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Tuesday 29 November 2016


DOT approved Speedster v3 to launch at New York IMS

Well known British specialist motorcycle helmet manufacturer Davida released an updated road-legal version of their Speedster helmet at INTERMOT in Cologne in October.
As one of the few helmets available of any kind with dual European and U.S. DOT approvals, never mind one that hits the Cafe Racer style open-face sweet-spot, the Speedster v3 is bound to be just as big a hit as it was at INTERMOT, when distributor 9MC (Greenville, South Carolina) gives the Speedster v3 its North American debut at the New York International Motorcycle Show (Javit Center, December 9 - 11, 2016) in two weeks’ time. 

Dual marked with ECE R22-05 & DOT FMVSS No 218, the new Speedster v3 retains all the features of Davida’s original Speedster helmet, with the same low profile shell shape and an improved traditional leather lined interior, which can now be removed for cleaning or replacement. Replacement leather liners are available in black, brown or nut-brown colors. 

Davida MD David Fiddaman says: “The technical team at Davida UK has put all of its 40 years manufacturing experience into our latest road-legal helmet, the Speedster v3. We are very excited to be working with vintage revival specialists 9MC to be launching this new product at the New York International Motorcycle Show in December.
“We have greatly advanced the way we manufacture GRP composite helmet shells in order to retain the same low profile shape, so that the Speedster v3 now satisfies the demands of the highest modern ECE R22-05 & DOT safety standards.”
The Speedster v3 features 3 shell sizes that allow 6 helmet sizes from XS (54) to XXL (61), in a traditional low profile GRP composite shell with polystyrene shock absorption liner, removable and replaceable full leather lined interior and optional studs for fitting visors and peaks.
Fiddaman says that the new version “fulfils our long-held ambition to produce a dual approval road-legal version of the Speedster. As an open-face style helmet that is highly evocative of the 1970s, with 26 years of heritage already behind it, we are confident that the Speedster v3 will be a winner for dealers looking for a helmet design that combines authentic vintage styling with cutting-edge contemporary materials and features.
Founded in 1975, Davida UK is an ISO 9001 accredited company that is the sole manufacturer of certified helmets in the UK.  Every single Davida helmet is still hand-made at their factory near Liverpool, England, “using time-honored manufacturing techniques and craftsmanship”.

Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice

Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice in distribution center closures and lay-offs

New company President Eric Cagle didn’t waste much time setting his imprint on Tucker Rocky and Biker’s Choice.
The appointment of the logistics specialist was only announced in October, and by the end of November he’d already started to make his presence felt with the closure of two warehouses and with around 20 salaried staff laid off.

New Tucker Rocky and Biker’s Choice President Eric Cagle said that “as we enter 2017, we see the opportunity to continue to grow around our optimized DC footprint. We remain committed to improving our processes and technology in order to be recognized as the preferred distributor by powersports dealers.”

The changes to “optimize its distribution center footprint” was part of the TR/BC “ongoing mission to provide powersports dealers with unparalleled service levels,” and saw closure of its distribution centers at Denver and Portland, with inventory being consolidated at its “primary DCs”. These state-of-the-art facilities take advantage of the latest technology, including high-density pick modules and battery charging stations, in order to provide dealers with exceptional service.
“Over the past three years, we have focused on our DC strategy, and invested heavily in square footage, people, processes and technology to provide unparalleled service levels,” said Dan Kent, Vice President of Operations. “Our facilities in Denver and Portland were smaller and do not have the space to support the technology and stocking strategies necessary to meet our current standards. Therefore, we are closing these DCs at the end of the year.
“By having more inventory in fewer locations,” says Kent, “we will be able to improve our customer fill rates and reduce the number of shipments necessary to complete an order. Our dealers will spend less time on receiving and waiting for multiple packages to arrive.”
“2016 has been a challenging year for the powersports industry,” Eric Cagle is quoted as saying. “We are confident in our strategies as we have realized significant growth in the V-twin market and continue to out-perform our competition in the metric market. As we enter 2017, we see the opportunity to continue to grow around our optimized DC footprint. We remain committed to improving our processes and technology in order to be recognized as the preferred distributor by powersports dealers.”
This news was followed some two or three weeks later by reports that the company had let some 20 or more salaried personnel go as part of ongoing “optimization” – among them were Hank Desjardins, long-time Marketing Director, and Phil Davy, a very well-known and respected apparel industry veteran who numbers roles at ICON, Helmet House, Leatt, AXO, O’Neal and Renthall among his experience.

