AIMExpo Report: Wednesday
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Posted by: Wes Fleming
The AIMExpo doesn't officially open until tomorrow, but the West Building at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL was bustling with activity as exhibitors from across the United States and around the world scrambled to assemble their booths and display their wares.
Some booths are nothing more than a two chairs, a table, brochures and a banner. Other booths - such as BMW Motorrad's booth - are marvels of modern structural engineering.
All the major manufacturers are in attendance - at least, all the major Japanese ones. Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki have major presences along with BMW. Zero and Kymco are here, too, along with Can-Am and a goodly number of ATV and other non-motorcycle powersports manufacturers. Conspicuously missing are Harley-Davidson and Indian, both represented only by relatively small booths from local dealerships.
Vendors abound, too. In attendance are the ones you'd expect - Arai, Shoei, Schuberth/Held, Twisted Throttle, Scorpion - but a large number of gear, parts and accessory makers - IXS, Touratech, Yuasa and more - are here as well. Some companies are releasing new versions of old standards, while some are pushing innovative new products.
Thanks to proactive and imaginative placements by the AIMExpo organizers, BMW Motorrad's massive, two-tiered booth is backed not only by the MOA's booth (complete with the R nineT giveaway bike so creatively modified by Boxer Metal), but by other members of the BMW family - the BMW RA is here, as is RawHyde Adventures, Edelweiss, the BMW Performance Center US Rider Academy and Wunderlich. It's a cozy, comfortable feel in that corner of the expo floor, but all of us are excited to be hitting the doors at 9 tomorrow morning.
Your stalwart reporter at left with Shawn Thomas of RawHyde Adventures.
AIMExpo caters equally to the industry and to the consumer. Thursday and Friday are dedicated to business, with access restricted to industry professionals and media only. Saturday and Sunday are consumer days, with tickets available for anybody that wants to come in and wander the floor.
The expo is bigger this year than it was last year, growing by about 50 exhibitors. Next year, AIMExpo organizers expect there to be over 600 exhibitors and have decided to move the event to the North Building, which gives expo attenders faster access to the outdoor displays, which include demo rides from many of the attending manufacturers - on both dirt and street bikes.
The AIMExpo isn't quite like any other motorcycle show you've attended; first of all, the focus may be on motorcycles, but there's a heavy general motorsports presence here. There are ruggedized survival vehicles, snowmobiles and even souped-up golf cart-like vehicles on display. While there are some custom motorcycles on the floor, they're mostly part of some manufacturer's booth and not just there as eye candy.
BMW Motorrad's radical bagger, Concept 101.
This preliminary/teaser piece will be followed tomorrow, Friday and Saturday with additional reports and more photographs. Look for more in-depth information on gear and a holiday wish list feature in upcoming issues of Owners News.