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My wife and I spent a few days in Gaylord Opryland resort in Nashville exploring Wing Ding 41 as well as the city of Nashville that we never visited before.

Our first Wing Ding. Upon arriving, we checked in the room and went to pick up our pre-registered package. That part was easy, one envelope with paperwork, one bracelet, done. First surprise - nobody offered us to buy any tickets for any drawings. I thought that's how they make money but...

Next stop - GWWRA booth (area) with all the official Wing Ding gear. And what a disappoint that was - the lowest quality shirts, jackets, accessories... Cheapest materials available. Did not buy a thing there.

Than we asked about demo rides, where is it, how to register for it. From the registration booth they sent us to the opposite end of the hall. People there didn't know any of that, sent us to the people at the entrance to the trade show..."they'll know"... People at the entrance wanted to send us back to registration booth, told them they sent us over.... Nobody knew. And that's the second day of the show, not first.

Finally, we gave up and went to the trade show. Walked in and withing the stone throw from the entrance (with all the people who didn't know) there was Honda booth with a big sign "Register for Demo Ride". From that Honda desk we could see the people at the entrance.....oh well.

Wife and I spent some time at the trade show and we both agreed - if you needed a new seat, new windshield, new highway pegs (Mic-o-pegs), new wind wings, speakers, light effects,....and you wanted them installed than you are in luck. You could see, touch and feel them, get info about a different kinds...and install your preferred ones on the spot. Also, if you need hand-painted anything on your bike - yep, you got it there.

But....if you needed some better quality gear (riding pants, jackets, gloves,...) not much to choose from. At all. A few helmets, nothing new and better, no carbon fiber,... No riding boots, at least no good quality ones. No Klim, Aerostich, Dainese, Rev It, Spidi, Olympia, Transition helmet visors, Motoport, Firstgear,...

Also - haven't seen any classes or additional info about improving our rides. How about a class about suspension improvements with people from Traxxion, Progressive etc...? Or about lights (bulbs) options with wholesalers or manufactures (several to choose from)...? There was a Helibars installer there, and a speakers installer there - but how about a class (or a 30-min lecture) about Helibars benefits with hands-on portion? Or same thing with speakers and amps people? I mean, Honda does demo rides cause that's how people learn about the product and eventually buy one. I would be more inclined to purchase a stereo upgrade if I could get more info about it. Yes, installers were there - installing. Not answering questions. And even if they had more free time not everyone would know what exactly to ask, y'know?!...

Maybe I'm expecting too much from it... But I was hoping for more "education" about our rides and how to improve them. And I'm sure some manufacturers and retailers would appreciate an opportunity to talk about their product and build more opportunities for new sales. If only they were approached about it...

The resort was very nice but huge....huge. My wife and I got lost several times. Even doubt we were taking the shortest way back to the room every day. Needless to say, resort restaurants were way overpriced but that's expected... Confusion about parking (where, for how long, how much for the parking,...) was unnecessary. Info about something as important needs to be better communicated.

Surprising fact - at 49 and 52, my wife and I were among the youngest there. And not many people our age (or close to) among visitors. There was a theory that Honda is trying to appeal to younger crowd by changing the Wing to look and feel more like a sport touring bike than before. Judging by this Wing Ding, not much response from a younger crowd yet.

I was surprised how many people came on a 2018+ bikes (new generation Wing). I was glad to see riders are making the leap and getting new gen bikes. Good sign that Goldwing is (hopefully) here to stay as a model.

Times are changing and I guess GWWRA should keep up with the changes in order to be relevant in the future. Plenty YouTube reviewers that would be happy to come and give a lecture about tips for safer riding, or new riding gear materials and armor, or latest and greatest helmets. And most of them would do that for free, to expand their markets and earn new subscribers. Win-win.

Again, this is just an overlook from a first-timer at Wing Ding. Unfortunately, if everything stays the same like this year I doubt I'll ride (drive) too far for the next one, or the one after that. And I'm afraid I'm not alone.


