This past weekend the International Motorcycle Show was in Minneapolis, presented by Cycle World. Upon entering the show you are greeted immediately by a person handing out a Progressive Insurance bag for all the swag you might find at the show. Throughout the show I noticed how much advertising Progressive was doing. There were stickers on the floor featuring “Flo” everywhere you went along with the massive booth that they had with people talking about their motorcycle insurance. Progressive was not alone as Allstate was there with a nice sized booth of their own. Seems insurance companies are making a push for the motorcycle crowd.
Everyone at the show seemed to be an enthusiast of some kind. Some were adorning full leathers while others merely wearing a t-shirt with a companies logo on it. Everybody seemed to be representing something. Many families were at the show and the kids all seemed to be drawn to the sport bikes. There was a member of the Ducati freestyle team at the show, and they had a whole section of the floor to perform a show every few hours.
Each manufacturer had specialists to answer questions and show off the latest features and bikes. I over heard a specialist at the Yamaha booth asking a customer if they really needed the power of 1000 cc or if 600 cc might do it. The Ducati booth had an espresso bar with laptops loaded with information on their current line up of bikes which was very cool.
I met a group called ZeroGravity, a local Minnesota based group of sport bike riders. There are plenty of forums and groups out there, so what made them stick out? I held a conversation with the groups founder, Bjorn Iverson, about what exactly makes them different. He explained to me he used to be part of quite a few forums and while they were informational, people did not interact offline. Bjorn thought there was a better way and thus ZeroGravity was founded. The group hits the open road together, “spank twisties” and tear up the back country roads. While this all seems normal, what really got me was how much they all interact outside of motorcycles. The ZeroGravity members are a tight knit group that always welcome new comers. They hangout outside of the motorcycle realm doing everything from dodgeball to bowling. Nothing is out of the question, and they all just want to have fun together. The motorcycle is just the common object that brings them all together. They are nearly 700 members strong and growing quickly. If you are a motorcyclist in the MN/WI area, I suggest you check them out for sure.
Overall, the whole show was a blast. I am glad to have met the crew at ZeroGravity. I saw a lot of innovation at the show. Many manufacturers listen to what the customers are saying and try to implement just that. There are a lot of different segments in the motorcycle industry from stunters, racers, hardcore riders and just the casual cruiser and yet there was something for everyone.