Bike show!

This weekend was the annual motorcycle show, so we dragged Kira along.

I was surprised by how many babies I saw at the show (I’d never really paid attention before) and I was glad to see that we did not have the most ginormous, in-the-way, running-people-over stroller.  I felt bad for the dad with twins pushing a huge double side-by-side BOB stroller around the event center; he needed that beeping “get out of the way!” alarm that they have on airport people-movers.

We made it all of five feet into the event center before we spent money on Kira.

I don’t know if vendors get to choose their location but, if so, this guy was BRILLIANT.  It’s the first booth you see when walking into the event, and parents are probably happy with their still-well-behaved children and are feeling benevolent towards them.


OK, whatever, baby, sure.  But what about the new Hondas??  Let’s face it, that’s really the only reason I went this year.

In case you hadn’t heard, Honda is bringing three (THREE!) new 500cc bikes to the states for the 2013 model year: the CBR500R, the CB500F, and the CB500X.

On paper, the bikes are really interesting.  The streetbikes are a bit taller than my Ninjette (30.9″ as opposed to 29.3″) and a bit heavier (420 lbs vs 360 lbs, both wet weight).  I was curious to see if that would make enough of a difference to me to consider upgrading.

While surfing Honda’s website before the show, I liked the looks of the naked CB500F better than the faired CBR500R; once I saw them in person, though, I felt the opposite.

Kira also seems to approve of the CBR500R.

I was skeptical of the CBR500R’s clip-on handlebars (I long ago swore to never own a bike with clip-ons again ever ever ever), but they were actually pretty comfortable.  I didn’t feel like I would need my physical therapist on speed dial after one long ride.

It’s telling that I didn’t even get a photo of the CB500F.  In my defense, it was a crowded booth (good news for Honda) and we had to wrestle the baby, too, but that bike just didn’t do anything for me.

It felt heavier than the CBR500R — which likely just meant that the R was missing fluids and a battery — and the seating position wasn’t as comfortable.  The CB500F has tube bars instead of clip-ons, but they’re very wide.  I’m sure this is more ergonomic if you’re not built like a hobbit, but I learned my lesson about wide bars from the 2009 BMW F650GS.  They just do not work for me and I get instant tennis elbow.

While I was sitting on the bike lamenting this fact, a few guys standing around overheard and tried to mansplain to me that I didn’t need to flatfoot and that I could get a different seat, etc.  I thought this was cute. 🙂  I eventually put the smack down, though, when one guy told me that my complaint about the handlebars wouldn’t really affect my day-to-day riding; I said, “yeah, I’ve owned 10 bikes and I have a pretty good idea of what works for me and not”.  I think I might have been a little snottier than need be, but we’ll blame that on sleep deprivation.

I also need a T-shirt or forehead tattoo that says “just because I ride a 250cc doesn’t mean I’m a beginner”.

Anyway, back to the show.  I also sat on the CB500X just for giggles.  It has the same wide handlebars as the CB500F and is, of course, taller (31.9″).  I was on my very tippytoes.

Peter fared pretty well on the CB500X, though.  Curse you, long inseam! *shakes fist*

Kira looks happy in this photo, but it’s actually a yawn.  Make of that what you will.

He actually liked the CB500X more than I would have expected.  Normally smaller bikes give him knee-in-dashboard syndrome but this seemed fairly comfortable for him.  He even made a couple of comments about how it might be a decent replacement for the DR-Z400 for him.  *wheels in head turning*

So, in recap: I really liked the CBR500R but ultimately not enough to trade in my Ninjette.  I’d love to ride one someday, though, and maybe that would change my mind.  I was completely meh on the CB500F, and I really liked the idea of the CB500X, but it’s not a bike for me.

That was pretty much all we went to the show to see; we puttered around a little bit more but didn’t focus on anything else.  I tried to swing by the Moto Shop booth, but there was a guy there completely monopolizing the attention of the booth attendant, and the latter didn’t even look my way while I was standing there for a few minutes.  So, I didn’t buy a T-shirt or talk to them about their space.

Lesson learned: at the bike show, if you’re a woman in your 20s with blue hair, you get some attention.  If you’re a woman in your early 30s with normal hair, you get very little attention.  If you’re a woman in your mid-30s with a baby, you are 100% invisible.  Le sigh.

