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Monday, 6 November 2017

AIMExpo presented by Nationwide Insurance

‘Custom Culture’ speaks to
a “New Gen” future

AIMExpo presented by Nationwide Insurance closed its doors on Sunday, September 24th after four great days at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Ohio, that brought a stronger V-twin market dealer and consumer attendance than had been seen in the four years the show was staged at Orlando, Florida, and an exhibitor presence headlined by Indian Motorcycle and Harley-Davidson.

With backing from Columbus, Ohio based AD Farrow (Harley’s oldest authorized dealer in America) and Iron Pony Powersports (who organized a 300 plus consumer ride-out to the show), the stage was set for AIMExpo to start building critical mass for the “Custom Culture” program it had unveiled at Orlando.

The mission is to provide the existing custom market with a new opportunity, a forum, through which the new generations of riders and builders could connect with the industry of the Boomers, and for that industry to be able to understand how to connect with “New Gen” custom builders and riders.

In addition to the Championship of the Americas, Custom Culture powered by BMW Motorcycles also housed the Simpson “Paint Slinger” Shootout. Here, 20 Simpson M30 Bandits were custom painted by some of the most talented artists. The winner was Kacey Elkins of Krossover Customs in Stanford, Kentucky, whose design will become a limited edition run of 400 helmets.

Quite apart from the economic challenges faced by both the existing and the emerging markets, there is much else that unites the long-term interests of the future of our industry with its past. Industry veteran Bob Kay has been building the ‘Custom Culture’ concept and a range of initiatives under that “brand” with one primary premise at its core – that cooperation and collaboration will top isolation every time.
With the backing of the MIC, channels are being created that will provide a platform for industry outreach to a future that faces regulatory challenges, technology changes, and social and demographic landscapes in which the concept of the two-wheel lifestyle is largely unproven. Such channels are of critical importance to the future viability of the wider powersports industry, not just the custom motorcycle market.
Manufacturers such as Polaris, BMW, Yamaha and Honda are doing a great job of evolving the technology that future generations of motorcycle consumers will want to be able to take for granted, but in order for the parts, accessory, performance, gear and apparel sectors to be able to “get with the program”, first of all someone, somewhere needs to start creating that program.
A program of dialog and understanding of shared aims that will help the undoubted energy, enthusiasm, creativity, craftsmanship and engineering genius of emerging custom business owners to build a market in the way that the established generation of vendors has been able to do.
Kudos to the MIC and AIMExpo, and to the emerging cohort of future leaders that ‘Custom Culture’ is able to speak to, for striving to be a part of the solution and not ignoring the problems.
As America and the rest of the developed world heads towards a future in which urbanization and all the associated transport and infrastructure issues that brings with it will dominate and drive consumer transport and leisure Dollar spend choices in the future, ‘Custom Culture’ needs to be embraced as a showcase through which future generations of consumers can be inspired and motivated to make the two-wheel experience one that they want to make their own.

Gas Axe Chop Shop wins FreeStyle Class AMD World Championship prize at COTA/AIMExpo

The final day of AIMExpo saw the results announced for the Championship of the Americas – the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building United States affiliate custom design and engineering competition that offers the FreeStyle Class winner an expenses paid trip to compete at the ‘INTERMOT Customized’ staged ‘AMD’ at Cologne, Germany, in October 2018.

Tim Dixon of Gas Axe Chop Shop, Tennessee, will be travelling to ‘INTERMOT Customized’ in 2018 with his customized 1959 Panhead ‘Pennie Lane’

Second place, FreeStyle class - Matt Olsen, Carl’s Cycle Supply

Third place, FreeStyle class - Wayne Burgess, Deathtrap Cycles

The win this year was taken by Tim Dixon of Gas Axe Chop Shop in Tennessee.
Voted for by the competitors themselves, Dixon took the win with a 1959 Panhead engined, hand- crafted chopper called ‘Pennie Lane’. Custom designed, using a Model A front axle/reverse shock set-up with a Model A front spring for the rear swingarm, all the work was done in-house by Dixon with most of it on manual machines with silicone bronze welding.

The engine has an Andrews cam and the magnesium front wheel is from a 1960s dragster; all the brass/copper pieces were handmade.
The People's Choice prize went to the BMW Alpha built by Salt Lake City machinist Mark Atkinson, inspired by a concept created by Turkish designer Mehmet Doruk Erdem.
The Street Custom Class win went to Dusty Pine/Dawg’s Chop Shop with the hardtail framed 1200cc 1993 Sportster that gave him the K&N Filters sponsored Modified Harley Class win at the Cleveland round of the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show series that is staged each winter at the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows (IMS).
Pat Patterson of Led Sled fame took the Performance Custom class win (goose neck rigid framed 1200cc Sportster), with Shelby Griffin and Austin Andrella (Austin Martin Originals) scooping the ever-popular Retro Custom class win with a hard tailed 1972 Yamaha XS650.

The People's Choice went to the BMW Alpha built by Salt Lake City machinist Mark Atkinson, and inspired by a concept created by Turkish designer Mehmet Doruk Erdem.