International Motorcycle Show Tour Calls It Quits After 40 Years

Although the U.S. has no shortage of major car shows, there aren’t nearly as many industry-lead motorcycle ones. But there’s at least one: the International Motorcycle Show. It’s been touring the U.S. for over 40 years, letting people sit on brand-new bikes and ogle wild custom creations. However, that time is coming to an end.

The 2022 Progressive International Motorcycle Show Outdoors tour is officially canceled

The entrance to the 2021 Progressive International Motorcycle Show Outdoors Chicago event
2021 Progressive International Motorcycle Show Outdoors Chicago entrance | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

Throughout its history, the International Motorcycle Show mostly traveled to various convention centers in cities like Chicago and Atlanta. But it switched things up last year and became IMS Outdoors, both to address COVID-19 concerns and give attendees more test-ride opportunities. And not just for riding motorcycles, but e-bikes and ATVs, too.

By all accounts—including my personal one—bringing the show on outdoors was a rousing success. It didn’t just bring in people, but a significant number of new riders. So, it was exciting to hear the Progressive International Motorcycle Show team’s plans for continuing the outdoor events in 2022.

But those plans sadly won’t come to fruition. The team recently announced that it was canceling all planned 2022 tour dates and events. That means no test rides, no gear displays, and no Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show.

If you’ve already bought tickets or entered your custom build, IMS will be issuing refunds in the next seven days. And if you don’t receive a refund in that time, the team says to contact [email protected]

Will IMS Outdoors return in 2023?

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It might seem odd to cancel the 2022 International Motorcycle Show tour given how seemingly successful the 2021 one was. However, as the pandemic continues demonstrating, a lot can change in a few months.

Firstly, the motorcycle industry isn’t immune to the ongoing supply chain issues. At last year’s show, for example, a Triumph rep told me the display team needed to call five dealerships to get enough bikes together. As with used and new cars, demand far outstripped supply. Furthermore, several ABS sensor suppliers reported a severe lack of raw materials, RideApart says.

But the Progressive International Motorcycle Show team didn’t just point to supply problems in its tour cancelation announcement. The team also noted that the way brands and the industry operate have changed, especially in the last few years.

Harley-Davidson’s electric LiveWire brand, for instance, recently started building customer experience centers rather than ‘traditional’ dealerships. In addition, companies like Moto Guzzi and Ducati have started running multi-day tours to let newbies and long-term owners experience each brand’s newest models.

Also, even though overseas industry shows like EICMA and INTERMOT returned in 2021, not every participant did. BMW didn’t attend EICMA 2021, RideApart notes, and neither did KTM. And with modern online streaming capabilities, they technically didn’t need to. In theory, they could just broadcast a reveal and send bikes to dealerships for people to test ride. Some companies already do that.

So, it’s understandable that the IMS team found themselves “at a crossroads.” And it’s why it’s unclear if the tour will resume at all in 2023 or beyond. RideApart notes that the organization hasn’t technically disbanded, so the tour could return one day. But as of this writing, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show tour is grounded for the foreseeable future.

Are there other events like the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in the U.S.?

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The big problem with that digital reveal policy is that it makes it harder for people to actually sit on a motorcycle. That’s what made the International Motorcycle Show stand out—like the Chicago Auto Show, it brought major brands’ products directly to consumers. And without it, the U.S. doesn’t have an EICMA equivalent. Plus, it’s not like you can check if a helmet fits properly online.

However, there are some big bike shows that are worth attending. Portland’s One Moto Show, for example, is basically a big party disguised as a custom motorcycle show, Roadshow says. Yes, there are custom bikes on display, but the show also features live racing, bands, and gear vendors. And if you live closer to the Midwest, Milwaukee’s Mama Tried Show has a similar vibe.

Still, I imagine a lot of people want the Progressive International Motorcycle Show to return one day.

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