2008 Cycle World IMS in San Mateo, California
The late December weather was absolutely beautiful - brilliant blue skies, crisp air.
We were on the lookout for evidence of the recent economic downturn; Harley-Davidson was the only major vendor without a floor display (we found out later that H-D missed the show due to a scheduling conflict). BMW had a much smaller display this year. Despite H-D's absence, visitors were able to take unguided test rides on the new Harley-Davidson XR1200.
If the economy was keeping people at home, I couldn't see any sign of it—the paid parking lot was filled over capacity Saturday, with cars circling the large lot for upwards of 30 minutes looking for parking spots. The aisles were crowded with people in search of the latest bikes, gear, and apparel.
As expected, major and minor motorcycle manufacturers were in attendance (Harley-Davidson notwithstanding); the big Japanese manufacturers occupied the usual sprawling floor displays.
I didn't see anything that really caught the crowd's attention at the big manufacturers' displays, except that Honda's strange DN-1 attracted a constant stream of visitors gawking at the bike, checking out details and sitting on the bike.
Buell's display seemed to be popular—lots of people checking out the 2009 Buell 1125R and 1125CR.
As usual, major and minor accessory vendors were on site. Helmet manufacturers included Arai, Shoei, Fulmer, Xpeed, and HJC. We spoke with Scott Holbrooks of Fulmer Helmets about their line of affordable Snell M2005-certified helmets on display—with the economy slowing, I expect that some riders will be looking to save cash by buying less-expensive helmets.
Other vendors demonstrated everything from radar detector and GPS mounts to custom instruments, reusable heating pads and do-it-yourself tire-changing equipment.
Even though there weren't many surprises, the show continues to be a great way to immerse yourself in the motorcycle scene in the off-riding season. I can't think of a better way to check out tons of bikes and equipment under one roof (actually several roofs at this venue).
More photos from the 2008 Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in San Mateo, California