2015 American International Expo In Orlando (October 15-18) My Interview With V-Twin Director Bob Kay.

AIMExpo1There is no doubt that just after a couple of years, The American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) has changed the way The Powersports Industry does business with dealers and consumers. As a matter of fact, in 2015, it’s now the only B2B and B2C North American Powersports Trade Show. For its anticipated return to the Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) this fall October 15 to 18 (general public days are October 17 and Sunday, October 18), the AIMExpo will feature a large V-Twin presence of manufacturers, part vendors and custom builders with indoor and outdoor activities during all weekend. I asked Bob Kay, AIMExpo’s V-Twin Director, how he organized all the V-Twin industry activities and what dealers and consumers can expect during this 2015 edition.

Aimexpo8Cyril Huze. One year ago, The Marketplace Events Motorcycle Group, producers of The American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo), hired you as their show V-Twin Director. Your mission was to work closely with the V-Twin industry that you know so well to develop the AIMExpo’s activities in this important market segment. Tell me what has been your strategy to acquire a powerful V-Twin offering for vendors, dealers and end users. What can they expect during the upcoming 2015 edition

Aimexpo2Bob Kay. First and foremost our plan from the beginning was to integrate the V-Twin and custom markets into AIMExpo rather then create a separate area that segregates this key segment of the motorcycle industry. However, we recognized that V-Twin dealers and consumers may not necessarily want to walk the entire show trying to locate their favorite products exhibitors. So we created a natural flow that would attract V-Twin exhibitors, dealers and consumers. As you enter the show floor you can head toward the “Made in America” area which features many V-Twin exhibitors as well as other prominent American companies.

As you come out the back side of “Made in America” you will find yourself in the middle of the AIMExpo Championship of the Americas / AMD Custom Bike Show, and if you follow that across the hall you will see many of your favorite exhibitors on both sides of the aisle. When you reach the other side of the hall on Saturday and Sunday you will notice that the Media Center has been converted into a Garage Party with builder and supplier exhibits, live music and the special feature, the “Chopper Legends Showcase.” I was humbled by the positive response from the V-Twin and Custom industry that has been my life for the past 40 years. Companies like Barnett Tool, Cobra, Gardner Westcott and James Gaskets positioned themselves in “Made in America” alongside returning V-Twin companies. American Dealer Magazine, S&S Cycle, Biker’s Choice and Vee Rubber jumped right in to support the AIMEXpo “Championship of the Americas”.

4customACE Café, S&S Cycle, and Biker’s Choice, Cycle Source Magazine, Born to Ride Media, Kiwi, Jason Paul Michaels,  Leticia Cline and Kyle Shorey are committed to making Garage Party the coolest celebration of the V-Twin Culture. Our goal is to broaden the appeal of Florida as an October motorcycle destination. AIMExpo represents an opportunity for exhibitors and dealers to network within the industry on the broadest possible level to expand and grow business. A company can do their installs in Daytona where that traditional rider has come to get a great deal, but at the same time take care of their industry networking at an truly international show. There are many other V-Twin companies displaying at AIMExpo. For a complete list go AIMEXpo. The show is very well run but more importantly is attentive to the needs of their exhibitors, dealers and consumers. It is called WIN, WIN.

1customCyril Huze. The AIMExpo is both an indoor & outdoor show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Describe precisely the V-Twin activities and their schedule. And are V-Twin test rides also available?

Bob Kay. Let’s start with “Made in America”. This area is designed to showcase American ingenuity and feature companies where Made in America is part of their company DNA. We have had requests from Europe and South America for easier access to American brands, hence “Made in America” While it is a natural place for many V-Twin vendors you will also see American brands that focus on other segments. The AIMExpo Championship of the Americas represents an opportunity for an American builder (it includes North, Central and South American builders) to compete in the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building in Cologne, Germany for 2016. AMD has come to stand for the best in custom bike design , engineering and execution. Our association with AMD has already attracted some of the best builders to showcase their latest builds. The “Chopper Legends” is a special no-compete showcase of choppers and diggers from the 70’s , 80’s and 90’s. Pat Patterson of Lead Sled Customs will host this showcase  of some of the coolest custom bikes around.

2customWe will have Harley test rides provided by Orlando Harley Davidson. The staff form Orlando Harley will go out of their way to accommodate certain model requests. I suggest you come early on Saturday and Sunday due to the popularity of this feature. There will also be UTV and ATV test rides for those hunters and land owners that ride V-Twins. The “Garage Party” represents, which is also what AIMExpo is all about, a fresh and exciting way to celebrate our passion for motorcycles. It is sure to attract a lot of attention and will start things off Friday night at Orlando Harley with a builder meet and greet and live music. Live music Saturday night on the show floor hosted by Bill Dodge of Bling Cycles and followed by an after- party at the ALE HOUSE. Be sure to meet former Hot Bike Girl, the lovely Leticia Cline, serving as our ambassador. The feature I am most proud of is my collaboration with the Power Sports Business Institute to create the Brick and Mortar Success Guide. We have put together a group of valuable seminars for independent shop dealers that do not have the support of a large OEM franchise. Thursday classes will be focused on the business side and Friday’s focus will be on running the shop area.

