The COVID-19 health crisis has taken a toll on manufacturers and dealerships, but those struggles also extend to motorcycle events. Due to social distancing, masking, and vaccine mandates, the International Motorcycle Shows (IMS) has continued to adapt to changing conditions in the past two years. In 2020, the organization canceled its nationwide tour but returned in 2021 with the IMS Outdoors event.
Opting for an outside setting not only reassured attendees during the pandemic, but the new venues also suited beginner-friendly programs such as Discover the Ride. The 2021 IMS Outdoors schedule included nine tour stops spanning June through October, and visited cities like Irvine, California, and Conyers, Georgia.
The IMS Outdoors tour didn’t come without its own challenges, though. In August, 2021, organizers were forced to cancel the New York City stop due to a vaccine mandate imposed on public events of scale. Despite those pandemic-induced hurdles, IMS soldiered on, releasing the 2022 IMS Outdoors schedule in February, 2022. The event calendar may have downsized to eight events, but organizers were quick to point out that attendees participated in 35,000 motorcycle demo rides and over 1,600 new riders joined Discover The Ride ranks in 2021.
The first IMS Outdoors event in Loveland, Colorado, was on the horizon when IMS officials announced the suspension of the 2022 tour. In a press release, the organization cited the way “brands promote their products amidst the continued manufacturing and sourcing delays associated with the pandemic” as the main driver of the cancellation.
According to IMS, that shifting landscape doesn’t allow the organizers to deliver an experience that meets its expectations. Each IMS Outdoors stop features brand exhibits, vendor tents, street demos, Discover the Ride programs, a Kids Zone, side-by-side test drives, electric bicycle demos, entertainment, and vintage and custom bike shows. Coordinating such a robust lineup already poses its challenges and the current industry climate doesn’t allow IMS to execute in 2022.
The press release doesn’t expressly indicate whether the organization will cease operations, but it doesn’t seem like a replacement tour will follow in the wake of the 2022 IMS Outdoors cancellation. IMS did, however, reassure ticket-purchasing customers and Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show registrants that they will receive a refund in the next seven days.