What’s New At 2015 Orlando AIMExpo. Interview With V-Twin Director Bob Kay.

aimexpoBobkayCreated 2 years ago with for objective to become the catalyst to bring together industry, press, dealers and consumers in a single arena that creates a grand stage for powersports in the U.S., the Orlando AIMExpo has had already a big impact on the way the motorcycling industry is doing business. The 2 main reasons from my point of view. The 1st platform in North America focusing on both professionals and consumers and a correctly market-timed expo in October in Orlando during Daytona Biketoberfest. After doubling in 2014 its number of exhibitors and of visiting dealers and consumers, the AIMExpo has announced big plans for the 2015 edition (October 15-18). They include a much broader integration of the American V-Twin industry vendors and distributors, of custom builders and the creation of a “Made In America” show section. Bob Kay, AIMExpo V-Twin Director, is in charge of increasing the V-Twin participation and I asked him how he intends to execute these plans.

aimexpo2aimexpo3Cyril. Before joining the AIMExpo you have been a visitor and observer of the show first two editions. What do you think made it a success from the get go?

Bob. I think the success of AIMExpo is directly related to the responsive management team of Mike Webster, Larry Little and Cinnamon Kernes. All of them are show management professionals, long term veterans of the motorcycle industry and most importantly 2-wheel riding enthusiasts. They truly care about the future of the motorcycle industry. If you want to talk about specifics, all you had to do was walk through the show entrance and you instantly saw and felt the difference. Hard wall booth separations, impeccable booth layouts, the Media Hub Center, the undeniable O.E.M. presence and the outdoor test ride area is what made AIMExpo a unique experience for all.

aimexpo4aimexpo5Cyril. With over 40 years of experience in the V-Twin market, both as a custom parts distributor and vendor, as an events and bike shows organizer, you are in the unique position to have seen our industry evolve on a long period of time and therefore are able to evaluate what are today’s expectations of all actors of our American custom motorcycle community. During a show or expo, what are they specifically looking for from the point of view of an exhibitor, of a visiting dealer and consumer.

Bob. First off they all expect a lot of people, products and activities to enhance their devotion and dedication to the American Custom bike scene. In other words they want to attend an exciting event that they can go back home and talk about, the new products, the new friends and the great stories. Exhibitors want their brand to be recognized and understood above their competition. Dealers want to see and compare more products and services in one place than would otherwise be possible, and this at the right time of year so they can go back home, evaluate, plan, negotiate and order to give them the best possible chance for success when next year’s riding season hits. Consumers want it all. With the advent of the internet product knowledge information is more accessible than at any other time in history. But this creates as many questions to be answered to. Consumers want precise answers, they want to meet the innovators, they want to share their experiences, they certainly want to share their opinions and they want to know where to get the best deals. They also want to meet the industry celebrities and have some great stories of their own to tell to their friends.

aimexpo64aimexpologo2aimexpologoCyril. What are the new activities, events, entertainment specific to the V-Twin industry that the AIMExpo will feature in 2015?

Bob. We will be featuring an “Made in America” pavilion to celebrate American ingenuity and its influence on the international and domestic motorcycle marketplace. This, of course, will be a natural place for American V-Twin companies to gravitate towards and showcase their latest product offerings. You know my involvement with custom bike shows, so a world class custom bike show will definitely be on the agenda. We expect to draw top builders from all of the Americas to compete for an expense paid entry to AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building in Germany. We are also working on a 2-day “Garage Party” area focused on the chopper sub-culture. We will have a “Chopper Legends, Yesterday and Today” display hosted by Pat Patterson of Led Sled Customs. Dave Perewitz, Denny Berg, Charlie Hadayia Sr and Kyle Shorey have already committed bikes to the display. We will have exhibitors showcasing leather goods, Springer front ends, a hardtail bikes section and complete custom builds. New Harley models will be on display and available for test rides. Bikers Choice will feature tons of new products and a whole lot more will be shared with you as soon as we finalize the details.

aimexpo9aimexpo8Cyril. What do you offer to an exhibitor that no other show/expo in America is offering?

