2012 Dealer Expo

Tom Roderick
by Tom Roderick

Twenty-aught-six, the height of U.S. powersports glory, when motorcycle sales were topping one million units per year, the Indianapolis Convention Center was bursting its seams with aftermarket manufacturers pimping their wares at the annual International Dealer Expo.

Six years on and the contraction of our industry is apparent in the empty breezeways of the facility and unused square footage of Lucas Oil Stadium, the previous domain of V-Twin specificity.

Skratch, of Skratch’s Garage, inks a special “Indy” open face in the Bell booth. Occasionally Bell will convert Skratch’s hand-drawn custom designs into production helmet color schemes.

Many in attendance this year claim the shrinkage a necessary house cleaning – a trimming of the fat leaving the strong to rebuild and restructure our industry as TV news talking heads whisper insinuations of a financial rebound.

Scorpion Sports returned to Indy after a one-year hiatus. The company had a few new products and designs on display but warned of serious things to come this fall.

The wake of the Great Recession is no barrier to innovation and could, in fact, be responsible for some of the more progressive products on display at this year’s show. At least the less-crowded paths between booths made it easier for MO to find the note-worthy hardware on display.

For the off-road crowd, Liquid Image’s line of goggles with integrated HD cameras was a novelty highlight. The goggles come with an app so a friend can watch on a smart phone from the sidelines and see exactly what the goggle wearer is seeing.

No show would be complete without celebrity sightings. While some like Jason Britton, Josh Herrin, Larry Pegram, Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines were signing autographs, others including Malcolm Smith, Scot Harden, Troy Corser and Scott Russell were representing products or merely walking the show floor.

Troy Corser was spotted in the Samco Sport booth. Samco produces the high-performance silicone hose kits used on Corser’s BMW S1000RR World Superbike. In addition to not bursting under extreme pressure, the tubing is claimed to also increase engine cooling efficiency.

In related show news, EICMA, the big southern Euro show in Milan, Italy, will celebrate its 70th anniversary this November, while INTERMOT, the northern Euro show returns to Cologne, Germany, in October. Show news that was no news was the expected announcement from the American International Motorcycle Expo regarding the dates and location of its 2013 show, that on-going contract negotiations kept the organization from finalizing. Touted as approaching the pageantry and prestige to the Euro shows, AIME alluded to a warm climate for its show and will be able to make public the location for its show soon.

Unlike Dealer Expo, EICMA and INTERMOT are a combination of trade and consumer shows with an electric, Vegas-like atmosphere. AIME creators say their show will emulate the successful format of the two Euro shows.

In addition to the aftermarket on display, Dealer Expo hosts an array of seminars meant to educate motorcycle dealership owners and management, the Top 100 dealer contest, a motorcycle auction and various other events geared to industry business owners. In addition to City Cycle Sales winning Dealernews’ 2012 Dealer of the Year award, John Parnum of J&P Cycles fame took home the Don J. Brown Lifetime Achievement award.

Schuberth officially unveiled its S2 full face helmet in Indy. Available this spring, the $700 helmet features an integrated sun visor, STRONG fiber construction and dual internal antenna for its optional SRC-S 2 integrated Bluetooth system.
Mizer Motor Works, a new trike manufacturer of small-displacement motorcycles and scooters, displayed forward thinking by mounting a golf club carrying case to a trailer hitch on the back of the company’s The Mojo model.
Cobra had on display 20 Years of Customs Retrospective. Hot Saki, pictured here, is from 1998.
Bluetooth innovator, Sena, now has communication systems for half-helmets and a novel device for converting two-way and CB radios, and other corded devices into Bluetooth signals.
No bike is complete without a custom show, and this Jack Daniels-themed Knucklehead was a top contender.
Peering through the fairing of Brock’s Performance’s turbocharged, methanol-fueled Hayabusa drag bike that Bill Warner piloted to a world record speed of 311.94 mph last summer.
In the Metzeler booth, the rubber company teased passersby with this fat-tired pedal trike but wasn’t allowing test rides.
Gratuitous imagery from the INTERMOT show in Cologne. Yep, you want to go to this show!
Gratuitous imagery from LS2 helmets in Indy. That’s all until next year.

Related Reading
2011 Indy Dealer Expo Report
EICMA 2011: Milan Motorcycle Show
INTERMOT 2010: Cologne Motorcycle Show

Tom Roderick
Tom Roderick

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