10 Best Finds – International Motorcycle Show at Long Beach

Lists, News -


10 Best Finds - International Motorcycle Show at Long Beach

While perhaps not as glitzy and full of exciting news as EICMA, the International Motorcycle Show at Long Beach provided an excellent opportunity to check out the latest and greatest from established marques and new up-and-comers. Here are my 10 best finds:

1. Nitron Shocks

What is it? Nitron is a UK-based design and manufacturing firm that specializes in high-end suspension systems. They have developed suspension solutions for Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, and many others in both road-race and F1 contexts. They also have a product-line aimed at consumers that they have just recently begun to roll out in the United States.

Price: Ranges from $500 to a lot more. Depends on your needs and application.

Why I picked it: Nitron is aiming squarely at Ohlin’s corner on the aftermarket high-end suspension market, all while coming in at a more rider-friendly price point. All of their suspension solutions (shocks and fork cartridges) are customized for the specific needs of the rider so you are not relying on off-the-shelf shim stacks and spring-rates that may or may not work for your needs. I got to handle some of their shocks on the booth-table and the quality of the builds felt as good as anything I’ve seen. The best part, however, is that they’ve got some very talented people behind their push in the United States. Their USA Technical Director, Lenny Albin, has years of experience in suspension engineering including working for Ohlins and Racetech and as a AMA Pro Suspension tuner. Learn more at www.nitron-usa.com or visit Lenny at Miller Motorsports Park for a personal consultation.

10 Best Finds - International Motorcycle Show at Long Beach
Nitron Shocks

2. The Beast

What is it? A thoroughly custom, rough and tumble, quirky yet practical, and completely unique BMW R1150GS adventure sidecar motorcycle that will make you a fresh shot of espresso and fill your tank with gas at the same time. Built by a French guy named Raphael.

Price: Not for sale.

Why I picked it: Where to start? First of all, there’s Rapheal, the designer and builder of this machine. He’s funny, personable and undeniably French. Then there’s the sidecar, which sports electronic ride-height adjustability, an 11-gallon auxiliary fuel tank with electronic pump and nozzle (making it the perfect ride support-bike), the lovely “steam punk” espresso machine built into a removable metal suitcase, automotive width tires on all four corners, and much more.

10 Best Finds - International Motorcycle Show at Long Beach
The Beast

3. Butler Maps and Riding Social

What is it?: Physical road-maps designed, developed and produced for motorcyclists.

Price: $15 per regional map to $300 for the full set. Check out their site for the latest deals.

Why I picked it (them): The folks at Butler have nailed it. It’s rare to find such a close harmony between concept and execution when it comes to motorcycle products, but these maps deliver. They are highly legible, attractively produced, and provide the user with a wealth of relevant and interesting information including the best riding roads. They’ve also included smartphone connectivity via QR code for info on climate, places to tuck-in, sleep and drink, and other useful bits of info like elevation profiles, nearest motorcycle shops and more. To top it off, they are waterproof and tear-proof. Best of all, the information in the maps is backed by hands-on research conducted by the team at Butler. They ride the roads, stay at inns, eat at restaurants and build the maps based on first-hand experience. I spoke with Justin Bradshaw at the Butler Maps booth and in addition to expanding their map lineup, they’ll soon be releasing their own smartphone application, “Riding Social.” Based on some initial details that Justin shared with me, I can already tell that the same kind of thoughtful attention that went into the maps is also being applied. It is going to be something you’ll want to have.

10 Best Finds - International Motorcycle Show at Long Beach
Butler Maps and Riding Social

4. Nuviz HUD

What is it? I covered Nuviz and their Heads-up-display (HUD) solution for motorcyclists in a recent article. Basically, it is an externally-mounted HUD display for your helmet that can show the rider everything from navigation directions and telemetry to race-related data and weather forecasts. It also has photo and video capture functionality as well.

Price: $499. Jump in on their Kickstarter campaign to score one for less.

Why I picked it: You truly get a feel for a company and its philosophy when you talk to their people in person. I had the opportunity to chat with Malte Laass, co-founder and CEO of Nuviz, for close to 45 minutes about their upcoming HUD accessory as well as their Ride:Cloud complimentary application. Malte is an imposing guy, standing about 6’5’’ and built strong, but he is very approachable and confident about their company and its mission. In addition to hardware (the HUD unit), they’ll be launching their own motorcycle software application called Ride:Cloud which seeks to enhance the riding experience for both HUD and non-HUD users alike by helping them plan, capture and share their rides with others. I’m hoping that they can team up with the folks at Butler Maps and integrate what they are doing with Riding:Social for the ultimate motorcycle application (*hint hint* *nudge* *wink* *shove*).

10 Best Finds - International Motorcycle Show at Long Beach
Nuviz HUD

5. Makoto Endo

Who is he? Makoto is a talented artist with a penchant for classic motorcycles and splattering ink on large swaths of canvas.

Prices: $150-300 for prints, and $2000+ for originals and commissioned works.

Why I picked him: Let me just share a poem by Makoto printed on his info flyer:

Humans can be distinguished into two types.
One rides a bike, the other does not.

The one who rides
Doesn’t care how much it costs,
Or about pain or injury.

I paint only for them.

That about sums up Makoto. A genuinely likeable and talented guy who happens to love to paint motorcycles and everything about them. Stumbling on his booth with him sprawled out on the floor and working was a breath of fresh air after many hours at the show.

