On My Way To The V-Twin Expo. 11th Edition. February 5-7th.

Good morning everybody. This post from West Palm Beach Airport. I know very well the good reasons why the V-Twin Expo is held in Cincinnati, but I am still bitching when I have to leave in winter sunny and warm South Florida (today 80-63F) for the frigid temperatures (32-25F) and coming snow of Ohio. Well, I will arrive this afternoon at my downtown hotel after hopefully a non-eventful trip without snow delay or confiscated computer gear by a TSA agent… So I should be in Cincinnati reporting every day about this trade show that vendors consider one of the yearly bellwethers of the health of the V-Twin Industry.

But a few facts I already know and that I can already share with you. While the number of vendor booths is sharply down from the top of 2006 (a time when 2 floors of the Duke Energy Center were necessary to welcome all exhibitors), participation has stabilized, many vendors opting to reduce the size of their display instead of missing this important trade show. The list of exhibitors and the ware they are showing this year reflect a difficult economy and a legislation-induced trend towards street legal custom bolt-on parts (retro-styling is big) and performance custom parts. If you ask, most dealers will confirm to you that since the start of our recession their major sources of profit have come from installation, maintenance and service.

As I reported too many times in my Blog, casualties have been important during these last years. But, the economy is healing and we already know that technically (ask the Wall Street pundits) we are out of this deep recession since almost one year and in a slow recovery mode with Americans getting more optimistic every day. I also know that many bikers who have a job, feared the worst and consequently didn’t spend money on their bikes have continued to make wish lists…The custom motorcycle industry is far from being dead. It was sleeping. All my professional indicators show that we have bottomed out, a reason to be conservatively optimistic for the rest of 2011.

As soon as I arrive, I will do a walk through of the Energy Duke Convention Center for a preview of all new ideas and products that vendors will start showing tomorrow when the V-Twin Expo opens its doors at 10 am. Talk to you later from Cincinnati.

17 Responses to “On My Way To The V-Twin Expo. 11th Edition. February 5-7th.”

  1. 1 alan Feb 4th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    good luck
    for santiago chopper we do not go any more to cincinnati to far away to cold
    and for what? to see my products on DNA booth

  2. 2 BigWave916 Feb 4th, 2011 at 10:36 am

    TSA = Thousands Standing Around

  3. 3 Harry Feb 4th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Impatient to know more about what’s going on.

  4. 4 Manhattan Choppers Feb 4th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Have fun, get some greaters ice cream there, it’s the best in the us..

  5. 5 Brenda Fox Feb 5th, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Hope you packed you long john skivvies! Thanks for keeping us all posted.

  6. 6 Joe Mielke Feb 5th, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Day one, 30 degrees. It’s a heat wave! Here’s to a great day at the expo! See you on the show floor!

  7. 7 Cindy Erato Feb 5th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Thanks Cyril!
    I won’t be attending this year but will be glued to what you will be reporting. Thanks for the update and I too believe the industry is on a upswing. Cheers and go Packers!

  8. 8 Karend6656 Feb 5th, 2011 at 8:41 am

    We don’t go anymore for the reason, people don’t place orders, they are just there to see “who” is there. One year we had so many people come up to ask “where is Billy Lane’s Booth”.( cause we were close to Billys’ booth. It cost so much to go and put up a presentable booth to show the product, and the only thing we really get out of it, is maybe 2 new customeers if even that. (literally out of thousands of people)
    John Magee (owner, designer) spends time with people answering the questions (which is fine, and he enjoys helping people) but we get the impression the people going only pick your brains and are not really interested in purchasing your product. (belt drives and clutches) .
    And then there is the weather, you have to line up with your trailor with all of you product and booth equipment in it, In the freezing weather, wait for someone to wave you down to the un-loading zone, un load your trailor, but then you have to literally park miles away… It is just crazy.
    The people that go are fun, no doubt, and we get to see our friends as well. Maybe next year we can go to to be one of those people that just walk around…
    Have fun and enjoy to everyone going….

  9. 9 jspfc Feb 5th, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I am just curious:

    1) this event is for “dealers” only right?(Or rather shops that sell or use products)
    2) how many “dealers” stores have you walked into where they actually have a product in stock?
    3) so based on what i would expect the answers to 1 & 2, should you really expect “dealers” to buy at this Expo or is this to showcase the products you have?