Aimexpo3Cyril Huze. The Bike Building “Championship Of The Americas” intends to be a major annual event of the Custom Motorcycle Scene. It’s because it will feature not only the best builders from the USA and Canada but also those from South America with a path to compete, expenses paid, in the 2016 World Championship in Cologne, Germany. Tell me who is eligible to compete, on which platforms, in which classes, and who will judge the competitors creations?

Bob Kay. This will be a world class bike show and that is why we affiliated ourselves with the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building to set the standard for our entries. We will have a Free Style Class in which the winner will advance to the 2016 AMD World Championship held in Cologne, Germany with $7500 in expenses paid courtesy of S&S Cycle and Biker’s Choice. We will have a pre-84 Retro Class, a Street Custom Class for bikes with OEM frames and drivetrains, and a Performance Custom Class for all out non-street legal competition bikes and street racers.

Aimexpo12Biker’s Choice will provide merchandise prizes for the winners and runners up of these classes. Trophies will be provided by Vee Rubber. All entries will be displayed on risers across the 2 main aisles creating an ultimate display of custom bikes. Judgement Day will be Saturday and we will use a peer judging system which means the builders and invited industry guests will be doing the judging. You can go to Championship Of The Americas for the rules and judging criteria. Builders are encouraged to hang out by their bikes and be available for media and public questions. Bring your cameras for a close up look that will be sure to inspire. The awards ceremony will be held Sunday at 3:00 pm on the Garage Party stage.

Cyril Huze. Can you explain more in details The Chopper Legends Showcase. What type of bikes can we expect to see, from which iconic builders?

Bob Kay. This unique feature will be hosted by Pat Patterson of Led Sled Customs. Pat is bringing his infamous Road Trailer and Rat Rod to serve as a backdrop for period choppers and diggers. Dave Perewitz is going to bring a couple of bikes he actually built in the 70’s. We will have the Jesse James Bay Area Style Chopper that was the precursor to his CFL series. Charlie Hadayia is bringing a low slung Knuckle Chopper and Denny Berg is sending out a historic stretched out King and Queen Knuckle Chopper to sit alongside Freddie Arnold’s Shovel similar styled chopper. Pat Patterson is going to show off a few of his earlier works. Kyle Shorey is bringing his slim Triumph Chopper. This show case will bring together iconic builders and their bikes from yesterday and today. For a little extra fun we are going to empty Pat’s trailer and set up a lounge area inside, a better chance for you to get an autograph, picture or ask a question.

Cyril Huze. Many of those attending Daytona Biketoberfest have expressed the desire to ride to Orlando to visit the show during the retail days, Saturday October 17 and Sunday October 18. What are the arrangements that have been made by the AIMExpo for a fun ride and easy and safe parking of their motorcycles when they arrive in Orlando?

billdodge1Bob. Bill Dodge is going to form a ride from his shop, Bling Cycles on Beach St in Daytona. I heard you are in it. If you are in Daytona Friday evening be sure to stop by Bill’s shop for one of his famous who’s who industry parties, meet our lovely Garage Party Ambassador Leticia Cline  and let him know you want to hook up on Saturday for a great ride to Orlando. Bill plans to have kick stands up around 2:00 pm. His group will be met in in Orlando to get ready for a night of partying at the “Garage Party” followed by an after party at the ALE HOUSE. We know Bill’s guests won’t have enough time to take in all of AIMExpo so each person arriving with Bill will get a special pass allowing them to come back Sunday to visit all the exhibits and learn about the latest product. Of course anyone is welcome to ride out any time Saturday or Sunday and we will have plenty of free motorcycle parking available.

In closing I would just like to thank you and all the exhibitors, new and returning, for supporting the AIMExpo. It may sound corny but the motorcycle industry has done me right and I am taking this opportunity to open more doors for the V-Twin and Custom markets. I believe we can work together utilizing the AIMExpo  platform to strengthen the motorcycle industry for a long and prosperous future.

Aimexpo4For Industry Trade & Media.
Indoor Exhibits
Thursday, October 15 – 9am-6pm
Friday, October 16 – 9am*-6pm
Saturday, October 17 – 9am-7pm
Sunday, October 18 – 10am-5pm
Outdoor Exhibits/Test Rides
Thursday, October 15 – 9am-5pm
Friday, October 16 – 9am-5pm
Saturday, October 17 – 9am-5pm
Sunday, October 18 – 10am-4pm

For the General Public.
Indoor Exhibits
Saturday, October 17 – 9am-7pm
Sunday, October 18 – 10am-5pm
Outdoor Exhibits/Test Rides
Saturday, October 17 – 9am-5pm
Sunday, October 18 – 10am-4pm


22 Responses to “2015 American International Expo In Orlando (October 15-18) My Interview With V-Twin Director Bob Kay.”

  1. 1 Brandon Aug 30th, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Sounds like a great event. May ride from Daytona to check it out.

