2014 IMS-NY: Is This Bike Show Burnout?

fuzzygalore duke 390at the bike show

Just as in years past, Kenny and I went in to NYC to check out the International Motorcycle Show last week. I don’t know if it is a symptom of being bombarded by media at every turn (my own doing) or the general ease of getting information about, well, anything – but each year the bike show becomes less and less appealing. The number of vendors dwindles a little more, manufacturers don’t show up and the same old-same old stunt show gets dusted off and trotted out.

By the time the show rolls in to New York City, I’ve already seen a million photos of the highlights from previous media days on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as they rolled through other cities. This year’s darlings were the Kawasaki H2, the “GromWing” and the Ducati Scrambler – photos and blog posts galore on the internet. When I finally saw them all in person? It was with little more than a passing glance. ::yawn::

Maybe it’s just me, I dunno.

The venue here in NYC must be some money bleeding racket where the little guy can barely afford to set up shop for the weekend.  There were comparatively few vendors selling a variety of gear, aftermarket parts or tour information. My thoughts are just anecdotal but I bet these days there is a lot of trying on and then buying on the internet for the best price. If someone “can order it for you,” well then you can order it yourself. It probably doesn’t pay to show up.

Sadly, if you asked me what I would LIKE to see at the event? I don’t really even have a constructive answer. Maybe next year I’ll just need to go on an internet diet for a few weeks leading up to the show.

Did you go the the IMS this year? What are your thoughts? 


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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15 Responses

  1. Canajun says:

    I never went to bike shows (or car shows for that matter) to look at new models – those I can see at the dealerships. What I went for was to see bikes that were different or unusual whether because they were very old (‘vintage’) or because they were customised or because they were leading edge experimental machines. Sadly we see very little of any of those at today’s shows.

    I also went for the extras – special show deals on accessories, equipment, clothing, anything I might not know I needed until I saw it at a show. Again what we find now is old (real old – dusty) stock that’s been marked down all of 10% (hardly pays the entrance fee), and precious little even of that.

    Instead we get some dealers of some new bikes setting up temporary showrooms and a few pseudo-stars from SOA or similar to try and bring us out and separate us from some significant amount of cash.

    So, no. I’ll save the $20 entrance fee and the $10 parking (or more) and go find a nice pub for a leisurely lunch and a pint of their best bitter.

  2. Shybiker says:

    Your observation about the dwindling of small vendors is accurate — and sad. Those often offer the most interesting products. I miss them.

    I understand your malaise about the show. I started to feel that way 2-3 years ago. I still go to see my friends in booths (George & Diane, et al.) and sit on bikes I’m considering buying. But the luster of earlier years has worn off.

  3. Daniel Aldo says:

    You’re better than this place. Hope you at least picked up a fresh set of Rok straps.

    I wonder what the parking lot attendants think about all the people that drive there in their leathers.

  4. Trobairitz says:

    This is the first year in 6 we haven’t attended the show in Seattle.

    With being so disappointed last year, why thought why bother. After your take on it, I’m glad we didn’t go.

  5. Kathy K says:

    I like the vendors most, but they’ve dwindled so much it’s almost not worth it. I would like to see the new models in person, but after last years experience — it was mobbed — I may just skip it.

    • Fuzzygalore says:

      Yeah, that’s the other thing. It’s so frickin’ crowded! On the one hand you need the people to come to keep the show returning to the venue but then it’s so crowded you have to wait in line to sit on a dang bike.

  6. Phil K says:

    My wife and I went this year for the first time in about 5 years. I discovered a tour company for Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania that looked interesting and that was the highlight. I got to see a couple new bikes in person. We chatted with a few friends, had a nice lunch and went home. We spent maybe two hours actually inside the show arena. The Seattle show always seems notable for who is _not_ there. We probably won’t return.
    The internet changes everything.

  7. Rosie says:

    I’ll be the odd ball and say I enjoy the NY show and actually look forward to it. I agree over the years it has shrunk a bit but I still enjoy wondering around admiring the bikes. I feel like a kid in a candy shop. We always go on Friday so the crowd isn’t as bad as Sat & Sun. This year was even more exciting since I got to meet Fuzzy Galore! 🙂

  8. Crudmop says:

    But if we didn’t go, how would we learn any new techniques for the “brake test”?

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