Jokes aside, I’m super excited that this year’s IMS decided to hold the event outdoors. The turnout was much more than expected by the event organizers and brands. I had a hard time getting to the entrance; there was just so much to drool over—and this was just the parking lot!
Rebranding the Event for 2021: The Progressive IMS Outdoors
Like all trade shows and events these days, the organizers had to think outside the box (no pun intended) and I feel that they knocked it out of the park with this one. The Progressive International Motorcycle Show, after 39 years, has been rebranded as Progressive IMS Outdoors for 2021.
It is a great transition from the traditional convention center setup to a new open outdoor experience, much like Sea Otter Classic for the pedal power world of two wheels. The tour went across the U.S. with Southern California as the last stop.
Each stop is a three day event for two wheeled enthusiasts and potential riders of all ages and skill levels, with motorcycle demo rides and Ride with Us for the non-riders. With the formalities out of the way, let’s go outdoors and see what kind of hardware was in attendance!
Demos & Show Floor Bikes
I feel like this needs to be said first for the guys and gals viewing this for 2022: get there EARLY! Demo slots are extremely limited. Preferably when the gates open, go do the round of signing up for demo slots FIRST.
Pretty much all of the demo slots were full for the day by the time I got there, as it was based on first come first serve. Talking to KTM, their slots filled up within 30 minutes of gate opening—kind of like the Star Wars ride at Disneyland.
It is different from years past, where there was a demo area to sign up for all bike brands. Plus, you didn’t need tickets to demo bikes before; you could just head to the demo area outside.
There are pros and cons to both structures, but I like the outdoor event experience better overall. I just wish the brands had show bikes in the tent as well (to drool over) and extra demo bikes to ride, instead of show and demo bikes being the same.
2022 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
After watching the new Bond film, No Time To Die, I was dying to try the Scrambler 1200. Luckily for me, Triumph was one of the few that did not require reserving time slots—just scan the QR code and sign the waiver, then wait in line for about 15 minutes and pick your bike with a Triumph demo team member.
What’s even better is the self-guided tour. The self-guided demo route takes you outside of the event area and onto public streets, where you are supposed to follow the orange arrows. However, I missed one of the orange arrows somehow and ended up getting lost in the suburban jungle. Sorry, Triumph!
After finding my way back 30 minutes later, with grass and dirt in the tire tread, I’m glad it was a self-guided tour. The Scrambler 1200 is secretly a dirt worthy adventure bike. Hopefully our team here at wBW can get their hands on a Scrambler 1200 for a full length review to go into detail about this bike. If you want to get to know more about the Scrambler 1200, you can read our 2021 model overview here.
As a proud owner of a Triumph Tiger Explorer, the Scrambler felt like quite a capable adventure bike. The 270 degree crank parallel twin is absolutely beautiful to my ears. Not only that, you get some decent power too.
The XE model that I rode produces 89 Hp at 7,400rpm and 81.1 Ft-lb of torque at 3,950rpm. That’s more than enough to get the job done and be able to keep up with your big adventure bike friends. The cruise control it comes with will also come in handy for those big long rides just like my Tiger Explorer. It’s got a long travel suspension as well.
The fully adjustable Showa forks and twin spring Ohlins delivers incredible off-road capability and ground clearance, with 250mm wheel travel front and rear and the gold is extremely pleasing to the eyes. If you’re wanting big adventure bike characteristics with great scrambler looks and some pretty good off-road ability, I think the Scrambler fits the bill.
One of the demo guys told me the Scrambler even received compliments from Lee Morrison, James Bond Stunt Coordinator, who said “the whole stunt team realized very quickly that these were amazing bikes”. Definitely a dirt worthy scrambler.
Electric Demo Rides
Motorcycles, though, aren’t the only things you can experience at IMS SoCal 2021. Because of its outdoor nature, the show also has ebike demos to ride. That includes Harley-Davidson’s new e-bike models, and other brands such as Giant and Yamaha.
The first thing I did when I arrived at the show was demo a Giant Trance X E+ Pro 29. Besides riding their demo trail and jumping off the steps at the outdoor auditorium, I took the chance to ride through the whole show to get a glance at what to expect. It definitely made my walk after much more efficient!
Giant Trance X E+ Pro 29
I spent some time chatting with the guys at Giant. They offer the Trance X E+ PRO 29 in two build kits: the Pro 1 (demo) and the Pro 3.
