2013 AIMExpo Top 10 SightingsFor those involved in the motorcycle industry, events such as the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows and EICMA are similar to major holidays.These shows bring together the best of the best, from the latest motorcycle models to the latest in technological innovation.
One that more than impressed us here at Ultimate MotorCycling was the inaugural American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) held in Orlando, Fla., last week. The AIMExpo, headed by former head of Cycle World’s business side, Larry Little, was a first of its kind in North America – a combined trade, consumer and media event.But the AIMExpo wasn’t only an indoor event. There was also the AIMExpo Outdoors!, which allowed OEM’s such as Yamaha and Suzuki to offer demo rides.Though not all the big OEMs were involved, two that were there – Suzuki and Erik Buell Racing (EBR) – used the event to unveiled new 2014 models. Suzuki unveiled its 2014 V-Strom 1000, the GW250 and the Burgman 200. As for EBR, it unveiled its 2014 1190 RX. Others included Kymco and Yamaha, which had a Star Custom Bolt Build-Off show.There were also some celebrations on hand, including Kenny Roberts, a Yamaha ambassador who became the first American to win the road racing premier class World Championship in 1978, and the star of “American Pickers,” Frank Fritz, who was showcasing his new book “How to Pick Vintage Motorcycles.”With 400 exhibitors on display, the AIMExpo had much to offer. Everyone had something unique to offer, and the following are our Top 10 interesting picks:10. American Motorcycle AssociationAs motorcyclists, there’s no doubting the importance of the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) regarding the future of our sport. The AMA protects us from anti-motorcycling threats, and safeguards our freedoms for future riders.One of the first places a new motorcyclist interacts is at their local dealer. To capture this, the AMA set up a Dealer Affiliate Program, which pays dealers and other retail outlets a commission for every AMA membership they sell; the dealers get $5 for each new membership, and $2.50 for each renewal.The AMA was present at the AIMExpo, promoting the new dealer program. On hand, greeting and talking with the folks at the show was the AMA’s President and CEO, Rob Dingman.Rob Dingman says: “This is an important event for the AMA to spread word of this program. This new program not only help grow the AMA, and help protect our industry from anti-motorcycling threats, it will also put some money in the dealer’s pockets.”For additional information, visit the AMA’s website.9. Star Custom Bolt Build-Off ChallengeDuring the show, Star held a Custom Bolt Build-Off Challenge, which featured 10 different builders.All 10 bikes were on display, and people voted in a competition hosted on a Facebook page.Taking the win was Hageman Motorcycles, formally known as Docs Chops. Their knobby-shod Bolt earned 7,092 votes. Taking second was Boward Motorsports, with 6,758 votes. Third went to M&M Customs with 3,492 votes.For additional information, click here: Star Motorcycles.8. Italia PavilionFor fans of Italian motorcycle products, a section of the AIMEXpo was dedicated to Italian companies only, such as apparel giant AXO.The partnership was set up with the Italian Trade Commission, and representatives of the upcoming EICMA (Milan Motorcycle Show) were on hand, discussing the importance of not only EICMA, but also the AIMEXpo.7. Autographed CollectablesWith two offices in Anaheim, Calif., and Sydney, Australia, Autographed Collectables offers unique autographed photos from some of motorsports top stars, including MotoGP giants like Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Marc Marquez.But this isn’t just another autograph business; Autographed Collectables works directly with the contracted riders, and does all framing of the photographs, etc. And for MotoGP fans, the photos come directly from Dorna, the promoter of the sport.The business started off with its owner, the Australian Miguel Ramos, getting a private autograph session with Muhammad Ali in 1997. Ramos became Ali’s official Australian distributor, and the business began. For additional information on Autographed Collectables, click here.6. Bell HelmetsThe iconic helmet brand Bell had a heavy presence at the debut AIMExpo, the Scotts Valley, Calif., company celebrating its 60th Anniversary.Bell capitalized on the AIMExpo audience to launch its newest helmets – the Bullit, which takes a modern approach on a classic Bell full-face design, and the Qualifier, an affordable full face loaded with options of higher-level full-face lids.For additional information, visit BellHelmets.com.5. CTEK Battery ChargersWhen storing or not riding your motorcycle for more than week, a battery charger is a necessity. They help maintain the life of the battery, and save money in the long run.We know; with the Battery Tender, we have used the same battery on a bike for up to seven years.But Battery Tender is not the only product on the market. The latest is CTEK, which builds its US 0.8 charger for smaller 12 V batteries like the ones in motorcycles.The $50 charger features a six-step charging system to keep the battery maintained for longevity. But the CTEK products done’t work like normal trickle charges, which keep a slow charge going into the battery at all times.The CTEK shuts off once the battery is fully charged, and turns on again when the battery needs topping up to a full charge again. CTEK says this technology will provide an even longer life of a battery over using a trickle charger.The CTEK US 0.8 also features a robust and waterproof design, and arrives with a five-year warranty. CTEK also sells items like the $10 Comfort Indicator Pigtail, which hooks into a battery’s quick connector and provides the status of the battery. Also, all CTEK charges can plug directly into it.For additional information, log onto smartercharger.com.4. Sena Technologies Inc.Sena Technologies, Inc., earns its success through pure innovation. The company has created some of the most advanced Bluetooth devices used throughout the world of motorcycling, and continues to offer more advanced products.Two products highlighted Sena’s AIMExpo exhibit – the new 20S, the first motorcycle communicator to feature Bluetooth 4.0 technology, and the Bluetooth Action Camera, which allows riders to use voice prompt with a 1080p HD camera.We put a story together discussing these two new products; to read it click here. For more on Sena, visit the company’s website.3. Greg’s GarageThe motorcycle industry is filled with many passion-driven workers, and Greg White is one of them.White hosted many of the industry’s leading shows, such as 2 Wheel Tuesday, along with covering MotoGP and AMA Pro Racing on the former SPEED channel.But with all the transitions in the worlds of sports TV, White decided to go on his own and launch “Greg’s Garage,” a show that provides a “backstage pass” into the world of powersports.“Greg’s Garage,” which is also available on Tuff TV, and soon on ROKU and the Dish Network, provides White’s unique perspective of the powersports industry, from testing the latest motorcycles to interviews with some of sport’s top athletes.To check out the show, log onto Greg’s Garage.2. 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000Of course the AIMExpo is about motorcycles, and Suzuki used the venue to unveil its 2014 V-Strom 1000.The 2014 model is the first to receive a substantial upgrade since the “sport enduro touring” machine debuted in 2002. With the adventure touring category more popular than ever, Suzuki needed this upgraded model to remain competitive.The new 2014 V-Strom 1000 receives a larger, 1037cc engine that produces 99.2 horsepower and 76 ft. lbs. of torque, traction control, ABS, 43mm KYB forks and styling enhancements, among other things.For a First Look at the 2014 V-Strom 1000, click here.1. 2014 Erik Buell Racing 1190 RXMany at the AIMExpo would likely agree – the new Erik Buell Racing 1190 RX highlighted the show.Though Erik Buell wasn’t there himself due to vacationing with his wife in Ireland, he was still present via video at the private dealer/press launch of the bike.This will be EBR’s first affordable production motorcycle, and its loaded with technology to take on some of the most advanced superbikes in the industry, including the Ducati 1199 Panigale, the BMW S1000RR and all the inline fours of the Japanese Big Four.The EBR 1190 RX produces 185 horsepower and 102 ft. lbs. of torque, weighs 419 lbs. wet, gets a claimed 52 mpg, and has a 21-setting traction control.Should we say more? Well, yes. To read more about the EBR 1190 RX, click here.