But other than that, we had a good time and Kira liked looking at the shiny things.

“Soon, soon, my pretty….I just have to grow a little bit more.”

Here’s Kira wearing her new shirt from the show.  They didn’t have one that said “future sport-touring adventure rider taking a motorcycle all over the world”, so this will do in the meantime.


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14 Responses to Bike show!

  1. Red says:

    Adore the photos!

    “Lesson learned: at the bike show, if you’re a woman in your 20s with blue hair, you get some attention. If you’re a woman in your early 30s with normal hair, you get very little attention. If you’re a woman in your mid-30s with a baby, you are 100% invisible. Le sigh.”
    Ha! And here I thought that you if you were a women, you don’t get attention, period. 😉 I might need a blue wig.

    I adore Kira’s new shirt.

    You didn’t see the new 700GS?

  2. Eddie says:

    I usually don’t like modern naked bikes but the 500F looks kind of nice to me. That being said, I ride too much to deal with that much wind buffeting at my chest all the time. The R looks pretty nice and seems like it would be on par with the GS500F I used to have. A great mid sized bike with “ok” ergos. However, as far as the Honda goes, I can’t see paying $6k for the Cb500R, when I got my mint 04 GS500F with 1,100 miles on it for $1,600 (a fantastic deal I admit, sold it for $3k) and see many low mileage ones around for less than $2,500.

    The X speaks to me, maybe because I’m over 40 and looking for comfort, comfort, comfort in a commuter type bike. However, I’m not sure Honda did right by this bike in the ergo department. Promotional pictures of it being ridden seem to indicate foot-peg position far-back and high-up resulting in quite a bend at the knee, and thus not a relaxed seating position for long hauls. In side by side (two separate) pictures someone posted on one of the forums, of a 500x with rider aboard and one of the same of the Versys, there was a drastic difference in peg position and knee bend, with the Versys pegs much lower and under (not behind) the rider making the riding position look much more comfortable to this old fogey (spelling?).

    So, while I was exited about the concept and looks of CB500X, I’ll likely opt for a Versys or Vstrom this coming spring.

  3. Kim says:

    I’ve always been invisible at the show (fat lady, y’know), but I’m surprised that having a blond giant with you doesn’t help. It seemed like it was helpful to me in recent years. Maybe people misread the dynamic as “shopping for the gf’s bike”.

    I’m a little bummed I missed the show this year, but I don’t really have anything I’m interested in in particular except (still) the FZ6R. We saw one with some nice after market paint swirlies in a pawn shop window in SF Friday and I almost went in to ask about it.

    • carolyn says:

      Having the blond giant would probably help, but most of the time that I was sitting on bikes, he was off with K in the stroller. Maybe I should rent a burly Harley guy or racer-boy type for next year! 😉

  4. Jack says:

    Women should be in the kitchen, not out on a motorcycle causing havoc to other motorists and scaring the beejesus out of themselves.

  5. Roger, Yankton SD says:

    The XT225 has been gone for a couple of years now. I do ride my HDs on gravel and limited dirt, but they are not well suited. Assuming an occasional foray on gravel and dirt would you think a CBR500R or the new Ninja 300 would work?

    • carolyn says:

      I think it depends on how comfortable you are on gravel/dirt, and on the road in question, honestly. I don’t seek out gravel/dirt roads when I’m on a streetbike but I’ve done it on the Ninjette and my old Z750S without too much trouble. I’ve seen photos from a guy on the Ninjette forum who has literally forded rivers and done “real” off-roading on his Ninja 250, but that doesn’t look fun to me. 😀

      The difference for me is mostly psychological; I was much more comfortable off-road on the XT (or my old F650GS) because I didn’t care if I dropped it. The Ninjette is mostly the same way. If I had a brand new CBR500R or Ninja 300 with shiny plastic, I’d probably psych myself up about scratching it and then I’d tense up and probably fall. 😉

  6. Roger, Yankton SD says:

    Have you set on the Ninja 300? If so, how did it feel, height wise compared to the Honda 500? I am just tippy toe on the 300 but I would be a bit better my my magic (thank you) boots. No 500s around here yet

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