For the third consecutive year, the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, was the home of AIMExpo, the largest motorcycling trade show in America. The 2015 edition of AIMExpo featured a good mix of modern technology and vintage looks. One good example was NEXX North America displaying its 2016 line.
NEXX, which is already well known by its line of ultra-light and incredibly resistant carbon fiber helmets, surprised the public with a vintage design developed in partnership with Maria Motorcycles, a custom motorcycle shop in Portugal, where NEXX is headquartered.
Apparel manufacturers were bigger and bolder this year and put a lot of effort to push their new designs and reinvented products. Oxford Riding Equipment, for example, setup a virtual store at AIMExpo sporting their entire line of products. From convertible rain jackets to disc brake locks, visitors could find it all there. And a stop by their booth would most likely yield a nice conversation with their Florida representative, Eric McFarlane, one of Britain’s former greatest road racers.
In the segment of clothing and apparel, many AIMExpo visitors were surprised to see a Wrangler Jeans booth at a semi-strictly motorcycle trade show. While it is a true fact that iron horse riders have been wearing cowboy clothing for a long time – mostly due to its long-lasting characteristics and ability to survive extreme conditions – Wrangler was not necessary a brand commonly associated to motorcycle riding. The brand, however is positioning one of its most technologically advanced products, aptly named Cool Vantage Jeans, within the biker community to see if it sticks. Cool Vantage Jeans feature a moisture wick fabric, which absorbs sweat and transfers moisture to the outer lining, keeping the body cool, dry and comfortable on long rides.
One manufacturer that doesn’t play around is BMW. Their massive booth was a playground where adventure and sport riders could find their favorite toys such as the all-around GS1200 and the newest superstar S1000XR. But visitors would stop and admire the beauty of the custom bikes sitting on the main corner, protected by a rope. One of them, Concept 101, is BMW’s take on what could be the company’s first take on a cruiser. Comfortable seats, ergonomic riding position and, as all BMWs, a lot of power to boot.
In the center area of the AIMExpo, sleek city and adventure bikes were grabbing the attention of those interested in alternative fuel. Zero Motorcycles made their presence felt with fully electric bikes that are affordable, versatile and fun to ride. And if you think that electric bikes won’t take you far and fast, think again. Zero Motorcycles is on the leading edge of the electric market and is already providing vehicles even to law enforcement agents.
And if using electricity to move a bike was not enough, Zero developed an app that controls all the basic commands on the bike allowing for full customization with the move of a slider. No one is more proud to talk about all the good features of a Zero Motorcycle as American Motorcycle Association’s Hall of Fame, Scot Harden who responds as the company’s current CEO.
As imports go, all the usual suspects such as Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki were there, of course. But the Koreans also made an impact. Hyosung brought their meat and potatoes line formed by the lightweight 700 cc cruiser model ST7, and the very popular sport models GT650R and GT250R. With fully loaded bikes being offered at under $10K, Hyosung is finding its way into the market amongst those buying their first motorcycle. Although not new, Hyosung has managed to stay current and evolving, creating a product that offers quality and affordability in a market dominated by the Japanese builders.