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‘Tis the season to be motorcycle riding, fa-la-la…er, I mean, vroom-vroom-vroom. That means getting your bike out of winter storage, making sure your safety gear is clean and checking that all your paperwork is in order. But it also marks the return of regular bike shows, both for custom builds and the industry overall. And if you’re looking forward to getting some extra Vitamin D, good news, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show is heading outside again.

The 2022 Progressive International Motorcycle Show returns to ride outdoors again

The 2021 Progressive International Motorcycle Show Outdoors Chicago entry gate on a sunny day
2021 Progressive International Motorcycle Show Outdoors Chicago gate | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

For over 40 years, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show toured the US, showing off the latest bikes, gear, tech, and custom builds. But while the mostly-indoor formula worked reasonably well, a few years ago the showrunners started thinking up a refresh. And though it wasn’t the sole motivating factor, the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly influenced IMS’s decision to head outdoors in 2021. That decision turned out to be a rousing success for the riding community, RevZilla says.

By taking the show outdoors, IMS provided more demo ride opportunities from a greater variety of brands. When it was indoors, the only bikes you could safely ride at the International Motorcycle Show were fume-less Zero electric motorcycles. But IMS Outdoors saw not just Zero, but Harley-Davidson, Indian, Triumph, Royal Enfield, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha bring motorcycles along. Plus, the show hosted e-bike and side-by-side demo rides, as well as new-rider courses hosted by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

As a result, 44% of 2021 IMS Outdoors attendees were either new or prospective riders. Furthermore, the ‘Discover to Ride’ Program saw over 1600 adults and teens swing their legs over motorcycles for the first time. In addition, roughly 1700 kids rode balance bikes and e-bikes during the eight-city tour. That’s a heck of a way to build the riding community.

So, for 2022, the International Motorcycle Show is doing it again. Once more, attendees will be able to ride demo motorcycles and e-bikes from a variety of brands outdoors. And whether you need your first set of gear or just want a better-fitting helmet, stores and suppliers will be on-site.

The 2022 Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show has a slightly new name and looking for builders

Several custom motorcycles at the 2021 Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show Chicago in the covered shed
Custom motorcycles at the 2021 Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show Chicago | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

Besides the demo rides and gear showcases, the 2022 International Motorcycle Show is also bringing the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show outdoors. Only this year, it’s technically the Dennis Kirk Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show, as the powersports part retailer is the title sponsor, not J&P Cycles. Also, starting this year, Hot Bike Magazine president and Arch Motorcycles’ former head of sales and marketing Jordan Mastagni is taking over UBCBS management.

While the name’s slightly different, the custom bike show classes aren’t. Like in 2021, builders can enter their projects into one of three categories:

  • Custom Street Class
    • 2000-or-later major OEM engine and frame as a base
    • Original engine cradle specifications
    • Hardtail sections and wide tire alterations are allowed, as is cutting and/or raking the neck to stretch the frame
  • Custom Classic Class
    • 1999-or-earlier OEM engine; no replicas
    • Custom or stock modified frames allowed
  • Freestyle Class
    • Anything goes

In addition to these rules, all entries must run and be operational. Also, they must follow the DMV’s rules regarding two- or three-wheeled motorcycle configurations. Yes, even the Freestyle builds.

Speaking of the builds, the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show wants them. If you think your custom motorcycle is ready, entries are already open. Each class winner takes home $500-$1000 plus sponsor prizes. Plus, the winners and runners-up get invites to the Championship Round, where they’ll compete for $10,000 in cash and prizes and the ‘King of Builders’ title.

What’s the IMS 2022 schedule like?

Whether you’re new to riding or a seasoned veteran, the 2022 International Motorcycle Show has something to offer. And if you’re interested in attending, ticket sales have already started for the eight-city tour.

As of this writing, this is the schedule:

  • Colorado (The Ranch Events Complex): June 17-19, 2022
  • Chicago (Goebbert’s Farm): June 24-26, 2022
  • Pennsylvania (Carlisle Fairgrounds): September 16-18, 2022
  • New York (The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum): September 23-25, 2022
  • Atlanta (venue TBA): September 30-October 2, 2022
  • Northern California (Santa Mateo County Event Center): October 21-23, 2022
  • Arizona (Westworld of Scottsdale): October 28-30, 2022
  • Southern California (OC Fair & Event Center): November 4-6, 2022

Hopefully, MotorBiscuit will see you there.

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