Photos courtesy of Progressive IMS Outdoors

After 39 years, appearances in more than 25 cities, and visits by countless motorcycle enthusiasts, the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows (IMS) as we know it is no more. That might not be a bad thing though as the IMS is moving outdoors as it launches a new more interactive, more immersive, and more inclusive experience.

IMS Outdoors will be held at unique outdoor locations across the U.S. and feature a more festival-like atmosphere that reflects local culture through food, music, and other activities. Demo rides will be the cornerstone of the experience, from street demos to off-road courses for both two-wheelers and side-by-sides. It will also have renewed focus on electric bicycles, children’s bikes, and might even offer track day experiences at certain locations. The new IMS Outdoors will also see the addition of showcases from the RV and Overland sectors.

IMS Outdoors is projected to launch in mid-May of 2021 and run through September. Initially they are looking at between 8 to 10 cities in the northeast, southern California, the Midwest, South, Mountain region and are exploring other markets as well as it seeks to reach every major U.S. market. Dates and locations reportedly will be announced in early December.

“At IMS, we have always placed an emphasis on evolving our shows to better support the community and enthusiasts,” says Tracy Harris, SVP, IMS. “Progressive IMS Outdoors will be the greatest evolution in the brand’s 38-year history. Taking IMS Outdoors not only changes our venues but opens up an array of opportunities for our team to deliver a truly first-of-a-kind experience for the community as the only event in the nation taking the proactive step to actively serve both the new rider and core audience.”

In addition to demo rides, IMS Outdoors will aim to be more of an "experience" thanks to a reenergized lineup of entertainment like stunt shows and the infusion of regional food and music. Organizers are emphasizing the family-friendly aspect of the new shows, and in addition to featuring new bikes for children, programs like Discover the Ride provide an opportunity for kids to ride them as well. The new format will include more activities tailored for the pre-teen segment, too. In addition to Discover the Ride, long-standing favorites like the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows will be back, albeit in a reimagined format.

While the IMS team said the move has been five years in the making, the need to move the traditionally indoor event outdoors was undoubtedly expedited by the pandemic. At the virtual press conference IMS representatives said the All Secure protocol for Covid-19 will be applied at all events in order to accommodate a significant number of people in a safe way.