Eric Pritchard

Since the height of the pandemic, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) has been hard at work trying to maintain contact between dealers and riders during a period of severe isolation. AIMExpo 2022, held on January 19-21, was the first gathering of the motorcycle and motorsports industry in two years. Since planning for this latest expo, MIC has been busy with the new Ride With Us program, various government initiatives and plans for the upcoming AIMExpo 2023.

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We spoke with Eric Pritchard, President and CEO of MIC, to find out more about what MIC has been up to over the past 18 months, what it plans to develop, and his outlook for the power sports market in the coming year.

MPN: Can you provide an update on the various initiatives MIC has overseen this year?

EP: The Motorcycle Industry Council has developed ambitious plans to help the motorsport industry grow and prosper, with a strategy that includes market expansion, government relations, stakeholder engagement and communications. We saw tremendous momentum that laid the groundwork to do even more.

Our renewed ‘Ride With Us’ market expansion initiative officially launched in 2021 and we began providing Moto Intros: a 30-minute first ride experience for people interested in on-road and off-road motorcycling. Over the past 18 months, we have expanded Moto Intros to over 15 events, including powersports events (Overland Expos, California Capital Air Show in Sacramento, and SEMA). We’re also excited that the team is gearing up to launch a national social media campaign and new website later this fall.

Attracting new riders is only part of our job. MIC’s Government Relations team works with legislators at the federal, state and local levels to preserve and protect the strength sports industry and the rights of our consumers. From meeting with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to webinars with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to funding expanded access to rates and trade issues, national safety standards and ensuring fairness in proposed legislation for the industry, our Government Relations (GR) team continues hard work.

One of the main issues facing our industry is PFAS, chemicals that can be found in or used in the production of a number of products such as riding gear, vehicle components, semiconductors and chrome plating. Federal and state governments have introduced bills to ban its use or force state registries to list products containing PFAS. Our GR team and technical program staff have established a task force to examine PFAS legislation and proposals and develop a comprehensive approach to federal and state regulations. MIC member companies interested in PFAS are encouraged to contact Eric Barnes at [email protected] join this working group. Barnes, MIC’s vice president of technical programs, says, “PFAS represents a major challenge for the strength sports industry.”

The development of the strength sports industry requires the cooperation of all stakeholders, which is why MIC has redoubled its efforts to reach out to potential members. This work paid off. Membership has grown and there is a healthy mix of companies. In 2022, MIC Membership Manager Lisa Delaney worked across departments to help create additional benefits and opportunities for members, including exposure to media and influencers and member spotlight in MIC’s weekly digital newsletter RideReport. Anyone interested in joining the MIC should contact Lisa at [email protected].

The MIC Communications team continues to deliver earned media in leading non-endemic, consumer and business news, including: Forbes, Newsweek, Foxy weather (national), ABC4 in Salt Lake City, CBS8 in Las Vegas, Men’s magazine, Hagerty and more. MIC RideReport also provides up-to-the-minute information on the work MIC is doing on behalf of the power sports industry. We encourage everyone in the industry to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter at

During the pandemic, we also launched a new series of virtual symposia to bring important information to MIC members in real time. We held 20 symposia on topics ranging from the economic outlook of the industry to best practices for dealerships and electric vehicles.

MPN: What legislative issues are of greatest concern to the MIC right now, and how has the MIC helped inform policymakers about the issues facing the power sports industry?

EP: Every day, MIC’s Government Relations team works with lawmakers and policymakers in Washington, D.C., and in state capitols across the country. From PFAS and tariffs to preserving land access and improving safety legislation, the MIC GR team works across all levels of state and federal government. Over the past two years, MIC has worked with partner organizations to secure the reauthorization of the Recreational Trails Program, which provides $85 million annually for trail development, maintenance, and educational programs. We also secured tourism funding from the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Agency, which has already paid off in the form of a million dollar grant to the Minnesota Off-Road Vehicle (OHV) fleet. And we secured $900 million a year in permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and funding to address deferred maintenance for road and trail improvements on federal lands at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the US Forest Service (USFS ). ) and the National Park Service (NPS).

MPN: How does MIC get more people – young and old – riding?

EP: MIC’s Ride With Us market expansion program is specifically designed to get more people of all ages into skating. From hands-on Moto Intros to a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, Ride With Us inspires more riders by encouraging them to explore and participate, and works to integrate them into our community.

Ride With Us is on the verge of rolling out a national commercial to deliver a message to potential riders that will inspire them to ride.

MPN: What is your outlook for the strength sports industry in 2023 and beyond? Is the pandemic outbreak sustainable? What have we learned from the past few years that the industry is likely to continue, and which segments of strength sports have shown the greatest growth in interest/sales? Do you see this trend continuing?

EP: Sales across all power sports have soared during the pandemic. Even better news: sales in the first half of 2022 remained strong. This shows the resilience of our industry, even amid ongoing supply chain challenges, the strain on the economy and changes in people’s behavior as pandemic-related restrictions ease.

Since the pandemic, more people have taken up active recreation and adventures close to home with family and friends, and the strength sports industry is uniquely positioned to provide products for these activities. For example, the dual-purpose motorcycle and off-road motorcycle categories grew by 63.7% and 40.7%, respectively, in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2019 (the last year before the pandemic).

But as more people start traveling and attend in-person events like concerts, ball games and festivals, retaining new riders and inspiring more people to start riding will continue to be a priority. That’s why MIC members are investing in the Ride With Us initiative so that potential and current riders have access to information about training, epic places to ride, finding their riding community and other tips.

MPN: What can you tell us about next year’s AIMExpo?

EP: We are very excited about our 2023 show, which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center February 15-17 and we expect to be double the size of last year. Tucker Powersports will once again host its annual dealer show at AIMExpo. LeMans Corp. (Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties) will also be in attendance, along with hundreds of other aftermarket, OEM and professional service providers, and we’re bringing our core educational platform, Disruptive Thinking, back to the show. . The platform features content inspired by the MIC Symposium, headlined by industry experts, thought leaders and influencers.

We will also focus on new products from leading manufacturers, including the quad and electric bike market segments. And of course, AIMExpo wouldn’t be complete without the Tucker-based AIMExpo Industry Party. Although we call it a party, it is much more than that. This is where the magic of networking happens. Check out more information at

MPN: Why is it important for dealers to attend trade shows like AIMExpo and how can they make their time there “worth it?”

EP: AIMExpo is the largest strength sports trade show in North America, and not only is it a platform to interact with people from all corners of our industry, but it’s also a place where you can learn about and discuss the important issues facing our industry today. Dealers can also contact MIC staff directly, including our Government Relations Team, Membership Team and Communications Team.

We will also have an expanded AIMExpo Dealer Education Series, classroom-style education off the show floor. Topics will include business solutions for sales and marketing, finance and insurance (F&I), staff retention, consumer engagement and more.

Face-to-face meetings are still the most valuable way to do business, and for dealers it’s a great opportunity to speak directly with manufacturers and aftermarket companies. In addition, they will be able to see, touch and try some of the newest products.

This combination of industry meetings, trade show exhibits and special offers, educational panels, after-hours events and networking opportunities makes AIMExpo the best way for dealers to start the year.

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