Get the Flash Player to see this player.PowerSports dealers, aftermarket companies, builders, and the media converged in Indianapolis, Ind. once again for the 2009 Dealer Expo, Feb. 13-16.
This yearís show had a few changes, including the addition of the new Lucas Oil Stadium as a major showroom. Itís just across the road from the RCA Dome which was torn down in December.
Nobody is immune to the current economic climate and this yearís Dealer Expo certainly had fewer vendors than past years, but this is still an enormous show filled with just about anything you could hope to find for your ATV or side-by-side. In addition to all the new products, dozens of modified four-wheelers and we had our camera at the ready.
While we didnít really find any mind blowing new products or technologies for ATVs at this show, the burgeoning side-by-side industry continues its rapid expansion. Also, we found a couple of products for under $20 that you might find interesting and useful.
When it comes to ATV racing, there might not be any one product found on more quads than Precision Stabilizers. The Lodi, Calif. company doesnít appear to be resting on its laurels as it released a new Pro model stabilizer at the show. This new stabilizer features an internal reservoir that allows for thermal expansion with oil filtration and high speed valve. According to Precision Racing Products, this feature can increase damping by over 100% when temperatures exceed 90 degrees.
A new stem clamp offers less weight and makes it easier to install, while a stronger linkage has improved seals. Gaskets have been added around the adjuster for added protection and a new lever arm has higher grip forces.
Gibson Performance Exhaust of Corona, Calif. has been building exhausts for trucks for years, but the company has recently delved in to side-by-sides. Where Gibson exhausts differ from most side-by-side systems is sound. Gibson claims its system not only produces more power than stock, but is also the quietest available. This is far from a racing system, but for hunters and other outdoorsmen a quiet machine is essential.
On the other end of the spectrum is MCX-USA of Salida, Colo. MCX-USA and MC Xpress of Sweden teamed up to bring turbo products to the side-by-side market. Kits are available for the Polaris Ranger RZR and Yamaha Rhino. MCX-USA claims that each kit has successfully doubled the rear wheel horsepower of each stock machine. That kind of performance doesnít come cheap, however, as kits retail for $4,495.
If you like to go rock crawling with your side-by-side, Rancho of Monroe, Mich. can set you up. A big, beefy front bumper, spare tire carrier, frame stiffeners, gas can holder and cooler holder will all come in handy on the rocks. If you really want to trick out your Polaris Ranger RZR, Rancho has a 6-inch long travel suspension system. This system comes with the best looking set of A-arms weíve ever seen on a side-by-side. They are made of 6061-T6 CNC machined aluminum and the upper control arms on the front are curved and almost look like a Japanese sword. Also, four RS9000XL coil-over shocks with Eibach coil springs is included, along with everything else you need.
The Koronis Parts Inc. booth featured a wide array of side-by-side accessories. A beautiful set of Super T-1 suspension seats from Beard Seats were designed for the Kawasaki Teryx and immediately made us envious. Also, a rotating spare tire mount looks to be a great way to maximize bed space. Speed Industries provided a 42-inch LED light bar and a nice looking rearview mirror to help set the Teryx apart. Donít fret if you own a Ranger RZR or a Rhino, as both of these vendors had plenty of accessories to go around.
Itís hard for a helmet maker to stand out at a PowerSports show, because there are just so many manufacturers. One way to draw some attention is to build a life-size model of a Samurai out of motorcycle parts and have it stand outside your booth. Marushin Helmets of Germany did just that. That got us in the booth. What made us stay a while was when we picked up one of the helmets. Marushin claims that it builds the worldís lightest off-road helmets. One model weighs a scant 850 grams. Itís so light itís hard to believe it could actually protect you. Marushin, however, says its helmets are DOT and ECE certified and should be available in U.S. dealerships shortly.
If all the above products look interesting, but are a little out of your budget right now, we saw two products that are fear easier on your pocketbook. Helmet Flag Inc. of Draper, Utah manufactures the aptly named Helmet Flag. If you ride in an area that requires a safety flag, you know that they tend to break. Now you can attach Helmet Flag right on your helmet, providing visibility Ė all for a very reasonable $19.99.
Even cheaper than the Helmet Flag is a new magnetic LED light from Risk Racing of Mooresville, NC. The Light Mine is about the size of a golf ball and features 12 magnets and a bright LED light. You can stick it on anything metal and direct the light just about anywhere. This sounds like a good product to have if youíre stuck on a trail at night and you have to make a minor repair. Just stick the $7.99 Light Mine on your ATV, point the light where you need it and go to work.
ATVs and Side-by-Sides
In our travels at the Dealer Expo we saw all sorts of ATVs and side-by-sides on display. Vehicles for motocross, desert racing, flat track racing, mud racing, and everything else an off-road fanatic could hope to see were visible at every turn. Weíve included a short list of interesting machines below, but be sure to check out our huge photo gallery to see it all.
Apparently the mantra Ďsex sellsí has not been lost on the vendors of the 2009 Dealer Expo. Booth babes could be seen at every turn and there was even a regular burlesque fashion show. Check out a few of our pictures below, but our photo gallery will have much more.