Motorcycle Trade Show War. Alliance Between Dealer Expo And International Motorcycle Show To Offer Exhibitors Both B2B And B2C Weekend.

The Advanstar Dealer Expo in Indianapolis, a trade show, and a new Progressive International Motorcycle Show, a consumer event, will be held in parallel in Indianapolis Feb. 15-17, 2013.

During these last years, the Advanstar Dealer Expo in Indianapolis, like the Easyriders V-Twin Expo in Cincinnati (to be held 2 weeks sooner on Feb 2-3, 2013) have been severely challenged by the bad economy and also by internet, a very cheap and efficient media for the industry to instantly announce its new products to the world and to keep in permanent contact with its retailers and clients.

It’s no secret that both trade shows have faced dwindling participation from exhibitors and attendance from dealers. Rivalry between the 2 competing events culminated in 2012 with the Cincinnati V-Twin Expo being qualified by some as being only a get-together between friends of the custom motorcycle industry, and others describing the Indianapolis Dealer Expo as mainly an “agri-asian-scooter” exhibition where the US motorcycle industry is badly represented to a non-qualified audience of buyers. Both shows are challenged on their ability to generate profitable new business.

During these last years and until now, the 2 troubled trade events, the V-Twin Expo by Easyriders and Dealer Expo by Advanstar, have rejected the many suggestions they received to host separate consumer access to the same exhibit. Both swore they would remain strictly B2B events.  But both trade shows face now a new competitor, a 3rd show named “American International Motorcycle Expo” (AIME) to be launched and held in Orlando Oct 16-20, 2013. AIME will be at the same time a business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) event at a favorable time of the year when OEM manufacturers need venues to show their new models, and in a city considered much more appealing in any season for business and pleasure than Cincinnati or Indianapolis in winter. AIME clearly stated its philosophy: “A show format bringing together all constituents of the motorcycle industry in one place, at one time, with one show, to be efficient.”

Feeling danger, the Dealer Expo organizers have changed their mind and count on the popular International Motorcycle Show and the vast resources of its backer, Progressive Insurance, to re-activate interest of exhibitors. Now, the question is about what the Cincinnati Dealer Expo By Easyriders will do to retain its exhibitors who may be very tempted to flee to 2 shows arguing that they are much more profitable in offering access to both professional and consumers. To save its show, Advanstar had no choice but to follow AIME’s marketing approach. And Easyriders? Will the V-Twin Expo remain a B2B only show? There are many risks in not adjusting to a new economy and to new efficient ways available to the V-Twin industry to market its products worldwide on a short notice and at a very low cost.  

25 Responses to “Motorcycle Trade Show War. Alliance Between Dealer Expo And International Motorcycle Show To Offer Exhibitors Both B2B And B2C Weekend.”

  1. 1 DAS Services Jul 19th, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Need to place the darn thing in a warmer climate in the South or South west and the participation for either show will increase! You can bet on it!

  2. 2 Dave Blevins Jul 19th, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Our shop is a 4 hour drive from Indy, and about 3 1/2 hour drive from Cincy, but due to being held in the worst weather of the winter season means even I miss attending some years (I prefer the V-Twin Expo) usually because of ice storms. Nasty weather either show, every year.
    Scheduling the show at different venue, or at least a warmer time of year, would seem the best way to get attendance up, in my opinion.

  3. 3 Patrick Shindler Jul 19th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Well said, Cyril. Good analysis of the challenges that trade shows are facing. True also in other industries that I know. Business models are changing very fast. The V-Twin crowd “friendship” with an organizer (a magazine) is not enough to justify spending big money in a trade show if there is no immediate profitability. Friendship after business. Not friendship instead of business.

  4. 4 Trekker Jul 19th, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Looks like AIME has more financial resources than Easyriders and Advanstar. You can bet that they are going to make to some big exhibitors offers to participate that they can’t refuse. Small exhibitors are going to follow.

