Faces At The Cincinnati V-Twin Expo

For 2 days, the 13th Annual V-Twin Expo, a trade show, gathers part of the V-Twin Industry in Cincinnati where dealers can see the new 2013 parts and accessories that you may want later to add some “custom” to your ride. I will show you the most interesting ones in upcoming features. A few on-location shots. of the vendors attending this show (pics by D.P. Dufresne)

Top & left to right. 1- A Young Arlen Ness. 2- A Thinner Bert Baker 3- A Pretty Metzeler Girl & Tire  4- Krome Werks Display 5- Ben Kudon (Rivera Primo) 6- Eddie Trotta 7- Klock Family 8- Bob Wood (Wood Performance) 8- Chuck Frederick (Renegade Wheels) 9- Jon Komoski (House Of Kolors)



48 Responses to “Faces At The Cincinnati V-Twin Expo”

  1. 1 Josh Parker Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Everybody’s aging…

  2. 2 Ronnie Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Not much happening there. The best part of the trade show is after hours, watching the super bowl with a bunch of friends of the industry!

  3. 3 Shifter Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Saw this Ness bike before. Nice.

  4. 4 Emeritus Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Trade shows are dead. Very few new products. No story about the show. Cyril limted to show faces. It says a lot.

  5. 5 BobS Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:18 am

    I hope a certain bike from a company called Conquest Customs is shown…

  6. 6 Dealerz Jo Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Not going anymore. Why? Loss of time & money. Vendors know how to contact me by email with their new stuff and their promo offers.

  7. 7 P. Princeton Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:24 am

    V-Twin Expo. Zzzzzzzzzzz…

  8. 8 Bruce Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:31 am

    The V-Twin No News Expo.

  9. 9 San Felipo Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:41 am

    The trade show business model of years 2000 is broken. It’s a new world. Next?

  10. 10 South Trade Cycles Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:46 am

    The American industry absolutely needs at least one good v-twin trade show. Problem is that now it’s only a small group of the oldest of the baby boomers of the industry stroking each other ego to re-assure themselves on their professional status. The new generation of builders, the youngest dealers don’t participate or attend. It’s a shame.

  11. 11 mkviz Feb 3rd, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Where is the AARP booth babe?

  12. 12 Jeff Nicklus Feb 3rd, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    @South Trade Cycles,

    “The new generation of builders, the youngest dealers don’t participate or attend.” So whose fault is that?

    Over & Out,


  13. 13 Rebel Feb 3rd, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Lots of elbow room, still a good time.

  14. 14 Littlerider22 Feb 3rd, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Same old same old… booorrringgg

  15. 15 Rodent Feb 3rd, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Waste of time &money!

  16. 16 Ira Moscovi Feb 3rd, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    A friend who is a dealer told me on the phone that today you had room to skateboard in the alleys! Doesn’t sound too good.

  17. 17 Bradley Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    At the beginning It used to be a professional celebration of the v twin industry. No more. Less vendors, no new products, no energy. Today’s movers & shakers have disappeared . Stopped going 4 years ago. Even the competitor, the Dealer Expo in 2 weeks in Indianapolis doesn’t have a dedicated v twin section anymore. They also canceled the 2nd trade show they wanted to organize this Fall to compete with another new show called AIME in Orlando. 3 trade shows for a small industry? Is it 2 or 3 too many?

  18. 18 Insider Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    You can reach motorcycle dealers all over the world with one email. A good product with good pictures will bring you in one free email more business than any trade show costing you a fortune (travel, hotel, employees, display fee, etc) Reason why all these trade shows are dinosaurs.

  19. 19 Johny Letgo. Feb 3rd, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Jeff Nicklus. My answers to your question: 1- They don’t need to because they already know about new products through vendors or news websites like this one. 2- They don’t have the money to afford losing their time just shooting the breeze with vendors. They prefer to stay at the shop and make money 3- They don’t mix well with arrogant old farts who think they are the industry leaders.

  20. 20 Sharrack Feb 3rd, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Is that really Eddie Trotta?? From the Monkeys?