INTERMOT 2016 review

GALFER: Originators of the popular ‘Wave’ style brake rotors, the Spanish manufacturer (with U.S. subsidiary at Oxnard, California) distributes through Zodiac International in Europe. Recent new products include their ‘Skulled’ disc brake rotors - said to combine race-proven brake technology and a “stellar design into the ultimate stopping power” -  available as full floating or rigid mount for most applications. The discs come in 10” (254mm), 11.5” (292mm) and 11.8” (300mm) diameter, are TÜV/KBA approved and available for most 2000 to present Harley models, and most 1984 thru’ 1999 Harleys when used with a retrofit disc adapter;


FEHLING: The noted German accessories manufacturer offers dealers access to one of the largest handlebar, engine guard and protection parts ranges (plus luggage racks and related parts) in the industry. Recently new products for V-twins include new 1” (25.4 mm) outer diameter steel tube TUV approved ‘Z’ bars in a choice of heights, and accessories for Harley’s Dyna Fat Bob (FXDF) in chromed or black anodized steel for 2008-2013 and 2014 and up models. Fehling specialize in anything that involves tube bending and design and make all their own products in-house at their factory near Dortmund in Germany. Founded in 1945 as specialist metal-forming and processing engineers, the company specializes in motorcycle parts, currently employs around 25 people and is still in the founder’s family ownership;


DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL TRADING: Founded in the early 1970s by Henry Abe, there can’t be many parts and accessory distributors or custom shops in the V-twin industry that hasn’t bought, sold or used products from this Japanese ‘major’. Recent new products include the addition of the ‘Asura’ multi-function trip computer to their extensive line of digital and analogue gauges and instruments, and a reverse gear kit for Harley Touring models;


OHLINS: After the success of their Harley-Davidson targeted ‘Blackline’ shocks, the Swedish suspension specialist introduced a new Road & Track NIX22 (22mm) front fork cartridge kit for Dyna and Sportster models earlier this year. Using their proven “NIX” design, the fork internals feature compression damping in the left leg and rebound damping in the right, a configuration that is said to give a more precise function. The system is an easy install in the stock front forks;


SBS: The Danish brake pad manufacturer says it “has raised the bar” in brake pad friction material terms with a new high-end disc brake pad compound – the SBS EVO Sinter. Described as being manufactured with conductive sintering (direct hot pressing), the material is heated up by electrical current, resulting in an “excellent and homogeneous brake pad material”. SBS says it also features advanced friction material bonding technology - the NRS system, which is a mechanical bonding method based on a matrix of steel hooks raised on the backing plate that mould into the friction material, creating an “indestructible and corrosion safe mechanical bond without any use of adhesives”. The initial launch range includes almost 30 part numbers for modern Adventure, Roadster, Sport and touring bikes – look for cruiser fitments to be announced in 2017;


PAASCHBURG & WUNDERLICH: The respected Hamburg based distributor and parts designer continues to innovate. With warehouse space of some 3,600 sq m (nearly 40,000 sq ft) they carry over 23,500 products - lighting, exhaust pipes, accessories, spare parts, maintenance products, workshop accessories and service items;


NATIONAL CYCLE: Recent new products from the award-winning Maywood, Illinois manufacturer include updated universal fit Deflector Screens and Street Shields in Quantum hardcoated polycarbonate, three new VStream windscreens for the FLTR Road Glide, and multiple screen, windshield and cruiseliner hard saddlebag options for the Indian Scout;

Avon Grips

“Soda Bottle” style rubber grips

These old school style “soda bottle” rubber grips by Avon are made from Kraton rubber for a “great feel and a vintage appearance.”

