By Lethbridge Herald on January 2, 2024.
Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – firstname.lastname@example.org
“Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway”
While this may not be the season to normally sing the Steppenwolf classic “Born to Be Wild,” the upcoming return of the Motorcycle and Powersport Show to Calgary will change that for fans of two-wheeled adventure.
On hiatus since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the show will be returning to the BMO Centre in Cowtown Feb. 2-4.
Landon French, president and CEO of Moto Canada which is staging the show at venues across Canada, said in a phone interview on Friday “we’re so glad to be back. It’s been too long.
“It’s as much about getting together as it is the vehicles and different bikes and the newest things that are coming so we’re really excited about it,” said French.
“Like every other public event, we wanted to make sure that would come back with something that met people’s expectations and exceeded them and that’s exactly what we’ve planning for this year. We’ve got a lot of the vendors back, we’ve got a lot of new vendors coming, we’ve got some other features.”
Adventure riding is a growing category in Alberta and more manufacturers are bringing adventure bikes into showrooms, he said.
The show will have a zone specifically set aside for adventure bikes – which are motorcycles specifically designed to be ridden both on- and off road. While many adventure bikes have larger displacement engines, in recent years, manufacturers have been introducing less powerful bikes, as well, some aimed at more of an entry-level rider at lower price points.
“It’s a growing category. People really do want to explore different things, either pavement or gravel and challenge themselves a little bit. There’s some fantastic different models available and more coming in different sizes and classes,” said French.
“It’s making it interesting and that’s been a hallmark of this industry for years – adapt and innovate and you’re going to see a lot of that at the show,” he said.
“We’re also bringing ATVs and side-by-sides as well as motorcycles. So you’re going to see more and more different vehicles in addition to motorcycles at the show,” added French.
French said the motorcycle industry is strong. It benefited from the pandemic because a lot of people weren’t travelling out of the country and they “had time to get back on bikes” and explore.
“So we saw a bump up actually,” said French, who expects demand for motorcycles to remain strong.
Like the automotive industry, manufacturers of motorcycles, ATVs and side-by-sides are about to undergo a transition to electric, he said, “so those vehicles will begin to be premiered at our show and you’ll more of that over time.”
Companies want to make sure customers don’t feel a big difference between what they’re riding now and what they’ll ride in the future, he added.
This will be the first year of shows under the banner of Moto Canada, following the merger of the Moped Industry Council and the Canadian Highway Vehicle Distributors Council.
One special feature at the Calgary will be “She Rides Night,” which is an opportunity for women to check out the motorcycle culture and lifestyle. Women riders are a category that is growing, French said.