  21. 21 Blackmax Feb 4th, 2013 at 8:06 am

    I LOVED IT !!!!
    Yes, Sat AM was typical Cincinnati, 2 in of snow & 18 degrees & the AM / opening turn out was thin,
    But was able to get to the people we needed to see & actually be able to talk with them.
    Almost everyone was very cooperative and it is always good to see/meet people you have established relationships with over the years and create new ones.
    Yes, a good e-mail can reach a lot of people but nothing takes the place of face to face.
    Is there one too many trade shows? Probably, and it was smaller than last year.
    But for us & a lot of others, east of the Mississippi, Cincinnati has & continues to be the best.

  22. 22 Mark Pavlica Feb 4th, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Sorry some of you did not have a good time(or did not attend ) but we went through 500 catalogs before Saturday was even finished. Shaking hands and spending time with our top dealers means everything.

  23. 23 chopmonster66 Feb 4th, 2013 at 9:08 am

    was kinda slow ,maybe the cold. some cool stuff too. but nothing like 5 yrs ago. all the young guns are building real bikes, with what they have or make. the way it used to be. might need a few more yrs under my belt before i need a bagger and a bunch of bagger parts .

  24. 24 Calif Phil Feb 4th, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I agree with Blackmax. I had a great time. I did see new products, met old and new friends I made some deals and placed some orders. Spent sat evening at the S&S party. It was a good time and I will go back next year. I wish more of the complainers on here would support things like this.

  25. 25 Ted Sands Feb 4th, 2013 at 11:37 am

    13 years ago the V-Twin Show started because “we the Industry” were sick of being part of larger shows that you had to wade through snow-mobiles, dirt bikes and Chinese Scooters to see what you really wanted to see. This is the only dealer show in the world that focus’s on nothing but V-Twin. I’ve been to INTERMOT in Germany EICMA in Italy, Indy Dealer Show and none of them have as many dedicated V-Twin suppliers, distributors and dealers which showed up to Cincinnati. I see most of the opinions are coming from people who didn’t attend. I can tell you I saw and made presentations to 60% of my customers, I saw the majority of my foreign distributors and the dealer turn out was respectable. The internet is a great source of information but seeing and touching parts and meeting friends and customers face to face is when real business is done. Yes the show is smaller but face it there are a lot of companies out of business. The suppliers/manufacturers at the V-Twin are the core of our industry. Like any trade show, it is only as good as you make. If your lazy and just don’t care stay home and surf the internet and complain how bad business is. Our business has had double digit growth for the last 4 years and we plan to attend the V-Twin next year.
    Ted Sands
    Performance Machine

  26. 26 The Supreme Team Feb 4th, 2013 at 11:47 am

    The ROI makes it tough to do this type of show. Less the industry giants, this show runs a minimum of $6K to show for the small guys between rooms, show space, dining, airfare and freight for your products to arrive and return.
    We spent last year’s Vtwin expo money on magazine ads instead and the numbers don’t lie…we were up BIG in 2012.
    I’m still not certain why the Vtwin Expo ever left Vegas, but I think you’d draw a hell of a lot better crowd bringing it West to warmer weather. Texas would be a hell of a good spot too. Being that the last Cinci expo I went to, I saw about 65% of vendors being from AZ and CA, either one of those would certainly make good sense.
    Make it a Thursday thru Saturday show with Saturday being open to the public and Sunday being your tear down day. You’ll have happier vendors and dealers, while igniting the public’s interest in the new products as well. Just my .02

  27. 27 brenda Fox Feb 4th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Ted Sands ` Ride ON.
    “Suppliers/manufacturers at the V-Twin are the core of our industry. Like any trade show, it is only as good as you make. If your lazy and just don’t care stay home and surf the internet and complain how bad business is. Our business has had double”

    Whiners will always whine, others are too busy making something happen.
    It is what you make it.

