Recently, AIMExpo’s Custom Culture Director, Bob Kay, caught up with American Motorcycle Dealer (AMD) magazine’s Robin Bradley to discuss the Championship of the Americas and everything custom that will be featured at this year’s AIMExpo presented by Nationwide.

Robin Bradley, AMD: Before we talk about the Championship of the Americas and AIMExpo what is this Custom Culture Forum you have been conducting during the HandBuilt Show in Austin all about?

Bob Kay, AIMExpo: Well, Robin you know how you and I have been talking about the progress the Euro Custom Scene has been making with “Protecting their Right to Modify.” I felt it would be a good time to hear from the young American Builders and other influential players in the American Custom Scene.

I have been overwhelmed the past 2 years from our meetings at Revival Cycles with the participants, the quality of the discussions and the sincerity of their intentions. This year I was asked to give a presentation to the Motorcycle Industry Council’s (MIC) Aftermarket Committee about what I had learned from these meetings and my research on the evolving custom bike scene and its influence on the overall motorcycle market.

The custom scene is alive with the likes of Garage Brewed, Milwaukee Tried, Hand Built, The One, Born Free and others. Yes, it has evolved with a more conceptually open approach to customization celebrating diversity in contemporary expression, combining form and function with multiple style cues. Entry into to this scene is no longer limited to V-Twin enthusiasts and it is more closely aligned with younger generation riders (millennials and younger that are primed to grow into the largest demographic opportunity for motorcycling) that value motorcycles for the experiences they create and the adventures that contribute to their lifestyle.

Bottom line is that the MIC recognizes the value this demographic paradigm offers the future of our industry to bring customizers, racers and enthusiasts together while protecting our “Right to Modify.”

Robin Bradley, AMD: Now that AIMExpo is a division of the Motorcycle Industry Council as MIC Events, how has that influenced the show?

Bob Kay, AIMExpo: First off, I am sure you know this is the first time in the history of the American motorcycle scene that our industry trade show is being run by our industry trade organization. You see, the MIC is a non-profit organization so any benefits created from show revenues goes directly to the support of our industry.

Secondly, all motivations for the show, whether it be location, presentation or whatever are based on what is best for our industry as opposed to some entity’s profit. This has created an infectious energy within the MIC Events staff (Still led by Mike Webster, Larry Little and Cinnamon Kernes) that is spreading to our exhibitors.

All I can say is “You do not want to miss this year’s AIMExpo!”

As of July 29th the show was 95% sold out with the likes of Harley-Davidson, another industry first, Indian, S&S Cycle, Barnett Tool and Engineering, Andrews Products, Jim’s Machining and host of other traditional V-Twin/Custom exhibitors along with a cast of vehicle manufacturers consisting of KYMCO, Suzuki, SSR/Benelli, Yamaha, BRP/Can AM, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Polaris Slingshot, 47 Moto, American Landmaster, Lifan, BV Powersports, CFMOTO, Cub Cadet, Doohan, HiSUN, Ice Bear, Jinling International Tacita, Textron Off-road, and Torrot GasGas. Gone is the boring trade show atmosphere of the past.

If you are into motorcycles you just won’t want to miss AIMExpo, presented by none other than Nationwide.

Robin Bradley, AMD: We have heard the Championship of the Americas is the centerpiece of the Custom Culture Pavilion. What is the Custom Culture Pavilion?

Bob Kay, AIMExpo: The Custom Culture powered by BMW Motorcycles Pavilion fulfills a request from the industry for an area where traditional V-Twin and newer genre custom products can be showcased.

It is quickly becoming one of the show’s highest traffic areas.

There will be many exciting exhibits surrounding the Championship of the Americas including an Artisan’s row showcasing the talents of industry craftsmen and women. The Skidmark Garage Showcase will be located in the center back portion of the Custom Culture powered by BMW Motorcycles Pavilion providing a place for builders and enthusiasts to chat and share custom dreams. This showcase will also put a focus on the role and importance community garages play to accommodate the millennial urbanization movement. There will be a Helmet Graphic Design Exhibition sponsored by Simpson Helmets featuring helmet designs from some of the top painters, graphic designers and pin stripers in the industry. I am also proud to announce another exciting first, BMW has signed up to be the presenting sponsor for the Custom Culture Pavilion featuring their R 9T models.

Robin Bradley, AMD: Okay, Okay, let’s talk about the Championship of the Americas at AIMExpo presented by Nationwide.

Bob Kay, AIMExpo: Well, you know we are the only official affiliate of the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building in the Americas. The winner of our Free Style class will earn a place on Team America to compete in the 2018 AMD World Championship held during Intermot in Cologne, Germany.

In addition, they will get up to $7,500 in expense contribution to send them and their bike across the big pond.

The competition follows similar rules of the AMD World Championship with 4 classes. Free Style, anything goes as long as it has 3 or 3 wheels. Retro Customs are built around pre-84 original drivetrains with modified or custom frames being acceptable, sorry no replica engines allowed. Street Customs must start with 85 or later stock chassis’ and drivetrains, of course they can be modified. The classes are rounded out with a Performance Class that seeks to promote genuine, not necessarily street legal, competition machinery. Drag bikes, class C racers, moto cross bikes of the 70’s and street racers are what we hope to attract.

While it is a very serious competition it is also a feature for the industry to enjoy. The networking opportunities and sponsorship potential makes everyone who enters a winner whether or not they take home a trophy.


You can read the complete September 2017 issue of AMD HERE.