Photos: Dan Lim
The Toronto Motorcycle Show will have a slightly different look this weekend. Along with the usual lineup of retailers, OEM motorcycle displays, and everything else, there’s a new section of the show called Clutch Society.
Clutch Society won’t have the same emphasis on shiny new 2020 models that the MMIC shows have traditionally held. Instead, the focus is more on motorcycling as a casual lifestyle, with a special emphasis on Ontario’s moto-community, custom bikes, and local builders and businesses.
The MMIC shows in Quebec City and Montreal have had a similar section in the past few years, called Hangar 17, and Clutch Society will be the Toronto moto-scene’s equivalent.
It’s not going to be organized by the usual industry insiders at the MMIC. Instead, Clutch Society has been organized by the people at Moto Foto — that is, well-known GTA moto-photographer Dan Lim, with help from artists’ representative Suzy Johnson.
Lim says Clutch Society will be another portal or entry point for people to enter the world of motorcycles, and a way of keeping them interested in that world.
“It’s all about bringing the community together and showing moto-enthusiasts what this lifestyle’s all about,” says Lim. “Nothing breaks the ice faster than the commonality of the love of motorcycles.
To that end, says Lim, Clutch Society will have a “homegrown garage, gritty feel. You go into a buddy’s garage, it’s very welcoming. You hang out, have a brew, coffee, hang out, talk about bikes, and get revved up. So that’s what Clutch Society is going to be all about.”
There’ll be custom bikes on display from local builders, people like Rob Chappel at Origin8or Custom Motorcycles, Jason Parker of Jason Parker Race Cars, and others. There will even be three machines by world-famous builder Walt Siegl on display, and Siegl himself will be at the show on Saturday. The other builders will be around at various points in the show as well.
The lineup of customs sounds pretty decent, not just a jumble of wannabes, and that’s what Lim was aiming for. “It’s a curated show within a show,” he says. “It won’t feel like you’re coming into a flea market or something … It’s a place you want to be, and come and hang out and talk your passion, whether that be riding or building or both.”
Lim’s hoping to attract not just the brat, cafe racer and chopper crowd, but even bring in interested sportbike riders, or people who don’t ride at all.
“Dan’s tried to make sure that ideally, everybody can kind of leave learning something new, or discovering something new that they didn’t know about the motorcycle community,” says Johnson.
To keep it interesting for everyone, there’ll be outside-the-box ideas at Clutch Society, including a viewing booth for motorcycle movies, thanks to the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival. Also, CMG’s managing editor Dustin Woods will be on-site, interviewing all of Clutch Society’s exhibitors. These won’t be scripted or really pre-planned, but be more casual, in keeping with Clutch Society’s scene. The idea is that these braodcast interviews will help attendees get a better idea of what the exhibitors are all about, and make it easier to approach the builders and other moto insiders afterwards.
There will be traditional vendors at the show selling apparel and locally-produced moto-gear. There’ll be live DJs as well, and good coffee and beer (Collective Arts Brewery will be on-site). But Clutch Society isn’t about reinforcing a stereotype. The idea is to not just get the hipster/millennial moto demographic together, but to draw other motorcycle subcultures in, and share what this scene is all about.
“I think most people will find it is a very welcoming and inclusive community, a great place to socialize, and you get to meet some new people as well,” says Lim. “It’s for all riders.”
This year, Clutch Society exhibitors include Back Road Coffee Roasters, the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival, Crooked Clubhouse, The Litas, Moto Brix, Stone Cycle, Jason Parker, Black Powder Supply Co., Black Widow Custom Paints, Moto Revere, The Moto Social, FEARLESS, and custom bikes by Walt Siegl, Rob Chapelle, Liza Leung and Ron Perruzza.
Clutch Society is at the Enercare Centre’s Toronto Motorcycle Show, located in the centre of the show space; head straight down the middle aisle and you’ll see it. The builders will be coming and going all weekend, but other exhibitors will be there throughout the whole show.