BY MIKE SAYER PICS BY PETE ALVA AND ART HALL
Jan, 5-6, 2008. Every New Year rings in with the Annual Easyriders Bike Show held at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. This year, like several in the past, have had the over-tone of rain lingering above threatening to soak us to-the-soul if we even attempted to mount our fire-breathing steeds and roll our way to the two day Event. Instead, many chose to arrive in the luxurious comfort of cages with heaters, sound-systems and windshield wipers.
The Show is held in a semi-large, rectangular convention-style building and is chocked full of Vendors all stocked up with everything a biker could ever use, want or need from, carbon-fiber helmets to custom paint jobs, shiny chrome do-dads, leather, hand-crafted leather seats, lots of biker bling and a few dealers and manufacturers like Victory/Triumph and Big Bear Choppers.
In the center of the arena are velvet lined groupings of some seriously badass, custom-built motorcycles entered in the Bike Show. The latest trend in bent, twisted, heated metal encasing ground-pounding VTwin power plants seems to be bare-bones “Bobbers” and the latest craze…
Slammed-on-the-ground, bars-in-the-sky styled “Ghetto-Choppers” that were once the ordinary H-D Road Kings and Heritage Softails. Of course there were a few stretched-out choppers, and even a few molded-in-bondo creations, covered with lavish paint schemes that would set back the owner somewhere in the $10,000+ dollar range. There were even a few bikes that resembled vintage “Board-Trackers” that seemed to draw a lot of spectator attention. I am always impressed with the thought, innovation and craftsmanship that goes into each one of these machines making the judging extremely difficult! The days of less-is-more is right now…more or less!
We stopped by one booth that was really buzzing, and found out why – Mercury Customs of Irvine is taking the build process to a whole new level – clients who design a bike with them can then watch the step by step process on their own personal website, where Mercury posts regular weekly updates, showing parts for the build as they arrive, the client’s bike on the lift, and comments about the status of their build project. Not only are their bikes very cool (see pics) but they’re really making a fun project that much better, and making it all yours.
Then there are the girls…hmmmm… “eye-candy” (pardon my lack of politically correctness here) but… It is always great to see the ladies strutting around in their “fashionable attire” (or lack there of…). After filling my head of steel, metal, rubber and paint, I was distracted by the sight of the Purrfect Angelz!
Every one of these girls was Gorgeous. I wanted to take them all home with me, but my wife said NO! They were very gracious and posed for a few photos and put a smile on everyone’s face (including some of the women) as they passed by or stopped to get an autographed poster. The Glamour Girls were also there signing posters but discouraged privately taken photos of the girls by their “manager” making the whole experience around their booth awkward and unappealing. The stage also featured some entertainment, music and fashion shows, for those wanting to sit a spell and relax after walking around the show several times making sure not to miss anything.
The attendance this year seemed to be lower than in previous years, perhaps caused by the weather, but also perhaps because the motorcycle industry has changed a bit over the last few years. Naturally, there are new riders, including many women who have entered the arena flanked by the “die-hards” that have been around for ages, but the “fluff” has seemed to disappear. The “fluff” I am referring to is the influx of Bikers (or maybe wanna-bes) that swarmed over motorcycles/choppers during the early millennium when many cable television programs were glamorizing how “cool” it was to build custom choppers.
Today, only most of the “core” riders exist, the ones that wouldn’t give up their machine for anything, their motorcycles being the single most important thing to them only behind family, long term friendships and brotherhoods.
Some of the Vendors I spoke to gave me different feedback regarding the success of the event. A few were very pleased with the business they generated and some were far less enthusiastic based on their results. If anything, a show of this nature can be a gauge to indicate what a business must do in order to survive in this industry. Face it, if the motorcycle industries’ core audience has walked into or past booths catering directly to them, the end result will indicate whether or not the goods or services are in demand. Aggressive self promotion helps!
The motorcycle industry needs events like the Easyriders Show to generate synergy amongst the biker population. But as events seem to be a little “pricy” and attendances tapering off, maybe it’s time to rethink the whole deal and charge a few bucks less to attend a show primarily made up of Vendors, who depend on high attendance to make their existence possible and profitable. I for one don’t like to shell out over $25. just to park and get in. I am then encouraged to spend even more money. Maybe that’s why leaner crowds are turning out to these types of events.
In spite of everything, weather included, I had a good time and will more than likely come back again next year (like I have for the last b’zillion years). Ride on… Peace, love and rock ‘n roll!