Against a background of continuing fall-out from the show politics and rivalry that saw this event move from its long-time home at Padua to Verona for the first time last year, efforts to confuse and split the Italian riding public and custom bike building community clearly failed to impact on another highly successful weekend.
More than 100,000 visitors attended Motor Bike Expo at Verona, Italy, to enjoy exhibits from all sectors of the motorcycle industry, including some 200 custom bikes.
Headlining the prize line-up were two opportunities for competitors to win assistance with bike freight expenses to compete at the 7th annual Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building at this summer’s 70th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (August 8th to 11th).
No stranger to the World and European Championship program, Shif competed at the Official European Championship in Germany in 2006 and 2007, and back then gave show visitors an early insight to the quality of craftsmanship and creativity that the fast developing Russian and former Soviet markets are bringing to the custom motorcycle industry in Europe.
The ‘Best Italian” win went to Garage 65, who were competitors at the 2009 European Championship, with a TP engined hub-steered low-rider that combines hints in the direction of old school with contemporary thinking and advanced engineering.
There’ll be more detailed presentations of both bikes in upcoming AMD editions.
According to reports from distributors and manufacturers the Italian market has remained quite buoyant in parts and accessory sales terms throughout the downturn.
Several of the distributors that AMD has spoken to in Europe have reported that demand has continued to grow there, and with Italian parts makers and designers achieving ever greater export sales penetration in Europe and, gradually, steadily, in the United States too, the general view is that the Italian market could be set to grow even more strongly once Harley-Davidson’s sales there have stabilized.
That said, Harley sales in Italy, as is the case in Europe in general, have held up remarkably well in market share terms throughout the past two to three years, and Harley is now benefiting from the decision taken some ten years or so ago to set up its own Italian subsidiary and bring distribution of its motorcycles “in-house”.
The custom v-twin market has also continued to be relatively healthy these past few years. The creativity of Italian custom bike builders has started to take a much deserved higher profile on the international stage.
If the FIC (Federation of Italian Customizers) can work further on its independence and integrity by disengaging from the politics of the show scene, concentrating instead on continuing the good start it is reported to have made in regulatory and related support for Italian builders, and if the rival show organizers can do better than the one-week date separation slated for 2011, then the Italian custom build market could make even faster progress in establishing itself as one of the most important of Europe’s post financial apocalypse centers of excellence.
For 2011 Motor Bike Expo will again be staged at Verona, and again be the sole Official Affiliate event in Italy for the World Championship (Friday, January 21st to Sunday, January 23rd) and will again feature two prizes, one each for the ‘Best International’ and ‘Best Italian custom bike’ at the show.
About the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building:
The Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building program encompasses some 18 events in total, in 16 different countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, The Netherlands, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Russia, Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Total public attendances at events involved in the program regularly top 1 million motorcycle enthusiasts a year, in markets worth some 20 million motorcyclists and nearly 1 billion consumers in general.
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