Kraton rubber is an ideal material for motorcycle grips as it will not dry, harden or crack, and the colorfast designs won't stain the hands or gloves.
Made in the United States, they are sold in pairs and fit 1” handlebars. They come with throttle sleeves, or there are black and red options without throttle sleeve.


Joker Machine

Bagger ‘Fuel Doors’

These new Bagger ‘Fuel Doors’ are a perfect match for any bike with stock or aftermarket components, according to manufacturer Joker Machine. “Choose from one of our many styles; raised finned and techno styles come in chrome-plated and gloss black with or without a contrasting silver cut, or more traditional smooth and flame chrome-plated and gloss black finishes.” 

Precision-manufactured from 6061 billet aluminum at their Lake Havasu City, Arizona machine shop, they are an easy install replacement for the stock item that reuses the Original Equipment mounting hardware and lock. Fits ‘08-later Electra Glide, Street Glide, Ultra Limited, Road Glide and Trike models with center fill tank.


Lowbrow Customs

Cast aluminum gas caps

The ‘Competition’ and ‘Spinner’ gas caps from Lowbrow Customs replace the stock cap on ’96 and up Harley-Davidsons, as well as many aftermarket gas tanks that take a H-D thread-in style gas cap. They feature a ratcheting mechanism, which allows the cap to be tightened then rotated back. The “soft and supple” gasket ensures no fuel spillage. 

The ‘Competition’ was inspired by vintage utilitarian aviation gas caps; the company says that it is “perfect for cafe racers and scramblers as well as any race-inspired or performance motorcycle.” The ‘Spinner’  “is at home on choppers as well as aggressive, performance machines like Dynas and custom Sportsters.” Both style gas caps are available in polished aluminum or the ever popular black.


OttoDiCuori (ODC)

Cam, clutch and rocker covers

Based near Milan, Italian designer Christian Cagnola’s OttoDiCuori (ODC) business is well known for its custom bikes, but also has a fast growing reputation for their parts and accessories program.

Their core business is front suspensions, and in prior editions of AMDesign we have showcased their ‘Milano’ and ‘Roma’ inverted front fork assemblies and pressurized shock absorbers for touring models.

However, they also offer a substantial range of accessory and replacement assembly options, such as custom lights for tourers and, seen here, CNC machined billet aluminum custom covers.


Firebrand Design

Rip-Rod slip-ons

Californian manufacturer Firebrand’s new Rip-Rod slip-ons are retro style ripple pipe and old school end caps to “deliver a modern variation on the glory days when guys chopped, channelled and raced whatever they could get their hands on to prove who was coolest.”

Rip-Rod slip-ons feature 2 ¼” rippled muffler bodies that match up perfectly to the stock heat shields, and are finished off with hot rod style billet end caps for a “clean, narrow look.”   Internally, 1 ¾” maintenance-free spiral louver core baffles “deliver that distinct classic sound.”

Available as a complete kit for Sportsters, or individually as a universal fitment part in show quality chrome with black ceramic tips or black with gold ceramic tips.


Tuesday 22 November 2016

Championship of the Americas at AIMExpo

Championship of the Americas at AIMExpo, October 2016

The spotlight that has shone on this year’s 4th annual AIMExpo in October has primarily been on the increased consumer attendance and the 2017 move from Orlando, Florida to Columbus, Ohio announcement (September 21st to 24th ).

However, this year also saw the 2nd annual Championship of the Americas (COTA) take place at AIMExpo – the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building Official Affiliate event for the United States.

With prize money to compete at the AMD World Championship at ‘INTERMOT Customized, Cologne, Germany, October 2018, the FreeStyle Class and CVOTA World Championship prize was won by Jordan Dickinson of Union Speed Cycle, Minneapolis.

