There were a few big stories that you couldn’t miss this year, stories which portend new directions for the industry. There were others that slipped by almost unnoticed, but which nevertheless indicate important trends or tell us something significant about what it mean to be a rider today and tomorrow. Here are the ten most important motorcycle developments for 2013.
10: The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride
Charity rides are nothing new, but we love the connection between a social riding event and men’s health, and the hook of the classy dress is delightful. It’s also progressive that it’s not just cruisers, or rockers, mods, or whatever, but all types of bikes and all types of guys, including a big contingent of young men. Most of all, the fact that The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride popped up and had participation in 38 countries and exceeded its fundraising goal in the first year is remarkable.
9: CHP Lane-Splitting Guidelines / AMA Endorses Lane-Splitting
Lane-splitting is legal in California, and it can be done in a “safe and prudent” manner, but it still needs to be legitimized in the minds of many drivers (and riders). The CHP’s guidelines for safe lane-splitting helped establish that legitimacy, as well as just providing some solid advice for filtering in a way that won’t get you killed or anger drivers. The AMA (the motorcyclists, not the doctors) endorsed lane-splitting too, so maybe this is something we will see in more states in the future.
8: AIMExpo Begins
Why did it take this long for there to be a comprehensive American motorcycle industry expo? I think there’s still a sense here that the motorcycle industry isn’t really a serious entity. Well, it’s approaching $100 billion worldwide, and the rest of the world takes it pretty seriously. The AIMExpo is an important step in the right direction, let’s hope it gets even bigger next year.
7: The Honda Grom
Small is beautiful. Sometimes ugly is beautiful, too. Riding is supposed to make you smile, but sometimes we take ourselves way too seriously. The Grom brings back that sheer delight in an accessible, affordable, reliable package. Plus, you’re guaranteed to get more positive attention from the opposite sex on a Grom than on a $20,000 FatGlide.
6: The Mission RS
Young potential riders are often very interested in electric bikes, mainly because they are eco-conscious and interested in tech. Now there is a new reason: ungodly performance. What may be the best-performing sportbike in the world is now an electric bike – the Mission RS. Yes, it has the price tag of a super-exotic, but this is the milestone that sneers at all the doubters. And, oh yeah, it’s designed and built in the U.S.