The battery and motor are the same between the two kits. The Pro 3 retails for $5,500 and comes with a 12-speed Deore kit and a RockShox Gold 35 fork. The Pro 1 retails for $6,250 and is equipped with much better components. For an extra $750, you get a Fox 36 Performance Elite Fork and Fox Float DPX2 Performance shock with 150/140mm of travel front and rear, XT/XTR drivetrain and brakes, and higher end giant branded wheels.
The Fox 36 Performance Elite fork alone is already worth the upgrade. I’m 5’11 with a 30” inseam and typically ride size Large bikes. I found the size Large Trance to be a good fit for me.
Giant has been killing it with the value of the Trance considering some of the competitors. It’s tough to beat the Giant Trance X 29 platform in terms of versatility, performance and price. If you have been hesitant to jump on the ebike band wagon, I would definitely recommend taking a look at the Giant Trance X E+ PRO 29 series.
Harley Davidson Serial 1
Right next to Giant was Serial 1. I had the chance to take this for a quick stroll around the charged demo circuit to see what it was all about.
I remember Harley-Davidson had a road map that they released at EICMA a while back. The road map revealed an electric bicycle, Serial 1. It was pretty exciting to see it in person.
The guys at Serial 1 explained the name’s origin, which was paying homage to the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle built back in 1903! This was the company’s first ebike so it made sense.
They start at $3,399 and include two models—the Mosh and the Rush. All of the bikes feature a Brose mid-drive motor and directly on top house the battery. Serial 1 claims a range of 110 miles per charge, but that of course varies depending on battery, rider weight, ride mode and terrain.
The Gates belt drive and the belt driven internals on the Brose motors makes this ebike super quiet. All you hear while riding is the rolling tires against the ground and the wind noise in your ears. If you’re in the market for an urban cruiser that can eat those uphills, HD is offering $1,000 off all models for their 2021 Black Friday sale.
The Highlights of IMS Outdoors 2021
Triumph’s New Tiger 1200
Triumph’s New 2022 Tiger 1200 can be seen here in final prototype testing. The brief to Triumph’s development team was simple: only the best will do. After seeing Ricky Carmichael’s teaser video, I am excited for 2022. Unfortunately, they placed it in a glass prison, so sorry for the reflections in the photos.
This is the only one in existence according to the gents at Triumph!
With Triumph announcing their intent to enter the motocross and enduro world and with the G.O.A.T. (Ricky Carmichael) as part of the off-road product development, there is great hype behind the heavily redesigned new Tiger 1200.
Much of the new images and video reveal of the Tiger 1200 had been evident here. Being right in front of the actual prototype, it is even more clear now, the revamped machine appears slimmer and lighter than all the previous generations. It also took a lot of design cues from the smaller Tiger 900 with a few unique traits.
The biggest change appears to be the rear end. The shaft drive system looks new, much smaller and with a double sided swingarm replacing the single. The tubular steel trellis has been redesigned and the radiator has been moved from its usual position behind the wheel as well. The exhaust looks slimmer too, and fits perfectly with the leaner profile.
I am extremely excited and can’t wait to see the reactions when the Tiger 1200 hits the dealer’s showroom floors. Hopefully we’ll be able to do a full write up when the time comes!
Yes, Triumph left it dirty and I love it.
2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR
The other big news from Triumph at Costa Mesa is the 2022 Speed Triple 1200 RR. It was my first chance to see the bike in the flesh, and I had high hopes to hop on one for demo rides, but those hopes went down the drain when we got there.
The bike looks awesome in person and having owned a Street Triple R in the past gave me a soft spot for this series. The new Speed Triple RR took styling cues that are influenced by Triumph’s Modern Classic lineup.
Triumph was eager to point out the unique nature of the new Speed Triple RR, that it’s difficult to pin point to an existing class. It’s no longer a naked with its partial fairing, and although it shares MotoGP-inspired performance figures and components, it doesn’t share their styling.
The closest competitor is the MV Agusta Superveloce. Take a look at how they compare here. The Red Hopper and Storm Grey color scheme looks brilliant in the outdoor setting.
2022 Tiger Sport 660
This was also not for demo, but a great looking bike nonetheless. This would give the Versys 650 a run for its money. Triumph claims it is the first triple to make its way into the middleweight sport-touring segment.
Suzuki had a major reveal this year: the GSX-S1000GT. I have been waiting for Suzuki to bring up their game to the sport touring segment for a while now. Suzuki finally brought the GSX-S1000F up to date in terms of tech and design.
