Are Motorcycle Shows for You? (Video)

DO YOU ATTEND MOTORCYCLE SHOWS?  WHY OR WHY NOT?  (Scroll down to “Leave a Reply.”) Personally, for many years, I did “not” go to motorcycle shows or events.  I wouldn’t say that I was opposed to them, or that I wouldn’t even have been interested if I somehow managed to find myself at one.  It’s just that, particularly when I was younger, I wasn’t that into motorcycles as machines, nor all the gear and accessories that were/are available.  I simply enjoyed riding.  And I did a lot of riding (and still do).  In fact, for me, any amount of time I devoted to the sport was simply that: riding and touring.  (Maintenance and cleaning were exceptions to the “just ride” rule).

However, in later years I adopted the habit of attending the International Motorcycle Show (IMS) right next to the Pacific Ocean, in Long Beach, CA. The IMS is a series of motorcycle expositions that take place in a number of cities across the United States in the fall and winter (since 1982). The expos feature new-model motorcycles, custom bikes, ATVs, cruisers, concept bikes, vintage bikes, and scooters as well as all manner of gear, accessories and services in addition to educational seminars and stunt-riding performances.

My favorite part is the demo rides (photo above and in video below) available from the participating manufacturers. Here in Southern California, this is one of the few opportunities to actually ride a bike before purchasing it, since most motorcycle dealers no longer carry the insurance to allow customers to try them out.

In fact, because of the warm climate it’s one of the few shows on the IMS circuit where demo rides are available.

The following short video is a very brief overview of some of the sights and activities at this year’s Long Beach IMS.  And in addition to their bikes, Brammo Electric Motorcycles featured some inspiring young ladies at their exhibit (see middle and end of video).

Although the demo rides are limited to a several mile experience and, with most manufacturers, are a “group ride,” the opportunity still gives better insight into the machine than simply sitting on it in a show room.

Having said all that about motorcycle shows, I have a friend who goes primarily to find good deals on gear. Others go for the social camaraderie or to view vintage bikes or customs. It’s also a good way to introduce kids, spouses and friends to motorbikes and to give them an opportunity to put a leg over a wide assortment of machines. And of course there are riders who don’t go to motorcycle shows and events at all.

There are motorcycle events all over the world, some bigger and many smaller. But the question is, do YOU attend motorcycle shows and events? And if so, why or why not? Please “Leave a Reply” below.


33 thoughts on “Are Motorcycle Shows for You? (Video)

  • I’ve been to a few bike shows, but my main interest in riding is actually riding. Whenever I get caught up in a big event, I spend more time finding a place to park, and getting in and out, than I do at the event. For a person who loves to talk with people and meet new people, shows are a place to do that. I mainly just like to ride.

  • I have attended the IMS Long Beach show as well over the years I lived in SoCal. I think they are valuable, so long as you enter with the view to actually see, touch, and feel new bikes an gear that local shops and vendors may not have in stock. The newest helmets and protective riding gear among them. I have purchased many hundreds of dollars of such gear there, and also confirmed. what new motorcycles becoming available fit my needs and budget long before their franchised dealer network will even see them, months hence.

    In those regards, the show can be entertaining, fun, and useful. To me.

  • I’m very envious, as your show looked much bigger than ours here in Seattle, but still saw no pics of the lust of my life, Aprilia, WSBK champs 3 out of the last 5 years. Sure wish they’d get their US act together!

  • Have not been to anything other than small local club events for decades. Went to the Motorcycle Gathering at the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, CA this May 2014. Well worth the 700 mile trip for me. The classic motorcycles just appeal to me more than the new stuff. There were several land speed record and drag bikes as well. Also enjoyed the parking lot. Some of the bikes in the lot should have been on display. And one makes new friends easily at this show. Makes me plan another trip to the Barber Museum. Spent all day there five years ago.

