From manning our own booth and doing double duty between the factory Triumph and Ducati booths, the Chicago leg of 2014’s International Motorcycle Show was a busy few days for us. It’s the good kind of busy, though. It’s the kind of busy that lets us spend time with our favorite customers and fellow motorcycle fans.
I arrived early Saturday morning, the main day of the show. There was an electricity in the air before the main doors opened. All the OEMS, their local dealer assistants, and a hundred different accessory venders were all putting the final touches on their booths. Then, the announcement came over the loudspeaker. Showtime.
The IMS is a staple of the motorcycle calendar. It’s the best place to get some stationary butt time on bikes from nearly every brand under the sun. It’s also one of those rare opportunities to see almost every bike in a brand’s lineup with plenty of room to climb aboard and plenty of people to tell you all about it.
Our attention was focused in two places: Triumph and Ducati. We’re proud to cary both brands at Motoworks, but when you see them on display like this at the IMS, we think they’re even more impressive. These are two brands who know who their fans are and more importantly, know who they are as motorcycle companies.
Triumph brought a whole batch of customs and race bikes. What surprised me was that only one of these machines was roped off from the public. Anyone who wanted to could climb aboard one of nearly half a dozen unique Triumphs in addition to stock bikes. It seems like more than any other brand running, Triumph has its fingers on the pulse of what it’s fans are doing with their bikes. Very few people will just leave their Bonneville alone, and Triumph is taking notice. Word around the campfire is that in particular, the influence of American Triumph fans will be very, very evident in future offerings in the Triumph lineup. Stay tuned for that.
Ducati’s booth had one main thing as its centerpiece: the all-new Monster 1200 we previewed a few weeks back at the shop. Flanked by the rest of the Ducati fleet, the Monster 1200 made for a very impressive focal point. When we previewed the monster Monster at the shop, everybody could climb aboard and get a feel for it. At the actual IMS, it was up on a pedestal out of reach. Funny that.
It’s easy to dismiss the IMS. It happens every year, and without much thought one could just assume that there’s nothing new to see. This year certainly subverted that expectation. All the major manufacturers had new bikes they were proud of. Vendors were present in full force with their best wares at show prices. Best of all, we were able to connect with our customers and introduce these two great brands to people who maybe hadn’t ever considered a Triumph or a Ducati before. That’s the real fun of the event — seeing the look on people’s faces when the sit on what may have just become the bike of their dreams.