Back when I worked in motorcycle sales, there was always only one big show – the RDS show. It was usually the only time that everyone in the industry all came together under one roof – from the huge brands to the small independent traders. It would often be a good opportunity to get your first look at the latest offerings from the competition, as well as being a great opportunity to play out some great winds ups on fellow colleagues.
Although the show is now only run every second year, nothing else has changed, especially the wind ups. But for me this year, there was the addition of a dose of schadenfreude as I was there for the first time not as a representative of a motorcycle brand, but as a show goer.
BMW again led the way with an impressive range of new models on display, including the new G650 GS & the incredibly well packaged K1600 GT. I was impressed with the scale of the Ducati stand, who clearly put in a lot of effort which seemed to pay off. I was on their stand both Friday & Saturday and there was constantly an orderly queue of people waiting to get a seat on the new Duke cruiser – the Diavel. This machine looks mean, with its masculine carbon fuel tank, and chunky features throughout, clearly this will be something for potential V-Max buyers to consider, and should give Ducati an even stronger foothold in the American market.
From this Home Page, the one thing that was constant during my time at the show was the constant buzz. I guess part of it is down to the show being squeezed into the relatively small RDS, and also partly down to the simple fact that Ireland is a small place, and its biking community is even smaller. Everyone seems to be connected by only a few degrees of separation. Despite it being more than a year since i last was involved in the motorcycle industry in Ireland, it feels like I never left.
It’s always hard to gauge how these events go for the exhibitors, and often it’s about sowing the seed, which may not result in a purchase for several months. That said, several staff members from various stands commented on how positive the feedback seemed to be from people visiting the show. Howard Godolphin, BMW’s technical guru, was “amazed at how positive everyone was about their (BMW) new range, particularly the K1600GT”. So clearly, the desire is there, the only missing link in the chain is the funding. Historically, bikers have always had their own funding, whether it be mattress money personal loans or otherwise, but dealer must also now secure a funding channel to make it easier for the biker to get their desired machine of choice. It needs to be easy, and it needs to happen soon because as busy as these shows can be, our small little motorcycle industry is going to get that little bit smaller. Again.