Here is this year’s full list of winners and a selection of the bikes …

Jordan Dickinson (Union Speed Cycle) of Minneapolis took the Freestyle win and with it the Champion of the Americas prize for 2016 that scoops him bike air freight and personal travel expenses to represent USA at the October 2018 AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building at 'INTERMOT Customized' in Cologne, Germany

Retro Modified winner Jordan Dickinson, Union Speed Cycle, MN

Street Custom winner Adam Karns, Karns Kustoms, MD

Performance Custom winner Jesse Spade, Jesse Spade Designs, GA

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

‘INTERMOT Customized’ nailed it!

INTERMOT this year saw the debut of what will become an important long term headquarters event for the international custom motorcycle and parts industry. 'INTERMOT Customized', the show-within-show concept, has been widely hailed as a success.
The vision I always had for the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building was one of using it as an anchor for an event that could both preach to the choir and speak to new business opportunities. Yes, I have been on a mission – one based on the inevitability that boom would turn to bust; that attitudes to the custom motorcycle ownership and riding experience were outmoded, and that the references that informed the existing custom culture would be irrelevant to new generations of riders.
From my point of view, although the years I spent hosting the AMD World Championship at Sturgis were fun (mostly), and not without their rewards and opportunities to further the mission, ultimately we just could not find the staging solution we needed in the United States.
Maybe if the AIMExpo project had been underway at that stage, who knows, perhaps that would have therefore given us a platform to keep the AMD World Championship in the United States. I guess we have been paying the price for being a few years ahead of the curve in our thinking throughout this odyssey.
Our own Big Bike Europe Expo at Essen in Germany in 2013 showcased the mission splendidly – in terms of show design, venue atmospherics and (I remain proud to say) in terms of user-friendly organization, where competitors and exhibitors are the honoured guests.
Having created the formula in a European context at Essen, the decision to move the AMD World Championship to INTERMOT in 2014 was all about taking a decade out of the evolution of the attendance. In one giant leap forward we could expose the creativity of the custom market as expressed through the AMD World Championship to the largest custom bike show attendance the world had ever seen.
Boom…a ready-made audience of getting on for 200,000 expo-oriented, motivated, relevant and active high-mileage riders beckoned!
The move to INTERMOT in 2014 was all about starting to learn how to exploit that opportunity and getting the Championship bedded-in to a week-long cycle in a massive, multi-hall, third party owned expo complex in the middle of a major urban conurbation.
This year, however, well, what can I say! Kudos, respect and thanks to the team at Koelnmesse and for the backing of the IVM, the custom motorcycle shops and motorcycle manufacturers and vendors who took booths at ‘INTERMOT Customized’ and to the AMD World Championship competitor community.

“a ready-made audience”

This is their success and their opportunity – if we have been the catalyst, then great, that makes me proud. What has now been accomplished will prove to be exactly the kind of foundation that I was hoping to see emerge somewhere, somehow.
There can be no question that as the international custom industry continues to morph, ‘INTERMOT Customized’ will now prove to be a platform for its engineering to be showcased to a massive and massively influential mixed audience just at the time when the old channels, products and styles of bikes finally prove to be unable to sustain the industry it spawned.
What has been interesting in the European context in the past decade or so is that despite the downturn, the actual number of motorcycles registered for the road in Europe has not reduced proportionate to the slump in new model sales.
In 2007 the ‘Bike Park’ in Europe (EU plus Switzerland and Norway) was a total of 35m, 22m of which were motorcycles. That figure continued to rise through the most severe years of economic downturn, peaking at 37.7m total PTWs in 2011, 25.6m of which were motorcycles.
While that figure softened a little in the following years, motorcycles in use declined less quickly in percentage terms than overall PTW use, and the latest available data puts Europe at some 35.5m total PTWs, of which 25.7m are motorcycles.
This indicates that while there have been (and remain) issues in Europe concerning licensing age, access to the sport and training, in fact it isn’t that motorcycling as such has suffered a demographic collapse. Instead, as is the well documented case in Spain, the ‘Park’ (or fleet) has aged rather than reduced – which also goes to why renewal is being seen among the larger displacement machines rather than at entry-level price points.
Something that has changed in Europe though is the regulatory attitude to riding. Whereas a decade ago the concern was that it was policy to make riding as difficult as possible, fast forward to 2016 and the regulators themselves can’t state their personal riding credentials fast enough.
PTWs are now officially endorsed at EU level as a part of the solution to environmental and safety issues, not part of the problem - with all transport and related laws having to pass a motorcycle sanity test.
Even the right to modify is now enshrined in EU law with competency for all regulatory issues, except for those that affect safety and emissions now firmly protected from EU level interference and handed back to national governments.
With motorcycle sales in general growing again now in Europe (see the INTERMOT report elsewhere in this edition), and with large displacement machines leading that growth, and custom styling leading the growth that the manufacturers are enjoying, all current trends point to an international custom motorcycle industry with opportunity stamped all over it.
Now if someone could just light a similar fire under the domestic U.S. market … Columbus anybody?