10 Best Finds - International Motorcycle Show at Long Beach
Makoto Endo

Continue Reading >>>>

  • Guzzto

    I don’t get the “Belstaff is back making jackets” comment that lineup has been more or less the same for years. The Mojave (wax or leather) and the six day trials versions have been available through Urban Rider in London for years.

    If you want a waxed jacket with safety I’d go for the Union Garage /Vanson Robinson, a superior item in all regards heavier wax cotton, leather interior reinforcing and D30 , Warning they all cost more than a cheap dirt bike.

    • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

      Thanks for the heads-up and I’ll see about editing that bit. The Belstaf Mojave also can be had with D3O armor now but that leather reinforcing of the Union Garage sounds like a cool feature.

      • Guzzto

        Ah cool D30 is pretty amazing stuff, oh and that guys artwork is amazing!

    • roma258

      Yeah, that BMG website is basically frozen in time. But their stuff does look nice in person.

    • Dan Sciannameo

      I love my robinson from Union Garage. Chris is a great guy

  • livacpa

    You forgot the Southern California Motorcycles girls……. . . . . .

    • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

      I don’t need to state the obvious, nor do I intend to e-creep on women who are basically paid to stand around and attract sexually unfulfilled men.

      • livacpa

        Also my comment could not have been more sarcastic, they were awful

        • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

          Ah! I thought you were referring to various girls paid by the various booths to be in various states of undress for the various men who still want to walk around in full kit even though there’s a gear-check near the entrance. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

          • livacpa

            No problemo! If you saw these two you would know exactly what I am referring to, be glad you didn’t! That full fairing Bonnie really caught my eye too.

            • Geoff Bowen

              You know they’re bad when your girlfriend points them out to you!

              • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

                C’mon folks, let’s not bro-down on degrading other women. Keep it classy.

            • Clint Keener

              haha I saw one of them! What was she thinking.

              • Kittrelle

                I had a bit of a different take on those women in question. In the unreal world of models, they would be classified as plus-sized. I thought it refreshing to see real women struttin’ their stuff.

              • Camilo Garbanzo

                they’re just girls looking for work. nothing more. making fun of them is like making fun of the guy sweeping the fllor or emptying hte trash. “did you you see that guy get his pants soaking wet from the soda that spilled out of the bag? what was he thinking?”

  • drivin98

    Are you sure there were 10 Best Finds?

    I could have sworn there were 11.

    • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

      I hear you. Less lists more stories. Criticism noted.

  • stephen

    so how do i buy a makoto endo print anyhow? i went to his website and there is no option – these would look amazing on my big blank wall at home

    • Guest

      Send Makoto an email:

    • http://rideapart.com/author/aakash-desai/ Aakash

      Send Makoto an email. See here:

  • Mariano

    A Yamaha R6? In Moto2?…….

    • http://rideapart.com/author/aakash-desai/ Aakash

      Good catch! I’ll make the correction.

  • British Customs, LLC

    Aakash, great meeting you. Thanks for you support!

  • BillW

    While you’re making corrections, a marquee is the sign outside a theater. “Marque” is the word you were looking for (or accidentally added an “e” to).

    Also, Brit fan much? :)

  • ThinkingInImages

    The Dunstall fairing looks great! It’s sleek and elegant.

  • jng1226

    Josh Herrin is absolutely for sale – to the team with the highest bid for his professional racing services! Best of luck to him. Sad state of affairs for American road racing and I hope our home-grown talent can find careers in what they love to do.

  • The Blue Rider

    Thank you for highlighting the Thruxton! I had a similar experience at the Dallas show – I found myself drawn right to it. I have no idea how Thruxtons ride but everything about sitting on it was wonderful, just a lovely bike with two big gauges under that slick fairing… I wanted to take it home with me. Absolutely would buy ++

    • phoebegoesvroom

      I agree, it is a very pretty bike. Airtech carries so many kinds of fairings that it’s possible to add bodywork to virtually any kind of bike (with a little creativity, of course).

  • Jordan

    I read that Herrin went around the paddock after securing his SBK championship, thanking old crew members for their help that eventually got him to where he is now. I was really surprised that he and Sam Lowes wouldn’t be riding in the Moto2 Tech III squad next year, but I hope they both do well all the same.

    Judging from Herrin’s tweets, he sounds like a super cool dude. He even puts out his XBox Live gamer tag to play with his fans online.

  • phoebegoesvroom

    All four corners? Wouldn’t that GS only have three wheels? ;)

    • Ken Lindsay

      Spare in front as the 4th?

  • Florin Muraru

    I know that is also a British start-up is going to launch these days a HUD https://www.seedrs.com/startups/bike-hud with arround 280 GPB (440USD)

    • Tim Watson

      Thanks for this – we covered it a couple of weeks back. http://rideapart.com/2013/11/bike-hud-motorcycle-helmet-heads-up-display/

      • Florin Muraru

        Haaaa. Thanks, you are perfectly right-

        I just realized that actually on your site I see first the information. I tested at Motorcyclelive at NEC Birmingham, last week, and is an interesting device.. i loved that could be adapted to any helmet and you could use it on different helmets (if you have more). And sound a good investment.

  • contender

    Isn’t BMG made in China? You could get them (knockoffs, probably) from dhgate.com for a while. Awful spendy to farmed out. Interestingly, you can still get harley branded leather gear on that site.

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    Thumbs up if you want nothing to do with any of these items! Wee!

  • Dirk Paintedman


    Try these guys for a Dust Bin or Full fairing for your triumph