Attendance consistent with 2015
Even if you had been at V-Twin Expo year after year, 2016 brought the debut of a number of products and the first booths from 29 exhibitors, making the show a can’t-miss event again.
Among the highlights from the Feb. 6-7 show in Cincinnati were the launch of Black Brand and the revival of Twin Power from Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice, the sneak peek of Rooke Customs products from HardDrive and a rebranding by Kuryakyn.
First-time exhibitors included: Antigravity Batteries, Butty Buddy Seats, Centramatic, Cyron Lighting, Dealer Spike, Everline Products, Galfer Braking Systems, Griffin Tools & Supply, Hog Wash, Hogshoppe Roadware, Ice Miller, Kory Souza Originals, MagnaFlow, Metra Electronics, Metro Auto Industrial, MOTO/ART, NAE/NWAN, Nelson-Rigg, NoviStretch Performance Protective Covers, Pro Torque Starters, Rack and Pull Industries, RAM Mounts, Reckless Motorcycles, Red Line Oil, Speed-Way Shelters, Stoffel Polygon Systems/P3r Flywheels, Tourrest, Universal Power Group and XKGLOW.
Those new products, new exhibitors and pleasant weather led to attendance that was on par with 2015, show producer Jim Betlach reported.
“I think the show went very well. We were quite lucky with the weather. The turnout was good. We had a wonderful Saturday. I was very happy with it,” he said.
Sunday was slower than Saturday, many exhibitors reported, in part because the Sunday of the show ran the same day as the Super Bowl. But the traffic produced throughout the weekend brought new dealer sign-ups, good conversation and thoughtful feedback for the brands in attendance.
“Saturday was slammed with dealers that were engaged and asking buying questions. It was nice to see companies like HardDrive step up and invest with a larger presence,” said Brian VanKoevering, powersports product manager for Design Engineering, Inc. (DEI).
VanKoevering talked to dealers about DEI’s new EXO Series Exhaust Wrap, which features an outer layer of stainless steel mesh. Custom builders have flocked to the wrap, so VanKoevering expects it to do well in dealerships. He also presented DEI’s expanded range of Flexible Heat Shields, which are now offered in more sizes and with premium finishes.
Showing off new products it will distribute from Rooke Customs was HardDrive, which had a full booth throughout the day Saturday.
“Saturday was a really good day for us, lots off action and quite a few new dealers,” said Ronnie Wehr, national sales manager for HardDrive.
His company’s two-story booth also highlighted its Highway 21 apparel and products from Figure Machine, Sawicki Speed and Shinko.
Never empty for long was the Black Brand display in the Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice booth. The new apparel line was unveiled at V-Twin Expo, and feedback was “overwhelmingly positive,” explained Hank Desjardins, vice president of marketing for Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice.
“This year’s expo went fairly well from a Biker’s Choice perspective,” he said. “We were able to sign up a few new dealers, which is always good. While it would have been nice to see more dealers at the show, Saturday floor traffic seemed to be stout. In addition to interacting with dealers, the expo is an opportunity for Biker’s Choice leadership and reps to meet face to face with many of our vendors, and that’s always a good thing.”
With the V-Twin Expo providing one of the first opportuniti for any aftermarket companies to get in touch with dealers in 2016, plus offering the most exclusive access to V-twin-focused dealers, the show still proves to be a must-attend for many in the industry.
“Being the only V-twin dealer show with our competitors present and most industry-leading companies present, we can’t miss it,” said Will Fong, sales and marketing manager of Dynojet Research.
Dynojet was on hand with a large booth front and center, featuring its Target Tune accessory for the Power Vision Flash Tuner for Harley-Davidson EFI models, and the Online Tune License Program.
Betlach recognizes that some exhibitors have decreased the size of their booths over the years, but he said everyone who is anyone in the V-twin business still makes it a point to be at the show.
“I think our industry is pretty straightforward; they’re pretty focused on just the Harley-Davidson-type market, and it’s the only show that they can go to capture those people. So someone like Nelson-Rigg, for example, or some of those tool companies — like K&L came back — it’s like, ‘If we’re going to sell to the Harley people, we’d better go to that show.’”
VanKoevering said he likes that the show is V-twin specific, so he can focus on bringing the right product for the right audience — in this case, V-twin dealers.
“The V-twin market is a critical market space for our business, and it makes up a large part of our overall sales strategy. By attending a show with such a well-defined niche, I can zero in and display products that will directly appeal to this specific market,” he said.
That V-twin exclusivity also continues to be a draw for dealer attendees, Betlach said. “When the dealers come here, they’re interested in having one-on-one conversations with anybody with a new product or a new company, or even a face-to-face with an old company, where you can really learn,” he added.
Betlach and his team are already preparing for next year’s show, which is set for Jan. 28-29 — the weekend before the Super Bowl.
“I’m happy with the show, how it turned out, and we’re looking forward to continuing to get a little better,” he said.