Simply put, you gotta experience the Milan show to believe it
My first reaction when I walked into the 2016 EICMA show was: Wow!
I’m not exaggerating. I was so impressed step after step, hall after hall, hour after hour.
Last month marked my first trip to the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. Due to obligations in Minnesota, I couldn’t attend the show until the Saturday of the consumer portion of the show, but I was excited nonetheless. And I was not disappointed.
The first wow: the people. It’s hard to describe just how many people were there. In most OEM booths, it was shoulder to shoulder with people. Want a photo of the new releases? Not going to happen unless you wedge your way through the five-rows-deep crowd. And it would help if you’re taller than me.
The second wow: the booths. I cannot explain how massive and impressive they are. Most, if not all, OEMs had booths with raised floors. I’m not sure of the dimensions of the booths, but they were ginormous. Piaggio’s booth, for example, had different themes for each brand. BMW had two sets of stairs that convened at a platform that allowed you to easily look at the massive crowd below. KTM’s booth had enough space for a DJ. And I could go on and on. Dozens of female models were featured in most large booths, and HJC hired a Boba Fett impersonator.
The third wow: the mere size of the show. I thought the show looked huge when I first walked in between halls (also know as padigliones) 2 and 4. I had no idea. I took a walk out to the Motolive area outside (which included a motocross track, an electric bicycle demo area, a kids demo area, a BMW car drifting course and more), and I walked back in just to find I was lost and in Padiglione 18, the furthest away from Padiglione 2 that you can get! In five hours, I don’t think I saw a quarter of the exhibitors.
Another thing that caught my attention was the number of female attendees. Men easily dominated the show, but the female presence was noticeable. And the women weren’t just there holding their guys’ hands. They were sitting on bikes, trying on helmets and talking to exhibitors just as much as the men. EICMA goes to great lengths to attract female riders, using women in its marketing materials and offering free admission to women on the Friday of the show.
I had heard about EICMA and its size and scale since I started at PSB six years ago, and each year Dave comes back with stories and photos, but I was still in awe to see it in person. Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Mike Smith at ODES UTVS for inviting me to attend. He learned in June that I had never been to the show and made it his mission to take me to EICMA to experience it myself. For that and for the Tuscany and Rome tour that ensued afterwards, I’m eternally grateful!
If you’ve ever considered going to EICMA but always passed, I’d recommend doing so at least once. The enthusiasm Italians have for the motorcycle market is contagious, and even if you don’t have a presence in Europe, you can pick up ideas at the show that you can bring back home.