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A look back at AIMExpo 2014

Here’s a look at some of the exhibit floor highlights at the 2nd annual AIMExpo in Orlando

The Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo sponsored by CDK Global Recreation and STA-BIL drew attentive industry crowds throughout the duration of the two-day event. With 32 sessions across four tracks, including those sponsored by Dominion Powersports Solutions and McGraw Powersports Group, dealership attendees left with ideas for success.

Thanks to Tim Buche of the Motorcycle Industry Council; Marc Hamud of GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance; Jim Woodruff of National Powersport Auctions; Matt Lewaka of Capital One and Tom Etherington of KTM, the State of the Industry Roundtable session extended well past its 75 minutes of allotted time.

Attendees took in a wealth of information, including:

- The projected percentage increase for new motorcycle sales in 2015;

The current number of operating motorcycles in the U.S., as well as those in need of service work.

The average amount that a motorcycle owner spends at retail on riding apparel, accessories, repair and maintenance, and tires.

The current rate of dealer inventory turns, and the percentage of aging dealership inventory. Attendees also learned about the rise in pre-owned floorplanning volumes.

The growth in both repos and dealer consignment that have led to a rise in auction volumes.

The percentage increase of the average wholesale price compared to 2013.

The rise in participation by dealers at auctions.

Similar data points available only to attendees of the Powersports Business Institute were available during 31 other sessions geared at growing your dealership’s bottom line.

GARAGE SCHOOLING

Just as the Powersports Business Institute @AIMExpo provided a wide range of educational seminars for dealers, the ACF-50 Rider’s Garage did the same for consumers.

Presented by Rider and Thunder Press, the complete schedule of courses and seminars welcomed consumers inside the ACF-50 Rider’s Garage.

Topics covered in the garage ranged from tire technology and suspension tuning to optimizing motorcycle performance and the future of electric motorcycles. Seminars were led by some of the best in the business, including representatives from top brands and organizations, as well as notable motorcycle and powersports industry veterans.

HAPPY 50th, KYMCO!

With its all-new Camo UXV 450i UTV on full display, KYMCO commemorated the 50th anniversary of its brand at the 2014 AIMExpo. The electronic fuel injected 450cc engine powers the UXV and produces peak performance in a compact design — so much so, in fact, that the UXV is able to fit into the bed of most full size pickups. A complete line of accessories is also available, and attendees had the opportunity to test ride the UXV at AIMExpo Outdoors! throughout the show.

In addition to the exciting demo rides at AIMExpo Outdoors! and an engaging display on the show floor, KYMCO was also involved in the 3-Way Giveaway that offered attendees the chance to enter to win a brand new KYMCO Compagno scooter.

ACE CAFÉ RACER

Ace Café Orlando continues to draw closer to the launch of its downtown location and was back at AIMExpo with an impressive lineup of café racers to accompany its photo-laden booth and merchandise to further establish the legendary London hotspot here in the states. Through a partnership with Dime City Cycles and Café-Moto, Ace Café  Orlando hosted “A Café Racer Exhibit” where more than a dozen different bikes were on display and battling for the vote of AIMExpo attendees.

Taking home the first place prize was Jessica Lee’s blue 1969 Honda CB350, followed by Shannon Hulcher’s 1976 Honda CB 500T and Pat Mooney’s 1978 Magni MV Agusta.

In addition to its booth display and lineup of bikes, Ace Café Orlando kept AIMExpo rocking, quite literally, as they presented a free concert featuring “Stray Cats” bassist Lee Rocker on Saturday night.

ITALIAN FLAVOR

EICMA is one of the giant European super shows that AIMExpo has been modeled after. In support of AIMExpo, EICMA and the Los Angeles-based Italian Trade Agency (ITA) worked to bring the Italian Pavilion to life and showcase some of the most innovative brands on the show floor.

One of the newest brands represented in the Pavilion was Energica, the manufacturer of an all-electric superbike capable of reaching speeds of 150 miles per hour. Other exhibiting brands included Adler, Alpina Raggi, Ariete, AXO, Dellorto, Dimensione Sport, Kite, Domino, Mupo, Malossi, ProGrip, Spyke, Spinelli, and QD exhausts.

