By: Drew T. Newcomer
For the 30th year, the International Motorcycle Show began its’ 12 city tour at the Dallas Convention Center in downtown Dallas, Texas. Having attended this show several times in the past, I have found it convenient to leave the motorcycle at home and take the I-20 west drive in the pick-up. So it was as I headed out about 6am on November 13 to the great state of Texas to see what was new in the motorcycle world. I had a room reservation at the ALOFT Motel, which was the host location for vendors and attendees alike.
After checking into my “ultra-modern” room in the very eclectic ALOFT, I headed to the Convention Center which was about a five minute walk from the motel. Lots of bikes rested in the bright Texas sun and a ride up the escalator brought me to the main entrance to the show after paying the $15.00 entrance fee.
Progressive Insurance, the largest sponsor for the show, greeted you with pretty girls and some large plastic bags with some “freebies.” The first noticeable thing was not what was there, but what wasn’t. BMW and Triumph were conspicuously missing from the show. This was the second year of absence for BMW, though it is my understanding that BMW will make a presence in a few of this year’s locations. The English marquee was missing for the first time that I remember having perused their display last year. Kawasaki, Suzuki, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, and Ducati all had impressive displays. As in years past, there seemed to be more of a crowd, and more of a general interest, in the Italian area. Ducati had several of their bikes on display with the Multi Strada receiving a lot of “looksies.” Of course Ducatis look fast even when parked and a good number of photos were being taken of the various bikes.
After walking through the entire area of the show it seemed to me that the number of apparel, luggage, and accessories vendors were down as well. I made a stop and a purchase at the Gerbing’s display, having fried my control unit a couple days before. I also purchased a new microfiber top. I am cold-natured and have enjoyed my Gerbings when the temperature drops.
The show was well attended at the time I was there (of course, Saturday being the busiest of the three days.) Also different this year was a number of locations had speakers discussing everything from properly fitting motorcycle clothing to suspensions in small theater-like arrangements. Every one I passed seemed to have an interested audience and the various programs were repeated on a scheduled basis.
I have been known to spend a good deal of money at this event, but I was proud of myself as I had some cash left in my pocket when leaving the Convention Center. My reason for frugality was not so much a function of the national economy but the fact that I traded in my trusty ole R1150R for an 09 K1300GT demo bike. Having a monthly note is something I haven’t had to worry about for a while. And with thoughts of top cases and Corbin seats dancing in my head, I thought it prudent to try and be fiscally responsible.
The motorcycle show has always been enjoyable for me and Dallas is an easy day trip from West Monroe. The national economy’s effect on the motorcycle industry (and the various support industries) is very evident. The number of motorcycle dealers nationwide has dropped and no brand has gone unaffected. Hopefully, this trend will reverse itself and we’ll have shows like this one to attend for years to come.
((Editor's Note: As of this posting, the IMS website lists 2011 tour dates only through March. Check back at http://www.motorcycleshows.com/ to get the latest on tour stops closer to home.))