles with a Canadian perspective



2015 - The Motorcycle Show Vancouver

Contributed by Trevor Marc Hughes 
All photos by Trevor Marc Hughes

It’s the scope of the displays that is most exciting. It also is what is most intimidating.

Where do you start? Will you be able to take it all in?
 

Walking into Tradex is something like seeing gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. It’s difficult not to start bounding along like an excited ten-year-old, zipping back and forth from booth to booth, hungry to find out what’s new and interesting for motorcycling in 2015.

First, my enthusiasm was curbed by the lack of something. As I approached the incredible new designs of Victory Motorcycles in the Polaris display, I discovered a distinct lack of an Indian Scout.
“There are no B.C. dealers yet,” Terry Fetter of Victoria’s Action Motorcycles explained to me.

It would seem the cost of building up sales momentum for the new Indian models is too much west of the Rockies.

“It’s just not worth displaying four Indian Scouts right now,” Fetter tells me.

It would seem it’s going to be awhile before I’ll be sitting on an Indian Scout at the Vancouver Motorcycle Show.

I tempered my disappointment with a visit to Ireland. Celtic Rider is just one of the many motorcycle touring companies at the show, a list which includes Compass Expeditions, Edelweiss Bike Travel and Renedian Adventures. I speak with Connor about who chooses to ride Ireland.

“About 95% of our clientele are women,” he tells me.

With tourism growing in Ireland, so it would seem is motorcycle touring. Each tour package comes with an “orientation” for those who are used to riding on the right side of the road.

“Riding on the left is not a big deal,” he informs me.

Further left down this great hall is a sea of orange. KTM has a display featuring what would not be the last of this sort of bike I would see at the show: the introductory motorcycle. The KTM 390 Duke looks a tight, durable little machine. And with an MSRP of $5499 and a dry weight of a little over 300 pounds, it’s an affordable bit of orange.

 
What’s new with Suzuki? Well, as one rep put it: there’s the compact GSX-S750, a streetfighter influenced by supersport models like the GSX-R750, or for the ADV crowd, there’s a revamping of the DL-650. The Suzuki V-Strom 650X features spoke wheels and a “beak” out front. Does that look like another large adventure bike we know? It comes in “Candy Daring Red” and “Metallic Mat Fibroin Grey”.

The Yamaha section is the most impressive for me, with the large red symbol hanging from the ceiling. What’s also red, and new, is a YZF-R3. I watch as several nervous young lady visitors try to straddle it. And I think that’s what Yamaha may be thinking with this new lightweight sportbike: find the new and upcoming riders. It looks like an R6, but the 321cc engine will be easier to handle for those just being introduced to motorcycling.


I speak with Clinton Smout, who writes a column for Motorcycle Mojo and appears on “Motorcycle Experience” with Dave Hatch, as we both eye the R3. He tells me his eighteen-year-old son is entering the motorcycling market and if he is thinking about getting an R6, he would tell him to think twice and consider an R3. Good fatherly advice there. At an MSRP of $4999 the R3’s a little easier on a young adult’s budget too. He points over to the new ADV option from Yamaha, the FJ-09, billed as a sport-touring model taking after the FZ-09. It’s not an off-road capable bike, but it certainly seems Yamaha’s trying to corner the ADV lifestyle market with this one.



Harley-Davidson dominates much of one end of a hall, but its bikes are looking smaller. The introduction of Street 500 and 750 models seems to indicate that the iconic American manufacturer is trying to corner that beginning motorcyclist market too. Over to the right, the Tron-like whir of an electric motorcycle can be heard. This is not a light-cycle. It’s a visitor trying out Project Livewire, a surprising new initiative, but still only in the late prototype stage. But it’ll be interesting to see
what is developed in an electric bike model for the motorcycle market to be seen at next year’s show.




Of course there are many other bikes to mention: Ducati’s 821cc slimmed down and much more affordable Monster, the increasingly “rough road capable” Honda  CB500X looking to rival other sport touring models in its class, the more rider-friendly yet torquey BMW S1000RR, and, of course, the eagerly anticipated Kawasaki Ninja H2, cordoned off behind restraint straps as though its 1000cc supercharged engine is about to break free from its cage.





