The West Coast debut of North America’s premier motorcycle and powersports trade show commenced on Thursday, as AIMExpo presented by Nationwide opened its doors to dealers, trade members and the media inside Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Manufacturers grabbed the spotlight on opening day, with 10 OEM exhibitors presenting their latest vehicles, ranging from motorcycles, to side-by-sides and autocycles. The excitement generated on the showfloor was highlighted by a trio of global debuts from Kawasaki, Vanderhall Motor Works and Yamaha.
Kawasaki formally kicked off the morning by presenting an array of new two-wheel models, beginning with the all-new KX450 motocross bike, introduced by seven-time AMA Supercross Champion Jeremy McGrath. Additionally, the Japanese manufacturer hosted the North American debut of the Ninja H2 and H2 Carbon hypersport motorcycle, along with the race-bred ZX-10R supersport bike, which FIM World Superbike racer Jonathan Rea piloted to a fourth consecutive World Championship.
Kawasaki saved its biggest announcement for last, as the brand’s official stunt rider, Jason Britton, rode out for the global unveiling of the middleweight ZX-6R sportbike. The “636” features fresh new styling, and is equipped with a quick-shifter and high-grade instrumentation, which accompanies an optimized gear ratio for improved low-end power.
As one of the newest OEM exhibitors at the show, Vanderhall Motor Works and its lineup of high performance, three-wheeled autocycles made a splash with the global debut of the Carmel. The Utah company was founded in 2010 and introduced its first model to the public in 2015. Since then, its presence within the industry has continued to grow, culminating with its first visit to AIMExpo presented by Nationwide.
The Carmel is the fourth model in Vanderhall’s lineup, joining the Venice, the Speedster and the all-electric Edison. Like its predecessors, the Carmel is hand built and boasts a retro design in the spirit of the American roadster, with a sleek and refined elegance. It features a 1.5 liter, 4-cylnder turbo engine with 200 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque that will push it from 0-60 in just a few seconds.
Yamaha has traditionally used AIMExpo presented by Nationwide as a platform to make a global debut, and this year wasn’t any different. Just three years after it introduced the YZF-R3 to the world at this very show, the manufacturer unveiled the newest edition of its entry-level supersport bike in Las Vegas.
The all-new R3 features an updated, sleek design that pays homage to Yamaha’s flagship MotoGP race bike, the YZR-M1. From a riding standpoint, Yamaha aimed to enhance the balance of comfort and performance with an inverted front fork and triple clamp. Additionally, the R3 has a new fuel tank design and handlebars that are 22 millimeters lower, which combine to provide easier grip of the bike from virtually any riding position.