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Hannah and I encountered most of those same things. No one seemed to know where the Trade Show was located within the complex (Huge! as you said). The two guys at the entrance to the service area where my cousin and I were going to have accessories installed were not aware of the area we were to ride to and were literally yelling up at us as we started to ride down the ramp to "hurry up, come on, don't you know how to ride those things". (we had stopped to pull the service tickets out of our pockets).
We were just there for the trade show on day passes and my cousin and his wife were charged more for their day pass ($44) and Hannah and I ($30).
The $32 dollar parking notice sure got our attention also.
Still the ride down was nice, we enjoyed walking around the complex and we enjoyed the trade show and meeting and talking with a few of the folks we encountered there.
 

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They will never appeal to a younger crowd by having it close early afternoon on a Saturday. I spoke to several people in my area who considered going early Saturday or Friday evening but with an early Saturday closure what would have been the point. Luckily for us we choose a different weekend location and had a great time.

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<...>But....if you needed some better quality gear (riding pants, jackets, gloves,...) not much to choose from. At all. A few helmets, nothing new and better, no carbon fiber,... No riding boots, at least no good quality ones. No Klim, Aerostich, Dainese, Rev It, Spidi, Olympia, Transition helmet visors, Motoport, Firstgear,...
Chicken vs. egg dilemma here, I think.

Even at the *big* motorcycle show (I'm referring to the International Motorcycle Show brought to you by <you know who>), it's sometimes difficult to do any definitive comparisons on apparel, specifically.

Why?

Very challenging for a company like Aerostich (for example) to mass market their products with prices that scare a significant percentage in this demographic away, unfortunately.

They *do* market their products to a, er, um ::ahem:: different clientele, and they seem to do quite well. Motoport is in a similar situation.

Many riders (like yourself...) go and search out where these types of products can be found - and purchase from companies that are advertised on various forums.

As you note, where you went to look at general riding accessories? Nope...not going to happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Chicken vs. egg dilemma here, I think.



Even at the *big* motorcycle show (I'm referring to the International Motorcycle Show brought to you by ), it's sometimes difficult to do any definitive comparisons on apparel, specifically.



Why?



Very challenging for a company like Aerostich (for example) to mass market their products with prices that scare a significant percentage in this demographic away, unfortunately.



They *do* market their products to a, er, um ::ahem:: different clientele, and they seem to do quite well. Motoport is in a similar situation.



Many riders (like yourself...) go and search out where these types of products can be found - and purchase from companies that are advertised on various forums.



As you note, where you went to look at general riding accessories? Nope...not going to happen.
Interesting analogy.... If that's true, majority of visitors at Wing Ding wouldn't want to spend money on better accessories....right?

I would definitely agree with you about "chicken and the egg" situation - because I've seen people spending $600+ for Neotec helmets, $300+ for foot massagers,....not mentioning $1500+ for new seats. Cooking sets for hundreds of $$....they were all doing some business there.

Maybe I shouldn't take Aerostich as an example, they do have a niche product (sort of). But helmet wholesalers with latest materials/models, gloves with latest armor, boots,.... still think GWWRA could approach them and ask them to come.

Again, I'm probably expecting too much from the organizer. Our visit was still fine for a few hours browsing there....just not sure how sustainable this model is going to be going forward...

p.s. GWWRA booth (the biggest one) was a sad example of what I'm talking about.... Lowest quality merchandise possible...

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My wife and I did not go this year. It was too close to last year's venue in Knoxville. I agree, not usually cheap, but now days nothing is (just went to a Rolling Stones concert - 1 day, 4 people, $1,500).


I attend Wing Ding to talk to those who attend. I've met people from every state, many different countries, and all walks of life. I just love the camaraderie.


While I do enjoy walking the vendors' area, I often do purchase items and have them installed. I always know what I want and know the vendor will be there.


I agree with many on this thread that I would like to see more motorcycle-centered vendors (re: clothing, helmets, etc.). I do not need hammocks, scented candles, cookware, or potions/cosmetics, lotions.


While it may be challenging for some companies because of price, I do not think that is a reason not for GWRRA to try to entice them. I bought a very expensive motorcycle, so I am not adverse to buying a very expensive riding suit (re: Aerostitch or Motoport). It's just as expensive to purchase online and at WD, I could touch them and determine the value for $1,500.