DAVIDA: New from the specialist ISO 9001 accredited British helmet manufacturer, the updated road-legal Speedster v3 open-face helmet features dual North American and European approvals (ECER22-05 and DOT FMVSS # 2018), an advanced low-profile GRP composite shell shape in three sizes, polystyrene shock absorption liner, and removable and replaceable full leather interior. The Speedster has its origins in highly evocative classic 1970s styling with a 26-year heritage as one of the most popular open-face helmets on the international custom and Cafe Racer style market;

VEE RUBBER: Big in the custom scene in Europe as well as the United States, with “new gen” design technology, Vee Rubber remains the “go-to” for white walls and fat rear tires;


DP BRAKES: The originator of sintered brake pad technology, the UK manufacturer has top-end performance applications for most Evo and late-model Harleys and a range of stainless steel rotors and durable, high performance friction plates that are designed for the severe duty that Big Twin and XL drivetrains apply to their clutches;


RIZOMA: The Italian parts, accessory and make-over kit specialist is best known for their ‘metric’ product line, but recently stepped-up their Harley offer with new Sportster and Night Rod parts designs to add to their universal fit cruiser mirror, forward control, grips, pegs and lever options;


K&N ENGINEERING: Recent new products from the Riverside, California based cotton gauze performance air filter specialist include simple bolt-on cast aluminum Aircharger intake system kits for all 2008-2016 Touring models and 2001-2015 Dynas and Softails. Said to add up to 6hp, both kits include a cast aluminum intake tube and come in a textured black finish with a raised, brushed aluminum K&N logo. They feature an oversized, oiled cotton, clamp-on air filter that feeds air directly into a wide air tube with an integrated velocity stack. An integrated breather system ensures these kits are a direct replacement for the stock intake. Dyno tests have shown an estimated 6 hp and 6.5 lb-ft of torque gain on a 2016 H-D Street Glide, and an estimated 5 horsepower and 8 lb-ft of torque on a 2016 Harley Switchback;


WUNDERKIND: Launched two years ago, the Wunderkind program is a new line of custom parts designed and manufactured in Germany by noted sportsbike parts maker ABM. Products include performance custom air cleaners with washable K&N air filters; forward controls, brake discs, callipers and levers; fork stabilizers and triple clamps; pegs and grips, covers and adjustable ‘Multi-Clip’ clip-on handlebars, all in a choice of finishes with ABE certification where required – the highest level of design and materials quality approval available in the tough regulatory environment of the German market;


Scorpion series clear derby cover

Noted Californian clutch and cable specialist Barnett has introduced a clear derby cover for ‘15-‘16 FLs using the ‘narrow’ primary cover. Featuring a quarter inch thick, clear polycarbonate window to the clutch, the scratch and discoloration resistant window is firmly secured and sealed with an O-ring gasket. 

The outer cover area is CNC-machined from billet aluminum and available with a brilliant chrome or black powder-coat finish. The derby cover gasket is also included. This cover also accommodates the Scorpion low profile lock-up clutch.


Kraft Tech

Stock or custom Kraft Tech ‘Dresser’ frame options

Manufactured in California by Kraft Tech and available from Drag Specialties, these ’94-’06 style FLT, FLHT, FLTR, FLHX and FLHR ‘Dresser’ frames are built from 1-1/4” o.d. tubing with a 2” o.d. backbone.

