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Motorcycle SAD

by Chad Gillen

Some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a type of depression that occurs over the winter months. Treatment can be medication, light therapy, psychotherapy or vitamin D supplements. Not to downplay those who suffer from this disorder, but if you are like me, you might suffer from what I call Motorcyclist SAD, whereas the seasons prevent you from riding as much as you would like. Some motorcyclists treat themselves by taking far south trips, some take the motorcycle out at least once a month no matter the temperature. For me, taking a road trip on the first weekend of February to the Progressive International Motorcycle Show does the trick. I have made this trip about 15 times now and have written about it before.
This consumer motorcycle show is a good thermometer of the state of motorcycling in the USA. Last year was a good reflection of that because it was the worst I’ve ever seen. There was no stunt show at all. The tech sessions were miniscule. And major manufacturers such as Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, BMW, Ducati, Triumph, and KTM were not in attendance at the Minneapolis venue. Luckily local Harley-Davidson and BMW dealerships, who know how this show affects their sales, bought floor space and brought their new floor bikes to the show.

Usually I make it a run up and back day trip with a couple of friends. This year my brother Jeff had some hotel points he wanted to use, and we decided to make it a family overnight trip. It would be Jeff and Cheri, my two daughters Piper and Raina, and then Heidi and me with my bum left knee that was to be scoped on the Tuesday after the show. We left early Saturday morning with the plan to do some motorcycle gear shopping and hit the show on Sunday.

Our first stop was Sport Wheels in Jordan, MN. This is America's largest motorcycle liquidation center, and a place I’ve been meaning to visit for many years. Denny and Kari Kannenberg, natives of Sioux Falls, started this family run business in 1971 and the torch has been passed down to their daughter, Kim Bones, who welcomed us just like we were family. This is the place to go if you want a used street bike, vintage bike, dirt bike, ATV, project bike or need parts for all the above. If they don’t have the parts on their 10-acre lot, they have the connections to find them. I thought the girls would hate this stop, but they actually enjoyed the display in the large storage building. Kim shared that sometime this summer a big event is coming and if you are in the market for something collectible, I highly suggest that you sign up for their newsletter on their website at

The second stop of the day to stretch out my knee was Bob’s Cycle Supply in
St. Paul. My goal was to find new riding pants and boots over the weekend. Heidi hates it when I shop for shoes because I am very “picky” in her words. In my words I have been “burned” by wasting money on shoes that were junk or hurt soon after I bought them. I wanted to try some Icon Patrol 2 boots, because I need a good all-weather riding boot that I can stand and walk on pavement a lot. The wire BOA lacing system is fast, cool, and easy, but the flat unsupported sole and lack of grip surface on the bottom of the boot was an utter disappointment. Heidi was able to get some real nice snowmobile gloves for inclement riding. Yup, if you want good waterproof cold weather motorcycle gloves, look in the snowmobile section first. The girls got bored here really quickly and followed me around like hungry cats. Jeff and Cheri found a nice red Honda wing emblem flag for me to hang in my garage, so I didn’t walk out
empty handed.

Next spot to stretch out Gimpy was Leo’s South in Lakeville. Leo’s carries a lot of brands that you can’t find in Sioux Falls such as Aprilia, BMW, CFMoto motorcycles, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, SSR Motorsports, Ural, and Vespa. Even though a lot of their boots, helmets and rider wear were at the show, I was able to find a pair of waterproof Tourmaster Solution 2.0 WP boots for $30 off list. I walked in them a lot while in the store first with Raina chasing after me yelling “Hey Dad, you forgot your shoe!” Really, kid!?

No sleeping in on Sunday as the show closes early and we only had five hours to pack in family fun and I suddenly felt the pressures of being Clark W. Griswold. One of the most rewarding experiences was the Tools 4 Teens booth. Piper had to take a quiz on what tools do what tasks, and I was given a 70-piece tool set to give to her. Everyone needs to know how to use hand tools, especially an aspiring NASA engineer. You can guess what the first thing was she unpacked when we got home.

We opted not to ride the Zero Electric motorcycles, the Yamaha electric assisted bicycles, nor the wheelie machine, but Raina and Piper both did the Virtual Reality motorcycle build at the State Farm booth. We took in the XDL Stunt Show. Three riders doing standing wheelies while circling each other is extremely impressive and entertaining. Cheri found a very well-made Valerie red leather jacket from MotoGirl. Next was getting some custom molded filtered earplugs for Heidi. After her impressions were taken we found out why normal foam earplugs won't work for her. One ear has a very narrow and angled canal. It also explains why roller coasters make her hurl.

Jeff and I both threw our legs over numerous bikes. He came to the conclusion that adventure bikes have the best ergonomics. This is why most manufacturers are making them or soon will. I found that throwing my bum leg over tall bikes with bags induced great pain on my torn meniscus. With Jeff not being spry either, I taught him the high side way of mounting a tall adventure bike while on its side stand. This is where you approach the high (right) side of the bike, grab the handlebars, make sure the front brake is applied and the bars are turned to left lock, hunch over and center your head over the gas tank, put your right foot on the right peg, stand up smoothly while centering your balance over the bike, and swing your left leg over the seat.

With this show being my gauge of the motorcycle consumer market, I would say dirt bikes are starting the comeback in sales now. Adventure bikes next, and then low-priced street bikes. Kawasaki appeared to be the boldest with the most square footage of space. Afterwards I always play, “What if I won the lottery tomorrow, what bike would I order the next day?” Coming in third would be the Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT SE, second would be the BMW 1250GS Adventure HP style, and first would be the updated Honda CRF1100 Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES with the DCT (dual clutch transmission). This is a do everything, ride any surface, do it well, and pour on the miles motorcycle. Honda now has another touring bike besides the Goldwing. The drive home consisted of the girls sleeping in the back, Heidi and Cheri playing Words with Friends, me icing my knee, and all making sure Jeff didn’t fall asleep at the wheel. tmm


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