Wing Ding to me is a place to converse with like-minded people. Who knows, one of them may spark me into a trip I never even thought of.
 
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I think all the major events are suffering... especially the brand specific(fish bowls) Attendance at Americade looks to have been steadily declining also. There the vendors have become more spread-out over the area to save(booth rental)costs and less accessible. There seems to be as many or more 'window shoppers' than buyers. Little by little the MC specific vendors are being replaced by the sunglass huts. I can't believe it's more than a break even proposition for many and lost productivity and money to the smaller businesses. People just don't participate in group activities as in the past. Locally our riding club has suffered in member numbers and poker runs and charity events have almost become a thing of the past. JMHO.
 
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Interesting analogy.... If that's true, majority of visitors at Wing Ding wouldn't want to spend money on better accessories....right?

I would definitely agree with you about "chicken and the egg" situation - because I've seen people spending $600+ for Neotec helmets, $300+ for foot massagers,....not mentioning $1500+ for new seats. Cooking sets for hundreds of $$....they were all doing some business there.
Of course they're doubling the opportunity for participants to spend money. Not being sexist whatsoever when I write this - but ~50% of those in attendance are female. If mama wants a new set of cookware, papa gets a Corbin seat! :mrgreen:

Maybe I shouldn't take Aerostich as an example, they do have a niche product (sort of). But helmet wholesalers with latest materials/models, gloves with latest armor, boots,.... still think GWWRA could approach them and ask them to come.

Again, I'm probably expecting too much from the organizer. Our visit was still fine for a few hours browsing there....just not sure how sustainable this model is going to be going forward.
Most motorcycle vendors are still trying to bounce back from a decade ago. Thus, travel seems to be a bit more selective, simply due to economics.

Aerostich? Absolutely a niche product. Especially in such a niche activity as touring motorcycling - seriously. "Whale [email protected]%eskin" riding suits...out of 100 Wing riders - three, six, ten? Start counting next time you're on a trek.

And demographics.

Look, go to a 'beemer' rally and do an A-B comparison. Many of those sorts of items you are looking for? Yep, pretty good chance you'll find something there. You'll also find non-moto stuff, but it's probably stuff that you could use in certain applications, such as moto-camping, etc.

You are very much expecting more from the organizer - and it's been like this for a long time.

You, sir, are in the minority. :clap2:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Of course they're doubling the opportunity for participants to spend money. Not being sexist whatsoever when I write this - but ~50% of those in attendance are female. If mama wants a new set of cookware, papa gets a Corbin seat! :mrgreen:





Most motorcycle vendors are still trying to bounce back from a decade ago. Thus, travel seems to be a bit more selective, simply due to economics.



Aerostich? Absolutely a niche product. Especially in such a niche activity as touring motorcycling - seriously. "Whale [email protected]%eskin" riding suits...out of 100 Wing riders - three, six, ten? Start counting next time you're on a trek.



And demographics.



Look, go to a 'beemer' rally and do an A-B comparison. Many of those sorts of items you are looking for? Yep, pretty good chance you'll find something there. You'll also find non-moto stuff, but it's probably stuff that you could use in certain applications, such as moto-camping, etc.



You are very much expecting more from the organizer - and it's been like this for a long time.



You, sir, are in the minority. :clap2:
Hahaha....all so true, sir. And I probably shouldn't complain cause I'm not the one spending $1000+ for Aerostich (wearing Firstgear jacket presently). I was just hoping I'll find newer stuff that would convince me to get it cause it's soooo much better hahaha....

I do go to International Motorcycle Show in DC every year, mostly to know what's going on....

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You probably saved me from wasting my time and money going to one of these. I think one of the issues is the cost of the facility. They have to fill it with vendors and can only be so picky on who signs up. I see the exact same thing at RV shows. I just bought my 2nd new 2016 Goldwing as I don't like the downsized look and reduced capacity and didn't want to find out if mine would have first year issues. I also made payments on a 15 F6B and 16 F6B. I'm 48, so I would have felt out of place too, but I like older folks.
You would think after 41 years of holding these things, there would be great organization and enough feedback from riders to make it something you want to come back to. I guess now I at least have the ride expectations if I were to try another year.
 