  28. 28 Steelchoppin Feb 4th, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I didn’t make it this year but it is fair to say that this show is the best the industry has to offer itself. I wont attend shows that are open to the general public. John Q Public wants to piss and moan but trust me the powers that be in this industry have seen what happens when you defer control of your product to the masses. Companies like Summit and Jegs are sitting on the fringes of our industry like Hyenas waiting for the number of lions feeding on a gazelle to diminish or give up all together. If that happens they will pounce on the motorcycle industry and take it over. The worst part of it all is that it COULD happen and if it does it will be like taking candy from a baby. Summit and Jegs completely ruined the aftermarket automotive margins. I spent many years in that industry before I jumped over here in 2003. Just ask MSD Ignition how it went for them. One day they are making the 6A box for “X” number of dollars and the next day Summit is telling them what they “WILL” sell them the box for. It is totally BS and I do not want to see our industry depleted to nothing over greed. I make good friends and good contacts at the Expo and even though there has been much attrition due to a failing economy the ones that are still here are planning on being here for good. I for one do not care to buy another T-shirt from another unknown builder just because it has the word “F_CK” on it. Call me crazy or whatever you want but there are those that “get it” and those that don’t. There are almost zero speed shops to hang out in anymore because everyone buys their parts online. Unless you do not want to have a local bike shop to hang out in the industry has to be left to manage itself. My hats off to people like the Parnham and Sands families for understanding this and not allowing their brands to be pimped out like Taiwan Tedd’s has done to brands like Corbin-Gentry and Sifton. We have a small albeit strong industry with plenty of room for more professionals but shows like this need to be kept industry-only for a reason.

  29. 29 Doc Robinson Feb 4th, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Im with Blackmax, Ted Sands and others who still think the show is worthwhile attending and I travel 13 thousand miles to get there. Nothing beats face to face with the leaders of our industry and rebonding with the many friends made over the years from going to the show. Some things about it sucked BIG TIME such as charging journalists $250 each to enter. Many major US journalists were conspicious by their absence as they refused to be ripped off by greedy organisers. If it survives to run next year I will no doubt be back.

  30. 30 Toby Feb 4th, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    The AIME show is in October 2013 during Daytona’s Biketoberfest. Biketoberfest is still largely regional, but it will be interesting to see how the show works out for vendors with the private/public show format.

    I am still of the humble opinion that this format (regardless of the show sponsor) will work quite well as manufactures can better create that “pull demand” from consumers to better sell their wares to distributors, not to mention the better economics of attending an event that you would probably already be near. If this format works well, I would not be surprised to see it moved to coincide with the Daytona Bike Week in March for a wider audience.

  31. 31 bean're Feb 4th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Great coverage- You have included 4 of my sponsors that are supporting the Million Mile bike that I am building with the best products made ( and will be Bean’re tested!)

  32. 32 john reed Feb 4th, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Doc Robinson
    You must be joking,
    Journalists have the world by the nuts,

    When we pay to go in any show we see loads of people with press passes sitting in VIP areas eating and drinking while people kiss their ass to try and get a free couple of inches in their magazine
    I assume that you go into shows to promote your magazine and to find content for the next,and even without the perks that your position gets,I think $250 sounds like good value to me.

  33. 33 Tamara Smith, James Gaskets, Inc. Feb 5th, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Thank you Tedd Sands and others who spoke out about the most integral part of this industry; the solid businesses that have survived and thrived through the highs and lows of the past 13 years. The remaining group of exhibitors represents these companies, and the industry leaders who started them. I doubt that any of these professionals (aka: “old farts”) needs to attend the V-Twin trade show in Cincinnati once a year to get stroked; they’ve built reputable companies around solid, quality products that remain popular with riders, dealers and distributors, have earned respect through integrity and consistency, and have definitely earned the label of “industry leaders”, but if that bores you – don’t go next year! You won’t be missed, and probably didn’t attract that much attention anyway! Not many see this industry as being “boring” (there was a “KFC Managers Convention” in Covington, KY this past weekend – THAT was probably boring). Most of us are pretty passionate about this industry in some capacity, and are in it for the long haul because of that.

    As a representative of one of these companies, and having attended the V-Twin show as an exhitor for 12 years, I’ve always seen ths show as being indicative of the year ahead in terms of the substance of our conversations with colleagues, customers and distributor reps; not in terms of the number of people there to collect stickers. We can’t continue to expect or to count the numbers associated with the couple of years that included lines of people waiting to get their Billy Lane comic book autographed!