These are all impressive. But I choose to round off my visit to the 2015 Vancouver Motorcycle Show by meeting some of the adventurers that take motorcycles to their limits, live to tell the tale and write about it. Jeremy Kroeker wrote “Motorcycle Therapy”, a true story about his adventure on a KLR650 into Central America. His new book “Through Dust And Darkness” has done well critically. He tells me it’s not easy being an author, but he’s happy for the success of the latest book, which chronicles his motorcycle travels through the Middle East. A down-to-earth guy, he signs a copy for me on the spot.


 
Just as I’m about to leave, closing warnings booming over the loudspeakers, I see Rene Cormier. I met him the year before. His book “The University of Gravel Roads” is one of the best motorcycling circumnavigation tales I’ve read and now he heads Renedian Adventures, his own company that launches motorcycle expeditions all over southwest Africa. He spends half the year in Canada, the rest in Africa. He always has a smile and a handshake, and is someone I think would be great
company while traveling by motorcycle.

 
So, if I were to find overall themes that emerge from this year’s show, they’d have to be a trend towards manufacturers seeking to dominate the beginner motorcyclist market and continued growth, and fusing styles, in adventure motorcycles. Next year though, electric motorcycles, and the discussion they create, could be more of a focus. The show sure does what it’s billed to do though…make me excited for the upcoming riding season.

Links:

The Motorcycle Show Vancouver - http://www.vancouvermotorcycleshow.ca/
Renedian Adventures - http://www.renedian.com/
Jeremy Kroeker - http://www.motorcycletherapy.com/



Book Review: Nearly 40 on the 37

CanadianMotorcycleRider has been around since late 2007 and I've read my fair share of motorcycle themed books since then and with a few exceptions I enjoy them all to a degree. Some are technical, some are light, some have tones of arrogance, some talk about riding, some talk about a life event and have motorcycle themes weaved in, and some are written more skillfully than others.


Trevor's book, Nearly 40 on the 37, is a well written and interesting read from a regular guy nearing his fortieth birthday.  It just so happens that he likes motorcycles and plans to go exploring beautiful BC on perhaps the best mode of transportation to experience an adventure on - a motorcycle! We're along for the ride as he travels solo along British Columbia's remote Highway 37.

Nearly 40 on the 37 will fit perfectly in the pannier of your motorcycle if you plan to head on a little motorcycling adventure of your own and don't want a tome of novel to drag you down for the ride. I managed to read it cover to cover in just a few days. I'm not a fast reader by any means but the subject is interesting and light. It's a book that you'll want to pick up and finish.


Nearly 40 on the 37
ISBN #: 978-0-9918590-0
$18.95

Buy it at www.whitehorsepress.com or at www.trevormarchughes.ca. You can also get it as an e-book on Amazon Kindle
- 127 pages
- softcover

Follow Marc on twitter @trevmarchughes

About Trevor Marc Hughes: Prior to writing, Trevor was an actor, most notably when he was barely out of his teens on the television series "Northwood" for CBC Television.  He was a freelancer, part reporter, part independent producer and sometimes arts reporter at CBC Radio Vancouver for over nine years. During this time he also contributed to National Public Radio and publications such as Pacific Mariner and Celtic Connection. He lived in London, England briefly where he helped out at BBC Radio Five Live at Broadcast Centre.

He lives with his wife and two sons in Vancouver, British Columbia and regularly contributes to magazines such as Canadian Biker


Enjoying the Roads of the Kootenays

My partner Toby and I are lucky enough to live in Canada, and more specifically the outskirts of Calgary amongst undeniably beautiful scenery and landscapes. In my honest opinion, there is no better way to enjoy all that the area, has to offer than on a motorcycle (or sat on the back of one in my case on this particular occasion!).

We regularly get out for rides and usually opt to ride together on one bike rather than taking the two of them out. We both find that the views and the company can be best enjoyed this way. During one long-weekend a month of so back, we opted to head over to the Kootenay Region of British Colombia. I had been to the area once before as a youngster and remembered being struck by the idyllic scenery. Ergo, we decided that it was the ideal spot for a ride, so we packed lightly and hit the road. It was a long trip from Calgary, which we broke up with a night in a B&B and we rocked up at our chosen campsite late afternoon.

