A new player in the Aussie market, US-made Arctic Cat have a 21-strong model lineup of side by side buggies and ATVs, five of which were on show in Sydney. The range covered wild sports-style buggies and more practical side by sides for hunting or farm use.
Star of the group was the Wildcat 1000 X sport buggy. Powered by a 950cc v-twin 4-stroke engine, the 1000 X features CVT transmission, power steering, adjustable suspension with pre-rate springs and Fox remote reservoir shocks, LED lighting, alloy wheels and aluminium bumpers.
In addition to the 1000 X 2-seater, the Mudpro 700 Limited, Prowler 700 HDX and DVX 90 kid's model were also on show, with Australian distributors, PS Importers, advising that Snake Racing are building a competition-spec 1000 X for next year's Finke Desert Race.
Arguably the most looked at, drooled over, sat on and talked about bikes at Sydney came from Indian Motorcycle. Following their worldwide debut a few months ago, the Indian Chief Classic, Chief Vintage and Chieftain made their official Aussie motorcycle show debut at Sydney.
As with August's Melbourne and Sydney reveals, the retro-styling of the Chief Classic and Chief Vintage drew the most attention from show visitors, but the Chieftain found a lot of new fans, too, with its practical touring features like the 100w stereo and electrically-adjustable screen. The quality of finish, level of detailing and sparkling 111ci (1821cc) 'Thunder Stroke 111' v-twin engines also came in for praise.
Making their Aussie debut on the Triumph stand were a pair of new Thunderbird-based models: the Thunderbird Commander; and Thunderbird LT, which had been airfreighted from the EICMA show in Italy especially for the Sydney show.
The Commander is a chunky cruiser in the mould of Triumph's Rocket III Roadster, but downscaled to a more manageable size. Powered by the Thunderbird 1700cc parallel twin, the Commander features bulk chrome detailing, beefy cast wheels, low seat height and an all-new frame.
The Thunderbird LT (Light Touring) is more of a retro-styled ride, with auxiliary headlamps, large quick-release screen, easily removable leather panniers, pillion backrest and forward controls. An abundance of chrome, polished spoked rims and the first-ever radial whitewall tyres, developed specifically for Triumph by Avon, are other features. We had a sit on this baby and can confirm its one of the most comfortable motorcycle saddles we've planted ourselves on in a long time.
A double reveal for KTM included their Freeride 250 R and all-new 1290 Super Duke R. While not a brand new bike, the 390 Duke was popular, too, especially given the first units of this LAMS-legal road weapon had arrived just before the show commenced.
Described as a cross between a trials and enduro bike, the Freeride 250 R 2-stroke (a 4-stroke Freeride 350 is also available) reflects the resurgence of interest in two-strokes for extreme off road riding. With a 250 EXC-based single-cylinder engine, KTM Australia expect the light and agile Freeride 250 R to do well here.
The 1290 Super Duke R is called "the Beast," a tag we couldn't argue with, having seen it up close! This solid 1300cc v-twin animal attracted a LOT of attention at the show, and given its expected $23,495 price (plus ORCs), we expect the 'Big Daddy' of the KTM Duke lineup to make a lot of friends when it becomes available in March.
There were a few new 'green machine' offerings at Sydney, as well as the news that Kawasaki's top-selling Ninja 300 LAMS bike will go racing next year in the national 'FX 300 Ninja Cup.'
The 2014 Ninja 1000 was one of the stars, as well as a new 'Ohlins Edition' of their Ninja ZX-14R, the world's fastest, most powerful production bike. Distinctively finished in Pearl Stardust White paint with gold flame detailing, the Ohlins Edition comes with ABS, 3-mode traction control, selectable power modes, gold-finished rims and brake disc centres, as well as an Ohlins TTX39 rear shock.
A limited edition, just 70 units of the ZX-14R ABS Ohlins Edition have been allocated for Australia.
While the scooter market has taken a hit this year, Vespas are still enjoying good sales, according to Australian distributors, PS Importers.
Star on the Vespa-Piaggio stand was the premium '946' model. With a 125cc engine, rear disc brake, LED lighting and LCD dash, the 946 also features distinctive style and hand-detailing. PS Importers advised that since it was announced in September, 90-percent of Australia's 946 allocation has been pre-sold.
