CMG spent the weekend hanging around the MMIC’s Toronto Motorcycle Show, and yes, there were lots of lovely new motorcycles. But what about the rest of the show — the aftermarket distributors, the gadget hawkers, the jerky vendors, the tour operators?
Here are CMG’s favourite booths from the “other” side of the Toronto show. Click on their names to find out more at their websites.
Big Ears While wandering around the show, Mark ran across the Big Ear booth, and was immediately intrigued by the site of the staff injecting silicon into the ears of fully-grown adults.
Naturally, he signed up for his own pair, and minutes later, after listening to the Big Ear patter, he was getting his own set of custom-fit earplugs.
Of course, you’ve seen these types of custom-molded earplugs in ads at the back of bike magazines and on the show circuit for some time. Their products aren’t cheap, selling for $65 at the show, but if you want earplugs that stay in place, it’s a good option.
In fact, Mark was so chuffed over his new earplugs, and Zac was so sick of listening to him snore back at the hotel room, that Zac went back for his own set the next day. Given that he’s already half-deaf from running around at extra-legal speeds on the highway with no hearing protection, he’s pumped to try these out this year.
Vozz helmets A helmet that opens from the back? It’s an idea so crazy that it just might work. Zac and Mark stopped by the booth to see Vozz’s designed-in-Australia, made-in-China skid lids. The helmets are definitely a bit different to fit into, but they seem like they’d offer several advantages, particularly for glasses users, and for the unfortunate soul who crashes his/her bike and needs their helmet pulled off by paramedics. The helmets actually have a QR code that paramedics can scan for instructions on safe removal. That’s pretty smart.
The price point is pretty high for a made-in-China product, and the helmets’ hinges are said to be water-resistant, not waterproof. However, we’ve seen little innovation in motorcycle helmets in the past few years, despite promises of smart helmet technology and other moves. Hopefully designs like Vozz’s are what’s needed to give mainstream helmet makers a kick in the butt, moving them out of their current stagnation.
Flat Track Canada As a whole, motorcycle racing is having a bit of a rough go in Canada, but in the past couple years, flat track has seen a resurgence here, same as the rest of North America. Flat Track Canada is looking to expand their audience not just in southern Ontario, but across the country.
Our chat with the organizers left us excited for the future, especially as manufacturers like Harley-Davidson and Indian are showing renewed interest in the sport. We’re hoping to send a couple CMGers down to do a flat track school in the next few months, and we’ll share their adventures with you here.
Nudie photo shoot Sometimes, not every vendor at the show offers motorcycle-specific products. On one end of the show, there was a booth selling beef jerky. At the other end, there was a booth selling tasteful nude photo shoots.
What these have to do with motorcycles, we’re not sure, unless they specialize in shooting naked bikes? Their booth’s advertising was unclear on the exact relationship between two-wheelers and nudity. Nevertheless, Mark was curious, and ended up winning himself not only a free photo session, but also a free print. We’ll be sure to report back on his findings at the photo shoot.