They are available either stock-style with 26 degree rake and 0 degree stretch, or with 30 degree rake and 1-1/2” backbone stretch for use with 23” or 26” front tires.
They both accept Twin Cam ‘88/’96 and Evolution engines with matching Dresser-style rubber-mounted model transmissions, ‘97-‘07 Dresser-style seats and are for use with stock width rear tires.


Blackmore Manufacturing

The ‘Wedge II’ fairing for mid-sized motorcycles

Last year we featured Blackmore Manufacturing’s new ‘Wedge’ frame mount fairing for Dyna, FXR and Sportster models.
The company has now updated its design, using TPO rather than fiberglass in the construction of the ‘Wedge II’.  TPO (thermoplastic olefin or olefinic thermoplastic elastomers) is an advanced form of ABS that has significant manufacturing process and durability advantages.

The ‘Wedge II’ has the same stability and wind protection as the original, but it weighs less, offers increased storage, easy installation of radio and speakers, a finished surface that requires very little preparation before painting, and improved resistance to the effects of solar UV radiation.
The ‘Wedge II’ offers four windshield options from 7 to 18 inches and headlight rings and turn signals that come in standard black or optional chrome.
Bill Blackmore, who designed and manufactures the ‘Wedge II’, says the design and concept for a frame-mounted fairing goes back to a very well known fairing that was extremely popular in the 1970s and 1980s.

“As a young man I sold Hondas at a big dealership, and I was exposed to the ‘Vetter’ fairing at the same time. I sold a lot of Hondas, and a lot of those left the store with a Vetter fairing fitted. Since then I’ve had a frame-mounted fairing on most of my motorcycles.
“I like the stability and the comfort that a good frame-mounted fairing offers. I bought a second-hand FXRT that was fitted with the ugliest fairing I’ve ever seen, the bike looked like a pretty girl in need of a new dress. So I built a fairing from fiberglass for the FXR. When I started to ride that bike, people always asked where they could get one of their own, and that’s how the ‘Wedge’ came about.
“A frame-mounted fairing is inherently more stable. It offers more wind protection and storage, and is less affected by side winds and the kind of pressure wave that every biker experiences when an 18-wheeler passes them on the Freeway.”
Each ‘Wedge’ fairing is supplied with a complete mounting kit, including all necessary brackets, fasteners and a wiring harness, in a finish that needs minimal preparation for paint.


Dr Jekill & Mr Hyde

Adjustable Roadster exhaust


European adjustable exhaust specialist Dr Jekill & Mr Hyde say that the recently launched Roadster is the first Harley model to achieve its European homologation after new EU noise measurement rules came into force, and that they have reacted immediately with an adjustable ECE R 41-04 compliant system for the Roadster. Said to enhance the “sporty character” of the new model and to fully exploit the available power from the 1200cc engine within the specifications of the new regulations, their new system is available with choice of end cap styles in black or chrome and as muffler only, or as a complete replacement system with a stainless steel manifold.

MC Baggers

Updated ‘Steel Kore’ rake kit

MC Baggers have updated their ‘Steel Kore’ rake kit for ’14 and up touring models with 26” wheel set-up, making it possible to complete a 26” build without the need to make any changes to the inner components of the factory fork.

In other words, there is now no need to extend the factory forks. Included with every kit are the extended fork cans, pre-cut and measured Goodridge brake lines, and their patent-pending MC Baggers ABS bearing.
The installation leaves a total rake of 38 degrees, with a 5.85-inch trail number. From the rear axle to front axle, the wheelbase length is only 5 inches longer than the stock/factory. The ground clearance will be 0.5 inch lower than the stock/factory clearance.
The fender travel (from the top of the fender to the bottom of the lower triple) is 4.5 inches - the bike’s stock frame is actually lower than the bottom-most part of the kit, “providing an unprecedented amount of clearance.” 

“We can confidently state that when you experience this new version of our ‘closer’ (to the bike body) ‘Steel Kore’ rake kit, you will realize that our kits are without peer in the industry in terms of quality, fit and finish and attention to detail, as well as in the quality of the ride.”