  5. 5 Greeko Jul 19th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Daytona Biketoberfest and Orlando AIME Expo at the same time in October. Winner: AIME. Loser: Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona now unable to fill up his parking lot with vendors gone to Orlando.

  6. 6 Gunslinger Jul 19th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I was thinking that Cincy might have a bigger turn out this coming year, since HD is no longer having their winter dealer meeting – which may then draw some extra HD Franchises into the expo…

  7. 7 Shifter Jul 19th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    This war will benefit the exhibitor and the consumer. Great!

  8. 8 Long Forks Jul 19th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Both Advanstar & Easyriders became quite arrogant. claiming all the time they are the best, blah, blah, blah. Competition is going to make them think seriously about what they really have to offer to exhibitors. Just a good time out of the office/shop?

  9. 9 Steve the Producer Johann Jul 19th, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I also work in another industry there are 2 trade associations who battle it out against each other. The one holds it’s annual event in Vegas in January and now they have combinded efforts with a regional association and will do another show in FL also during winter.

    All this to say major trade shows in every industry are seeking ways to get participants to show up and holding them in warmer places climates durring the winter is just one way of doing this. Combining two shows into one is also another way which makes sense.

  10. 10 Ridesafe Jul 19th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    It is simple. The venue has to one that is inexpensive to reach either by airplane or car, hotel rooms have to abundant, inexpensive and within walking distance to the venue, many resturants within walking distance to the hotels and the venue. These are all a must for both the vendors setting up at these shows and the dealers attending. Plus with such a small industry audience to draw from these show promotors need to consider at least a one day open to the retail public. The promotors can charge addmission to the retail public which will help off set cost and those cost can be passed on to the vendors who exhibit. Maybe a Friday Saturday delaers only, Sunday retail and dealers. Last the shows need to be much earlier, similar to what SEMA does and in a warm climate and maybe have some other attractions that will help draw both the dealers and vendors…………………………pretty simple

  11. 11 Sparky Jul 19th, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Agreeing with the 2 comments just above. In this industry there is room only for 1 show to be profitable for the organizers and exhibitors. And I guess it will be AIMExpo. The old builders, vendors, organizers are unable to change. They do business with each other because they know each other since 20, 30, 40 years. Not because there is business to be made. Why change, they think. Exhibitors just begin to understand the new ways to do business and that there is no substance (money) in the way they are continuing to conduct their affairs. One day, somebody shows up (AIME) with a non-revolutionary concept (B2B & B2C together) and trade show organizers are all surprised, while realizing now that they should have adopted this same idea at least since 2006.

    Advanstar is panicking and will do their show the wrong way with 2 separate venues with separate entrances but under the same building. Exhibitors will need 2 displays? At the price of 1? Or at twice the price? Looks to me like turning a good idea into a bad one. I think it’s possible to have dealers and bikers in the same building with exhibitors able to identify them (badge given to dealers after strict registration) Exhibitors don’t have to give retailers their price lists during the show. Only after the show and verification of the dealer status.

    Will Easyriders change? Probably not until it’s too late. February 2013 possibly the date of the death sentence for the V-twin Expo. Exactly like with Easyriders magazine. Instead of making it evolve and keeping it out of trouble, Paisano launches small ones ?!? How many magazines bikers buy? Between zero and one,. If you are the chosen one you are lucky and even not sure to survive because your advertising is down at least 50% because of internet. The V-Twin Expo is going to argue that they are the only “dealers trade show of the V-Twin industry.” Who cares if exhibitors don’t make money with these last standing dealers on a budget, and if they feel like spending money visiting a show, better to do it under the sun. Exhibitors want to sell to both dealers and direct to consumers. Or they can’t survive. A show with 1 display to reach both is the best solution. I buy the idea and maybe a display in October in Orlando.

