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JUNE 2014 VOL. 40 NO. 6

Plus w

Taiwan International Motorcycle Show


Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson at Destination Daytona


Confessions of a Customer


Product Focus: Batteries, Exhaust Systems and Sportbike Gear

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Volume 40 Number 6


EV Bikes Will the industry catch the “buzz” of electric bikes and scooters? By Robin Hartfiel Cover photo provided by Brammo

Dealership Operations It’s Electrifying!





All the News that Fits by Robin Hartfiel

Have We Seen the Peak of Spring Values?

Editor-at-Large – Robin Hartfiel Managing Editor – Greg Jones

The Road Ahead by Brendan Baker

Shifting Gears

Editor – Brendan Baker



Columnists & Contributors Eric Anderson Steve Dodds II Steve Jones Alisa Clickenger Marilyn Stemp Jim Woodruff Heather Blessington Cyclepedia Press

NPA Pre-owned Monthly Recap by Jim Woodruff ART

Say No to Dead Battery Syndrome



Confessions of a Customer by Eric Anderson

Taiwan International Motorcycle Show

Graphic Designer – Kelly Gifford



Recap by Brendan Baker

Can-Am’s 2015 Lineup Revealed



OEM Update by Robin Hartfiel

Dealer New Units in Stock

Official Publisher of the AIMExpo Show Daily and Show Directory



Inventory Report by ADP Lightspeed

April Service Department Performance



Best Operators Club by Steve Jones

Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson



Destination Dealership by Marilyn Stemp

How to Cure Empty Online Cart Syndrome



Web Savvy by Heather Blessington

Selling Between the Lines



Finance & Insurance by Steve Dodds II

Diagnosing Black Boxes

Product Focus Apparel Pro – Sportbike Gear .......................................... 20


Keep your customers looking sharp and safe


Tech Tips by Cyclepedia Press

32nd Laughlin River Run

Batteries.................................................................................... 30 Lead-acid, factory-activated and lithium ion batteries, oh my!



Pit Pass

Exhausts .................................................................................... 48 New styles, better performance and throaty sounds

MPN (ISSN 0164-8349) is published monthly by Babcox Media, Inc., 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333 U.S.A. Phone (330) 670-1234, Fax (330) 670-0874. Periodical postage paid at Akron, OH 44333 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to MPN, P.O. Box 13260, Akron, OH 44334-8660. A limited number of complimentary subscriptions are available to individuals who meet the qualification requirements. Call (330) 670-1234, Ext. 242, to speak to a subscription services representative. Paid Subscriptions are available for non-qualified subscribers at the following rates: U.S.: $69 for one year.  (OH residents add 5.75% sales tax) Canada/Mexico: $89 for one year. Canadian rates include GST. Other foreign rates: $129 for one year. Payable in advance in U.S. funds. Mail payment to MPN - Circulation, P.O. Box 75692, Cleveland, OH 44101-4755.

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By Brendan Baker

ADVERTISING SALES Publisher Greg Cira Associate Publisher Sean Donohue (330) 670-1234 ext. 203 (330) 670-1234 ext. 206

Display Advertising Sales Roberto Almenar Tom Staab Bobbie Adams Doug Basford

It’s Electrifying!

David Benson Dean Martin


here’s a lot to be “amped” about in this issue if you ask me. First, Contributor Eric Anderson talks about DBS, which isn’t a new television station, but rather it stands for Dead Battery Syndrome (page 18). It’s real, and chances are your customers have been shortcircuited by it more than once. Then we get into another electrical issue with Editor-at-Large Robin Hartfiel. He flips the switch on the electric motorcycle to see if this segment has come to life in America yet (page 24). It may be a matter of time before it takes off on our shores, but in Asia, it’s a segment that is charging ahead. In fact, part of my trip to Taiwan included the EV Taiwan Show that was in the same hall as the 9th Annual Taiwan International Motorcycle Show, which is also, coincidentally, featured in this issue. See my story on page 36. The quality of EV products manufactured by Taiwanese companies has become second to none as evidenced by the number of OEM suppliers with booths and manufacturers walking around the

show. Suppliers to Tesla Motors, including electric motor maker Fukuta, electricalmechanical control module maker Chrome ATE and auto fastener maker Sumeeko Industries took part in this year’s show. And Lightning Motorcycle representatives were walking the show as well to find key suppliers for their new LS-218. There were several vehicles from weird little two-seat cars that looked like old English taxi cabs to electric bikes and scooters, and components galore. One of the most interesting products was a battery exchanger that was about the size of an ATM machine with 15 slots for rechargeable batteries. Company representatives said that the unit is designed to be placed outside of convenience stores, supermarkets and, yes, dealerships. To get a fresh battery, you swipe a credit card and type in a code on the touchscreen. Then you drop the dead battery in the exchanger and moments later a door opens with your new, fully charged battery, and you’re ready to go. t

