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February in Cincinnati, Ohio can mean only one thing to those involved in the American motorcycle business – the annual V-Twin Expo.

Every year, for the past 12 years, the great and good of the V-twin industry have come together to show off the latest parts and accessories for Harleys and many other American made v-twin offerings.

A few years ago it was also the show to go to, to see new models from the small volume manufacturers, but these days the likes of Big Dog Motorcycles, Big Bear Choppers and many other have seen sales slide so badly that they are no longer in business. That downturn in trade has impacted on the rest of the H-D aftermarket trade too.

On first arriving, a quick walk around the show floor revealed that the actual take-up of booth spaces was dramatically down on previous years and many of those companies that are displaying their wares have downsized their show floor foot print.

Anyway enough with the doom and gloom, those businesses that are in attendance are bullish about the market and some are positively pushing ahead. SuperTrapp for instance is making a big deal of having purchased the custom brake and control specialist Jaybrake. 

When I asked about the reasoning behind the purchase, given that it's somewhat removed from the company’s core business of exhausts I was told, ”We’ve been making bikes go faster for years so now we can stop them quicker too.” 

Meanwhile over at the Performance Machine booth they’ve gone all bright and cheerful with a selection of colour anodised parts. So now if you want your wheels, sprocket and brake rotors finished in, for instance, bright orange you can, just so long as you buy them from Performance Machine.

It is also wheels that are quite literally the big thing at his year’s Expo. Having first seen one or two examples of 30-inch front wheels at last year’s show I thought they would be a passing trend, with 26-inchers being widely lampooned at the time. Oh, how I was wrong, so wrong.

Within the Expo there is a display of custom Baggers from professional custom builders and the vast majority of them are sporting 30-inch rims at the front.

If further proof is needed that the trend is here to stay, a stroll along the show aisles revealed that Performance Machine and Xtreme wheels (a business owned by Performance Machine) are the only wheel manufacturers there not retailing a big wheel.

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