The annual Dealer’s Expo has come and gone and you missed it… until now. I’m going to take a walk down short-term memory lane and you’re coming with me for as long as you dare to read.
The show is geared toward putting new products in front of dealers to carry in their shops, so some brand new items get revealed at the show. If you want to see the top three new products, check out the current top story here on dirtrider.com (due to post soon). If you want so see a lot more of the show’s best, and some other fun things about gathering the motorcycle industry together, read on. You just might get a sneak peek at some of the items we’ll have in upcoming installments of “Gear Bag” in the magazine.
One of the first items I found was this Risk Racing Palm Protector. It goes under the glove and is designed to prevent blisters and reduce vibration to your hands. If you have those problems, this might be the best $7.99 you ever spend.
The next item I ran into wasn’t an item at all, it was an icon… Bob
“Hurricane” Hannah. Bob’s one of the greatest motocrossers ever and was hugely popular with the fans because he would stay around after a race and talk to them. Uh, that at win races in about the most exciting fashion the sport has ever seen. He hasn’t changed his appreciation of his fans, and if you get a chance to see Bob you should take it. I snapped a few photos of him as he signed posters at the Sunline booth.
A little more cruising over the convention hall carpets and I tripped over this sweet little new ride from the mad scientists at BBR. Okay, they have a really cool BBR-built pit bike for four grand, but the real eye-catcher is their $12,999 dual overhead cam 150cc Factory Works Bike. This thing even has removable engine mounts so you can swap between different engines.
The BBR guys treated me like I was really cool, and I’ll admit my head started to swell. Rather than go outside and stick my melon into a snow drift, I went to the closest booth with Scorpion helmets, pulled one on and pumped it up. That’s right, these VX24 helmets have a pump in the mouthpiece. Squeeze the little bubble and the lower portion of the cheek pads snug up nicely against your jaw. It gives the helmet a really nice snug, ‘gripping your head’ feel without pushing your cheeks up into your field of vision.
Well, I was still feeling like a superstar, because now I had the BBR guys on my side and a helmet custom fitted just for me. Apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking I was cool, because these Rockstar girls in the Tucker Rocky booth (more like a megastore than a booth!) grabbed me and insisted on getting their photo taken with me. I’m a sweetheart so I obliged – it was the day before Valentine’s day and I didn’t want their weekend to go by without a thrill.
Okay, I was feeling at the height superstar-ed-ness and went looking for someone to brag to. Who do I run into? Ron Lechien taking a break from working the Maxima booth. He needed a break from talking to people, so what did I go? What else, talked to him! Seeing a real motocross hero brought me back to planet Earth. Thank, Ron, I was feeling pretty cool there for a while.
Then it was off to discover more products, and at the Magura juice clutch booth I found, along with a slick new hydraulic clutch for your bike, these Uvex goggles. The guy was showing them to me, pressing this button on the strap. It looked like the goggle had a little light on the inside that he was turning on and off. He was looking at me like he was showing off the greatest thing ever, and I was looking back with a polite smile, but wondering why these guys put a light inside a goggle, and why they thought it was so cool. Then I discovered (okay, had it explained to me) that the button instantly switches the lens from a dark tint to a very light tint. There was no light, just the lens changing color. All this cool comes at a step price, $399.00, but it was pretty interesting.
A few aisles later I found myself standing in front of Bill Berroth of
Motonation, the place to go for Sidi boots. Bill’s a super nice guy when you’re talking to him, but every story I hear about this guys says he’s the one guy you never, ever want to pull a practical joke on. If you know him, you probably know some stories. It’s not that they’re inappropriate to tell here, it’s just that… honestly, I don’t want to get on this guy’s bad side. Maybe if you call up Motonation at 877.789.4940 and buy a pair of Sidi boots, either the great Crossfires of Chargers, or even the brand new Adventure Rain dual sport boot ($375.00), Bill will tell you one of his stories.
Then I ended my first day with a visit to the Dubach Racing booth where I found a $919.95 complete titanium exhaust for the new YZ450. Doug “Dr. D” himself was there, and we got to talking and came up with a really cool story idea that I hope you’ll be seeing in the pages of Dirt Rider really soon. Doug has years of testing with both bike manufacturers and with his own pipe research, and we came up with some very interesting bits to tie into a magazine story. I’m sure it’ll be good enough to warrant putting a photo of me on the cover. (someone please read this blog to my art director)
Day two started with this sweet new color to the Windham helmet. Even cooler than the graphics are the helmet they are on. The Shoei VFX. Not a bad way to start your morning. Well, that and about four cups of coffee before even reaching the convention hall.