    What’s left now are legitimate, reputable manufacturers, suppliers, vendors, builders; true industry professionals interested in conducting serious business in what’s become a familiar meeting place not only to us as vendors, but I believe also to our distributors, international contacts, dealers and the media (wait – whose asses we can kiss for a couple of inches of free advertising? I didn’t even know that!). (And does it really make sense to charge a member of the press $250 to get into an event that you’re hoping they will write good things about?). Just my “.02”

    I too still think the V-Twin show in Cincinnati is worthwhile and have every intention of being back next year – with my skateboard! 😉

    Tami Smith

  34. 34 A 1 CYCLES INC. Feb 5th, 2013 at 9:13 am

    i enjoy it every year…i put my prototype parts in people hands so they can see and feel the part..have sold a few there…it works for me and all of the industry is together having a great time after hours..its my favorite show..we walk everywhere, we are in the same 3 hotels..its a great time..and the big guns are still there..if you have a project worthwhile that is ground breaking..show the vendors your design and get them to sponsor some parts for the new build…use the shows for what they are for..meeting people..an email cant do that

  35. 35 patrick Feb 5th, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I didn’t make it this year because I was under some tight deadlines on projects here in Georgia but regardless of location, new or young generation of builder, small or large expenditure in relative terms face to face contact is vital to our industry. It breeds creativity, can reignite passion, encourage competitive spirit, and although some of the industries elite are arrogant pricks most are more than willing to share experience with others. Warmer would be nice though. In Georgia 18 isn’t a temperature its a legal limit.

  36. 36 john dean Feb 5th, 2013 at 11:53 am

    i’ve been out of the industry for a couple of years but this i know, yes the best part of the weekend is the time after the show when you can spend some one on one time with other leaders in the business, and if you dont think you can learn something from talking with the people pictured above about the industry or life in general you are talking to much and not listening enough.

  37. 37 Ben Kudon Feb 5th, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Lots of opinions, some good, some just sour grapes. Emails and the web are great tools for selling, no doubt. But as already mentioned, they do not replace personal contact, that is how you build lasting relationships. Yes, the V Twin show is expensive, we went form a 20 x 20 island to a 10x 20 to reduce costs and have changed the way we ship into the show to get away from the Fern charges. But I believe strongly that it takes many things to create a successful business, shows, emails, website, new product, etc are a few. But guess what, they all require a monetary expenditure. If you have a limited budget, obviously you need to decide which part of that formula gives you the most bang for the buck. However, that certainly does not make any other part of the formula less important. If you really need a motorcycle and want a Harley but can’t afford it, you buy something you can afford until you have enough for the one you really wanted, right? The V Twin expo has diminished somewhat over the last few years, but so has every other industry except for maybe the Mexican drug trade! But if we all work together for a common purpose (our industry), it will came back. Don’t matter if your an “old fart, ego crazy, industry veteran” like me and Ted or a new guy just coming into the market, we all need to work together to reinvigorate this industry. Enough with the sour grapes!!
    Ben Kudon
    Rivera Primo Inc.

  38. 38 paul Feb 5th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    V Twin Expo was a good show this year. As Ted has expressed, the results are based on the preparation. Considering to allow public in on Sunday may be something Paisano should consider or combining it with the Columbus Easyrider show and bringing it to Cincy. This would allow manufacturers and distributors an opportunity for direct feedback from the people that generate our pay, the riders. Kudo’s to Jim and his staff.

  39. 39 Blackmax Feb 5th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks to
    Calif Phil
    Mr. Sands (would love to get an interview with you next year, sir?)
    Brenda Fox
    Doc Robinson
    It was a good show
    And thanks for bringing up the exorbitant press fee….
    As for Mr. Reed, I can’t speak for everyone or anyone else in the press
    but I can only tell you what my days are like at the V-Twin.
    Assenble a “Trustworthy” camera / photo crew, get there at opening and WORK !!!
    Anybody who thinks what I (and my crew) do at any of the shows/events
    we are LUCKY enough to attend. Is more than welcome to take my place!
    I’ve been called a slave driver, cussed out & quit on because I won’t let them slow down….
    We get NO PAY for this or anything else, I / we do it because we love the bikes and have come to have a very real appreciation for the industry. And very grateful for the people that do chose to talk to us. There are still quite a few who won’t & think we are too small to be worth their time ….
    No you won;t see me at Sturgis, Daytona, Laconia or ROT every year. Hell, I’m lucky if I make it once every 5-10 years cause it’s my own dime. But I’d like to think our small but avid readership appreciates it & that’s what makes it all worthwhile …….