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<...>You would think after 41 years of holding these things, there would be great organization and enough feedback from riders to make it something you want to come back to. I guess now I at least have the ride expectations if I were to try another year.
I went to a single event, held regionally, a long time (12 years) ago & saw exactly the same things.

The people are the organization. The organization continues to survive, predominately based on the people-to-people connections that have been made over those forty-odd years.

The perspective that the OP has shared with us is the same perspective many of us have had with this entity...for a long time.

Just a few years ago, the organization expanded to include certain other manufacturers of 'touring vehicles' recognizing their core membership was moving off of Honda vehicles and onto those (that were still able to ride...) from these other manufacturers.

I recognize - and know first-hand - that it's a challenge to feel, touch, wear a garment and know this will work, or it won't work. Now, Aerostich *does* periodically have what they call "pop-up events". I can't see if they had any in 2019, but they did in 2018. Motoport? Don't know if they have any similar events - I thought I had read they do, but very random it seems.

The corporate overlords of some of those mentioned brands earlier is Motorsport Aftermarket Group (MAG). They had a bit of financial trouble not long ago:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-rel...ges-from-debt-recapitalization-300624475.html

I'm sure as they continue to work thru that, marketing has been targeted to provide better return (read: no need to market to old people... :mrgreen: ) for their dollar.
 

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A couple of thoughts from the peanut gallery. . .

GWRRA has always welcomed other motorcycles in the organization but those were previously "associate" memberships and could not hold "office" in the chapters and on up. It was a while ago that they removed the associate designation and reduced that membership fee to the "group" fee (they did raise the fee a few years ago by $5.00 but everyone pays the same base rate of single or the base rate for family).

I think you are going to see a different Wing Ding next year. They apparently were under a contract with the Gaylord corporation and Nashville completed the requirement. Next year is being held at the EXPO Center in Springfield MO. I have a feeling the openness of a convention dedicated center will allow more vendors, more space, and lower space fees. But there is no guarantee. This is a situation of "our" own making. You see something at a vendor and head back to your hotel room to check the internet for a cheaper price online. Not saying YOU would do that - but in reality it does happen. That internet site probably doesn't even keep inventory - they are just a middle man and they place an order after you purchase with their markup from their living room. That vendor is paying for hotel rooms for the employees, meals, salary, travel expenses, and inventory to sell - he/she can't mark down the price to match the internet BUT you can get it right there and if need be installed too.

I don't think you will see a better core structure - that will have to be seen from the volunteers manning the booths. I know everyone wants to be included in the happenings and they want to be included too. I think the one real issue is they ask districts all over the country to man different booths. Can you think of traveling upward to a thousand miles+ and then have to sit at a desk while others are riding an area you came to ride in too? That is probably another issue with no one knowing where different venues are located.

As noted by a few here - they go for the meeting of members and socializing. As for the age group I don't see the same interest I saw when I bought my Wing in 2004. Then the tech at the dealership invited me to the chapter gathering and I was 51 at the time. I wasn't the youngest but I wasn't the oldest either (kind of in the middle). I personally think IF the dealerships had some incentives GWRRA would be more representative of everyone buying Gold Wings. But then GWRRA needs to recognize expanding their marketing too.

My opinion too is the "top" needs to be a younger and that might be happening with the new directors. At least they don't look like they are 70 LOL.

The other thoughts I have is to get rid of the ride levels to be any officer. In my chapter we have a Master Tour rider level and he has led 3 rides I can remember in 15 years - I don't have any levels and I have led 4 or 5 rides a season. But because I don't have that magic rider level I can't be a ride coordinator (REQUIRES Level II) BUT HE COULD!

OK I am done whining.
 

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Dan18960, I agree with you. Never hold an event at a Resort. An Expo Center or even a Fairground will give a better price and remembering back years ago, when Lewis Preston's Dad of Bushtec Trailers talked about the cost for him as a Vendor one year and it was as I remember over 7 grand for him, equip., towing trailers of repair parts and new trailers to sell and putting up all his people for room and board.

There are others on here who might remember this better than me, but GWRRA get out of the hotel business. And pay your own way too. There are those who want to pay up the nose for a room and I'm not one of them.
 