Day One

We woke up in our tent at the Toad Rock Motorcycle Campground. A friend had suggested this place to us, and it turned out to be a stellar recommendation. The route that Toby had planned out for us the first day would take us from the campsite, nearby Balfour, across the lake to Kootenay Bay, down to Nelson and then we’d complete the circuit by heading back north to Nelson. This route is approximately 215km and would take us between 3-4 hours riding at a comfortable speed with no stops.


 Day one: Toad Rock Campground

We had excellent weather for the first day, clear skies and a warm breeze. It was just eight miles down the road to the ferry port and we were on our way across the lake by 10am. It was a smooth and comfortable trip across and with the sun on our faces and the mountains to look at; it couldn’t have been any more enjoyable.  We landed at Kootenay Bay and drove off to truly get our road trip under way.

Kootenay Lake

The Kootenays or the Kootenay to Region takes its name from the presence of the Kootenay River. The Lake is part of the river and has become a popular tourist destination, particularly during the warmer summer months. The ferry crossing that connects Balfour and Kootenay Bay runs all year round and is completely toll free. It’s a useful way to quickly and conveniently (45 minutes) access the other side of the lake and is a great way to relax with the wind in your hair.


Kootenay Lake

The lake is long and narrow and being situated between the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges, ensures that the views are never anything less than spectacular.  As well as the scenery, the lake offers numerous species of fish including rainbow trout, yellow perch and kokanee salmon. Many people come to this spot to charter a boat and head out on the lake to see what they can catch.

Creston and back to base via the beach!

We took Highway 3A along the shores of the lake, all the way down to Creston. The roads are in good condition and there are plenty of twists with places to stop and snap a few shots. We stopped briefly in the valley of Creston and sampled a glass of Kokanee Beer and bite to eat. The beer has been brewed here since 1959 and wasn’t half bad at all. From here it was back up north through Trail and Castlegar to Nelson. Between Nelson and Balfour we came across Kokanee Creek Provincial Park and decided to make another stop. Here we found a number of stunning beaches, some business than others. It seemed like a very fun and enjoyable spot to come back to with children. We found a good looking restaurant nearby and then retreated back to base at Toad Rock.


Kokanee

Toad Rock

Toad Rock Motorcycle Campsite is located almost exactly between Balfour and Ainsworth on Highway 31. It takes around half an hour to get to the city of Nelson from the campsite and just a few minutes to reach the ferry port at Balfour for the crossing to Kootenay Bay. It is a cheerful and affordable campsite with plenty of space and lots of opportunities to meet fellow bikers. Its location on the lake couldn’t be more ideal. There is easy access to a number of popular and world-class bike routes, as well as small and charming heritage towns, swimming spots and restaurants.

In general, Toby tends to be more in favour of the camping than I am, but at this particular campsite I too enjoyed the atmosphere and the setting. There is plenty of space so you can set up somewhere quiet and out of the way but also a lovely little covered area, which has been aptly named the social pavilion. Here, I and enjoyed a game of pool or two with the owner, whilst Toby got chatting about the days ride amongst other things. The toilet facilities were as well as can be expected at a campsite in the middle of nowhere. Besides, anything that the campsite lacked was made up for immeasurably by the mountain backdrop and wild scenery. The hospitality of the owners, Grant and Marty, made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Day Two

Tony and I both woke up slightly achy from a combination of riding and camping but eager to set off once again for more of the breathtaking sights of the Kootenays so we gear up and get ready to for that. This time we would give the ferry ride a miss with a route that required us heading straight up north to the quirky and charming village of Kaslo. From here we would continue on to New Denver, before completing the circuit by returning once again to Nelson. This route was almost the exact same distance as the previous day at roughly 216km. Again 3 or 4 hours would have been perfectly manageable, but where’s the fun in rushing?