Brendan Baker, Editor

Jim Merle Glenn Warner John Zick Don Hemming (330) 670-1234, ext. 233 (330) 670-1234, ext. 224 (330) 670-1234, ext. 238 (330) 670-1234, ext. 255 (330) 670-1234, ext. 210 (330) 670-1234, ext. 225 (330) 670-1234, ext. 280 (330) 670-1234, ext. 212 (805) 845-1400 (330) 670-1234, ext. 286

ADVERTISING SERVICES Advertising Services Amanda Wingerter (330) 670-1234 ext. 223

CIRCULATION SERVICES Circulation Manager Pat Robinson Circulation Specialist Star Mackey (330) 670-1234, ext. 276 (330) 670-1234, ext. 242 Official Publisher of the AIMExpo Show Daily and Show Directory

For show publications advertising information call Sean at 330-670-1234 , ext. 206.

AFTERMARKET MEDIA NETWORK Babcox Media Headquarters 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333 (330) 670-1234 Fax (330) 670-0874 Babcox Media California 735 State St, Suite 409, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 (805) 845-1400 Fax (805) 324-6015 CORPORATE Bill Babcox, President Greg Cira, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Stankard, Vice President Beth Scheetz, Controller Copyright 2014, Babcox Media, Inc.

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Inside the Industry AIMExpo Tickets On Sale Now to the Public Highlighted by global introductions of new products from some of the world’s most well-known and popular powersports companies, the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) rolls into Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) this fall with more exhibitors, a larger footprint, and even more excitement following a successful debut last year. Kicking off the summer riding season, tickets are now on sale to the public online with a limited-time Buy One, Get One Free offer available through the end of June. Officially endorsed by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) as the premier motorcycle trade and consumer event in North America, AIMExpo unifies industry, dealers, media and consumers in a single arena that creates a grand stage for motorcycling and the greater powersports industry. AIMExpo opens its doors to the public on Saturday, October

18, and Sunday, October 19 providing participants the chance to immerse themselves in motorcycling through exclusive product debuts, showcases, riding demos, educational opportunities, celebrity appearances, and more. Over 450 exhibiting companies from every category of the motorcycle

marketplace will be present in AIMExpo’s indoor and outdoor exhibit areas. Major motorcycle manufacturers will be featured along with parts and accessories suppliers, apparel and gear companies, and more. At AIMExpo Outdoors!, attendees can

test ride the newest motorcycles, scooters, ATV’s, and side-by-sides from participating manufacturers. Fans new to motorcycling can learn proper riding and safety techniques at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation new rider introductory experiences. AIMExpo’s inside exhibit halls will feature a host of attractions including educational seminars aimed at enhancing the riding experience, along with Q&A sessions, meet and greets, and autograph signings from a wide variety of motorcycling celebrities. Adult tickets for AIMExpo are only $15 and kids 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. AIMExpo’s summer Buy One Get One Free ticket offer will only be available for a limited time when using promo code BOGO14.

New Harley-Davidson Street 750 Stars in Exhibition Flat Track Race at X Games Austin After scorching the ice at ESPN’s X Games Aspen, the new Harley-Davidson Street 750 will kick up the dirt – and the