Not far from the Shoei booth was the Helmet House booth, which distributes Shoei helmets along with TCX boots. You go to the TXC display, you’re going to talk to Jamie Foreman. Now, I can’t find this in any of the TXC brochures or sales materials, but I’m convinced they have some special promotion where if you can catch Jamie not smiling or talking (or both), you get ten bucks off your boots. Jamie talked my ears off about the whole line, and especially about the new Dune, an all-leather boot for $189.99. Okay, that was an exaggeration to get a mention of the new boot. Really he talked more about their top end boots. No, he talked more about everything. All I know is that I heard his voice, a lot.
Another benefit of the Indy show is running into old friends, and I ran into my buddy. I actually got to race on the Geico gecko’s race team for one GNCC in Florida a few years back. Okay, that might be anohter exaggeration. I didn’t ride on the team, I rode on a team bike in the Sportsman class. Two hours twisting through the trees with my own Geico graphics and the gecko on my jersey. He was just as happy to see me, but didn’t offer another ride on one of his factory bikes. Yeah, it got a little weird.
I met up with Zach Stevens, one of our ad sales reps, and we visited the AGV helmets booth. AGV is new in the US to off-road helmets, and Zach wants everyone to know that. He even offered to let me goof on him in my blog if I’d show an AGV helmet, so I had him try on a helmet from ten feet back, and the photo came out looking pretty funny. This MT-X is a $199.00 helmet, and coming this August will be the new AX-8 helmet, which will sell for around $370.
I ditched Zach when this 1986 works RM caught my eye. This is the exact bike Bob Hannah used to win the 1986 US GP. Check out that wild rear suspension, designed and built by Boyesen. The system is designed to eliminate chain torque. Hannah practiced on it just a few times, about four of five, before winning the GP on it. The bike also had modified cases (started as a case reed induction engine) as well as sports the prototype to the Rad Valve.
Every once in a while during the show I swing by the Dirt Rider booth just so publisher Sean Finley would think I was working (or at least know I made my flight). I ran into Steve Christini, inventor of the Christini all-wheel-drive system that you’ve surely read about in Dirt Rider. Steve’s always excited about something, and this time it was about the lowered prices he’s able to offer, for a limited time. One shocker was the 09 CRF250X, complete with the Christini all-wheel-drive, for $9000. Steve was so delirious he even offered free shipping within the 48 states for anyone who mentioned “lollipop” when they ordered. There are other good prices on this great system, so give those guys a call a look at www.christini.com.
Right next to DR was Acerbis, and we must have loaned them some paper clips or something, because they showed up some 2011 jerseys that will be coming over. These are unique and really cool, and should be selling for $39.95 for the jerseys, $139.95 for the pants, and $34.95 for the gloves. If you haven’t seen the wild designs Acerbis is offering, including their crazy skeleton gear, you need to check out www.acerbis.com between now and 2011, when this fresh stuff will be available.
I finished the day with a stop at Hinson and Technical Touch USA, where I first saw the cool Xtrig preload adjuster (our #1 coolest product of the show), that lets you adjust your sag preload rings with just a t-handle. I also got a look at the Hinson SS clutch, which uses a Bellville spring. Don’t know what that is? Here’s what you need to know – unlike coil springs in your clutch, this spring is stiffest at full engagement. That means the clutch pull gets lighter as you pull it in. It also had less metal-to-meal friction for less drag (lighter pull) and no chance for one spring to fatigue and cause un-even clutch release. Sounds good to me. The inner hub and pressure plate kit with the spring retail for $599.99.
On my last day I did a last sweep before the booths got packed up. I swung by the Ariete booth and got caught up on the new goggles. They had several new color designs, but I think I like this green “Glamour” google the best. It’s $57.70 here in the States.
Well, there’s nothing left but to finish up this blog and say goodbye. But I thought I’d bring in one of my industry friends to help. So I went over to his booth, gave him a hard time about gaining a little weight, made a dumb ‘spare tire’ joke just to watch him roll his eyes, then asked him to pick a pose that would both say goodbye to my blog readers and also strike a familiar pose to his customers. I think he pulled it off.