Every winter for the last six or seven years, I’ve gone to the Cycle World Motorcycle Show and every year I look at motorcycles I don’t want, buy something I don’t need, and take a lot of pictures. This year was no different than any other year. OK, it was a little different. Usually, I see five are six motorcycles that I do want but can’t afford. This year, the only motorcycles I saw that I wanted I saw last year. In past years, I’ve gone to the show on Friday to get the lay of the land so when I show up on Saturday with a video camera I can work quickly and efficiently. This year, I went Friday night, saw that most of my 2003, 2004, and 2005 footage would be indistinguishable from any pictures I might take in 2006.
A real moto-journalist would take this dismal state of affairs as a challenge. I’m not real, I’m the Geezer. Where real writers see challenge, I see a good excuse to fool around in one of my other hobbies.
The new thing I got to do this year, was pretty cool. I got to take my grandson to the show. The little guy is now a pretty good sized guy. He’s big enough to make the 50cc bikes look small and just about right for the 70 to 90s. And so begins the point in my life when I can torment my daughter by inspiring bad behavior in her children.
Staying true to my usual trade show behavior, I could buy some stuff too. My buyers batting record is almost .500 at trade shows. I find one good deal and one stupid deal, consistently, every year. Using the last two years as an example, two years ago I bought the best pair of motorcycle boots I will ever wear and the worst wire stripper on the planet. Last year, I bought a nice pair of waterproof riding pants and a worthless pair of warm weather gloves. The Cycle Show is a pretty stupid place to buy anything. "Discounts" at this show amount to almost getting the price to list. I suppose floor space is at a premium and the dealers want to make back their entire marketing investment on a single customer. Every year I've been to the show, I've bought something. Afterwards, I discover I could have bought that something locally for less. So it went this year. If I'm a sucker, at least I'm consistent about it.
This year, my big purchase was the Cortech DSX Denim Jacket for to $99.00. I know, it seems like a lot of money for a denim jacket that this is an extraordinary denim jacket . It's a real motorcycle jacket disguised as something more casual . It has a removable insulated liner, pre-curved sleeves, armor and an articulated back protector, sleeve and rear vents, foam-padded shoulder and back panels, and a nice selection of pockets.
Basically, it's just a jean jacket, right? It’s not windproof or waterproof. If I crash, the jacket's toast. Ninety-nine bucks down the toilet. But that's true for almost all street riding wear. If you want to wear the same gear through multiple crashes, you buy leather. If you want a jacket to break the wind or shed water, you wear nylon. If all you want is moderate road rash protection, a little insulation from the cold, and a comfortable jacket that doesn't look much like motorcycle gear when you are away from the bike, this might be the jacket for you.
The reason I bought this jacket is simple; it’s comfortable. Right off of the rack, it fit me and was more comfortable than the riding jacket I wore to the show, which was a Cordova nylon jacket I’ve worn for three years. The DSX Denim was my good buy for 2006. It's not a great buy, but it wasn't a freakin' waste of garage shelf space like my second decision.
My second 2006 purchase was a collection of chemicals called Zooke. Looking back, I can't imagine why.
I admit it, I’m a sucker. I’m not usually a sucker, I don’t impulse-buy many things. But I’d just bought the jacket, my grandson and I were on the way out the door, and I got stopped by a guy who offered to clean my glasses. My glasses are always dirty. I can barely see out of the things most of the time. I spend more time cleaning my glasses than I do looking through them. In my old age, my eyesight and me are becoming less than friendly.
The Zooke guy polished up my specs with Zooke, handed them back to me. Surprise, they were cleaner than when I'd handed them to him. Amazing. I almost wanted to try the jar of Zooke grease that he'd used to clean my glasses, but he kept putting off telling me what that would cost. Each time I tried to get a price, he added some other Zooke formulation "for free" and kept going.
My grandson was getting antsy. We both wanted to leave the show and find food. In the end, I bought $27 of the stuff in a variety of containers and viscosities. Don’t ask me why. Pretty much any time I take my glasses off and clean them the whole world is a brand new shiny place. No, Zooke doesn't make my glasses scratch free, fog free, dust resistant, and they don’t stay clean any longer than they do when I clean them with spit. I have no clue what the stuff is supposed to do, other than transfer $27 from me to some guy at the bike show.
Follow-Up: In 2011, I modified the DSX with the MMM logo. Now it's not only functional, but advertising. The folks at EmbroidMe Roseville did the work and I'm totally impressed with how professional they were. I couldn't have asked for a better job if Cortech had done it at the factory. Working around the armor and the layers of inner lining was a real trial and they did it with style.