  • Been to the Americade 20 times seems it always rains for most of it. Had to pay to see vendors not crazy about that but a very nice area to ride and always do enjoy it I been to Laughlin Nevada River Run and enjoyed that a lot but it was hot! Been to Daytona many years ago and that was a good time. Been to the NYC show in January crowded but a good show. Been to Carlisle PA which I liked to. Wish they would add bikes to the Car show in Syracuse NY that’s a great show! I make every year love it! Like the Motorcyclepedia museum in Poughkeepsie NY for it’s old Indian collection and while there I had to see Orange Co. Choppers.

  • My son and I have attended the IMS show in cleveland every year. It’s a great place to compare all major manufacturer’s bikes in one place.

  • Went to biketoberfest one year that I lived in FL. I was bored out of my mind. I put in for a raffle right after I got there, and if you didn’t have to be present to win, I would have left after an hour or so. But I couldn’t walk out on a $20 raffle ticket. The new bikes were cool, but I was still a new rider, so wasn’t looking for a new bike yet. I still didn’t even know what I liked to ride yet.

    Now I know I like fast bikes, but need something comfortable. Looking at the Z1000, but I’m still not going to go do a demo ride on it. Most dealers will do a 24 hour/XX mile “no questions asked” return policy if you ask.

  • We go almost every year to the show closest to us (175 miles away). I like to see old friends and what’s ‘new’. It was at a show I found ‘Trax’ for my ATV, a nifty tent trailer for us and favorite daily riding gloves. Can’t remember seeing bikes like O’Larry says are in his area. Mostly dealers showing off the ‘new’ bikes for the year. That and misc. other venders, most of which I just pass on by…

  • NOPE, don’t go to them. Why look at the abominations of sick minds that only live as garage/show queens! BLEH!

  • Living only about 40 miles from Daytona, I frequent both Bike Week and Biketoberfest each year. I really do not get into the bar, Main Street scene but I do enjoy the other events. It is great fun to go the Daytona Speedway and demo ride any new bike that I am interested in. It is also a great opportunity to check out the vendors and get a first hand look at the new after market parts and new technology. It looks cool in a magazine but hands on will really tell if it would be a good purchase or NOT!

    I do really miss the Honda Hoot in Knoxville, Tennessee as I was an yearly attendee. I am really into touring (real bikers don’t own trailers) and could keep up with all the tourning technology such as tires, GPS, seat options (for those 600 mile days) and entertainment options. I now attend Americade in Lake George, New York as my replacement for the Hoot. Will be there in June of this year, 2013.

    So I guess my answer is, heck yes I do like the shows!

  • I’ve been to the one up in Timmonium, just north of Baltimore a few times. It is always the first weekend in February, so the weather can be a bit iffy. Doesn’t matter as I ride up there anyway. A few years back, this area got hit with two big snow storms back to back. We had around 80 inches in a week. Anyway, the city was closed, no one was going anywhere, but by the weekend of the show the roads were clear and for the most part dry. I dug my bike out from under the snow and rode the 15 miles to the show. Needless to say I was the only one who went to the show that weekend on my bike. I was home before the sun went down and the roads froze over again. Next weekend is the show, and I’m probably going to be going.

  • new show coming to orlando in oct a round 18th or 19th ..that looks good not just the just show choppers but all brands and what you can ride on the roads ..might be worth going to if your in fla.

  • Yes. I just returned from the UK where I worked for the last several years, The Carol Nash MC Show in Birmingham, the MC News show in London, the BMF tail end, all shows I went to every year. Here in the US, not so much. It’s tougher due to our shear physical size and that the show sponsors only go to the major metropolitan area’s an even then not all of them. A major metropolitan area in North Dakota isn’t even on their radar. Unless your California, NY, Chicago, or places like that chances of one being within commuting distance from the mid and western states is pretty remote. If you look at the Progressive International MC show schedule, Denver, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Las Vegas, aren’t on the list and these are large cities.