Corbin Saddles

‘Classic Solo’ for Octane

Following the recent release of a model-specific version of its popular Gunfighter saddle for the new Victory Octane, Hollister, California based Corbin Saddles has also now updated the fitment of its “uniquely styled” Classic Solo. 

Designed to conform to the shape of the rider’s body to give more square inches of contact, the “dished” seating area disperses rider weight and provides over four inches of vertical back support.
Made using their proprietary high-density ‘Comfort Cell’ foam, to provide “firm support that lasts”, Corbin say their saddles feel firm when first ridden, but this firmness is what supports the body and maintains the correct shape. Over time ‘Comfort Cell’ is specified to break in and provide a personalized fit.
Saddles and backrests include genuine leather seating panels, with their standard natural grain leather in the seating area and with ‘Asphalt’ stud band side panels. Installation is simple and uses a unique Corbin key lock system for the Classic Solo, while the also available passenger seat bolts to the Corbin Solo in the front and to the stock fender location at the rear.


Friday 4 November 2016


INTERMOT featured over 1,100 exhibitors from 40 countries

Always regarded as the most “international” of the major motorcycle industry shows, INTERMOT had plenty for the custom market trade visitor in the ‘main’ halls, in addition to the exhibitors in the all-new ‘INTERMOT Customized’ show-within-show concept in the atmospheric Hall 10. Here we present a selection of “mainstream” vendors with product lines for the custom market …

Our involvement with INTERMOT through AMD’s sister ‘Metric’ publication International Dealer News, including the popular International Night networking reception we stage with the support of Koelnmesse and the IVM (the German motorcycle industry trade association), has always meant that we have been in a unique position to be able to distil the four additional halls of over 1,100 exhibitors to be able to highlight parts and accessories that are of interest and relevance to custom shops internationally.
I have always believed that there is much in the “mainstream” of the motorcycle industry to interest V-twin market industry professionals, and that while market-specific expo environments are vital to the market’s core business, “mainstream” market events such as INTERMOT and AIMExpo in the United Sates also have a legitimate place in a well-balanced diet of industry trade show activity for even the most hardened of V-twin purists. 

Held every other year, INTERMOT has always been regarded as THE primary international motorcycle industry nexus, and of Europe’s major “mainstream” shows the one that attracts the higher mileage riders and hard parts, performance and technical component exhibitors in the greatest numbers.
Like all shows of all kinds, worldwide, attendance numbers and exhibitor numbers have reflected the rise and, more recently, dramatic decline in the motorcycle industry, they always do – just as the industry’s magazines do.
In Europe that decline started somewhat later than it did in the United States, but has endured for much longer than was the case in North America. While the “recovery” there appears to have stalled, in Europe there is no question that new motorcycle registrations are now gathering pace again, but context is key to appreciating that the mid-single digit growth numbers being seen in the past 24 months matter.
According to ACEM, the Brussels based motorcycle industry trade association for Europe, from just under 2m units in 2002, the all-markets European motorcycle industry peaked at over 2.5m registrations in 2007, then shrank to less than 1.2m units in 2013.
Within those figures motorcycle registrations rose from 1.1m units in 2002 to peak at just under 1.6m in 2008, but collapse to under 800,000 in 2013. The good news is that by the end of 2015 that number was on the rise again, to 885,453 motorcycles.
The even better news is that while the number of mopeds and small displacement machines such as small cc scooters is still in decline, counterintuitively following such a dramatic recession, it is higher value larger displacement motorcycles rather than price point machines that are driving growth.
The best news of all though comes in the custom market, where Harley’s performance, in market share terms and new unit numbers, in Europe is doing much to soften the impact of the domestic sales numbers, with custom-esque machines of various kinds also being among the strongest growth areas for most of the “mainstream” motorcycle manufacturers.
Hence the “double-boothing” that was seen at INTERMOT this year as OEs sought to stake a claim to future exhibit real estate in the new show-within-show ‘INTERMOT Customized’ Hall 10 this year.
With the mid-single digit motorcycle growth being seen now in Europe, and the modest visitor number growth being claimed by INTERMOT (up by around 10,000 from 2014), it has been the advent of ‘INTERMOT Customized’ that has given the show most of its claimed +17 percent increase in exhibiting company numbers, and in the context of the collapse in numbers since 2007, everyone in the industry in Europe will happily take the present modest and early positive indicators “all day long”.
With the uncertainty of unfolding change continuing to swirl about us, any kind of growth is good growth. In European terms, the custom market has emerged from under the wing of the street, sports, naked style, dual-purpose and scooter markets – what was once niche, truly is now starting to define the mainstream.

