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?
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.
The annual AIMExpo is a pretty big deal for the American motorcycle industry, it being the de facto consumer and industry trade show for motorcycling, and all.
This year’s event might get some extra attention though, as Vice President Mike Pence is slated to deliver the keynote address at the trade show.
According to DealerNews, the Vice President has the event on his schedule, and has told his aides to “make it happen”. Of course, a lot can happen between now and September, when it comes to the schedule of the person who is just a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Just like Steve Martin’s 1977 album, one of the main themes of this years’s International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach was “let’s get small”.
Almost every major manufacturer unveiled a bike in the 300cc category. BMW showed off its G310R standard and G310GS dual sport, Honda showed its CRF250L Rally, Suzuki introduced its GSX-250R, and Kawasaki unveiled its Versys-X 300.
Additionally, Honda had its world introduction of the 300 and 500 Rebels. It’s definitely a good time to be shopping for smaller motorcycles!
Every other year, the motorcycle industry gathers in Cologne, Germany in October, for the INTERMOT trade expo. The show provides a good alternative for the Germanic brands to launch new machines, with BMW and KTM often showcasing new models at the show. This year will be no different.
To that end, BMW Motorrad is already getting its hype machine warmed up, telling us that several models will debut updates in Cologne. More importantly, zie Germans tell us that two new motorcycles will also debut at the INTERMOT show.
What those models will be is certainly the conjecture du jour, since there are several possibilities that BMW Motorrad could be working on.
Adding to the mystery is the fact that BMW often leaves something interesting for the yearly EICMA show in Milan, Italy, which happens a month later, in the first week of November. This might make decoding BMW’s game plan all but impossible, but we can still give it a try.
The excitement is back! After many years of somewhat somber motorcycle shows, the 2015 Long Beach International Motorcycles Show (IMS) did not disappoint. The crowd was large, the vibe was great, and the manufacturers brought lots of new machines to dream about.
Though EICMA occurred just last week, many of the bikes that were introduced in Milan had their American debut in Long Beach. Not only that, but the manufacturers upgraded their displays with new materials and concepts that made viewing more enjoyable.
The overall feel of the show was one of positive energy and excitement. It felt as though the post-recession doldrums are finally subsiding within the motorcycle industry.
The manufacturers pulled out all the stops for IMS, bringing some of their top executives for media presentations before the show opened to the public.