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The 2012 Progressive International Motorcycle show will soon hit the northwest on December 16-18th at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

Attendees can check-out new bikes from Aprilia, Beta, BMW, Brammo, BRP, Darwin, Ducati, Erik Buell Racing, Gas Gas, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Husqvarna, Indian, Kawasaki, KTM, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Norton, Star, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha.  There will also be the latest aftermarket parts and accessories.

Not only will there be new bikes, but the show is jammed pack with other events and activities.

There is the Learning Curve – an interactive stage with industry experts presenting a variety of motorcycling topics for both new and experienced riders including adventure riding, motorcycle maintenance, increasing bike performance, seminars for women riders and more.   There will be Demo Rides for licensed motorcyclists.  There is the Custom Bike Show – where motorcycle builders will showcase elite-level custom motorcycles competing for a piece of a $90,000 cash purse prize and a chance to compete in the U.S. Championship, at the Daytona Beach Motorcycle Show, in March.

The Smage Bros will have a motorcycle trials stunt riding show and attendees will also get a chance to create their own motorcycle design at the Kawasaki Design-A-Bike kiosk, featuring a brand new digital spray-painting technology available only at these shows.

See you there!

Photo courtesy of Progressive.

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Does the economy need yet another motorcycle company?  Or more important will people buy yet another premier motorcycling brand?  First it was Indian and now after 15 years of U.S. ownership, Norton’s back in England. Just in time it would seem because the country is experiencing manufacturing sector shrinkage at the fastest rate since records began.  It’s the fifth consecutive month of contraction, levels of output, new orders and employment registrations are at unprecedented declines.

So, along comes businessman Stuart Garner who bought the rights to the Norton name from an American company in a multi-million-dollar deal that included the Norton, Manx, Atlas, Commando and Dominator brands, and all intellectual property. Unfamiliar with Norton then read SCM’s Paul Duchene’s article on the 1999-2003 Norton Commando VR880 and the 1990-91 Norton F1 Rotary.  Spectacular motorcycles and if successful it hits right at the heart of Harley-Davidson Euro growth plans with their new XR-1200.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not immediately discounting the Norton brand out of hand.  Some of their bikes have been real head-turner’s and as a Harley guy any competition whether it’s Indian or Norton or ? makes them better.  But I’m suspicious of those “lifestyle” marketers and demographic strategists grabbing a hold of this and it becoming another Excelsior-Henderson failure?

I hope they are successful.  I’m a bit doubtful given the financial timing, but at a minimum I’m looking forward to another large t-shirt motorcycle showroom full of iconic logo’s and fashionable clothing based on premium denim and vintage leather.  It’s now all about setting the standard for upscale living…T-shirts for $38, sunglasses for $150, sport shoes for $125, after-shave $50, soft terry cloth wash towels $100, and exclusive outdoor furniture sets to match the crystal glasses…for the “puff-n-bluff-n” look at me crowd.

Sales people asking me if I can smell the lineage…it’s Déjà vu all over again.

Norton Logo  and Ad courtesy of web site.

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