Between snowmobiles, Timbersleds, and Ice racing, winter is just a different set of toys for some of us. For others, it's a time to hibernate and dream about the first ride of spring. Helping to foster those dreamy thoughts and to take our minds off the next winter storm: The International Motorcycle Shows.
This traveling panacea of Powersports delight was in town this past weekend and featured several shiny attractions. I am pleased to report, after several years of "refinements" and BNG's, nearly every OEM had some seriously new hardware to display. In this post-Great Recession economy, the bike makers are under more pressure than ever to deliver high-quality attractive offerings at the best possible price. The winner: the consumer! It appears customers are ready to buy, as many displays were standing room only and display bikes were being handled like toys in a nursery school playroom.
It was also great to see all the customized bikes on display including the J&P Cycles Custom Bike Build off challenge. These bikes must be seen in- person to appreciate all the fine detail work. The fabrication skill displayed in these bikes is pretty amazing!
I finally got to lay eyes on the new Indian Motorcycles in person, and they did not disappoint! These new bikes feature all the features of any modern motorcycle, yet they have wrapped them into a classic skin that is reminiscent of the originals. These bikes ooze style and substance. If they really had any hope of stealing market share away from The Motor Company, the first launch had to be a Moon Shot and judging by the mob scene they are going to be successful. It's still not an easy road as Harley enjoys one of the fiercest brand loyalties of ANY brand on the planet but it is cool to have this historic American brand back in the mix.
Add in new entry-level bikes from the Big 4, Adventure bikes from Triumph and KTM, plus a few sexy Italians and you have yourself one helluva two wheeled party! From my vantage point it was great to see a jam packed exhibit hall filled with people so excited about bikes again and manufacturers with something new and exciting to sell! Often times, passion is trumped by economic reality, but it feels like the bike industry has found it's way to solid footing once again.