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Thoughts From AIMExpo 2024

Next year, go to AIMExpo. You'll be glad you did.

I just returned from AIMExpo. It was a great show. There were lots of new products. Most of them were great. Some of them I just rolled my eyes at. There were many and varied e-bikes there, as well as most of the original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Some OEMs made the decision not to show up. And, yes, I’m looking at you, Harley-Davidson, BRP and Honda.

AIMExpo 2024 in Las Vegas

What’s in a Booth?

As AIMExpo has done for every show, there is a show directory to help you navigate the floor and see who is present. I always sit down and circle the ones I want to see first. Unfortunately, some of the exhibitors were not successful in their descriptions. Some were very vague. That always makes me suspicious. One description I read and reread and showed to others. There was no way to tell what it was showcasing. A definite failure.  

Most of the exhibitors were happy with the amount of dealers there. Some were not. Most of the time, the ones not happy were not engaging or inviting — they just stood (or mostly, sat) and glared at everyone passing by or were looking at their phones ignoring everybody.

There were a few exhibitors that stood out with some beautiful booth spaces. There were also a few that I swear were initiated on the day before the show. One booth even used the dirty, beat-up, plywood shipping crates to show their helmets on. Maybe they were shooting for that rustic industrial look? They missed.

The OEMs all had nice booths. The only one I thought odd was Triumph. The company recently purchased OSET, which make an awesome electric trials bike. Unfortunately, they placed the units behind a wall, and you could not see any OSETs whatsoever from the area where the actual Triumph branded units were. That seemed like an odd choice.

There were a lot of e-bike manufacturers there. Some were better than others. Unfortunately, most had no UL ratings on them. UL stands for Underwriter Laboratories, a third-party certification company. The battery on one e-bike, in close proximity to the MPN booth, started to smoke and caught fire, so we had to evacuate the show floor for 30 minutes. I noticed the remaining batteries of those bikes were absent for the rest of the show. I will have another column soon on e-bikes and UL certification.

There were also a lot of electric scooters and motorcycles there as well. They all had limited range, but they all say it will get better. I’m sure it will, but for now, they are great for track racing, short trail rides, commuting or just running around town. For those usages, they seem to be a good idea.

Yamaha had the concept autocycle Tricera there (Google it). It looks like a futuristic Slingshot with three-wheel steering and perhaps an electric powertrain (Yamaha is not sure of the direction it wants to go). It looks like a lot of fun.

Of course, spending a few days around the Las Vegas Convention Center, you inevitably find your way to the food court they have there, and the meals I had there were definitely better than average, which was another plus!

Companies of Note

A few other things stood out. One was GPS Vehicle Finder (gpsvehiclefinder.com). This company makes a vehicle tracker that requires no month-to-month fee to keep track of your vehicles. It has two units so far. One is a small unit (about a third the size of a deck of cards) that wires into the electrical system of your bike, ATV or UTV. If your unit moves beyond a certain zone, it alerts you. You can track it as it moves and recover it. It can be used on heavy-duty equipment, generators or anything with a 12-volt battery. If you have equipment with no battery, such as a trailer or other equipment, the company has a slightly larger wireless unit that has a battery life of three years, and that battery can be replaced.

I’ve looked at GPS units like this before, but the others have had a monthly subscription, and most people are not interested. This one has an upfront cost of $199 for three years, and $39.99 a year after that. It’s a great deal. Look it up.

The National Powersports Dealer Association (NPDA) was there again, and I hope that you all join soon. The NPDA gives us a stronger voice to talk to national and local governing bodies who may not understand the worth of the powersports industry — not just in the enjoyment factors but the economic and employment worth as well.

I also looked at Antigravity Batteries (antigravitybattereis.com) during my time on the floor. Antigravity has a complete lineup of lithium jumpstart devices it calls Micro-Start. There is a size array that you can use to start just about any internal combution engine (ICE) unit. They can also charge your electronic devices. Antigravity is working on a lineup of chargers that work on lithium and regular batteries as well. Check it out.

Recently, a friend of mine mentioned that he was looking for some sort of a cloth that he could wipe himself down with after a long, hot, dusty, off-road ride if there was no lake or anything nearby to rinse off in. Well, I found something. The company is called Klean Freak Body Wipes (kleanfreak.com). They are a square-foot moist wipe that will clean, moisturize and make you feel a lot better after being out in the dusty heat all day. These wipes are anti-bacterial and come in individual pouches with different scents or a large hexagonal box that dispenses one at a time. There are several different sized displays available. This is something that will sell if you get the word out.

Sam Dantzler from Garage Composites was at AIMExpo too. He was the moderator of my 20 Group. If you don’t belong to a 20 Group, you should. It’s one of the best things I ever did. I hear all kinds of reasons not to. I can tell you from experience that the reasons to join are far more! Don’t take my word for it. There must be dealers you know who are in a 20 Group. Talk to them about it — then join!

AIMExpo was successful at showcasing exhibitors with quite a few products that will sell in your shop — units, tools, services, oils, tires, apparel, etc. If you have never gone to AIMExpo, you don’t know what you’re missing. Over the years, I’ve found many products at these shows that I was the first to bring in to my area and did very well with them.

Next year, go to AIMExpo. You’ll be glad you did. If you don’t go, smack yourself on the back of the head.    

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