A host of new models will be on display for the first time in South Africa at the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors (AMID) motorcycle show at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec, this weekend. One of the highlights of the show will be the announcement of the Pirelli Bike of the Year for 2014, with nine finalists in contention.
Several companies will be unveiling their 2015 model ranges at this year’s show and with market leader Honda once again participating, it looks to be the best show in many years in terms of brand representation and the number of exhibitors.
There will also be a number of activations to get the excitement going and adrenaline pumping. An innovation this year will be enduro racing on a track usually reserved for four-wheel drive vehicles. Most of the makers offering enduro models in their range are expected to have riders taking part in the high speed “demonstrations” with obstacles including logs and boulders to put the accent on quick rider reactions and nimble motorcycles.
The AMID Expo, which is co-located with the Johannesburg Boat Show and Outdoor Lifestyle Show for the third successive year, runs from Friday, August 8 to Sunday, August 10. This means that visitors can visit three shows for the price of one. Tickets are available at the Expo Centre gates or from Computicket. Prices are R80 for adults, R40 for visitors between 12-16 years of age, while those under 12 are admitted free.
Gates open at 09:00 each day and close at 17:00 on Friday and Saturday although visitors only have to leave the facility by 18:00. Sunday sees gates closing at 16:00 with the show closing at 17:00.
More than 30 motorcycle, scooter and quad brands are represented in the extensive list of exhibitors, while there will also be opportunities to test ride some of the motorcycles, including Harley-Davidson, Victory and Indian. A number of competitions will take place during the three days of the show with some valuable prizes to be won.
The executive director of AMID, Lachlan Harris, says he is very pleased with the support for this year’s Expo with virtually all the association’s members having taken display stands.
“We are particularly happy that Honda is back after missing out on the 2013 show as they are a major player in the local motorcycle, quad and scooter markets,” commented Harris. “The market is currently rather tight so this is an ideal time to raise the profile of motorcycles, quads and scooters in the eyes of the general public.”
Eight of the brands are using the show to introduce new or revised models, which will add to the interest for show visitors.
An iconic brand that will be launched to the SA public at the show by Polaris is the American Indian cruiser range which starts at R325 000. There are three models, Vintage, Classic and Chieftain, all using a 1.8-litre Thunderstroke V-twin engine.
Indian, the oldest name among American motorcycle manufacturers, dating back to 1901, went out of production in 1953 and was reborn last year when Polaris took over the name and manufacturing rights. Sales are apparently going very well and there are waiting lists but the local importers will nevertheless have six machines on display.
Polaris also import the Victory range of V-twin cruisers from the US and will have the full range of eight models on show with prices starting from R185 000. A new model, the Gunner, will be unveiled at the show.
Polaris is itself well known as the maker of a range of quads and side-by-side sport utility vehicles and will have some powerful new models on the stand, as well as quad models from the Chinese brand Linhai.
Suzuki Auto SA, which is now a subsidiary of Suzuki Japan, will use the AMID Show to launch an exciting new racing series as well as the Suzuka Special Edition of the high performance GSXR 750, which is seen as an ideal motorcycle for long distance endurance racing.
In addition there will be a comprehensive display of the other Suzuki models, made up of motorcycles, ATVs and scooters.
Yamaha, another Japanese manufacturer, will once again have a huge display stand with the centrepiece being an M1 MotoGP racer ridden by multiple world champion Valentino Rossi.
A technical innovation on the Yamaha stand will be the Tri-City scooter powered by a 125cc engine. It has two front wheels, spaced 700mm apart, and a parallelogram-type suspension system which allows it to travel easily over irregular surfaces. It is also stable and easy to ride as an urban commuter.
Other machines on display will include the MT07 and MT09 models that were finalists in the Pirelli Bike of the Year contest. Yamaha will also unveil its Viking side-by-side ATV with a 700cc engine.
Husqvarna, which returned to SA a couple of years ago and is marketed by Combined Motor Holdings (CMH), will showcase its full 2015 range of 13 enduro and motocross machines, with engines ranging from 85cc to 501cc, both two-strokes and four-strokes.
KTM is another company which will preview several 2015 models, as well as unveiling the RC390 super sport road bike. KTM will have 32 machines on display, with engines ranging from 50cc to 1290cc, with the latter power unit being fitted to the Super Duke which is a Bike of the Year finalist.
Kawasaki Motors SA (KMSA), which is responsible for a number of brands besides Kawasaki, will use the show to promote the fact that it is the new distributor in SA of the Chinese SYM brand of motorcycles and scooters, having taken over this franchise from Suzuki when the latter restructured recently. It will display two 125cc SYM motorcycles and seven scooters, with engines ranging from 125cc-300cc.
Kawasaki plans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its iconic Ninja model brand which was launched way back in 1984.
Triumph, which is also in the KMSA stable, will have its full range of 18 models on show, including the recently introduced derivatives of the Thunderbird range, being the Commander and LT (Light Tourer). Triumph will also display its new, more youthful corporate identity and will have an extended range of its popular Triumph-branded merchandise on sale.
All in all a visit to Expo Centre this weekend promises to be a memorable experience on many fronts for all lovers of the Great Outdoors!