CINCINNATI, OHIO, FEB. 2—Ever since the first V-Twin Expo was held in 2001, V-twin industry leaders have been acknowledged in a special awards ceremony held during the Expo weekend. The Saturday night event has always been preceded by a party held in a ballroom upstairs from the main floor of the Expo. The gala consisted of a complimentary buffet table and liquid refreshments for all Expo attendees, and served as a welcomed break from the intensity of the trade show.
This year marked the 13th annual V-Twin Expo Awards, and the event’s format followed industry trends—pared down and tightened up. The pre-awards get-together, this year held at the far end of the trade show floor, was a pizza-and-beer party sponsored by Metzeler who was promoting the release of their new ME888 motorcycle tires. Entertainment was provided by Jasmine Cain, a.k.a. Pixie with an Axe, a name believed to have been coined by Dave Nichols, event emcee and editor-in-chief of Easyriders and V-Twin magazines.
About a half-hour after the party began, Dave got down to business. First on the agenda was a raffle drawing where two sets of the new ME888s were awarded to two very happy shop owners. We segued right into the Excellence in Motorcycling awards, with the Performance Product of the Year given to Barnett Tool & Engineering for their Scorpion Under Cover Lock-Up Clutch. This clutch is intended to handle modern big-inch motors. The adjustable clutch, designed for both open and closed primaries, increases pressure as rpms increase. Nifty. And so is the fact that Barnett is celebrating its 65th year in business in 2013.
Accessory of the Year was awarded to JIMS Machining for its Forceflow Cylinder Head Cooler. The device mounts on a Twin Cam engine in place of the horn, which is hidden inside the Forceflow cooler housing. The high-velocity internal cooling fan can be turned on and off annually, or it can be regulated automatically by a thermostat that monitors cylinder head temperature. The product has been so popular that JIMS has consistently sold out of their stock.
The 2013 Value Product of the Year award, claimed by Lee Wimmer of Wimmer Cycle Products, is the EZ Release. This economical, practical, compression-release system is basically a spark plug replacement, with no head removal or drilling required for installation.
The Tech Product of the Year is Dynojet Research’s Autotune/Power Vision Kit, a flash device that performs as a performance tuner and data monitor. The touch-screen display does not require a computer to tune, and the rider can even download and edit the tune right from the bike. The
2013 Audio Product of the Year is the Rock Box, with Ed Files of Cycle Sounds accepting the award. Cycle Sounds has been displaying at the Expo for 10 years, and the Rock Box is just the latest in a series of their killer stereo products. The Rock Box is a compact, all-in-one audio unit that includes an FM stereo, a USB port for playing tunes from a thumb drive, and a 3.5mm input allowing you to use an mp3 player, satellite, or phone-enabled music. It includes other functions such as a clock, temperature gauge, sound controls and illuminated buttons and display for night riding.
Roland Sands of Roland Sands Design was awarded Industry Leader of the Year. He is the son of Perry Sands, winner of the same award back in 2002, several years before Perry retired his position as head honcho of Performance Machine. Roland was brought up in the motorcycle industry, and his 10 years as a professional racer lend a sportbike influence to his designs. He founded Roland Sands Design in 2005, and his creations have earned a number of awards since then, including three V-Twin Wheel Design of the Year and V-Twin Trendsetter of the Year awards.
The Lifetime Achievement award was earned by George B. Smith, S&S Cycle chairman of the board. Smith is the son of S&S Cycle co-founders George J. and Marjorie Smith. George B. was involved in engine building, racing, performance parts design and machining at a young age. Although he followed his own path for a time, he came back to the family business in 1979, assuming the presidency upon his father’s death in 1980. He retired from daily operations in 1993 to pursue R&D and racing projects. S&S has won more than a half dozen V-Twin Expo awards, and George’s son Brett, who was also S&S president for five years, was awarded Industry Leader of the Year in 2008. When Brett left the family business later in 2008, George once again took the reins as president and CEO, guiding the company through tough economic times. He again retired from daily operations in 2011, but has stayed on as chairman of the board, still pitching in for various special projects.