    Maybe if they opened the event up to the public, you know the people who are the ones who really purchase the products, maybe there would be more sales?

    Otherwise it seems like it is just a show to showcase what you have or what is new so I’m not sure what you would expect to get if you have a booth set up.

  10. 10 ROGUE Feb 5th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    The weather is good. No longjohns lol.
    Got to talk to Cyril and others.
    Heading back to center for the awards banquet.
    There are some new parts and also informative seminars

  11. 11 Karend6656 Feb 5th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    The show originally was just dealers but now the public is welcome for a fee as well. The dealers come in as customers to see what is new in the industry, so you go to this show to get the newest items before anyone else. Some of the dealers that do buy at the show, usually purchase your items and put them into their “new” catalog as soon as they arrive back at their shops/stores.

    The show is to let the dealers get a jump on all new products before the mfg., sell them under their own names first. it really is a win win situation. dealer buys from the mfg, (hence the mfg makes money) and the mfg puts them in their own catolog and makes money as well… everyone wins…

  12. 12 Doc Robinson Feb 5th, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    As a motojournalist I love this show. Most of the movers and shakers of the aftermarket are here, their new products can be viewed, and there is time to talk with them all under the one roof. It makes for time efficient product information for me and there is some nice stuff here, some of it brand new and exciting. I’m sure Cyril will cover it all for his readers given time.

  13. 13 David Feb 6th, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Cyril …..I’m suprised you dont have your own private jet by now …….By the way who is that guy looking into see if there are any pilots on board?

    Really “the bottom” have you ever been at the bottom of a well yelling to get out and someone throws you a rope and when you start pulling on it the other ends comes down and hits you in the head? Paid any attenion to gas or food prices lately? Do you honestly think people are going to start spending money on LUXURY items when it cost more just to survive. Its a just a big circle the less we have to spend(no jobs) the less we make, we less we spend and others lose jobs because were not spending and we have less and less.
    We had better hope that the Suez Canal is not cut off or controlled by some that doesnt really like U.S. because It not only gas that runs or cars and bikes try to make anything else without it.

    SSDD; David

  14. 14 Mike Feb 7th, 2011 at 1:12 am

    The V-Twin expo just isn’t a good show. The attendees are there to mingle with people in the industry, not to buy things and not even really to see the new products. I’ve done the show a few times and it just does not compare at ALL to the Dealer Expo, or even to Daytona.

    I did not know they are letting non-dealers in off the street. That does not bode well, because it shows they can’t even get enough actual dealers out to the show to make it work.

    The exhibitors who have stopped doing the show are not stopping because times are tough and they have to cut costs, they aren’t doing the show because there is no return on investment.

    The big distributors have very scaled back displays/staff at this show, much of the main stream press doesn’t go there, and the number of exhibitors dwindles every year.

    They really need to do a much better job of bringing real dealers to this show and making it a place to conduct BUSINESS, not a place for hole-in-the-wall shop owners to get their picture taken with some big name in the industry so they can go show all their friends.

  15. 15 simonnormandin Feb 7th, 2011 at 9:26 am

    been there 3 times great show but what a stupid place to held a fun thing like that

  16. 16 1550tc Feb 7th, 2011 at 5:27 pm


    Good points you bring up and i have seen it and been there……its just a good ROI for most people like Karend6656 …….its a great time for the show re vamp itself

    Mike you missed the guys going to show and becoming dealers
    then building ONE bike, theirs LOL and you missed the guys picking up 1000 decals!

    Karend6656 i hear yah on being next to the billy lane booth ,
    its the same when guys have two store bought ( . ) ( . ) with attached arms and a pen to sign posters

    My friends told me traffic was DOWN BIG TIME……….for them its more protocal to be there, so they go.

    the V twin guys would be lost at the indy show, so iam not sure what the answere is

  17. 17 1550tc Feb 7th, 2011 at 5:28 pm



    Good points you bring up and i have seen it and been there……its just NOT a good ROI for most people like Karend6656 …….its a great time for the show re vamp itself

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Cyril Huze