  40. 40 Phil Feb 5th, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Had a great time seeing old freinds and making new ones. I look foward to spending face time with the people I do business with every year. I always have something positive happen every year but I am still looking for that free ad space they speak of.

  41. 41 ROGUE Feb 5th, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Even before the V-Twin Expo started there were comments from some people about the changes that were scheduled for 2013. Well since none of us are going to please everyone all the time in my opinion I would please the vendors as they are the ones that the show is for. Actually it is so that they can interact with their current and hopefully new customers.
    I would also note that this is listed as a Trade Show for the V-Twin Industry and not intended for the general riding public. There are numerous other events around the country where riders can talk to company representatives.
    The event was shortened to two (2) days being Saturday and Sunday. Some of that decision came from the vendors themselves requesting it. Actually a lot of the changes were made from input from companies.
    Yes there were fewer vendors there this year and I would suspect that had something to do with the economy. The major well established companies were well represented and I did notice some new ones as well.
    I did stop and talk to the people I know as well as introduced myself to some I did not. I asked all how they felt the show was going for them and all said very well. There was enough traffic that the vendors could actually take the time to talk and discuss their product with those interested.
    When I stopped at the BAKER DRIVETRAIN booth I was told they had already run out of their catalogues.
    As with the changing world we live in changes were made at the V-Twin Expo and I am sure that others will come as our world continues to change.
    Special THANKS needs to be given to Jim Betlach and his crew for the hard work they do to make this the Great Event It Is.
    I do not have anything to report on the social portion of the event because I caught a nasty bug and did not want to pass it on to others.
    As a closing note I did enjoy myself and was able to find some new products for future Technical articles as well. I hope to go next year as well

  42. 42 EzJ Feb 5th, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Ted Sands: Right on! Sour pusses, whiners move over. I’m watchin 3 generations of Ness men locked in to a co, run by a smart patriot & I’m bettin on them. Saw a black & silver Vision ride by my office today…nice lookin scoot with old school Sonny lookin dude ridin it…he was smilin. The future.

  43. 43 Ted Sands Feb 5th, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Thanks for the positive response to my comments, I would like to offer one other observation, I noticed several companies (which I won’t name) decided not to exhibit (they said the show wasn’t worth it) but sent their top management to meet with all the key customers that that attended the V-Twin Show, they wined and dined but didn’t partake in the actual show…shame on you, you just became bottom feeders! I called a couple of you out for not displaying, don’t come to me for a free pass next year.
    Ted Sands
    Performance Machine

  44. 44 The Supreme Team Feb 6th, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Go Ted!

  45. 45 ray c wheeler Feb 7th, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Great show attended by the Industries finest.

    See ya next year……….

  46. 46 ATL Feb 7th, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Very cool pics!

  47. 47 LenNY Feb 8th, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Great show. This show is a must be at show. There is definitely a need to see the product first hand and speak to the vendors behind the product. We can view the product on great web sites like Teds at PM but nothing beats seeing in person and meeting the man behind the product. Go Ted!! Nothing is more important then the people in the industry getting together in person. This can not be accomplished online or on the phone. The strong were there and the strong shall survive. Jim B did a great job with the show and this is a must be at show next year.

    LenNY Sinnet

  48. 48 Jezza Feb 12th, 2013 at 4:05 am

    I flew from Tokyo for the show. 6 days of my time and a lot of money but it was absolutely worth every penny. Met some great people, (Great evening out Doc Robinson! , also props to Joel from JH Choppers, and big thanks to Carolyn and Mike from Kiwi Indian), had some really inspiring talks, deepened some good relationships, brainstormed some ideas for building more business (thanks to all the guys from Klock Werks especially). Thanks to Ted Sands for telling it like it is. I’ll be back to Cinci every chance I get!

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Cyril Huze