It’s a first. The International Motorcycle Show came to Indianapolis with it’s big sponsor Progressive Insurance. It used to be Cycle World, but somewhere along the way, sponsors changed. Anyway, I wanted to write a short report—perspective from an attendee.
Originally, the show was to be at the Lucas Oil Stadium, but the venue was changed to the Indiana Convention Center, which is pretty much across the street, where the huge Dealer Expo was also taking place. More about that in a minute.
The MC Show was small in comparison to other locations I have attended—Chicago, Novi, and Cleveland—but it’s the first time for Indy, and I can understand how it needs to build. Attending on a Sunday, I thought it was very well attended. There was enough crowd to make it seem full, but not so crowded that you couldn’t make your way around and sit on a motorcycle or two.
One of the bikes that I really wanted to see was the new Honda CB 1100. It reminds me of earlier times and previous motorcycles I have owned—bikes that brought joy and a love for the road. I think Honda has really hit the target with this bike. I thought it quite interesting that the people swarming over this bike seemed to have gray hair like myself, wanting to sit on a little nostalgia. Perhaps that why the Triumph Bonneville and Moto Guzzi V7 have been so popular. Those bikes remind us of an earlier time in our motorcycling when life was simpler and not so connected to the digital age with cell phones, the Internet, and GPS units telling us where to turn. Back in the day, we just got on the bike and rode away, maybe stopping to look at a paper map. That was adventure.
Although all the big manufacturers were there, and the space seemed full, there were some missing. Kawasaki was not present, nor was Moto Guzzi and Ural. It could have been space constraints for the show, but more likely long-range planning to throw one more show into the mix of marketing budget.
Speaking of space, the Dealer Expo had what seemed like at least four, maybe five times the space of the MC Show. The Dealer Expo has been in Indianapolis for years, and it has always been exclusively for dealers to see new and/or updated products. In the Dealer Expo venue, you could find just about everything made for motorcycles, including accessories and apparel. I was surprised to see a huge exhibit from China, as if they sent all their manufacturing reps to the Dealer Expo to introduce product.
When the show facilitators announced the additional IMS alongside the Dealer Expo, there were some concerns by the dealer exhibitors that the general public was not their audience. As a result, a ticket to one show was not admittance to the other. However, at 1 p.m. on Sunday, the last day of both shows, the doors were opened between the two venues, and people were allowed to roam freely.
I was at that door when the gate opened, and frankly, there was a pretty good rush of people … in both directions! At that moment, I was standing at the Suzuki exhibit trying to Tweet a picture of the 2013 Suzuki V-Strom DL650, and I had to get out of the way for fear of a stampede from the Dealer Expo!
All in all, the 2013 International Motorcycle Show at Indianapolis was a good start. Hopefully, next year, we’ll see more of the manufacturers bringing their products to this city, the Crossroads of America. I’ll be there.
See you on the highway.