Three more new and revised models for the local market were also on show: the Beverly 350 maxi scooter; MP3 Yourban 300; and X10 500 Executive.
Aussies will have to wait a little longer for the new Monster 1200, but they did get to see 17 other Ducatis in the metal at Sydney, with the star of the stand undoubtedly being the new 899 Panigale.
Making its Aussie debut at Sydney, the smaller version of the 1199 Panigale packs a short-stroke 900cc Superquadro engine, light 169kg dry weight, triple-stage ABS, quick shift transmission, 3-mode ride electronics, and more features that'll make this baby Panigale a hit with performance bike fans.
Sydney showgoers got their first look at the 'Project Rushmore' combined water and air-cooled tourers, along with the rest of the range, most of which feature new colours and revised detailing for model year 2014.
The recently-announced Street 500 LAMS bike won't arrive until around this time next year, but that didn't stop video footage of the all-new model generating a lot of interest amongst show attendees, including non-Harley enthusiasts.
Harley-Davidson ambassadors who checked out the latest offerings included actor Aaron Jeffery, along with rugby league superstars Nathan Hindmarsh and Kurt Gidley. Surf champ Layne Beachley was irresistibly drawn to the Hard Candy Custom 72 Sportster, which was fitted out with bike-mounted carry rack for a matching surfboard, similar to the one Harley created for big wave surfer Ross Clarke-Jones last year.
BMW Motorrad presented their full range in Sydney, and unveiled two new models: the R nineT roadster; and the S 1000R naked.
As a special model commemorating BMW Motorrad's 90th Anniversary in 2013, the R nineT is loaded with old-school styling features, including café racer-style solo seat, round headlight, R90S-style tank and a paint scheme inspired by BMW's earliest models.
A naked version of BMW's S 1000RR sportsbike, the 207kg (dry) S 1000R pumps out 118kW and 112 Nm from its S 1000RR-based inline 4 engine. The new model also comes with ABS and traction control as standard equipment.
Yamaha Motor Australia had plenty on show, including a swag of their road and off-road race winners, including Stephane Peterhansel's Dakar-winning YZE 750T Super Tenere, as well as new recruit Dave McKenna's R6-based stunt bike.
The most interesting new models on the Yamaha stand were the 'Bolt' cruiser (see JUST BIKES issue #293) and the MT-09 naked, which arrived in the country just in time for the show.
A fresh arrival in Australia, the MT-09 features an 850cc three-cylinder engine, with Yamaha saying the layout, engine and mass-forward, motard-style design produces strong torque and "instant, unforgettable drive."
The lightweight construction (less than an R6) delivers performance figures of 115hp, 88Nm torque, and the best power-to-weight ratio in its class. Transmission is a new 6-speed, and riding modes are adjustable thanks to three different engine map settings.
Styling is arguably the MT-09's weak point, the slightly anonymous look not matching everything that the chassis and powerplant promises to deliver.
By contrast, the new 'Bolt' 942cc v-twin cruiser looks great in the metal, with most of the showgoers we spoke to agreeing the 'R' version, with its slightly higher specification and modified styling, is the pick of the two.
Like Yamaha, Suzuki had some of their championship-winning bikes on show, as well as revealing that the heavily-redesigned version of the V-Strom 1000 adventure tourer, which will arrive here before the middle of 2014. Suzuki Australia's Lewis Croft also announced that a LAMS version of the V-Strom 650 will be released in Australia next year, too.
For budding motocross champions, Suzuki Australia announced that a replica of Matt Moss's 2013 MX Nationals-winning RM-Z 450 is now available. Hand built to order by the Motul Pirelli Suzuki team behind Moss's championship, the limited edition replica includes Excel rims, Pirelli Scorpion tyres with heavy-duty tubes, Vortex rear sprocket, Yoshimura exhaust, RK MXU lightweight chain, TAG bars and grips, Braking wave front rotor, replica ONE Industries graphics and more.
Priced at $13,990 MSRP, the RM-Z 450 'Matt Moss Race Replica' is available only by special order through authorised Suzuki dealerships.
Melbourne will host the next ETF motorcycling event - the Australian Motorcycle Expo – on November 21-23 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. To keep up to date with the latest news, go towww.australianmotorcycleexpo.com.au.