It’s no secret that finding ways to get more new riders licensed and on bikes is a central concern for the powersports industry. With young people eschewing traditional paths to motorcycle ownership, manufacturers have had to get creative in their marketing and tailor new products for this increasingly environmentally-conscious demographic.
So it is with great interest that I read the latest announcement from the upcoming Progressive International Motorcycle Show circuit: an outside-the-box initiative designed to draw more than just the tired old group of enthusiasts to the seven shows on the schedule this year (and yes, I’m including myself in the “tired old group”). It’s called Discover the Ride.
The IMS has always been a fun place for moto enthusiasts to go and bask in all things two-wheeled-goodness, but Discover the Ride is specifically designed to introduce the experience we all know and love to those who don’t currently ride.
Discover the Ride will incorporate five main attractions:
- An indoor riding course on power-limited electric Zero motorcycles
- A kids’ zone with a closed course on electric Stacyc balance bikes
- A New to 2 education area where non-riders can learn more about the world of motorcycling
- Stationary motorcycles mounted to dynos that allow non-riders to familiarize themselves with using the clutch and shifting through the gears
- An XDL Wheelie Experience…OK, this one is for us experienced riders, where we can test our wheelie skills and get tips from the XDL stunt pros
It’s no surprise to find that the guy behind all this is Robert Pandya, industry veteran and vocal proponent of bringing new riders into the fold. Per the press release:
“IMS is the only national show series that can invite attendees to explore the world of motorcycling, and it’s a welcome challenge to be a conduit for new riders, and find ways to increase our riding family,” said Robert Pandya, Program Manager, Discover the Ride. “Through Discover the Ride and New To 2 we’re inviting new riders to experience the world of motorcycling in a unique way, and then introducing them to the brands at the shows.”
I’d personally like to encourage all of you to share this with friends and family that might be interested in learning more about motorcycling. Only by encouraging and educating potential new riders will we ensure our passion continues to live on for future generations.
Here’s a bit more detail about the various Discover the Ride attractions:
New Rider Course in partnership with Zero Motorcycles
The New Rider Course will give non-licensed IMS attendees the opportunity to ride a motorcycle for the first time and learn riding basics from expert instructors. This is the largest portion of Discover the Ride, which is made possible thanks to electric motorcycle leader Zero Motorcycles.
The indoor demo course will host a fleet of speed-limited electric Zero Motorcycles to give participants the experience of riding a motorcycle in a safe and controlled environment. Zero motorcycles have no transmissions, feature ABS as standard equipment and with zero emissions they make an indoor riding experience possible.
In addition to Zero Motorcycles, IMS has also partnered with Yamaha to feature its power-assisted e-bicycles at Discover the Ride, which will be used for participants to demonstrate the ability to balance prior to riding the Zero motorcycle, and will also be available to demo on the enclosed track.
Instructors from Total Control Training will be on hand at each show to give instruction and guidance and gear will be provided by Cycle Gear, Shark Helmets, HJC and Shoei.
Kids’ Zone Presented by Allstate
The Kids’ Zone joins Discover the Ride in partnership with Stacyc, featuring a closed course of battery-assisted balance bikes for children to experience riding for the first time, which is the ideal way to introduce riding to kids as young as two. Participants will have the option to ride the balance bikes with or without the addition of a speed-limited electric motor, depending on their skill.
XDL Wheelie Experience
This exciting feature is for experienced riders who want to test their wheelie skills in a controlled environment, while improving their balance and throttle skills with the help of XDL stunt pros. It also provides riders the opportunity to experience the exhilarating torque of Zero motorcycles that have not been governed to reduce power for the New Rider Course. The XDL Wheelie Experience is a motorcycle attached to a stand in a manner that allows wheelies without forward movement; it’s fun to watch and even more fun to try.
New to 2
This new series of online videos is matched with a series of live presentations at IMS, educating new riders on the world of motorcycling. New To 2 videos and live presentations at the show are hosted by Monique Filips and Jordan Diggs, as well as surprise guests in certain markets.
This feature gives IMS attendees the opportunity to get on a real motorcycle that is securely mounted to a dyno to experience starting a motorcycle up, engaging the clutch and shifting through the gears, while feeling the torque of the motorcycle with the guidance of an expert. Ducati, Harley-Davidson and Yamaha will host dynos at IMS Long Beach.