The road to Kaslo

We travelled north on Highway 31 and it wasn’t long at all before we reached Ainsworth Hot springs. Ainsworth is a small and historic village with a tiny population of just 10 people. We only passed through on this visit, but we may well be back for a dip in one of the naturally hot water springs and to visit the Cody Caves.

On we went to the wonderful and beautiful village of Kaslo. This place is well known for its natural splendour and quaintness, and has a population of just over 1000. For us it was the ideal time of year to visit, with just the right about of people to create a good atmosphere, without the hustle and bustle of too many tourists. During our time here we were informed of the summer jazz festival, which sounds like a lot of fun and we may well return for.


Village of Kaslo

Kaslo to Nelson via Slocan Lake

From Kaslo we headed across to New Denver in order to see what Lake Slocan had to offer. We weren’t disappointed. The views again are outstanding and there is so much wildlife to look out for as well as taking in the scenery. Over the two days we saw numerous impressive birds including bald headed eagles and osprey. Deer were abundant on the ground and we caught sight of a black bear, although couldn’t get the camera out in time! From here it was back south to Nelson and the familiar road back to base.

All in all it was one of our more memorable bike trips and we will certainly return to the Kootenay Region in the not too distant future.

Do it in a day and alternative routes

For those people wanting to do as much as possible in just one day, there are a number of options for incredible routes. Creston to Kaslo and then possibly on to New Denver at Slocan Lake would give you the chance to make the ferry crossing and also see a good portion of the Lake Kootenay. Another choice would be to again start at Creston but then head to Nelson after the crossing. This will allow you to experience some of the areas best roads. Of course, there are numerous routes and options to take. The longer you have here the better because there are loads to see and plenty to do, so enjoy the incredible settings and make the most of your time here!

About the Author:

Dewayne Jasper has been riding for over 6 years and currently rides a Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R; you can also follow him on twitter and know about his riding.

Dewayne endorses buying motorcycle equipment at http://www.motorcyclehouse.com


Book Overview: Motorcycle Journeys Through the Pacific Northwest

Book Overview: Motorcycle Journeys Through the Pacific Northwest
Details: Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 320 pages, full color illus and maps, list price $27.95 USD
Published By: WhiteHorse Press

Not only does this newest edition of Motorcycle Journeys Through the Pacific Northwest showcase unforgettable rides in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, its author’s enthusiasm for still more motorcycle exploration will also entice visitors to return to this gorgeous region for multiple looks, and reacquaint lifetime locals with the beauty and uniqueness of their home territory. From twisting mountain roads with vast tall forests and stunning views of snow-capped volcanoes, to curving coastal roads winding past pristine sandy beaches and rugged rocky cliffs, the diversity of riding in the Pacific Northwest is breathtaking.You can discover ancient river-cut canyons, high purple desert, crystal-clear lakes, misty romantic islands, and friendly people lost to time and logging or fishing—all on the same day.


Written by veteran motojournalist Bruce Hansen, Motorcycle Journeys Through the Pacific Northwest details thirty-one trips through this motorcycle paradise with colorful commentary, useful relief maps, dazzling color photographs, and clear route directions. Each trip takes one to two days to complete and is guaranteed to lead riders to new places of interest on lost roads that are a delight to find. Here are the best-kept secrets and most famous rides of the Pacific Northwest, the very things that make motorcycle travel so special.Those riders familiar with the first edition will want to try the new rides in this edition, including road’s end on Vancouver Island, a Hells Canyon getaway, and an Auderheidi Hot Sprint ride. 

As a local rider, Hansen recommends restaurants, diners, places to stay (including campgrounds), and interesting things to see and do from an insider’s perspective. His tips will save precious vacation time for visiting motorcyclists and locals alike. Helpful sidebars give you information on where to rent a motorcycle, how to get lower rates on accommodations, up-to-date regulations on crossing the U.S.- Canadian border, and tips for hot weather and desert riding. Trip 31, called Deuce-and-a-Half, shows how to cover the whole Pacific Northwest in 14 days and 2,500 miles. If you have just two weeks available and the determination to see it all, this book will help you make the best use of your time and money. 

Canadian readers buy it here: