AIMExpo 2019 has come and gone in a blink of the proverbial eye. It seems like it was just days I go I was in Columbus, Ohio pounding the show floor in search for the most unique and innovative products the event had to offer. And while I and maybe others might have wished for even more exhibitors to peruse, the show did have a handful of cool new items entering the marketplace and plenty of other interesting products that we’re already aware of. 

Some of these items you might already be aware of but hopefully there are some that pique your interest as new brands to look into as they hit the marketplace. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the coolest things seen at AIMExpo 2019.

Quin Helmets

AIMExpo 2019

Quin Helmets began protecting motorcyclists’ heads nine months ago in January 2019. The company has since seen substantial demand with the first few runs flying off the shelves. What makes these helmets unique? Integrated crash detection with an SOS beacon that can alert a contact of your choosing or emergency medical response teams. The tech-packed helmets use the company’s IntelliQuin system with Bluetooth 4.0 technology to communicate between sensors in the helmet and user’s phone. This technology also allows user to perform functions such as calling, using music apps, navigation, and the use of personal assistants among other standard Bluetooth features. Once the helmet has detected a crash the user’s phone is alerted via the Quin app and gives riders the chance to cancel out the alert if they are okay within a designated time interval. If the rider is incapacitated or decides they need assistance, the app will notify either the predetermined contact or emergency medical personnel with the user’s pre-registered medical information and GPS location. 

What’s more, the system’s nicely integrated into three stylish helmet models. The line consists of the full-face carbon fiber Ghost, the polycarbonate full-face Spitfire, and the three-quarter McQ. Both full-face helmets are said to accommodate intermediate oval head shapes with the three-quarter McQ listed as round oval. Each of these helmets, and particularly the carbon fiber models, are impressively lightweight considering the amount of integrated technology offered. Quin claims the Ghost weighs in at 1270 grams (2.8 pounds) though the size was not specified. All of the helmets are ECE and DOT rated with the Ghost receiving additional certifications. If all of the aforementioned features weren’t enough, the included sensors can also provide information such as ride duration and lean angles achieved among other non-critical information. There’s a lot more to be said about these helmets and we hope to learn more and perhaps test the functionality in the real world someday. Until then, we wish all the best to Quin and its team. Learn more here

V Helmets

AIMExpo 2019

You may know them by another name: Vemar. The Italian company, which has roots dating back to 1975, set off on its own in 1992 and has since become one of the world’s largest helmet manufacturers, despite having only a small presence in the US. As I walked the AIMExpo show floor, the quality of the company’s booth and unique helmet graphics caught my eye. One problem, the sign had a symbol I’d never seen and only said helmets underneath it with the Italian flag colors under that. I had to ask Nicola, the Italian fellow manning the booth, what the helmet’s brand name was. Not the kind of question a manufacturer should want to hear. Turns out the company was acquired by International Helmet Company in 2016 and has recently rebranded Vemar as V Helmets, not something that was easily discernible by the never-before-seen logo, but hey, it looks cool, I guess. What is worth noting is the helmets themselves are just as light as ever and feel to be quality lids while boasting a plethora of graphics that are unique and visually stunning unlike anything I’ve seen on the market thus far. We wish the newly rebranded V Helmets the best of luck in the future and hope to pop our heads into one for a more thorough review. Learn more at www.vhelmets.com

2020 Honda Africa Twin

AIMExpo 2019

Honda’s new Africa Twin, both the standard and the Adventure Sports ES, address nearly every major complaint prospective buyers, owners, and journos alike had about the previous models. Honda had three goals: less weight, more power, and the inclusion of high-level features not before seen on the Africa Twin models. As our man Dennis already touched on in a thorough First Look article, Honda hit it marks on the first two. Although single-digit increases in power and decreases in weight may be less substantial than some might have hoped for, we feel it’s the new high-level features that make the 2020 Africa Twin a great option on the ADV market. Both models are now equipped with cruise control, TFT displays, and IMUs. The Bosch MM7.10 six-axis IMU allows for more improved DCT shifting, traction control, cornering ABS, wheelie control, rear lift control, and for the Adventure Sports ES, electronic suspension and cornering lights.

Honda has also now made a more focused differentiation between the two Africa Twins, with the standard model meant to be for riders looking to push their machine’s limits off-road and the Adventure Sports ES to deliver long-haul performance and comfort when the adventure may include more asphalt. Having the chance to see the bike in person before AIMExpo gave us the opportunity to sit on the bike and thumb through the new touch screen TFT display. I was ecstatic when Honda informed us the Adventure Sports model would no longer carry its lofty 36.2-inch lofty seat height. Both models share the same two-way adjustable seat heights at 34.3 and 33.7 inches and are narrower at the seat making it easier to get to the ground. We look forward to testing the new models just as soon as we’re able. Unfortunately, it’s looking like that won’t be until March 2020. Until then, we’ll just drool at the Adventure Sports ES’ gorgeous paint job. 

Quadro Vehicles Qooder

AIMExpo 2019

Pronounced /ˈko͞odər/, the four wheel machine comes from Swiss manufacturer Quadro Vehicles. Quadro Vehicles has been around for nearly 10 years as a small company, though had nearly gone out of business just two years ago when the brand was revived and helmed by former Abarth COO and Piaggio VP, Paolo Gagliardo. The machine uses a bespoke Hydraulic Tilting System (HST) complete with oil-damped shocks to allow the front wheels to tilt, giving the machine handling characteristics of a motorcycle, so I’m told. Both rear wheels are driven via a mechanical differential and belt drive. The Qooder is powered by a 399cc Single four-stroke four valve engine producing a claimed 32.5 hp and 23.4 lb-ft of torque. The four-wheeler carries 3.7 gallons of gas and weighs in at 620 pounds fully fueled. Gagliardo says they hope to have the vehicles in the US by Spring 2020 with a price point of $12,000. 

The Italian CEO also mentioned there will be a Zero-powered eQooder on the horizon with an expected MSRP of $17,000. I’m told the company has sold thousands in Europe, though Gagliardo says there have been issues with licensing the four-wheeled vehicle in the US. You see, here in the good ol’ US of A, four wheels means car, and with that comes a laundry list of regulations and stipulations all held together by red tape. Paolo admits he is cautiously optimistic in his fight to have the Qooder homologated as a motorcycle in the States, but tells us there is another way to enjoy the Qooder even without a license plate: off-road. Gagliardo points to the screen behind me as videos of muddy Qooders blasting down trails play on the big screen at the booth. We’ll remain cautiously optimistic as well for Quadro Vehicles and hope that, like Gagliardo says, “common sense will prevail” in his fight for licensing. Learn more at www.quadrovehicles.com

And then there were the e-Bikes…

These two-wheeled mobility solutions can easily be looked at as the gateway drug to motorcycling. What’s more interesting is the customers being targeted for e-bikes are typically non-motorcyclists. Obviously there is some crossover, but if e-bike customers are primarily non-riders, that’s a large potential customer base to possibly move up into motorcycling. E-bikes come in all shapes and sizes these days. Some fall closer to the small electric motorcycle category while others are intently directed at the bicycle market. AIMExpo had its fair share of both. Here’s a sampling of what was found silently scooting around the Columbus Convention Hall. 

UBCO

AIMExpo 2019

The concept for UBCO bikes was a 2-wheel drive electric, lightweight, utility vehicle. The production vehicle seen above is the culmination of five years of hard work and determination. The company was founded in New Zealand and has since been focusing on worldwide distribution following increased demand. The UBCO 2×2 (pictured above) is a two-wheel drive electric vehicle with front and rear 1 kW hub-drive motors powered by a 48Ah, 50V battery that sits in the middle of the frame and can easily be pulled out for hot swapping (if you have $1,999 for an extra battery) or ease of charging. Components such as suspension and hydraulic disc brakes are more bike than moto, but they’ll likely get the job done just fine. The machine weighs in just around 144 pounds. Governed top speed is 30 mph and UBCO claims a 75-mile range per charge. The 2×2 has an MSRP of $6,999 and is available at 43 dealers sprinkled throughout the US. 

AIMExpo 2019

UBCO also displayed its FRX1 prototype which has pedal assist with a top speed of 50 mph. The mountain bike-style electric has 200 millimeters of travel front and rear with a range of 62 miles. The 115-pound FRX1 is expected to be available for purchase June 2020 for $8,999. Pre-order is currently available at www.ubcobikes.com.

iGo

AIMExpo 2019

iGo caught my attention at AIMExpo due to the expansive product line. The company, headquartered in Quebec, has been around since 2006 and has since become one of the largest sellers of e-bikes in Canada. The company’s product range covers everything from commuter and folding bikes to fat tire off-road cycles, and now, high-end road race bikes. Front and center the new Carbon CGV looks that part of a premium road bike while housing a 36V 5.6Ah in-frame lithium battery delivering 200Wh of power with a 62-mile range. The entire package weighs only 27.8 pounds and costs $6,950 (CAD). A model like the HP Carbon Fatbike, pictured on the right, use a 36V 14Ah lithium battery capable of 504Wh of power costing $5,499 (USD). The Elite, not pictured, is more a commuter-friendly ride complete with front and rear racks, fenders, and a step-through design. A 48V 13Ah semi-in-frame lithium battery provides a 37-mile range with a 20 mph top speed and costs only $1,999. Check them out at www.igoelectric.com.

Yamaha e-Bikes

AIMExpo 2019

A brand name folks around here are most familiar with, Yamaha’s e-bike line-up includes commuter, road, off-road, and hybrid bicycles ranging in price from $2,399 to 3,499. The entire line-up uses a 500Wh 36V lithium-ion battery delivering a 20mph max speed support with a four-hour charge time. All of the Yamaha e-bikes come with a three-year frame, motor, and battery warranty. Friend of MO, Mark Cernicky, rode the entire 2018 line-up nearly two years ago and gave a thorough review of his findings. We’re hoping to get our hands on one of these models soon to give you our perspective of what it’s like to live with an e-bike day-to-day.