This year’s American International Motorcycle Expo occasioned the public introduction of new motorcycles, scooters, mini e-bikes, and a stand-up tread-driven monster we’re still trying to wrap our heads around. The 2017 AIMExpo at Columbus, Ohio’s Greater Columbus Convention Center hosted more than 500 exhibitors and 25 manufacturers.
This year’s keynote speakers were Polaris CEO Scott Wine and Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich. Both leaders addressed the most pressing issue for all motorcycle manufacturers: attracting new riders. Look for a major increase in new rider classes, demo ride outreach programs, and dealership ride simulators in the coming year.
New rides and custom motorcycles headlined the 2017 AIMExpo. Kawasaki showed a dual-sport bike and a mini street motorcycle. Yamaha introduced new heritage cruisers and a one-off personalized version of a new XSR. BMW showed off its all-electric super scooter and a new entry level bike.
Moving away from traditional rides, StacyC presented mini e-bikes for ages four to eight (not a typo) and BRG’s DLXShredder still has us in a mixed state of wonder and awe. Custom bikes at the Expo went way beyond wickedly extreme choppers, but let’s hit the specific bikes and curiosities.
Kawasaki: KLX250 ($5,350 starting), Z125 Pro ($3,200)
Kawasaki‘s KLX250 dual sport motorcycle returns after a three-year absence. The refreshed street and off-road bike boasts electronic fuel injection, a new suspension, and a liquid-cooled 249cc engine.
The Kawasaki Z125 Pro is for fun, although it can also do normal motorcycle transport chores for one or two people as it sips gasoline from a 2-gallon tank. The Z125 Pro has a performance-oriented suspension, easy maneuverability due to its low 225-pound weight.
Yamaha: SR400 ($6,000 starting), XSR700 ($9,500 starting), XSR900 custom
The Yamaha SR400 Heritage Edition is a light starter bike. It weighs just 384 pounds and has a slim, easy riding position with a relatively low seat height. The SR400 could pass for a 1970s bike but for fuel injection, especially with its kick starter — there’s no electric start in a nod to model tradition.
Available in a choice of Raspberry Metallic or Matte Gray/Aluminum, the retro-styled 2018 Yamaha XSR700 comes in at a light 410-pounds. The 698cc incline-twin combines high revving and low-end to mid-range torque.
Yamaha also introduced the 2018 XSR900. A one-off custom version of the SXR900 by Jeff Palhegyi Design demonstrated the SXR platform’s versatility for owners who wish to personalize their ride.
BMW: C Evolution ($13,750 starting), G 310 R, ($4,750 starting)
Finally coming to U.S. shores after its initial launch in Europe in 2017, the 2018 BMW C Evolution all-electric scooter will be available first in California, with other states to follow. The C Evolution has a range of 99 miles on a charge and, true to its class, scoots from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds.
Here’s a BMW for new riders with the company’s lowest price and less than 500cc of power. The 2018 BMW G 310 R is a naked style bike positioned as the brand’s entry-level ride.
StacyC Stability Cycles: 12EDrive ($649), 16EDrive ($649)
Identically priced electric minibikes for kids, the major differences in the 12EDrive (for four-and-five-year-old riders who weigh less than 75 pounds) and the 16EDrive (four-to-eight years old, under 75 pounds) are height and tire size. You’ve got to watch the video below to get a good sense of what these bikes and their young riders can do. Prepare to be impressed.
BPG Werks: DTV Shredder, (price not announced)
Ever wonder what would happen if you added tank treads and a 14-horsepower motor to a skateboard pivot deck? No, we didn’t either, but that doesn’t mean no one else has. BPG Werks‘s DTV (Dual Tracked Vehicle) Shredder will be in “select” U.S. showrooms soon, ready for year-round mayhem and tricks. Think combo motocross, skateboard, and tank and you’re part way there. Check the photos above and the video below for a new personal transport paradigm.
Custom Bike Show
One highlight of the AIMExpo was the display of customized motorcycles. Judges and show attendees were able to vote. Check out the winners below.
Next year’s AIMExpo will be held in Las Vegas, September 1 to 14, 2018.
- Husqvarna’s brand-new motorcycles were designed for every kind of rider
- Harley-Davidson’s new sportsters are factory-modified street machines
- LimeBike wants to help you get around on its new escooters
- Bandit9’s ‘Jedi’-inspired concept motorcycle speeds to collectors and museums
- Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle coming in 18 months, maybe sooner