2008 Indy Dealer Expo

Kevin Duke
by Kevin Duke

If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know that it was impossible to understand the magnitude of the place until you saw it with your own eyes. Such is the case at the 40th annual Indianapolis Dealer Expo, an event so large that one of the smaller display areas is inside the ginormous RCA Dome.

And among the bazillion square feet of displays is a motorcyclist’s candy story, packed wall to wall with all the great gear and gizmos riders desire. Shame, then, that you aren’t invited. If you’re not a dealer or retailer or distributor or importer (or an upstanding member of the press), you can’t get in.

The first show was held back in 1967 in California at the Disneyland hotel. Now, 40 years later, they call it “the largest powersports aftermarket trade show in the world.”

“The quality of buyer was up significantly this year at the show,” Josiah Taulbee, Advanstar Communication’s attendee acquisitions manager, told Motorcycle.com. Advanstar is the promoter of the event. Many exhibitors told him they saw a lot of businesses that had not been to the show in a while, Taulbee added.

Indeed, more than 125 companies populated the new exhibitor displays at the nearby Marriott and Westin hotels. The prerequisite for these areas was that the companies or products had to be brand new or not displayed at a major event within the last two years, making it very easy for attendees to check out what might be inovative and interesting.

Over at the RCA Dome, dubbed the International Exhibit Hall, it was packed with exhibits of more than 160 companies from around the world, notably imports from China, Taiwan, and even Pakistan and Europe.

This will be the last year for an exhibit hall under the Dome. The building is scheduled for demolition once the brand new Lucas Oils Stadium, under construction right next door as the new home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, is completed in the next four months or so.

Foreign vendor presence was way up this year over 2007, further reflecting the growing international flavor of the powersports industry. More than 200 international companies participated at Dealer Expo this year, compared to 171 last year.

At the beginning of the event, show organizers selected the ‘Kickstart Winners,’ top 10 new products chosen to have the biggest impact on the 2008 selling season.

Among them was Akuma’s new V2 Stealth helmet, a motorcycle helmet with a fully rechargeable Integrated Power System which powers built-in LEDs—in the front to act as a map reading light, and in the back for safety while riding at night.

Beyond functionality, the V2 Stealth has an aggressive graphics package, removable and washable liner and a UV resistant clear coat.

McCuff Industries also cracked the top 10 list with its No Spill Motorcycle Fill, simple device that can be used on any gas tank to eliminate splashing or spilling while fueling up.

Watch for Motorcycle.com’s own list of our favorite Top 10 products and other coverage from Dealer Expo in the coming days, and be sure to check out our video and photo galleries.

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Motorcycle.com is committed to being at the forefront of motorcycle e-zine publishing, and that in includes a steady diet of video content.
We outdid ourselves at the Indy Dealer Expo, shooting nearly four hours of footage! We’ve distilled it down to two videos in this installment, and we’ll soon follow it up with two more, including our top-10 favorites from the show. In this webisode…

Video 1 (auto playing): Scorpion helmets and apparel, a quickie interview with Superbike champ Mat Mladin, a unique custom from Cobra Engineering and Denny Berg, an inexpensive way to get into roadracing from Thump Star, cool stuff from RKA luggage, and new lids from Bell Helmets.

Video 2: New sticky buns from Dunlop, high-end roadracing boots from Arlen Ness, an update on the International Motorcycle Shows national tour, the Sabertooth Ford V-8-powered motorcycle, a new high-end leathers company and an innovative device that makes fueling your bike easier.

Kevin Duke
Kevin Duke

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