Andrew Kohn


Photos: © 2019 Andrew Kohn / Asphalt & Rubber – All Rights Reserved

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering always feels special. The amazing selection of bikes, the beautiful setting, and the great food always make this gathering feel different from other motorcycle events. But this year was special for me for a couple of different reasons.

First, this is the start of my fifth year with Asphalt & Rubber. Back in 2015, Jensen and I ran into each other at MotoGP in Austin, and in one of those serendipitous moments, my motorcycle journalism adventure began. The 2015 Quail was the first event I covered for A&R and number five was no less special. Thanks, Jensen!

Of all the accessories a rider can choose, a helmet is probably the most personal. Besides the fact that a helmet is arguably the most important piece of safety equipment, the helmet also must do a number of things that directly affect rider comfort.

Whether it’s keeping the rider cool when it’s hot, warm when it’s cold, or dry when it’s wet, a helmet affects multiple aspects of a rider’s environment. And though safety is paramount, for a street or touring rider, comfort and convenience are a close second.

Recently, Shoei North America hosted the introduction of its GT-Air II sport touring helmet in Costa Mesa California at the headquarters of The Medium Creative Group.

Situated among an eclectic display of rider memorabilia and unique collectibles, Mathias Beier from Shoei and Mr. Hiroshi Maeda, the new President of Shoei’s North American office showed-off their new helmet to the press.

Every year around this time, the streets of Long Beach fill with motorcycles as the International Motorcycle Show comes to town. This year’s show was preceded by three major motorcycle shows at INTERMOT in Germany, EICMA in Italy, and AIMExpo in Las Vegas.

Because of the short turn time between EICMA and AIMExpo, very few of the major product introductions that occurred in Europe made it to the halls of the Mandalay Bay convention center.

Would any of these new motorcycles show up in Long Beach? Well, I’m happy to report the answer is a resounding yes!

Vegas, baby! That’s the phrase that shot through my mind as I pulled up to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the 2018 version of AIMExpo.

You may remember from a previous AIMExpo article that I wrote, that I found the energy level to be a bit low at this show. I wondered if being in Vegas would bring a new level of excitement and energy to the show that it lacked in the past.

Besides the glitzy location, the show was held in conjunction with Las Vegas Bike Fest and Monster Energy Supercross, with all of the events being lumped under the label of Powersports Industry Week. Maybe this could be a big deal?

Back in April, Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs ran into Miguel Galluzzi at the Handbuilt Show in Austin and asked him to come to Los Angeles to serve as a judge for the inaugural Golden Bolt Motorcycle Show.

For those of you who don’t know who Miguel Galluzzi is, let me clue you in. He is the designer of the iconic Ducati Monster, the Moto Guzzi California 1400, and the Aprilia Dorsoduro, just to name a few.

Additionally, he is currently running Piaggio’s Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, California. Not only that, he is a lifelong motorcyclist and a heck of a nice guy.

I had a chance to sit down with Galluzzi for about 15 minutes during the Golden Bolt to talk about motorcycles and the industry in general. His insights were illuminating.

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What makes a good motorcycle show? Is it the amazing bikes? Is it the venue? Or is it the spirit of community that makes some of these events more special than others?

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Golden Bolt Motorcycle Show at The House of Machines (THoM), in the Arts District of Los Angeles, and it was a great mix of bikes, venue, and community.

The brainchild of bike build Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs fame, the Golden Bolt offered a change from other motorcycle shows by adding some unique aspects.

It’s always good to come home. That’s how I feel every time I return to Laguna Seca.

Driving off of Boundary Road, and onto the perimeter of the track, then cresting the big downhill that descends behind Turn 2, towards the green parking area, I always get a big smile knowing that a great weekend of racing is about to begin.

This weekend was no different, with bright, sunny skies, a good crowd, and lots of great racing in both the World Superbike and the MotoAmerica series.