RE: BACKFIRE First-Class Service Hey C. R., Just wanted to drop some kudos. I enjoyed your article in MPN (last month). Well said. We have been at the top of the labor rate in Central Texas for some time now and rarely do we get a question, nevermind an argument on the rate. But with that said, we do strive to be not only fast, but first class. You also reminded me of something. I took over here in October of 2013 as Service Manager and things were in dire straits management wise. One of the things I noticed was that we had a fairly nice washbay set up that was being used as a storage area for the most part. I cleaned it out myself and it still has not been put into full time operation for one reason or another. Well, the article reminded of what first class encompasses, so we are going to begin returning washed units to our customers now. Thank you. And keep up the great work at SMP. - Ian Nickerson Central Texas Powersports

conversation and within a minute qualify what they have in mind and how ready they are to make a purchase. If what the customers wants is not what the rep handles, get their name and introduce them to the right person. If they really are just looking, maybe they are new to the area and just want to visit the shops. That's fine too. Briefly show them around, paint them the picture about your business and once you know what type of riding he does, advise them of the motorcycle/powersports activities that happen in the area, give them your card, tell them if they have any questions to please ask at any time and leave them free to browse. - Ian Kennedy A.C.P. Inc Ga.

Don’t Let Customer Opportunities Slip Away It seems to have long been a big taboo to ask a customer, “Can I help you?” because they will answer, “Just looking.” Then what? Does the shop rep mumble O.K. and go back to scanning the net for gossip? Simply say, “For what in particular? Bike, accessories, parts or service?” It is so easy to engage a customer in 6 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

Editor’s Note: We are doing our best to make MPN relevant to its readership. If there are industry issues that we should be addressing, please feel free to let us know. Send your letters to t

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Inside theIndustry action – at X Games Austin with an adrenaline-fueled Flat Track exhibition race just weeks before the new bikes begin to arrive at U.S. dealerships. Highlights of the race will air on ESPN during the X Games competition coverage. Reigning AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National champion Brad “the Bullet” Baker lead the exhibition race on the Street 750 – the first allnew motorcycle platform from Harley-Davidson in 13 years. In the spirit of the customer-led product development approach that Harley-Davidson undertook to create the Street motorcycle, fans will be the ones to decide if Flat Track racing should become a future medal sport at X Games Austin using #XGamesFlatTrack to make their voices heard.

“The action-packed environment at X Games Austin fits perfectly with the attitude and identity of the new Street 750 motorcycle,” said Dino Bernacchi, Director U.S. Marketing, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. “And, since we gathered input from more than 3,000 customers, riders and dealers in more than 10 countries around the world to create the Street platform, it seems only

fitting to let our fans decide if Flat Track racing should become an X Games medal event.”

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Harley-Davidson is no stranger to action sports. The company has had an official H-D Factory Racing team in existence for 100 of its 111-year heritage. “Long before events like X Games, Harley-Davidson motorcycle riders were pushing the limits of their motorcycles up hills, around wooden board tracks, across beaches, on ice and through the mud,” added Bernacchi. As fans watch the Street 750 motorcycle get dirty at X Games Austin, the new bikes will make their long-awaited debut at Harley-Davidson dealerships nationwide in the coming weeks. The latest additions to the Dark Custom line-up, the Harley-Davidson Street 750 and Street 500 feature the allnew liquid-cooled Revolution X engine housed in a narrow and lean chassis built for agility. New suspension and a broad handlebar sweep provide the confidence and maneuverability you need when managing tight turns and fast moves - with a premium, minimalist style that serves as

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Inside the Industry a blank canvas for riders to customize their own sense of personal freedom.

Claude Jordan Steps Down as Arctic Cat Chairman and CEO Arctic Cat Inc. has announced that Claude Jordan has stepped down as chairman and CEO. Chris Twomey, who served as Arctic Cat’s CEO for 24 years, and also is a former chairman and a current member of the board of directors, has been named interim chairman and CEO. The board is beginning a search for a permanent CEO. “On behalf of the board, I want to thank Claude for nearly six years of service to Arctic Cat, first as president and chief operating officer, and then as CEO for the last three years,” said Twomey. “During his tenure, Arctic Cat has grown from $465 million to over $700 million in annual sales, and the company entered the growing sports segment of the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV) market, with a line of side-by-side Wildcat pure-sport and trail models. “Claude and the board have mutually decided this is the right time, however,

for new executive leadership at the company,” Twomey continued. “It makes sense to set up the leadership team that will take the company forward to a successful future, as we enter a new fiscal year. Tim Delmore, CFO, has agreed to postpone his previously announced retirement during this transition period. We anticipate appointing a new CEO

growth prospects. Arctic Cat is focused on growing through a robust pipeline of innovative new products and technologies, international expansion and market share gains. An executive search firm is being retained to assist in filling the CEO position.

