Indy Dealer Expo 2008: Parts & Accessories

Everything you’d want for your bike and more.

Indy Dealer Expo 2008: Parts & Accessories

Although the 10 acres of exhibits at Indy had every kind of muffler, shock, tire, wheel, windscreen, tankbag, rack or widget you could ever want on a bike, not everything was dedicated to consumer products. There were also displays of dealer-specific shop equipment as well as companies supplying major components directly to manufacturers.

At one end of the main hall was an Italian pavilion, sponsored in part by the Italian Trade Commission. Here, the tiny booths were filled with beautiful, jewel-like motorcycle components, tastefully displayed. I also ran into Maurizio Ballicu, CEO of Verlicchi North America. The North American distributor is new, part of the parent company’s global strategy to become active in each market. They make frames for Indian, Buell, Polaris, Honda ATV and Harley-Davidson. For the Indian (re)revival, they will be making frames, handlebars and even exhaust components.

Seeing the latest gear from the major players is great, but what I really like is an innovative product made by a motorcyclist with a good idea and a dream. I ran into Mark Ivie in one booth with his Freestand. It’s a stand designed to be mounted in a truck or trailer that locks your bike securely in place without tie-down straps. The stands are made in Memphis and are exactly what they promise: A simple way to secure your bike for transport. Unlike the booths filled with yet more Asian-built helmets, gloves, boots and jackets, there’s no brand strategy, no need to differentiate from a competing, near-identical product. Just a guy (well, actually Mark and his brothers) with a passion for motorcycles and a good idea.

Speaking of good ideas, the show’s organizers name the 10 best products each year. The best of the best this year? Bazzaz Performance’s Z-Fi TC. It’s an ignition-control module that offers fuel-injection adjustment, a quick-shifter and (drum roll, please) programmable traction control—all for closed-circuit competition use, of course. It’s a plug-n-play unit that needs no additional sensors and connects to a PC for programming. Other winners included the T-Bags Tank N Tail bag and the TPX, a motorcycle-specific laser and radar detector.

Hitch Critter is a lighted, animated novelty cover to go over you trailer hitch. The duck?s wings flap and the deer?s arms fly up to indicate surrender when the brakes are applied. Okay...

Rick Hoak, a product designer for Cortech/Tourmaster points out his new Cruiser II luggage. It?s a bag designed for a sissy bar that?s adjustable for wide or narrow backrests, ensuring a good fit.

Another winner was the TPX, a motorcycle-specific radar and laser detector that works with a visual alert or a helmet speaker.

2008W9030120081419253815

Mark Ivie demonstrates his Freestand. It?s available for dirtbikes or streetbikes.

The winner of the Kickstart Prize for best new product at the show was the $999 Bazzaz Perofmance Z-Fi TC. It gives you FI-tuning, a quick-shifter and traction control in a compact, easy-to-install package.

Verlicchi?s Maurizio Ballicu offers up a Buell Ulysses frame to the U.S. market.

Minibike front ends lined up in the Marzocchi booth.

Yoshimura R&D;?s Matt Hepper shows me the very heavy subframe that his new B-King mufflers eliminate. He said they only need to sell about 100 mufflers to justify designing slip-ons for a particular model.

Beautiful suspension components arranged like jewelry in the Paioli booth.