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Inaugural AIMExpo - Exclusive photo report from Orlando!

Inaugural AIMExpo - Exclusive photo report from Orlando!

Written by  on Thursday, 24 October 2013 09:30

The very first AIMExpo was held on October 16-20 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. While many vendors and attendees were apprehensive about being a part of the first such show, nearly everyone came out pleased with the results (and some who didn't attend were wishing they had). The organization was top notch, as was the presentation and professionalism of the event.

The outdoor exhibit was a whole other world unto itself, with stunt riders, training programs, demo rides from Yamaha, Suzuki and Kymco, an adventure course and ATV and side-by-side rides. Parking was free for motorcycles and a shuttle ushered visitors from the outdoor exhibit to the indoor show.

Inside Motorcycles was the only Canadian media outlet in attendance during the trade portion of the event before the public was invited in Friday evening for the weekend, and was thrilled to be a part of what we expect to become the biggest motorcycle trade show in North America. We saw familiar faces and made new contacts. See you in 2014!

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The debut of the 1190RX from Erik Buell Racing was one of the big news stories at AIMExpo. Based on the 1190RS racer, the RX is a true street bike with 185 hp, 102 lbs-ft of torque, weighs 419 lbs wet and comes with 21 levels of traction control (!) and a built-in lap timer.

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Suzuki was one of three major OEMs to set up at the inaugural event with a very impressive display that featured all of the new models.

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Yamaha also had a major presence. Not only did they have a huge display that included new 2014 Bolt and FZ-09 models, they also brought a huge demo fleet to the outdoor area and racing legend Kenny Roberts opened the show by riding a custom Yamaha Bolt up to the doors of the exhibit.

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Why does it look so quiet? Don't worry, trade days are like this - low key, especially when it's close to closing time. Here you can see the general look and feel of the very professional event.

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When the outdoor area opened to the public on Friday, things started to get busy for Suzuki (pictured), Yamaha and Kymco as they offered demo rides to consumers.

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Our good friends at Motonation had an impressive display that included Vemar road and off-road helmets, Sidi boots, AGV Sport riding gear and Forcefield body armour.

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Reinforcing the fact that old bikes are a big deal these days were two impressive displays of classic bikes, one of which you see here focusing on British and Euro models.

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Schuberth helmets showed off the 2014 model range that finally includes some impressive graphics! Even the basic one-colour models have received an extra splash of colour, which we feel will be very welcomed by Schuberth customers.

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Here is the C3 Pro Women with a tasteful pink-on-white treatment.

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'The King' Kenny Roberts rode this customized 2014 Yamaha Bolt up to the doors of the show on opening day. It was one of three custom Bolts that were part of the expo.

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Kathy from earthX batteries was showing off the latest in lightweight, eco-friendly lithium battery technology. earthX has been supporting Canadian riders in 2013 including ISDE silver medalist Jared Stock. Watch for a review in an upcoming issue of Inside Motorcycles.

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The good folks at Vee Rubber had an impressive display that showed off the company's extensive range of tires, from trials to vintage race rubber to whitewall street tires and huge custom rears. "We find the niche markets that nobody else wants to bother with," explained John Leale, Vice President - North America ATV & Motorcycle.

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Sena unveiled a fairly revolutionary prototype Bluetooth Action Camera that can be activated by your Sena headset on your helmet. No more wondering if your helmet cam is recording (we've all been there) - a voice prompt will tell you!

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Bell Helmets introduced the Bullitt, a full-face retro helmet with a flip-up visor and impressive quality and technology throughout. A direct shot at the Biltwell Gringo perhaps? Watch for the Bullitt to hit Kimpex dealers in Canada in 2014.

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The folks at AIMExpo know how to throw a party - free food and beverages greeted exhibitors, dealers and media after the trade show days on Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday night included the East Coast premiere of the much talked about moto movie, 'Why We Ride.'

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Bazzaz, co-sponsor of the Amateur Sport Bike class with Inside Motorcycles in 2013, brought one of the Jordan/National Guard AMA Suzukis to the party. We checked out the new universal quick shifter, which makes going from regular to GP shifting a breeze, and new bluetooth tuning capability that allows engine mapping to be done remotely without removing any bodywork!

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Batteries and helmets were two markets well represented at AIMExpo. Here the team at Shorai explains the advantages to its lithium technology, which allows for batteries up to 80% lighter than lead acid batteries that start bikes quicker, are eco-friendly and last significantly longer than conventional batteries.

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A huge 'Italia' pavilion showed off Italian brands in a joint project with the Italian Trade commission. It was one of the best-presented elements of the show, with more than a few beautiful Italian women welcoming patrons to the exhibits.

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The folks from ACF-50 were on hand to demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of their anti-corrosion products, which started in the aerospace field and are now available to motorcyclists and other powersports enthusiasts.

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Following a recent company restructuring, LeoVince had a huge display that included its own exhaust systems, Italian-made Airoh helmets and the Canadian-made Dion Device.

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Skip and Steve from Orient Express was proudly displaying its to products including Dymag wheels, K-tech suspension components and GBRacing engine covers and sliders.

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We had a good chat with Jayson from Scorpion helmets, who gave us the lowdown on the new helmet line for 2014 including the race-ready EXO-R2000 worn by Alvaro Bautista in MotoGP. Their display included live scorpions!

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George Gooch's 205+ mph Pro Street Hayabusa was on display at the Wossner Pistons booth.

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The GoPro booth was truly top notch, with stunning video screens showing hundreds of actual GoPro clips. For those in attendance on the trade days, there was free beer flowing by the end of Day 2!

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Trail Tech was on hand and gave Inside Motorcycles the lowdown on their current auxiliary lighting range.

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Rev'it was in full force, displaying models including this jacket that isn't even available to the public yet!

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Vanson leathers has embraced the retro scene and offers dozens of inspiring jackets. They were excited to chat about our Nostalgia issue, which they loved!

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How about a CTX700 trike, anyone?

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Last modified on Thursday, 24 October 2013 12:47
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Graeme Jones

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