The new TFT display can support smartphone connectivity like Apple Carplay in the automotive world. It also has multiple riding modes, as well as rider aid settings that we are seeing more of in the sport touring segment. The GT also gets cruise control and Suzuki’s low RPM assist. Styling isn’t going to be for everyone, but I love the more modern look more than the old GSX-S1000F big scooter-looking fairing.
There’s an MSRP of $13,799 for the GSX-S1000GT+, which comes with the quick release panniers you see there. That would make one hell of a commuter and tourer.
The brother GSX-S1000 was here as well!
I was surprised to see Joan Mir’s MotoGP bike sitting there. Look at those carbon brakes!
2022 Honda Navi
Good things come in small packages! I just love it when a company makes the entry barrier easier for motorcycling, like the 2022 Honda Navi.
It’s easy to ride thanks to its CVT transmission. It’s one speed and no shifts to go through. It’s basically a motorcycle but with a scooter engine. This has been a big hit in Europe and Asia, and now it’s here in the U.S.
Plus, you can feel like a hooligan once you customize the snot out of it. This Navi by Steady Garage is actually pretty sweet. Oh and by the way, yes, it’s carbureted. Take a look.
On that same topic, Kawasaki’s Vulcan S has 18 possible configurations to help new and/or old riders get the perfect ergonomics. The handlebar, footpegs and seat can all be adjusted. The ERGO-FIT can be requested at the dealer when purchasing your bike.
Start ‘Em Young! The Kids Zone at IMS Outdoors 2021
Being a motorcycle dad of a two year old, my daughter has developed a connection to anything on two wheels as well. The Strider Adventure Zone provides little ones from two to seven years old a safe environment to explore on two wheels with a Strider Balance Bike.
The arena allowed her to experience the challenge and thrill of navigating a unique course with assorted obstacles—way better than the boring old neighborhood sidewalk.
Exclusive to Northern California and Southern California, Husqvarna took it a step further by offering kids demo rides on Husqvarna Factory Replica STACYC e-powered balance bikes by adding throttle and brake into the mix! Look at them go!
Ride With Us
This is a program being offered by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) in partnership with IMS! It is a great compliment to the Discover The Ride program, as it gives non-rider the opportunity to graduate from an electric-powered motorcycle to learning the basics, including operations of the throttle, brake and clutch.
It is a 45 minute experience with MSF Rider Coaches guiding soon to be two-wheelers through the basic operation of a motorcycle in a closed-course environment. MSF provides all the gear, the bikes, and the coaches.
A moto industry designer friend of mine who always wanted to try motorcycles but was too afraid, was extremely happy and comfortable at the end of the experience. He was able to understand how to start, stop, shift into first, and ride around the course with control and confidence.
Harley Davidson Jumpstart
For those non-riders that do not want the full experience just yet, you can check out Harley Davidson’s Jumpstart. You can get on a real motorcycle that is mounted to a rolling road. An expert will guide you through starting a motorcycle, engaging the clutch and shifting through the gears, while feeling the torque of the motorcycle.
The Gear Brands at IMS Outdoors 2021
I think due to EICMA happening a week after IMS, there weren’t many gear brands at the show this year. However, I was glad to see a good turnout at RUROC’s booth. They’ve got some sick designs!
Lastly, kicking the tire with Sarah at the SW Motech booth, they will be revealing new products at EICMA 2021 next week!
J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show
One builder that caught my eye was GG Retrofitz from Garden Grove here in SoCal. Without looking below, what bike is this?
These are actually current generation Yamaha R3’s! A bunch of gearheads were as surprised as I was. These are body kits that bolts on directly to the R3. You can actually buy these body kits from GG Retrofitz and customize your own.
My pick was either GG Retrofitz or the two from Kott Motorcycles. I could stare at them all day.
I don’t know much about vintages, but my visit to IMS Vintage was equally enjoyable. Some of the coolest things at the Vintage area were—of course—the vintage bikes!
Final Thoughts on IMS Outdoors 2021
What a show! Not sure if I just miss these events or what, but the 2021 IMS Outdoors was a success.
I am really glad to see the motorcycle industry getting the new generations familiar with two wheels at an earlier age and non-riders with the Ride With Us program. This kind of education will only benefit motorcyclists for years to come. Life is just better on two wheels, don’t you think?