  12. 12 Blackmax Jul 19th, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    This pissing war is now a “No Holds Barred, 3-Way” !!!
    Sounds like a bad WWE show.
    I hope Cincinnati survives as it is, bar none, the best show for the V-Twin Market

  13. 13 Jezza Jul 19th, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    As an overseas dealer and buyer I agree with the comments about a warmer location making it more attractive. I can then justify the cost of the trip by combining a family holiday somewhere nice with business (no disrespect to Cincinnati, but a tourist town it aint!). I’ve got a lot of good contacts and business opportunities from V-Twin, but there’s no way I want to take my wife and daughter to Cincinnati for a week and have them sitting around for 3 days shivering and waiting for me to finish doing business. Florida would be way better.
    I have to say though, mixing trade with retail customers might be good for exhibitors, but not good for buyers like me. One of the big attractions of the V-Twin for me is that it is trade only, and I don’t have to wade through crowds of looky-loos and autograph seekers to get to talk to the manufacturers. Having direct and easy access to the manufacturers and being able to talk with them about technical issues etc for as long as it takes is a huge draw for me and makes the cost of flying from Japan worth while. If I’m competing with all the crowds of retail customers I’m just not gonna get as much business done in three days. There are plenty of retail shows already, I hope this trade show war doesn’t spell the end of trade-only shows. If it does I think we’ll all feel we’ve lost something.

  14. 14 Rodent Jul 20th, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Indy in the winter
    Cincy in the winter
    Orlando in the fall
    Pick one! easy!

  15. 15 biker64 Jul 20th, 2012 at 7:39 am

    We exhibit at Intermot in Germany. The first day is unofficially trade and press. Rest of the time open to the public. I see trade contacts the whole week. Just have to staff your booth so you can give you key dealers and distributors the time they need, while other staff is dealing with the public. I think any time the end consumer is exposed to your product and brand it is a good thing. If a dealer is looking to always grow his business he will make it to a yearly trade show to see what is new. V Twin Expo is just a bro-fest. One guy from the dealership and ten of his buddies to tag along.

  16. 16 Anonymous Jul 20th, 2012 at 7:48 am

    My boss pays my trip and expenses to the V-Twin Expo. Shooting the breeze all day long on our display. No business for the last 3 years I was there. My boss doesn’t seem to care too much, he has a good time after hours with his buddies of the industry ! I mean a good pretext to be away from the wifey! V-Twin Expo, a vacation in the wrong city at the wrong time of the year/

  17. 17 Toby Jul 20th, 2012 at 9:27 am

    If we look back several months at the comment archives of the two shows, we will see this exact argument for moving the show(s) to better, more economical, venues. Orlando is an obvious choice as they specialize in conventions, and have the infrastructure to support them (cheap hotels, airfare, etc.). Combine that with Bike Week or Ocotberfest and you have a winning combination. There is already a lot of B2B going on the week before the bike events. However, it is difficult as exhibitors are spread out all over Daytona. The tradeshow will allow B2B for a couple of days and then let in the public. Remember, you need buyers to buy from your customers, so this is a good way to create “pull” demand from a highly qualified demographic (bikers with disposable income).

    This model could easily be duplicated in Vegas too (another cheap convention destination).