  • I attend as many bike shows within a 100 mile radius from my home as I can.there are
    a lot of great looking bikes on the eastern shore,and a lot of great people that ride them.come on out for a visit. you just might want to stay.

  • I enjoy the Victory Motorcycle events here in Florida, Arlen, Cory and Zack Ness and the Gunny are the best, Free food and soda’s, we check out new machines and it is low key and enjoyable. The Management folks talk about how the Company is doing and how Indian Motorcycles are being coming along and their future with Victory.

    Another great reason to take time off work and do something fun!

  • I’ve been to three or four bike shows over the years but didn’t find much of interest at any of them. I’ve never bought anything more expensive than a new helmet for my daughter at any show I’ve attended. I did make the mistake of signing up to try to win a new motorcycle. Boy! Was that ever a fiasco. That was four years ago and I STILL get literature from several companies trying to sell me something. I didn’t win the bike, of course.

  • Went to my first one this year in Chicago. Was shocked at how crowded it was since I rarely see any bikes on the road. Fun to see all the shiny stuff and some good buys on the small stuff. Will definitely go again.

  • Never been to one but planning to attend the International Motorcycle Show in Charlotte next month. Have wanted to attend in the past but my work schedule and location haven’t allowed it.

  • I occasionally go to a show, but every year I don’t miss the Bikes, Blues and BBQ in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I usually go over on Thursday morning with the express intent of going on test rides – they usually take groups out for 20-30 minutes and hit some turns and some on-ramps to see how the bike accelerates and corners. If you go on Thurs or Friday early, you can ride about anything you want. They also have one of my favorite things – funnel cakes. Some good bbq and blues bands too. Lots of places to camp, so I load up the side cases and take a tent and gear. Good food, lots of bikes, test rides, music … what’s not to like?

  • Why do you send us links like this? It advertises a new comment on a specific subject and yet neither of them take you there – just to a generic page of listings with the last one on Dec 12th on a completely different subject? Useless.

    – G

    Date: Sun, 1 Jan 2012 22:08:12 +0000
    Subject: [New comment] Recommending a First Motorcycle

  • Nearest is 3-1/2 hours away in Dallas and in cold weather. Can’t ride to it so don’t go. Besides I am not interested in the latest mega dollar, highest performance ride on the market. My interest are more mundane, something I can afford and ride everyday without attracting the attention of local LEO. Manufacturers, with the exception of MIlwaukee, seem to have lost touch with their customers.

  • ims show in march at daytona is free because it sucks…all going on is out side at dealers/track side/ main st… waste of time…skip it…

  • We use the excuse of going to a bike show just so we can go for a ride. Have been to many bike shows over the years but really don’t stay long. One bike show close to my home we attend as my club sometimes has a stand where we sell our bits & bobs

  • No: I have not been to a bike show yet. Wife and I were on our way to the bike festival in Galveston, Texas when she got sick and could not complete the trip. Hopefully I can make the next one or the one in South Pardra island, Texas next year.

  • Bike shows don’t interest me. I don’t like crowds. I like to ride. I’ve been to Americade, I’ve been to Laconia and Sturgis. These events are OK but that’s not what motorcycling is all about. Give me the wide open spaces

  • Us here in Illinios and the midwest have the IMS in Febuary in Chicago and its nice for the middle of winter to go and look at bikes and accesories and gets you looking forward to the riding season again.

  • No, I don’t like going to motorcycle shows, but it does give you a chance to see a potential ‘new ride’ if you are looking for a demo; that said, I’d rather be on the road and see the sights, than be stuck checking out the sights at a show.

  • I do like going to shows, but in 3 to 5 yr increments. Mostly there is not that much change from yr to yr. If there is then it’s time to go, or if I’m ready for a change. The ability to try lots of different bikes, & see how they fell all under on roof is great. Usually by the time I get back there is lots of new stuff to see. Shame ours is held in Jan with lots of snow, so the test ride is not a option up here. The feel & if my feet touch the ground, with so may bikes to chose from makes for a good day.