REV'IT! Arctic Circle Project Offers One Rider the Trip of a Lifetime

and CFO in the coming months.” Twomey says the company is in strong financial shape and the board has every confidence in Arctic Cat’s long-term

Take your shot at a once-in-a-lifetime journey where you’ll get dirty, you’ll get lost and you’ll sleep under the stars. REV’IT! is offering one lucky rider the chance to join the Arctic Circle Project, an all-inclusive trip organized by Graham Hoskins that covers 10 countries in two weeks. Are you the rider REV'IT! is looking for? Ditch the tourists and apply today! The Arctic Circle Project is a trip organized and led by Graham Hoskins. Beginning in the UK on September 1, Graham, two fellow travelers and you will ride 5,000 miles through the UK, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Germany, Holland, France 9

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Inside theIndustry and back to the UK in two weeks’ time. To be considered for the trip, convince REV'IT! and Graham you should join the trip by submitting a 40 second “audition” video explaining why you’d make the ideal adventurer. Upload your video before July 1 in REV'IT!'s Arctic Circle Facebook app, and get your friends to vote. The videos with the most votes will move on to a final round, from which REV'IT! will draw one lucky winner – If that’s you, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is keeping two wheels on the ground.

Michelin Unveils Frankentire Traditionally, motorcycle tires used either old school bias ply design, or newer radial arrangements which allowed the sidewall and tread section to operate independently of each other. Though some motorcycles had radial and bias-ply tires at either end, the twain never met in the same rubber hoop – until now. Michelin has unveiled a new

“Frankentire” that combines bias and radial ply designs, which promise the stability of a bias ply design along with the handling and comfort of a radial setup. The tire uses a “2AT” (dual angle technology) concept.

MotoGP. Following French tire manufacturer Michelin’s official tender, Dorna has announced that Michelin is to become the Official Tire Supplier to MotoGP as of the 2016 World Championship season. Interested tire manufacturers were able to request the technical specifications from Dorna’s Managing Director Javier Alonso, with three potential tire suppliers initially expressing an interest – before Michelin alone made a formal tender before the May 22nd deadline. The next step in the process will be the drawing out of a commercial agreement between Dorna and Michelin as Official Tire Supplier, Michelin having already clearly proven its technical abilities to respond to the needs of a demanding Grand Prix racing schedule.

Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle Exhibit Opens End of June Forest Lawn Museum presents Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle, an exhibition of distinctive and artfully designed motorcycles, intricately painted motorcycle parts and accessories, and motorcycle-themed artworks. On view at Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale, CA, from Friday, June 27, 2014 through Monday, January 5, 2015, Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle is the latest presentation in Forest Lawn Museum’s celebrated history of unique, exciting and popular exhibitions. Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle is a meticulously curated exhibition that will offer an in-depth look at the dynamic history of motorcycle culture, spotlighting the impact and influence of

Michelin To Become Official Tire Supplier of MotoGP At the beginning of May 2014 Dorna, in agreement with the FIM, opened a tender for tire manufacturers interested in becoming Official Tire Supplier to

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the West Coast and featuring some of the most striking, modern, historic, rare and collectable vintage motorcycles; one-of-a-kind, hand-painted motorcycle helmets, previously worn by world and national racing champions; painted motorcycle gas tanks and fenders; as well as paintings, sculpture and photographs by a dozen of today’s most celebrated motorcycle artists – many of whom are Southern California natives and/or residents. Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle highlights Southern California’s historic zeal for motorcycle culture and will feature compelling motorcycles – from renowned Southern California collections – and artworks from the early twentieth century through today. “This exhibition will take audiences on a journey through time – spanning more than a century and depicting some of the most extraordinary motorcycles, and motorcycle art, that have carried racers and motorcycle aficionados up and down the West Coast and across the United States,” said Museum Director and exhibition co-curator Joan P. Adan. “There is something for everyone: incredible artistry, stunning design, impressive mechanics, and decades of exciting motorcycle memories and racing stories.”

