Chicago’s International Motorcycle Show Rides Outdoors in 2021

The Chicago Auto Show got a 2021 revamp to try and keep things safer in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But car shows aren’t the only motoring events undergoing evolution this year—motorcycle shows are, too. More specifically, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show, which is headed to several US cities this year, including Chicago. And just like CAS, IMS 2021 is doing things differently than in years past.

UPDATE 8/28/2021: The section below contains links to MotorBiscuit‘s IMS Chicago 2021 coverage.

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The Progressive International Motorcycle Show heads outside for 2021 in Chicago and elsewhere

A custom chopper displayed at the 2019 New York Progressive International Motorcycle Show
A custom chopper displayed at the 2019 New York Progressive International Motorcycle Show | Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Over the past 40 years, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show was always held indoors as it toured across the US. However, about five years ago, the showrunners started working on restructuring and expanding the show’s scope, RevZilla reports. And with the COVID-19 pandemic making enclosed, tightly-packed spaces nonviable, these efforts kicked into high gear.

So, for its 40th running, the show tour gets a new schedule and a new name: IMS Outdoors. Instead of touring in the fall and winter, IMS Outdoors runs from July to November 2021. And the International Motorcycle Show’s next stop is in Chicago. Or rather, Goebbert’s Farm in Pingree Grove, IL, about 30 miles outside of Chicago.

Moving the International Motorcycle Show to the outskirts of Chicago isn’t only due to coronavirus concerns, though. The pandemic has spurred off-road vehicle sales—not just motorcycles, but also ATVs and side-by-sides. It’s also driven the growth of RVing and overlanding which are based around going outdoors. Holding a powersports event like IMS outside, therefore, allows the show to show off all of these activities and lifestyles at once.

But there’s one more reason it makes for IMS Chicago, as well as IMS Pennsylvania, Austin, and all the rest to head outdoors. And that’s related to one of the show’s main attractions.

What can you see and do at IMS 2021 in Chicago?

As before, IMS Chicago 2021 features a wide selection of new and classic motorcycles from a variety of brands. The custom bike show also returns, and again, show attendees can vote for their favorite build. Motorcycle gear companies will also be on-site to inspect your current riding gear. And if you need a new helmet or motorcycle jacket, or are buying them for the first time, you can do so, too.

However, show attendees won’t just be able to look at and sit on some new bikes. As in years past, the 2021 International Motorcycle Show’s Chicago stop features ‘Discover The Ride,’ where unlicensed riders can take an electric Zero bike for a spin. You’ll need long pants and closed-toe shoes, but the event provides a jacket, helmet, and gloves. And because the 2021 event is outdoors, IMS is expanding this program to ‘Ride With Us,’ which has MSF instructors teach non-riders about throttle, braking, and shifting.

Plus, licensed attendees can enjoy street demo rides of various new motorcycles. Among other bikes, Harley-Davidson’s showing off the LiveWire lineup and the Pan America, for example. Triumph is bringing along its updated 2022 lineup. And if you want to ride some of Honda’s newest motorcycles, Chicago is your only chance.

Motorcycles, though, aren’t the only things you can experience at IMS Chicago 2021. Because of its outdoor focus, the show also has side-by-side and e-bike demo rides. That includes Harley-Davidson’s new e-bike models, as well as ones from brands like Giant and Yamaha. And once you’re done riding or buying gear, the Chicago stop of the International Motorcycle Show also features food, drinks, and live music.

When does the bike show start and end?

Chicago is the 2021 Progressive International Motorcycle Show’s second stop after Sonoma, CA. The next stop was supposed to be NYC, but concern over the Delta variant meant it was canceled, RideApart says. Instead, the next stop will be in Carlisle, PA.

If you’re in the Chicagoland area, the 2021 IMS Outdoors show runs from August 20-22, 2021, at Goebbert’s Farm in Pingree Grove, IL. It’s open on the 20th from 1-7 pm, the 21st from 9 am – 7 pm, and the 22nd from 9 am – 5 pm. Tickets are $25, though kids under 12 get in free.

MotorBiscuit will be at the show, so watch this space for future updates for IMS-related news. And hopefully, we’ll see you there.

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