Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

The Great American Motorcycle Show-Atlanta, Georgia-By: Rob Duve

Written by  March 1, 2020

January always brings the only motorcycle show that Atlanta sees all year and, although having attended for more than a few of these of the years, it’s always good to catch up with old friends in a motorcycle atmosphere and this year did and did not disappoint. With the usual Atlanta motorcycle dealers in attendance, the parade of new and unique bikes, custom builds, and street racers was good to see as always as well as a few unique street racers that were the epitome of attention to detail and with that, that’s about where the unique aspects wear off.

 

Every year since I’ve started attending, the show seems smaller and smaller with very little in the way of new and interesting things to look at to the point where a person could remember what the last show looked like, wear a blindfold, and find the same booths in the same places with the same people tending to them. Diversity was also missing from the game in that there were more than two knife resellers, the same gear in different booths with the same pricing, etc. The bikes from dealers and local shops were everything that is seen on social media in any given day, with the exception of the above mentions,

It is, however, understandable that the show might be shrinking given that the overall U.S. market declined once again, keeping the downward trend running since 2008 and reaching a deceleration of 2.3% from last year (an identical loss from 2018) with Harley Davidson leading the way in lost sales of their more expensive and upper end bikes as they try to find a way to appeal to other markets such as Millennial males. At the same time, companies such as KTM and BMW made modest gains in the U.S. market in what seems to be a trend towards more efficient bikes with better mileage and the ever increasing Adventure market. A market that Harley has tried to enter this year as well.

One market segment that continues to grow is the female rider population and, unexpectedly, female Millennials are taking to the roads and the trails in what can only be described as an unexpected trend. Millennial woman are being found more in the Adventure and Classic markets than anywhere but are still a more than valid and growing statistic in future motorcycle sales, giving the industry a small but sustaining shot in the arm.

As for the show, it may be well for the motorcycle industry as a whole, from the top down, to remember that trends and markets change and so, support industries such as clothing, gear, helmet manufacturers, and trade shows must change with them. There were one or two booth that were female specific and only one of those seemed to be an empowering thing for the ladies. In the same vein, ignoring the growing Adventure Bike market and the apparel and gear associated with it has been a growing trend for more than a couple of years and, most likely, hasn’t hit it’s full swing yet, giving the show organizers some time to get an idea of how to expand the only Atlanta show and take advantage of what can be thought of as Missed Opportunities since a decline in vendor participation result in lost income. Just this man's thoughts and observations! great american motorcycle show 2 Ga Rob Duve