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Tuesday 2 April 2024

AIMExpo 2024 Part 2

It's Pipe and Drape - But Not as We Know It

AIMExpo 2024 Part 2
Las Vegas, February 6-8

The 10th AIMExpo was a success. No question about it. But it continues to emerge as a radically different style of industry expo to those we associate with the traditional motorcycle industry shows in the United States. Available space is tight here, so you can read more of my theories about where AIMExpo is headed and why in my 'Comment' piece on page four. Meanwhile we present our signature AMD style of review of selected exhibitor news - with the emphasis on the V-twin and international sectors, rather than on the considerable OEM and electric action to be seen at AIMExpo …

Barnett Clutches & Cables: The legendary Ventura, California based clutch and cable specialist recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. The business, founded by Jennifer Darling's great grandparents Charlie and Afton Barnett in 1948, is one of America's oldest established and still continuously family-owned motorcycle parts and accessory vendors, with distribution worldwide;

Turn 14 Distribution: AIMExpo marked the official ' coming out' of Pennsylvania based automotive distributor Turn 14 as a powersports market entrant, following its acquisition of Tucker Powersports' house brands - the 'selected assets' that it bought before Tucker's final demise. In V-twin terms, those brands include Kuryakyn, Twin Power, Biker's Choice, Bike Master, Pro Taper, Speed and Strength, First Gear and River Road. Turn 14 already sells for a slew of automotive brands with 'cross-over' product in the motorcycle market - brands such as K&N, Cometic Gasket and Öhlins suspension. Turn 14 says it is 100 percent committed to supporting the 'Brick and Morter' retail experience and has award-winning credentials for its implementation of inventory, logistics and dealer management technology;

Tribolite Motorcycle Jeans: Started by Martin Solar and Ales Klozem in the 1990s, the first 'Brick & Mortar' Bikers Crown store was opened in 2000. The Czech motorcycle retail multiple and parts and accessory distributor now has 11 such stores, a large mail order business, an impressive own-brand portfolio and distributes some 40 internationally known brands from Nexx, Caberg, AGV, Shoei and Shark to Thor, Alpinestars, Dainese, 100%, Falco, Fox, Kellermann, Hyperpro, HiFloFiltro, Goldfren and EMGO. The star of the own brand portfolio (along with Rusty Pistons apparel), Tribolite Motorcycle Jeans was one of a number of own brands started in 2012 and has grown quickly - at home and in international markets. The 'protective riding jeans' concept has gradually found acceptance in the past decade, but making a play for sales in a domestic American market, where the concept has a checkered past, tells of the confidence in product quality and the ambition that Martin still has as his business heads towards its 25th anniversary in 2025;

Rebelhorn Apparel: Owned and operated by Powerbike in Poland, Rebelhorn is one of the fastest growing apparel brands in northern and central Europe, and having started to make a play for western and southern European profile by exhibiting at EICMA, exhibiting the range at AIMExpo shows that Powerbike clearly sees no reason why it can't create demand in the huge but difficult and crowded U.S. apparel market. Founded in 2010, "Rebelhorn is a brand born from passion for design, quality and innovation, but above all for maximum protection. Rebelhorn products are designed to make riders feel free at all times." The offer includes over 140 products in four lines: Classic, Sport, Street and Tour;

Freedom Performance: Recent new designs from the Corona, California based exhaust specialist include its "Independence Shorty" perforated high 2-into-2 staggered system for the Harley Sportster S and Nightster. "This stylish exhaust comes with removable performance baffles, and we have optional quiet baffles available for sale if desired - which lower the sound by 5 to 8 decibels. The system gives a deep, throaty hot rod sound and includes 2.5" OD full shields." O2 bungs and plugs in 12 and 18 mm threads are provided;

Goodridge: There can be few brake line and hose manufacturers in the world with the breadth and depth of motorsports product applications that Goodridge offers. Founded in the UK by former racer Stuart Goodridge in 1969, the company was acquired by British private equity investor Rubicon Grovepoint Industries in 2013 and boasts 11 facilities in Europe, USA and Asia;

Athena: The 1973 founded, Vicenza based Italian performance component and electronics manufacturer celebrated its 50th anniversary last year with the acquisition of respected Italian transatlantic distributor Innteck. Athena CEO Erardo Ratzenbeck told IDN that the move achieved two timely strategic objectives. It has allowed Athena to focus its own distribution needs and activities into a specific subsidiary, one that has built an international reputation for logistics excellence and product range portfolio development in the 20 years since it was founded near Turin. While doing so, the acquisition simultaneously allows Athena to renew its focus as a producer of performance parts, accessories and electronics for the racetrack and street. "I believe in the future of distribution," Erardo told AMD, "and in its importance as a specialty discipline, one that is a vital link in the relationship between manufactures and dealers. This strategic acquisition will strengthen the opportunity for both businesses to focus on what they do best";

Energy One: Kent and Nancy Foltz' Big Twin clutch kits come complete, including a full set of performance friction plates with a maximum groove pattern for heat dissipation and fluid circulation. They have a core of either 6061-T6 aluminum or high tempered steel for maximum durability, along with a race-proven friction material. All steel plates are made with a high tempered steel and are vibratory-deburred for extreme flatness for positive engagement and performance;