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You probably saved me from wasting my time and money going to one of these. I think one of the issues is the cost of the facility. They have to fill it with vendors and can only be so picky on who signs up. I see the exact same thing at RV shows. I just bought my 2nd new 2016 Goldwing as I don't like the downsized look and reduced capacity and didn't want to find out if mine would have first year issues. I also made payments on a 15 F6B and 16 F6B. I'm 48, so I would have felt out of place too, but I like older folks.
You would think after 41 years of holding these things, there would be great organization and enough feedback from riders to make it something you want to come back to. I guess now I at least have the ride expectations if I were to try another year.

I think the issue with the lack of vendors is the sky high prices they have to pay(to whom I don't know) to show their goods and services. That "FEE' that they have to pay is just a greedy someone trying to capitalize on the event. I don't see ANY reason to gouge vendors at an event. It costs enough for them to get there in the first place. To have to add to that cost with a Vendor FEE is ridiculous. The greed of the promoters has killed many a vendors' visits to rallies. It certainly has happened at Daytona. I can see the small fees for setting up electrical wiring to their booths/locations, but NOT a fee for just "being there". That's just pure greed!



All you see at Daytona anymore is cheap vendors selling cheap stuff, for the most part. There are some exceptions but not many. And when a rally gets the reputation of not having quality vendors there, it starts to go downhill fast. Plus, the INTERNET has made it real easy for vendors to show off their goods with short videos too. That really negates the necessity of having to go to a Rally for many of them.
 

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Roadsmith trike is the number one trike maker. EVEN they didn't attend the Americade rally............ To bad cause i was planning on purchasing another Roadsmith trike kit...from the rally....... There lose, my gain, cause I changed my mind, after and not going to purchase another kit.....

Ronnie
 

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I think the issue with the lack of vendors is the sky high prices they have to pay(to whom I don't know) to show their goods and services. That "FEE' that they have to pay is just a greedy someone trying to capitalize on the event. I don't see ANY reason to gouge vendors at an event. It costs enough for them to get there in the first place. To have to add to that cost with a Vendor FEE is ridiculous. The greed of the promoters has killed many a vendors' visits to rallies. It certainly has happened at Daytona. I can see the small fees for setting up electrical wiring to their booths/locations, but NOT a fee for just "being there". That's just pure greed!



All you see at Daytona anymore is cheap vendors selling cheap stuff, for the most part. There are some exceptions but not many. And when a rally gets the reputation of not having quality vendors there, it starts to go downhill fast. Plus, the INTERNET has made it real easy for vendors to show off their goods with short videos too. That really negates the necessity of having to go to a Rally for many of them.
Greed....That's the GWRRA.....Wing Ding is the GWRRA's yearly fleecing of the flock....
 

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I think the issue with the lack of vendors is the sky high prices they have to pay(to whom I don't know) to show their goods and services. That "FEE' that they have to pay is just a greedy someone trying to capitalize on the event. I don't see ANY reason to gouge vendors at an event. It costs enough for them to get there in the first place. To have to add to that cost with a Vendor FEE is ridiculous. The greed of the promoters has killed many a vendors' visits to rallies. It certainly has happened at Daytona. I can see the small fees for setting up electrical wiring to their booths/locations, but NOT a fee for just "being there". That's just pure greed!



All you see at Daytona anymore is cheap vendors selling cheap stuff, for the most part. There are some exceptions but not many. And when a rally gets the reputation of not having quality vendors there, it starts to go downhill fast. Plus, the INTERNET has made it real easy for vendors to show off their goods with short videos too. That really negates the necessity of having to go to a Rally for many of them.

I have no problem with a Vendor FEE. Cost to keep clean, bug free, provide electricity, security, garbage service. Somebody built the place so rent to use it is OK, but don't bend them.
 

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Roadsmith trike is the number one trike maker. EVEN they didn't attend the Americade rally............
Unless they changed at the last minute...

http://roadsmithtrikes.com/news/

Their show schedule shows they were planning to attend.

Regardless, seven shows a year for a vendor that must have quite the bill for road-show activities.
 
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