Motorcycle Trade Shows are as Varied as the Bikers Who Attend Them

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February 5, 2011 | By: Lowell Anderson

One of the coolest things about being a motorcycle enthusiast is the ability to share that enthusiasm with other motorcycle enthusiasts. There are tons of different shows throughout the year that allow us to swap stories, exchange ideas and talk shop.

Some events are based on having a good time and others are centered on a specific ride, celebration or activity. There are benefit rides, poker runs, open houses (J&P has a good one if you’ve never been), and massive “happenings” like Sturgis and Bike Week.  There are specialized events that cater to specific groups of riders, such as the annual Vintage Days gathering in Ohio for those with a hankering for the older stuff. Off-road events can be found throughout the year for the dirt bike guys, and, of course, there’s the Wing Ding for Goldwing riders.

Less known are some of the motorcycle industry events that cater to dealers, major distributors and large retailers. And these are the shows where those who manufacture motorcycles — and all of the accessories that go along with those motorcycles —gather to show their stuff and debut new product lines.

In the United States, the International Motorcycle Shows (IMS) are where you can go to see the latest release of motorcycles. These shows also feature select aftermarket companies, and they generally run from January to March with events scheduled in a half-dozen states. IMS shows are open to the public, enabling riders to get an up close look at what’s going to be in the stores and on the shelves later in the year. For a show schedule or to purchase tickets in advance, visit www.motorcycleshows.com.

Another show — this one not open to the public — is the V-Twin Expo held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dealers, distributors and large retailers attend this annual event to become familiar with new products. The show is oriented around the V-Twin and cruiser markets, and is held the first week in February. For information, visit http://www.vtwin-expo.com.

The Dealer Expo, held in mid-February each year in Indianapolis, is also closed to the public. This event showcases parts and accessories for everything from scooters to cruisers and sport bikes to ATVs. For details, visit http://www.dealerexpo.com.

Overseas, there are two major shows that are “musts” for anyone in  the motorcycle industry and, unlike the U.S. trade shows, are open to the public. The first is the Intermot, a five-day show in Cologne, Germany, that has been an annual Mecca for two-wheelers since 1998. Last year more than 210,000 motorcycle enthusiasts attended this show. Visit http://www.intermot-cologne.com/index.php for more information.

And finally, there’s the mother of all the motorcycle trade shows — the EICMA, held in Milan, Italy. This trade show is where all the manufacturers, parts companies, clothing companies and everyone else in the industry converge to show off their goods. With 18 huge expo halls as well as events and racing outside, this five-day event attracted 500,000 motorcycle enthusiasts in 2010 alone. For details about EICMA, which is held in November, visit http://www.eicma.it/moto/en/.

Comments (1)

Went to the NYC show, as always, a few weeks back. Hangin’ with a builder I know he made the observation that there didn’t appear to be a lot of bikers there and that perhaps, because of all the snow we’ve had, a good portion of the crowd was present as an escape from “cabin fever’. I have to admit the show has changed. Fewer celebs/a blessing?/but where have all the american ironhorse, big dog, sucker punch sallys, big mikes and their ilk gone? Business too good? or business too bad, no dough? At least the local guys Indian Larrys in NYC and Tribal Iron customs in NJ and others continue to give us a look at the don’t look like the next guys bike option. Hell, I think even The Horse back in the day would’ve liked em.
P.S. Didn’t see The Horse/Bike there either.

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