ARI Opens New 25,000 Sq. Ft. Facility in Duluth, Minn. ARI Network Services, Inc. has officially opened its new 25,000 sq. ft.-plus facility in Duluth, Minn. The company invested more than $500,000 in the building over the course of the fivemonth renovation, modernizing the facility, and creating an innovative workspace designed to meet the expanding needs of ARI. “This opening is a major milestone for us, demonstrating our commitment to creating a long-term presence in Duluth and paving the way for our future product development plans,” said ARI CEO and President, Roy W. Olivier. ARI currently staffs approximately 125 employees at its Duluth location. Future staffing needs were taken into consideration in building the facility. t

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By Robin Hartfiel

SHIFTING GEARS Printing All The News That Fits


ack in the saddle again! Former Husqvarna Motorcycles president Kris Odwarka succeeds Hans Blesse as VP of BMW Motorrad USA and is based in BMW's New Jersey headquarters. Blesse takes over as president/CEO BMW Group Canada (cars and motorcycles). According to the announcement, Odwarka will be responsible for BMW motorcycle sales & marketing in the U.S. Odwarka joined the BMW Group in 1992 as a sales trainer for BMW of North America. He served in various field and regional sales, marketing and aftersales positions before moving to Munich in 2000 in corporate sales for BMW Group. Odwarka later spent 8 years as the sales director for Alpina, based in Munich, before returning to the U.S. in 2010 as president of Husqvarna Motorcycles based in Corona, Calif. He also used to race a little motocross in his youth in Colorado. “Kris Odwarka has a great passion for motorcycles and he is excited about leading BMW Motorrad,” says Ludwig Willisch, chairman and CEO, BMW Group Region Americas. “We are expecting great results.” •••• Look on the bright side: Curt Bryant has been promoted to operations manager for lighting specialist PIAA Corp. PIAA (pronounced pe'-uh) is a leading global supplier of accessory and replacement lighting products for automotive, powersports and motorsports markets. Although he previously served as controller, his responsibilities included managing the company’s warehousing and logistics, customer service, marketing, sales support and e-commerce activities. “We knew from his background that he brought extensive sales and marketing experience skills and insights that are not commonly found in financial experts,” said PIAA executive VP Rodger Wagner. “When you add in his specific experience

with automotive and powersports marketing, you find a person with unique credentials that fit particularly well with PIAA’s business model.” •••• LeoVince USA, a.k.a. Geared Up Powersports, LLC is no more. SpeedMob, Inc. takes over distribution of most of the brands previously carried by Geared Up Powersports, including Airoh Helmets, TechSpec and BMC filters. However, LeoVince exhaust and carbon fiber will not be sold or serviced by SpeedMob, Inc. “The contracts have been finalized and I am excited about this new venture and the possibilities it presents for us,” says SpeedMob president Tim Calhoun. “This change represents our desire to get back to the root of what brought my team and I into powersports. We want to reintegrate ourselves into the most passionate side of our business, not only as sponsors and vendors, but also as competitors, builders and riders on a human-to-human basis.” If you are a current dealer there are no changes necessary on your part to carry your business forward with SpeedMob, Inc. Dealers can contact Calhoun directly at (510) 232-4040. •••• Shocking news from Progressive Suspension! For the first time in more than 20 years America’s premier manufacturer of motorcycle suspension has a new look and a new focus on being in the field. Part of this initiative was demonstrated when they unveiled a new Sprinter van at the Laughlin River Run (see “Pit Pass” on page 64). If you missed seeing them at some of the rallies, check out their totally revamped website at •••• Tool Time! Snap-On reported sales of $797.5 million in the fourth quarter. The

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company reported full year 2013 sales of $3.1 billion, an increase of 4 percent from 2012 levels. “Our fourth quarter results, including a 5.9 percent sales increase and a 15.5 percent operating margin before financial services, demonstrate continued and balanced progress down our runways for both improvement and growth,” said Nick Pinchuk, Snap-On chairman and CEO. “Our full year sales reached a new milestone, surpassing $3 billion, and our full year operating margin before financial services of 15.1 percent reflects a 120 basis point year-over-year improvement.” •••• With numbers like Snap-On’s, wonder if they are hiring? That is where the head hunters from Lonski & Associates come in. Former Spectro Oils Sales and Marketing VP Rollin Karoll has just joined the recruitment agency’s roster. With more than 30 years in the powersports industry, Karoll has held key roles in marketing, sales, service, parts and inventory with Spectro, Mustang Seats and IKON. “When the opportunity surfaced for me to join Henry Lonski's team, the decision was easy,” claims Karoll. “Talented industry professionals can be frustrated when looking for a new challenge or upward career move. They know that good jobs exist, but are often difficult to find. With our everincreasing roster of client companies, coupled with a 16,000+ and growing database of the best industry professionals, we make the connections our client companies and job seekers both need,” said Karoll. “I am looking forward to helping OEMs, aftermarket manufacturers and dealers find the talent they need,” concludes Karoll. Hiring managers, powersports industry professionals or anyone looking to transition into or within the industry can contact Karoll at (860) 828-9435 or by e-mail at: t