  2. 2 P. Hamilton Aug 30th, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Looks like more and more of Daytona Biketoberfest is happening in Orlando.

  3. 3 Bruzz Aug 30th, 2015 at 8:41 am

    To join the ride on Saturday, what is the address of Bling’s shop?

  4. 4 Russ Mansfield Aug 30th, 2015 at 8:45 am

    RIP Cincinnati v-twin show.

  5. 5 Greeko Aug 30th, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Hotels are much better and cheaper in October in Orlando than in Daytona during Biketoberfest. So, now I guess I have a pretext to stay in Orlando with just a quick ride to Daytona to check what’s going on there.

  6. 6 Rodent Aug 30th, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Looks like I gotta miss Thursday because it conflicts with the best happening in Daytona, Willie’s Tropical Old School Show.

  7. 7 Shifter Aug 30th, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Didn’t go last year because there was not much of a v-twin industry presence. Will try this year because I am interested by the bike show and the chopper legends showcase.

  8. 8 bludog Aug 30th, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    No mention of the Ace Cafe Orlando, has that been held up?

  9. 9 Tracy Aug 30th, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    The Ace Cafe Orlando is not completed. I think will open end of year. Looks like they are exhibitor.

  10. 10 Rodent Aug 30th, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    There is only one Ace Cafe and it ain’t in the USA.

  11. 11 Patrick Selma Aug 30th, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Rodent. FYI there are already several Ace Cafe!

  12. 12 Rodent Aug 30th, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Only one original, rest are copies.

  13. 13 Patrick Selma Aug 31st, 2015 at 4:45 am

    They are not copies, they are franchisees!

  14. 14 Bob Wilson Aug 31st, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Will visit the show on Saturday.

  15. 15 Brad Kelley Aug 31st, 2015 at 7:30 am

    I live 80 miles from Orlando. No excuse for not checking it out. Should be good with the builders mentioned.

  16. 16 Kevin Pence Aug 31st, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Some big names there. Orlando & Daytona in competition to attract the best.

  17. 17 Kevin Nixon Aug 31st, 2015 at 11:09 am

    @Kevin Pence – I work for AIMExpo and we are not trying to compete with Biketoberfest but our goal is to complement it and offer more motorcycle excitement in Central Florida during that second week of October.

  18. 18 Black Shadow Aug 31st, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    @Kevin Nixon
    It seems like it would be a lot better compliment to Biketoberfest and easier to attract V-Twin Industry manufacturers if AIME was scheduled for the weekend before Biketoberfest. It is really difficult for vendors to have a presence at both venues at the same time. Since many are making a trip to Florida anyway why not show at AIME Oct 8-11, pack-up and move Monday/Tuesday and set up in Daytona for 4 days of Biketobefest. Seems like a win-win to me.

  19. 19 Ronnie Aug 31st, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I am interested by The Championship Of The Americas. should make for the hassle of tripping from Daytona & back.

  20. 20 Rodent Aug 31st, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    A sugestion for Bob Kay. In your rules you say that every entry must supply a video of the bike in motion. We all know that’s a joke. My idea is when the winner in each class is brought to recive his trophy check, cash he must ride the bike to the stage with left and right turns up the ramp under its own power. If he can’t the second place gets the chance and so on.
    At Pebble Beach Concours de Excelance every vehicles must start for the judges. steam, gas, electric, it don’t matter no start, no good !

  21. 21 Bob Wilson Aug 31st, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    …except that you can’t ride a motorcycle inside a convention center! All displayed bikes must empty the gas tank and disconnect the battery. Rodent, you should know this. It’s true everywhere. Maybe you don’t know much about the motorcycle industry….

  22. 22 john reed Sep 1st, 2015 at 1:42 am

    Many years ago there was a show in England called Bike art at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
    The Art,craft and lifestyle of the custom bike movement
    I had about 5 bikes there,2 were reasonable riders,one was am unfinished road race bike I took as work in hand, a triumph low rider and my Gold Yamaha which was a full radical show bike.

    Below is a precis of the phone interview I had with a guy from BBC world news

    BBC: Some people say there are bikes in the show that don’t run.
    ME: Some don’t but mine do,
    BBC: Have you ridden the Gold Yamaha?
    ME:Many times
    BBC:Whats it like?
    ME: Its the most ill handling motorcycle I have ever ridden.
    BBC: Why take a perfectly good motorcycle and make it virtually unrideable?
    ME: I think its like getting a perfectly good shot gun and covering it in engraving ,gold plating etc and making it virtually unshootable,
    I think Its a way of keeping todays craftsmanship for the next generations but I have been very lucky because I used my craftsmanship for myself and not for a fat rich guy.
    Custom shows have stock classes ,modified classes etc etc and some of these bikes could be used as good customized legal street bikes.
    Most people make radical show bikes because it gives them pleasure and shows their skills,not because they want to use it as their regular road bike, most have other more stock bikes to do this.

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Cyril Huze