Bob. We offer the opportunity to do business in a conducive atmosphere, at the best time of the year, adjacent to a major motorcycle event, Biketoberfest, with the unwavering support of dedicated team motorcycle enthusiasts. We offer the broadest demographic from O.E.M.’s to aftermarket manufacturers to distributors to dealers to everyday riders. We offer the chance to be part of something special that serves the greater good of our motorcycle industry.

aimexpo10Cyril. Do you have a strategy to attract bikers participating to Biketoberfest in Daytona just one hour away?

Bob. I think I just outlined it. But seriously, we are still working on ways to facilitate bikers going back and forth from Daytona to Orlando. We would like to have a couple of organized rides on the weekend and I would encourage clubs to me (817-312-0380) so we can make it happen.
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17 Responses to “What’s New At 2015 Orlando AIMExpo. Interview With V-Twin Director Bob Kay.”


  1. 1 Sean Dec 14th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Will stop by when I am at Biketoberfest. What is the entry ticket price?

  2. 2 Dec 14th, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    They couldn’t have picked a better guy for the job! Looking forward to a great event.

  3. 3 P. Hamilton Dec 14th, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    If Kay is successful, this is the show that will replace the 2 other declining ones. The US industry needs only 1 show, but a very good one.

  4. 4 JohnyLetGo Dec 14th, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I heard that the new Orlando Ace Cafe located close by is going to be involved with the 2015 edition. I guess great entertainment, too.

  5. 5 Kyle Sharp Dec 14th, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    It should be more profitable for vendors wishing to travel to Biketoberfest to have a split presence in Orlando.

  6. 6 Patrick Meyers Dec 14th, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    A world championship of bike building in Orlando will kill the already very dull and dying 3 bike shows of Daytona (Rat’s hole, Willies’, Boardwalk) A lot of changes coming in the industry.

  7. 7 Semper Dec 14th, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    It could become THE SHOW.

  8. 8 M. Cuevas Dec 14th, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Good bye Cincinnati V-Twin & Chicago Dealer shows

  9. 9 Conrad Johnston Dec 14th, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Kay knows his s–t. Let’s see who will be the V-Twin exhibitors.

  10. 10 Mike Marquart Dec 14th, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    This is a great show and Bob Kay knows his stuff. I only wonder if it wouldn’t be better to have the AIMExpo the week before Biketoberfest so manufacturers could attend both. It is tuff to be in two places at once and many don’t want to give up the bigger retail environment of Daytona.

  11. 11 Rodent Dec 15th, 2014 at 12:12 am

    I see AIM show replacing a declining Biketoberfest. All AIM has to do is make parking & entrance for the consumer free. Would you shop at Wallyworld or Safeway or a Mall if they charged for parking and charge a a entrance fee?
    Vendors pay ridiculous rents in Sturgis and Daytona and they pay it.

  12. 12 JackS Dec 15th, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Locating AIM Expo at The Ocean Convention Center in Daytona Beach instead of Orlando would have several benefits. First and foremost: Biketoberfest vendors, builders and customers would be more inclined to attend the Expo, and Expo-only attendees would be more likely to spend a few bucks in downtown Daytona. The events would off each other much more than they do today. Second, as rally attendees have already staked out parking, the additional cost of parking and the thought of riding a bus would be a thing of the past. I ride 1200 miles to attend Biketoberfest. If the Expo “replaced” Biketoberfest, I wouldn’t make the trip — but then I am not in the industry. I am a consumer.

  13. 13 Jerry Dec 15th, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Jacks S. I think that the Ocean Center in Daytona would be too small.

  14. 14 calif phil Dec 15th, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I have been to Cincy many times and I went to the AIM Expo this year. If you are in the Vtwin business Cincy is where it’s at. I do like the timing of both shows. I think I will attend both this year.

  15. 15 Dec 15th, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I am wondering the same thing as Mike Marquart, especially for small companies that have limited resources and personnel. I am doing Biketoberfest, and it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to do the AIME show as well unless I cloned myself which nobody really wants! Anything up your sleeve for that Bob-o?

  16. 16 Dec 15th, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Khrome Werks will seriously consider doing both Jim Betlachs and Bob Kays shows.

  17. 17 Dec 17th, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    calif phil hit the nail on the head …
    The show sounds like a good deal
    Btu it seems way too big & trying to be a little bit for everyone
    I like the focus on one thing at a time
    So being a fan of the V-twin I’m more inclined to favor a V-Twin show

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