The Vancouver Motorcycle Show was held a week ago now, but we sent our west coast
correspondent, Steve Thornton, over to see what was happening and
report back to CMG HQ. Here is his Vancouver Show diary …
Jim Dempsey did a roaring business at the Vancouver Motorcycle Show. Next to a table on which sat jars of prismatically-coloured Plasticene-like substances, Dempsey produced instant custom ear plugs for $70 a set.
"Those would be great for my afternoon naps," I thought, so 10 minutes later, I was plonked in his chair, getting a swirl of blue-and-green goo injected into my auditory channels.
How many $70 sets of ear plugs had he sold, I asked.
"About 40," he said.
"What?" I said. "Huh?"
Friday afternoon, basically the first full day of the Vancouver show, and he’d already pumped out $2,800 worth of Plasticene. Like I said, business was booming.
"Come back in half an hour," he said, "and pick up your new custom made ear plugs." Some motorcycle shows don’t allow visitors to buy things on the spot, but Vancouver steadfastly preserves this capitalist tradition.
I wandered around the show, looking at stuff. We’d already covered the
new bikes in the CMG New Model Buyers Guide, so I kept my eyes open for
amusing little extras — like the Eaglemate
motorcycle trailer that, in its tidy, purposeful design, reminds one of
stewardesses roaming airport corridors with their little bags of
explosives, or whatever it is they take with them, towed behind on
"We make them right here in B.C.," said Dave Hoffmann, who designed the trailer to be pulled behind a motorcycle in such a way that "you can’t even tell it’s there."
Interesting, I thought — made in B.C. products, something you might not see at other bike shows.
I went back to the MJ Hearing Protection booth and got my ear plugs, which fit like little tiny ear gloves, then continued my exploration of the sprawling Tradex Exhibition Centre, home of the western show.
I strolled by the custom bikes area, where I noticed that the latest trend in choppers is rear tires about the size of a wheelbarrow.
Yeah — that’s art, I thought. I was horrified when one of the ladies in the booth asked me if I’d like a chance to win one. "No!" I said. But I had hurt her feelings, so I asked someone to take a picture of me with her and her friends. That calmed her down.
I found other products that seemed to be distributed locally. Purple Slice, a quickie cleaning product, comes from St. Albert, Alb., and claims to be a one-squirt wipe and shine product for everything.
Speaking of quickies, the Quickie Tie-Down is a motorcycle and ATV tie-down system that is said to be very easy and fast. It’s distributed by Triwest in Surrey, B.C. Another product that caught my eye, the CTEK battery charger, is not distributed locally, but appears ready to give other smart battery chargers a run for the consumer’s money.
A bit later, I found Nick Smirniw, a Honda Canada rep who frequently crosses the country on behalf of his favourite brand, talking with Steve Crevier, a former Honda road racer who now gets his paycheque from Deeley Harley-Davidson/Buell.
Despite Steve’s move into another racing camp, he and Nick were enjoying their reunion. Interestingly, a Honda Canada webpage on Crevier notes that he takes his inspiration in part from Trev Deeley.
There were, of course, nearly all the new motorcycles one could ask for at the Vancouver show, and for people who might be considering a purchase, it was a good deal — see them all in one place, at one time.
For others, the displays by clubs like the British Motorcycle Owners Club and the B.C. Northern Stars, the booths operated by smaller operators like Swiss Style Nuts and Widder Canada, and the sheer abundance of motorcycle stuff made the show worthwhile.
For many, however, the tradition of seeing the new bikes and looking for bargains — a shopping day for motorcyclists — was what made the Vancouver Motorcycle Show worth attending.
Since shopping for goodies — or at least, taking home your purchases — has been ruled out at the Montreal show (and is not permitted at the Quebec show and the new Moncton show), my $70 ear plug purchase seemed an especially rare bargain. That’s something I’ll definitely appreciate at nap time, wherever I happen to be.