  • This is my 3rd bike show at Long beach. I really like them. People walking around the show are good. Even though it got crowded people weren’t bumping into eachother and if they did they were polite. I’m saying a better than normal L.A. crowd. IMHO. I didn’t test ride anything. I am not ready to buy and think I should leave the spot open for someone that is. When I am ready to buy there will probably be a new model of something I’d want to try anyway. And the wait for what you want to ride can be long. But, that’s just me. Not knocking anyone that just wants to try different bikes for the fun of it. FYI, the signups for rides started at 8:00 am. I didn’t know that. Personal bike parking is free $10, and close by the test area. But a 300 yard approximately, walk to see the show. I am into Adventure Dual Sport bikes in the 1,000cc range. They had plenty to look at. No KTM though. The number of bike manufacturers to test ride was low also. The show overall was great. Vendors are friendly and helpful. For you “normal” guys. The Female models are generally friendly, and worth at least half if not all the price of admission to gawk at. Hahahaha They will pose with you and seen some sitting on bikes with guys that had funny smiles on them. LOL I’m in my late 50’s and a couple of them came over and started conversations with me. Guess the old guys don’t worry them. A real plus for us!!!! So, if you haven’t been to a big bike show like this, you got to go at least once. On the down side. We went on Friday. The first day. Doors opened at 4:00pm to 10pm. We were in line about 30 minutes early. We had to wait for them to start selling tickets at 4:00PM when the doors opened. WTH!There’s a huge lobby and hall way we could have waited in and a bathroom there also. Glad it wasn’t raining and didn’t need the bathroom really bad. Oh well,,, that’s the worst of it. Not too bad.

  • OK, I have nothing against motorcycle shows and I’m sure I miss some good information, good products and the fun of talking to other riders. However, I do not go to the shows because my primary and almost exclusive interest in motorcycles is as a mechanism for travel. I love going places–specially places a lot of other people never make it to and riding a motorcycle is preferable to all other means of transportation. It allows you to feel and smell and be part of the environment which you don’t get in a plane, train car or bus (bicycles are good too but too slow to go where i want in the time available.

  • Yes I attend in Seattle Washington, USA. The IMS is held now in mid-December, which is generally a wet cold, overcast, dismal, depressing time of year. Perfect for indoor hanging out with bikes, gear, other motorcyclists, and venders. Demo rides are not offered. Really who would want to ride an unfamiliar bike on the hills of downtown Seattle, or even the bottlenecked freeway on a busy near xmas weekend. NOT!
    The Seattle Bike Show has dwindled down and switched to a smaller building due to the economy. Although there are more riders on our local roads then ever before.
    I do have all the insulated/heated gear for nearly most cold riding weather. Most everyone would agree, it far more entertaining to ride without the heavy gear. Have replaced my 2006 FJR 1300 miled up to 75K, purchased new 2006 April with a used 2009 FJR 1300 with 3,500 miles in April of 2011. This bike in December has 18500 miles of camping and siteseeing. Always seeking other FJR 1300 women riders as we seem to be quite rare. Maybe this year at the bike show.
    Happy Holidays,
    MK Alpers

  • Yes I go when they are in my home town (Doha) or nearby (Dubai). The custom bikes here have their own local flavor. (Customised sports bikes painted in cartoon motifs last year, in LV, Burberry and Gucci print the year before that etc.) Bike shows here in the Mid-east i suspect are probably smaller than in America, entrance is usually free and you know a lot of the people there. The bike clubs organize ride-outs and event to coincide with the show so yeah there are plenty of reasons to go..

  • I used to go every year. Every Year I would buy something from the Australian guy that manned the Belstaff clothing booth.

    When I saw the BMW F650 Dakar in late 2000 I placed a deposit on one without hesitation.

    It has been about 7 years now without going to a show. I work in the industry so there are no surprises and thus they have lost their appeal.

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