Every year around this time, the streets of Long Beach fill with motorcycles as the International Motorcycle Show comes to town. This year’s show was preceded by three major motorcycle shows at INTERMOT in Germany, EICMA in Italy, and AIMExpo in Las Vegas.
Because of the short turn time between EICMA and AIMExpo, very few of the major product introductions that occurred in Europe made it to the halls of the Mandalay Bay convention center.
Would any of these new motorcycles show up in Long Beach? Well, I’m happy to report the answer is a resounding yes!
Vegas, baby! That’s the phrase that shot through my mind as I pulled up to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the 2018 version of AIMExpo.
You may remember from a previous AIMExpo article that I wrote, that I found the energy level to be a bit low at this show. I wondered if being in Vegas would bring a new level of excitement and energy to the show that it lacked in the past.
Besides the glitzy location, the show was held in conjunction with Las Vegas Bike Fest and Monster Energy Supercross, with all of the events being lumped under the label of Powersports Industry Week. Maybe this could be a big deal?
What makes a good motorcycle show? Is it the amazing bikes? Is it the venue? Or is it the spirit of community that makes some of these events more special than others?
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Golden Bolt Motorcycle Show at The House of Machines (THoM), in the Arts District of Los Angeles, and it was a great mix of bikes, venue, and community.
The brainchild of bike build Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs fame, the Golden Bolt offered a change from other motorcycle shows by adding some unique aspects.
It’s always good to come home. That’s how I feel every time I return to Laguna Seca.
Driving off of Boundary Road, and onto the perimeter of the track, then cresting the big downhill that descends behind Turn 2, towards the green parking area, I always get a big smile knowing that a great weekend of racing is about to begin.
This weekend was no different, with bright, sunny skies, a good crowd, and lots of great racing in both the World Superbike and the MotoAmerica series.
Ten years of doing anything is typically a reason to celebrate. Whether it’s ten years of marriage, a birthday, or the tenth year of a company being in business, ten years is a seminal anniversary.
Recently, the Quail Motorcycle Gathering celebrated its 10th anniversary in Carmel, California. Over 3,000 attendees had the opportunity to ogle over 350 amazing motorcycles from many different genres.
Unlike last year, there was no need for beanies or puffy jackets, as the weather was significantly warmer and the crowd was a lot more comfortable.
And though this was the 10th anniversary of the event, there wasn’t a lot of fanfare around the milestone. But maybe that’s what makes the Quail special. Amazing, while remaining low-keyed. Dazzling, without making a spectacle of itself. In a word, elegant.
What do you do to celebrate five years of one of the most successful custom motorcycle shows in the country? Well, you move into a new, bigger venue with about 4 weeks’ notice. At least that’s what you do if you’re the leaders of the Handbuilt Show in Austin, Texas.
This year’s show was held in the Austin American-Statesman building, and offered a significantly larger venue than the previous location in the Austin Fair Market.
Stefan Hertel, one of the co-founders of Revival Cycles, who put on the Handbuilt, graciously took a moment out of his day to discuss the new venue.
When I spoke with Stefan at last year’s show, I asked if he had ever considered a bigger venue, and he mentioned that they were looking at larger alternatives.
As it turns out, up until about a month before this year’s show, the team at Revival was planning on being at the Fair Market again, but in one of those serendipitous moments, the Handbuilt Team found the Austin American-Statesman building.
The motorcycling world once again descended upon Austin, Texas, as motorcycle road racing came to the Circuit of the Americas and the custom bike community arrived in droves for the Handbuilt Show.
This article will give you a flavor of what went on at the racetrack, while a second article will cover the Handbuilt.
As always, the Circuit of the Americas put on a great show. The facility is truly world-class and it made for a great weekend of racing.
This year’s IMS kicked off in Long Beach, signaling the start of the consumer motorcycle show season in the United States. The three-day show was a mix of both excitement and disappointment.
On one hand, the show was an opportunity to see many models for the first time in North America.
On the other hand, many of the amazing offerings from EICMA, such as the KTM 790 Duke and 790 Adventure prototype, the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701, Yamaha’s futuristic three-wheeler, the Niken, and the Kawasaki Z900RS and H2 SX, were curiously absent at the Long Beach show.
Besides missing motorcycles, there were some missing manufacturers as well. Triumph did not have a factory booth at the show, but rather, used a local dealer to provide a small representation of the British marque’s lineup.
Additionally, Can-Am pulled out of the show completely, with neither a show display, nor demos outside. Conversely, it was great to see the Piaggio Group back at the show with a display of Aprilia and Moto Guzzi motorcycles, as well as Piaggio scooters.
Conventional wisdom says that mixing wine with motorcycles is a bad idea, but in the case of last week’s 4th annual Kurt Caselli Foundation fundraiser at Doffo Winery in Temecula, California, it was a perfect pairing.
Kurt Caselli was an accomplished off-road racer with multiple AMA District 37 championships, Hare and Hound titles, and was the overall class champion in the International Six Day Enduro in 2007 and 2011.
Additionally, he was a competitor in the Dakar Rally and the Baja 1000. The Baja 1000 was where he met his untimely death in 2013, and after his death, the Kurt Caselli Foundation was formed.
The foundation was established to promote safety for off-road riders and racers, and strives to support these riders before, during, and after a racing career.
Come to Carmel, they said. It’ll be warm, they said. Well, maybe not so much. Last weekend’s Quail Motorcycle Gathering was a chilly affair with cloudy skies, blustery winds, and temperatures in the 50s.
The lines for ice cream were non-existent, while the line for the Espresso cart was 50 people deep. Though the weather wasn’t perfect, the event itself was awfully close.
As always, the Quail offered a great collection of vintage and custom motorcycles. This year’s show celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Norton Commando.
The marque was well represented with a large variety of Nortons on hand and also included a replica of the Norton display at the 1967 Earls Court Motorcycle Show in London.
Dirt Quake, the grassroots flat track event, has been acquired by North One TV. The transaction sees North One TV acquiring both the Dirt Quake name, and the Dirt Quake events, with the core Dirt Quake team, including Gary Inman, staying on for the foreseeable future.
North One says that with the acquisition the media company plans to grow Dirt Quake internationally, with Dirt Quake already hosting popular events in the UK, Europe, and United States.
Presumably this means an expansion of Dirt Quake events into new markets, where flat track racing is already popular.