As long-term market leader, Harley-Davidson always has largely defined the primary business opportunities in the North American motorcycle parts and accessory aftermarket, but increasingly Europe is catching up – albeit with a new definition of what “motorcycles of character” means to the new-generation of Millennial beard wearers and what were hitherto regarded as minority markets.
That definition is already being seen in the U.S. of course, and has been for some years, but in Europe it is also informing OE production capacity priorities – and that is important as a potential game-changer as the Japanese superbike revolution was in the 1970s and 1980s.
In our visits with exhibitors in the “main” halls, our International Dealer News domestic European ‘Metric’ customers, it was startling how many vendors, now more than ever, are keen to know how they can engage with AMD Magazine as the pathway into custom sales, and I was asked about how European vendors can get sales moving in the domestic U.S. custom market at least a dozen times on four days.
There was palpable disappointment at hearing that the channels are just as complex and the market just as crowded for them as a European vendor trying to sell in the U.S. as it is for American vendors trying to gain traction in the European market - but with a relatively healthy domestic European custom market in which to liquidate development costs, few appeared to be deterred.

A few such companies appear in this selection and in my review of ‘INTERMOT Customized’ elsewhere in this edition, but for most of the businesses included here, those that already have brands that can sell across the board, have product solutions specified for the V-twin market, and have mature channels already in place, the opportunities may be morphing, but opportunities they certainly are.

KELLERMANN: The award-winning German originator of the bar-end ‘Bullet’ indicator, recent new products include a new indicator adaptor for their Bullet Extreme and PL designs that allow their indicators to fit the original mount, and the Bullet 1000 PL, with yellow or white park/marker light with white ring light in a choice of finishes;


PARTS EUROPE: Fred Fox’s European operation continues to gain momentum, with near-market Drag Specialties inventory increasing at their massive state-of-the-art warehouse near Trier in Germany each year. The custom parts and accessories market in Europe is a “crowded and competitive space” in distributor terms. However, with European parts and accessory sales not seeing the softening that has been widely reported in the domestic U.S. market so far this year, Drag Specialties’ vendors should be able to capitalize on the international growth opportunities;


MAROLO TEST: The French workshop equipment manufacturer continues to deepen its relationship with Harley-Davidson dealers, with their worldwide approved modular workshop lifts being officially endorsed by Milwaukee for use in authorized dealer workshops;


REMUS: New products from the Austrian exhaust manufacturer include EU compliant replacement 2-into-1 systems for forward or mid-control applications on most Sportster models from 2014 and up. Weighing in at 6.5kg (compared to the 10.4kg of the stock system) and available for use with or without the removable plug-in catalytic converter, it features Remus’ mechanical noise control valve and choice of optional billet end caps. Tests on an otherwise stock Sportster 48 showed horsepower and torque gains throughout the rev range;


TECMATE: The well-known manufacturer of the OptiMate range of battery chargers, diagnostics and maintenance products has been on a new accessory product blitz recently with cables, plugs and chargers for most of the portable devices that now define life on the road - from smart GPS and cell phone chargers that protect the motorcycle battery from their energy demands, to plugs and applications for most popular makes and models, including Harley tourers;


MAG EUROPE: It is already getting on for three years since the Motorsports Aftermarket Group merged with Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice. At INTERMOT the group showcased their Vance & Hines, Kuryakyn, Crusher, Mustang seats, Burly and Progressive Suspension brands;