GOING RETRO

Retro Affair, Vintage Motorcycle Show, presented in partnership with the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club (VJMC), hosted a wide variety of motorcycles that had been immaculately restored to like-new condition. An eclectic mix of bikes was on display that featured cruisers, sport bikes, mini bikes, sidecars and scooters from OEMs such as Harley-Davidson, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, Norton, Suzuki and Yamaha.

Taking inspiration from a 1915 Cyclone Racer, the “Psyclone,” courtesy of motorcycle hobbyist Frederick Fortune, donned the same yellow livery as the original board track racer but featured some modern twists and a value significantly below the reported $500,000-plus for one of the few remaining original Cyclones.

TRUCKIN, GOT MY HANDLEBAR

Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice took full advantage of the immense size of the show floor and pulled its 18-wheel semi right into its booth space. The rolling billboard served as a centerpiece of the area that showcased a number of house brands including Answer, ProTaper, Speed & Strength, Vance & Hines, QuadBoss, MSR, Roland Sands Designs and more.

One of the new products on display, which was also highlighted during the brand’s presentation in the Media Hub, is the all-new Fuzion handlebar from ProTaper. The Fuzion’s flex locking system offers riders the option of choosing between two different settings depending on the terrain — a stiffer, more controlled feel or a softer, shock absorbing option.

FEEL THE HEAT

One of the many benefits of holding AIMExpo in Orlando is the incredible weather. It provides the ideal climate for riding to the event and testing a full fleet of on- and off-road/land vehicles at AIMExpo Outdoors!

An expansive lineup of brands hosted test rides for consumers, dealers and media at AIMExpo Outdoors! area located just outside the South Concourse.

Exclusive test rides of street bikes, ATVs and UTVs were available to attendees, as were demonstrations of the Gibbs Quadski.

Test rides were available from EBR Motorcycles, Harley-Davidson, KYMCO, Massimo, Suzuki, Yamaha and more. For those new to off-road powersports, the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, ATV Safety Foundation and Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offered the Introductory Experience to help new riders learns the basics of how to safely operate ROVs and ATVs.

PERFECTLY FIT LIDS

Bell Helmets introduced an industry first with its innovative Custom-Fit program. Utilizing digital head scanning technology, Bell has developed a way to get the exact measurements of any rider’s head and face to create a custom inner shell and padding for the perfect fit. This will enhance comfort as well as the effectiveness of the helmet.

Currently, the program is available in Bell’s two marquee helmet models — the Star Carbon for street and Moto-9 for dirt.

After touring the country with the program, Bell descended on AIMExpo with the continually developing program and was greeted with hundreds of new customers eager to take advantage of the experience and give themselves a truly effective helmet.

KICKOFF WEATHER

A sun-drenched pool balcony at the Rosen Centre Hotel welcomed attendees by the dozens to the inaugural Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo Kickoff Networking Reception sponsored by GE Capital.

Drinks and appetizers were an ideal way to gather folks from all segments of the industry, including dealers from a Gart Sutton & Associates 20 Group. Other dealers came with suitcases in tow, after making a detour on the way to their hotel room.

AMA INDUCTS 7 INTO HALL OF FAME

The seven members of the AMA Hall of Fame Class of 2014 were recognized for their achievements and contributions to motorcycling during the 2014 American Honda AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Harley-Davidson Motor Company, at the Chapin Theater in the Orange County Convention Center.

During a ceremony hosted by actor, motorcyclist and American Motorcyclist Association board member Perry King, the new inductees are: race tuner and innovator Byron Hines; motocross pioneer Pierre Karsmakers; Tom White, acclaimed motorcycle collector, former nationally ranked racer and founder of White Brothers Cycle Specialties; George Barber, founder of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and the Barber Motorsports Park; national off-road racing champion Scott Summers; AMA motocross champion and current Supercross/motocross team manager Mike LaRocco; and legendary tuner, engine builder and team owner Rob Muzzy.

Also honored was AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend William “Willie G.” Davidson. Willie G. is the grandson of Harley-Davidson founder William A. Davidson and is responsible for many of the innovative motorcycle designs that ushered in a new era for the iconic company.

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends are existing members of the Hall of Fame whose lifetime accomplishments are showcased as part of the annual induction ceremony of new Hall of Famers.

“In surveying the Hall of Fame Class of 2014, I am struck by the wealth of talent, intelligence, competitive spirit, vision and imagination that these men represent,” said Ken Ford, a member of the Hall of Fame executive committee and treasurer of the AMA board of directors.  

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