Here we go – all the latest news, photos and information about all the new helmets, clothing and motorcycle accessories as they’re released to the U.S. motorcycle dealer network!
I’m touring the vast halls of the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome, taking photos, meeting all of our friends and seeing what’s new for 2005.
The Dealernews International Powersports Dealer Expo is the largest, most comprehensive trade show of its kind in the world for dealers, distributors and manufacturers of aftermarket powersports products. The strength, growth and success of the show have earned it the distinction of being a “Must Attend” event for dealers across the country.
I’ll upload photos and information as often as I can and I’ll provide a commentary in the evening as I rest my tired bones. It’s hard work, but somebody has to do it!
This is a wonderful show and a great opportunity to learn about all of the new products that will be introduced for the spring 2005 motorcycle season.
Feb. 19, 2005 – 13:35: Finally made it out, no thanks to the TSA…but that’s another story. Everyone has a strategy for visiting a show like this. Some attendees study the floor plan weeks in advance, and I’ve actually seen people following the lines they’ve drawn on their map, going from one display to another. Then there are the “zone people” – they’ll work one zone per hour or day, making sure they cover every single booth.
I’ve become more of a wanderer. I’ll start at the front door (actually the registration booth where everyone has to pick up their badge) and then I’ll turn around and start walking towards whatever interests me. It’s the same way a little kid would approach it – running to whatever looks cool and interesting. One thing leads to another, and another…until I find myself back where I started.
The show is just so huge, and there are so many people, that it’s hard to know if you’ve ever really seen it all. It doesn’t help that it’s broken up across several huge rooms in a couple of different hotels plus the big RCA dome.
Feb. 19, 2005 – 16:20: I’m already beat and my feet are killing me. Back to the hotel to upload this file. Sorry for the delay – I had some “technical difficulties” until I realized that the hotel gives free wireless access!
I’ve seen tons of great stuff already. The crowd seems slightly smaller to me than last year. I’m surprised at the unobstructed photos I can get – last year it was impossible to get near enough to anything to get a photo.
In the webBikeWorld tradition, I’m trying to find the unique, the weird, the stuff that no one else knows about. Not sure if I’ve succeeded, but here’s a sample from my random walk. I’ll try to get some of these products for an in-depth wBW review. Note: I haven’t validated all the websites but will try to get more information later:
Flame Sliders are translucent frame sliders with internal LED lights. They can be spliced the the turn signals or other light. They’re made from polycarbonate and the slider portion can be replaced if it really does get used as a frame slider. Available in Amber, Blue, Green, Red or White from Diamond Powersports.
The Chinese were out in force, as usual. They have a couple of rooms just devoted to Chinese manufacturers of scooters, ATVs and other powersports equipment. The scooter manufacturers started making motorcycles a few years ago, and some of the bikes aren’t bad looking. This Zongshen ZS200GS is a 200cc, single cylinder motorcycle with front/rear disk brakes, electric and kick start and the quality isn’t bad at all. Since all the other motorcycle manufacturers have given up on the beginner bike market, maybe the Chinese will use it to get a foothold. Zongshen motorcycles are made in Chongqing, China.
It seems like every wheel manufacturer is coming out with anodized wheels for supermoto, dirt bikes and street bikes. Excel wheels are available in several colors, with matching anodized hubs and nice-looking stainless steel spokes. They’re distributed in the U.S.A. by FTM Enterprises, Inc.
Shoei is out in force; it’s sometimes difficult to tell the Shoei display from the distributors of Shoei helmets, because some have displays bigger than Shoei! The Z-II (or TZ-R?) has some new paint schemes for 2005. There were lots of blue helmets at the show; I’m not sure if this means Yamaha is having a great year or if blue is the color for ’05. This paint scheme was cool-looking, and the blue tinted visor finished it off nicely. Shoei will be releasing a new visor with anti-fog inserts. They work like racing tear-offs, but are stacked on the inside on little tear-off type pegs. They promised to send us one for a review.
Scooters are hot! There are tons of scooters at the show. I guess the dealers are looking for alternative sources of income, and their assets and skills can easily be transferred to selling and repairing scooters. Piaggio, Vespa (owned by Piaggio), Derbi (some photos coming, the Derbi scooters are fantastic!) and many Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese scooter manufacturers are represented. You can even buy ready-to-go scooter engines and transmissions. Above left, two and four stroke scooter motors by the Chinese. Above right, a two-wheel-drive (notice the transfer case at the rear) ATV motor and transaxle by Piaggio. The representative was Italian, I think she said it is shaft drive. Scooters anyone?
This is a dealer only show (public not allowed; I have a press pass) and dealers are looking for anything that can help them leverage their investment. This means you see some pretty strange things here. Check out this mini-bike cruiser and a tractor tread conversion kit distributed by Kimpex, the people who bring us Shark helmets (more on the new Shark RSRII coming later). This is the TJD Cat Track Kit developed in Canada. The tracks are 96″ long and 12″ wide. Supposedly is easy to convert a normal ATV to this configuration and back again.