I just came back from AIMExpo in Las Vegas. It was a great show, and while there were a few no-shows (Honda and Klim being two that I thought would be there), I really enjoyed myself. I saw lots of old friends and made some new ones. I saw the new Suzuki V-Strom 800, which I believe will be a big seller, so order lots. Yamaha has a new YZ450 that looks awesome as well.
There were more original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) at AIMExpo this year than in the past, but they had very small booths. The stars of the show, to me, were the new bits and pieces. National Cycle always has new windshields that work well as OEM replacements. MITAS has many completely new models of tires that should suit everyone’s needs, whether touring or off-road. I found a new cleaner called Bugslide that purports to easily clean bugs off bikes. My team will be trying this out soon.
I saw a relatively new product out of the Netherlands called Inuteq, which makes lots of gear to keep you cool. They are more compact than the ones I have seen. I’m not sure if anyone is distributing Inuteq yet, but hopefully there will be someone soon.
There is a new company called Impel that turns a set of photos into a “Walkaround,” an interactive way to see your used products on your website. It seems to be a great way to keep eyeballs on your site.
There was a video playing about the movie “Iron Lilly” coming out in the next year or so that looks very interesting. It tells the story of Lilly Farrow, who became the first female owner of a Harley-Davidson dealership when her husband passed away in 1927, with four young children and lots of huge challenges. She is singlehandedly responsible for a lot of the community we experience in our day-to-day motorcycling lives. Look her up: www.ironlilly.com
Another highlight of the show was meeting Shilpa Arora from SMK Helmets. This is a company from India that already sells 15 million helmets a year, and it has begun selling in North America. It has a full line up from ¾ helmets to full coverage dirt and street helmets. The quality seems very good, and the fit was very good. I believe dealers out there should take a hard look at this brand.
Another thing everyone remarked on was how many electric bicycles there were at the show this year. There were many of them. This is something every dealer I talked to was wrestling with: “Should I carry these electric bicycles in my shop or not? I guess they could be the next big thing.” One dealer from Texas told me he probably would because the only bicycle dealer in his isolated town hated anything with a motor in it.
But what about the rest of us? Is there room for a line of electric bicycles in our lineup? Will we be able to train our staff to sell something brand new? Will they fit in with our culture? Can we get parts, and how easy will it be to get warranty claims paid for? (Something that few think about until it’s too late.) Something I also found out was that very few electric bicycles have Underwriters Laboratories certification. I don’t know about you, but I get a bit itchy when I see one of those videos of a battery powered vehicle or its charger bursting into flame. If they are not certified, and someone’s house burns down, will our insurance cover us?
UBCO has a new two-wheel-drive machine that can be registered as a scooter but will almost go anywhere. It reminds me, in some ways, of the old CT90s we all used to ride.
I was in the booth of an ex-marine who was designing and selling clothing for women who are not built like models. She seems to be doing a great job with the design of her clothing. While we have come a long way from the days of making small men’s clothing with more pink in them, there is definitely room for a line of clothing for those women who aren’t built like those skinny models pictured in magazines. I don’t know how many times my female customers have been disappointed by the fit of the clothing offered. Check out SportBike Chic. It will be worth your while.
There is a startup called Kickstandsup whose claim to fame is that we (or any motorcycle club, etc.) can put in any rides being planned, and by searching the area people live in, customers can find out what rides, charity or otherwise, are coming up.
I met Brittney Olsen, who is a relative of Eric Anderson. She bowled me over with her energy and accomplishments. She is a welder, motorcycle builder and races Harleys from the 1920s and ‘30s. She is so full of energy, it’s like sitting next to a furnace. She’s only in her early 30s, so we’ll hear a lot more about her in the future!
All in all, AIMExpo 2023 was a great show. I hope all of you who follow Motorcycle & Powersports News went. If you did not, you missed some great displays, lots of informative conversations, and new products that you can get into your store before your competition. Next year, AIMExpo returns to Vegas on Feb 7-9. Make sure you are there! You will get a lot of new ideas and maybe some new product lines to increase your bottom line!