  18. 18 Rebecca Jul 20th, 2012 at 10:36 am

    SEMA is actively building the powersports section. I personally am your contact for this spectacular event. SEMA offers the right venue, right time of year, easy to get to, cheap airfare and room rates as low at $29 a night. In addition, many powersports industry folks don’t know this, but we bring in the buyers, over 60,000 and another 33,000 media, press, etc… and these are REAL numbers. We don’t scan your badge everytime you walk on the show floor. H-D corporate attends, Tucker-Rocky, Parts Unlimited, multi-line dealerships, mom and pops not to mention all the potential new business opportunities you open your powersports business up to at an event of this magnitude. The powersports section is strategically placed right outside of registration and next to the truck section…most motorcycle/powersport enthusiasts own trucks right? Let’s talk crossover…V-Twin guys are Hot Rod guys. This is an especially attractive venue for V-Twin companies. Edelbrock, ACCEL, Cometic, Mickey Thompson, Comp Cams, Metzler/Pirelli, Handy, Lincoln Electric…countless other SEMA exhibitors crossover to motorcycle/powersports. I personally counted 176 motorcycles in booths located out of the powersports section. There are over 300 manufacturers that sell powersports related products throughout the SEMA show. I could go on and on…many of you know that I used to work for Advanstar, so I am intimately familiar with Dealer Expo. The best thing about SEMA is we truly care about your success, I will bend over backwards to make sure you have a great show and the same goes for every SEMA team member and every ConvExx team member. We are a membership driven organization and we are not all about taking your money and running. Also, the show is not too big for the “small” guys, SEMA was built on mom and pops and to this day it still is. If anyone is interested in more information please call me…anytime at 714-403-7449 or email is I wish Larry Little, Mike Webster, Cinnamon Kernes and the team at AIME the best of luck. It has been a long time coming and I think their show is going be great. I can’t wait to go! They are stand up people, they have the connections and they care. So there you have it, 2 “NEW” great options for powersports…you’ve been asking for it, now you have it!

  19. 19 Rodent Jul 20th, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I attended the SEMA show last year for the first time. “UNFUCKINBELIEVABLE “. Wear very, very comfortable shoes, a must!

  20. 20 missippi Mac Jul 20th, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Yes , Yes , if you come to the gulf coast you can get set up alot cheaper look up Gulfport crusing the coast , car week . we are ready for bikes now and we have a central local; to ,New Orleans / Pensacola , and all sorts of casinos resorts .TKA, MAC OUT

  21. 21 Sluggo Jul 23rd, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Desperate actions during desperate times.

  22. 22 nitrobil Jul 23rd, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    This reminds me of the wars between Indy Car and Cart or better yet the Cold War between Russia and the USA.. Either way every one looses but it is nice to see old friends at the shows.

  23. 23 Arie Jul 24th, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    It’s my understanding that Drag/Parts Unlimited has pulled out of the Indy show entirely.

  24. 24 Jaegergeist Jul 24th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    2013 Indianapolis Trade Show / 2013 Regional Showcases “Sommervold, Kathy, “Lopez, Lou”, “Matchette, Jim”, “Collins, Mike”

    Please read the following information sent to you on behalf of Greg Blackwell, VP of Sales – Parts Unlimited / Drag Specialties:

    We would like to advise you that we have decided not to exhibit in the 2013 Indianapolis Trade Show. We have been very disappointed with the turn-out of dealers over the past several years and feel that we can no longer justify the cost to participate. We feel that our own Showcase Events produce a better return on investment for LeMans and our Vendors as we are able to meet with more Dealers on a national level.
    We are excited to announce that we will produce a West Coast Regional Showcase on March 23-24, 2013 in Anaheim, CA and a Northeast Regional Showcase on April 6-7, 2013 in Valley Forge, PA. Our plan is to produce a Reno Style Showcase where we will feature over 200 vendor booths in each of these shows. We will host a Saturday afternoon Rep/Dealer preview, a Saturday evening Meet & Greet and a Sunday Showcase. We are very excited about the prospects that these shows offer given the high concentration of Dealers in both of these areas. Preparations are being finalized and invitations will be sent very soon.
    As in the past, we will continue to hold our yearly NVP/Showcase in Madison, WI in August, and we are in the planning stages of our 2013 Super Showcase Series. If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Kathy Sommervold (

    With best regards,

    Greg Blackwell
    VP of Sales

  25. 25 Guy Jul 24th, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Easyriders V-win Expo and Advanstar Dealer Expo. Obsolete business models. Disruption created by the economy. Yes. By internet. Even more, and it’s going to amplify. Today’s trade shows: loss of time & money.

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Cyril Huze