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Pre-owned monthly

By Jim Woodruff

Climbing or Declining: Have We Seen the Peak of Spring Values?


ollowing similar trends of prior years, wholesale pricing in 2014 continues to follow typical seasonal curves. In April, the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) values for powersports vehicles increased 5-8 percent across most categories as compared to the prior three months. Pricing for most categories was similar to last year. Off-road AWP continued to see growth, especially in the side-by-side and MX categories. On-highway cruiser categories also grew over the prior months and are roughly on par with last year. Sportbike values softened, in both the prior months category and in comparison to last year. Sportbike wholesale volumes were fairly stable, so the decline is likely the result of a shifting mix of sportbike age and average condition, as well as heavier inventory vs. retail demand at dealers. In our analysis of the May-June NADA powersports guide, the expected price declines 1-2 percent in most categories, despite stronger wholesale values in April. This makes sense, though, as the peak of spring has likely occurred and the transition into the softer summer season is under way. We do expect this year’s summer price transition to be a little more gradual than prior years, with wholesale volumes remaining tighter than usual. This is due to low default rates restricting repossession volumes and strong retail sales keeping units on dealer floors. t

Data includes all live and online transactions from all four NPA locations. Closed OEM auction data is excluded.

All data provided by National Powersport Auctions. For more information, please visit or call 888.292.5339.

16 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

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Confessions OF A CUSTOMER

By Eric A nderson

Just Say No to DBS – Dead Battery Syndrome How the Powersports Market Should Approach Batteries


hy is it when I buy a new car battery all I need to do is install it and go, while for my motorcycle I need to wait around for the dealer tech to “activate it?” I actually now call ahead to my local motorcycle shop to get my new battery ready a day in advance, but that’s because I learned the hard way when my old one was getting weak. I used to just miss my Sunday ride after getting all dressed and packed up only to hear “click-click-click” at the push of the starter button. Damn! We all hate when that happens! The auto industry has been offering “factory activated” plug-and-play batteries to drivers for more than 20 years. It’s not new technology, but its better than what we have. Almost none of the auto batteries in the U.S. are the old dry-cell style, requiring caustic electrolyte solution to be poured in, then an hour wait for the internal lead plates to be fully saturated prior to charging. Not following the manufacturer’s suggested instructions and hooking up the charger prematurely could burn the plates thereby reducing the battery’s lifespan. If one followed the directions, the first charge should take approximately eight hours to fully activate the battery properly. Add that all up and its nine hours a customer has to wait. Car drivers won’t wait nine hours. Neither will motorcyclists. Many dealers activate the more popular battery group sizes in advance for customer convenience. But if you ride an offbeat Euro bike like I do, there is no instant plug-and-play solution, thus I have learned to predict my DBS – Dead Battery Syndrome – in advance of it happening. Do you think some dealers cut their in-house activation process short in order to get the customer out the door

quicker? Answer that one for yourself, but chances are none of your customers really know who charged their battery the first time. And it’s pretty common knowledge that a battery’s first charge is the most important charge of its life. You can bet shipping and EPA regulations will eventually clamp down on battery acids, soon making “factory activated” batteries more or less a mandate. Does your concrete service department floor have any acid etching on it from past overflows and spills? How many of your jeans were ruined by acid drops? My point is made. And since the factory activation process starts a clock

sense to recycle lithium like it does oldfashioned lead. What do you do with the old ones? I guess we will find out when this new type of battery sees the end of its useful lifecycle and we have to do something with them. As for lead, it’s got an established, sustainable recycling process to the point where the U.S. hardly needs to import it anymore. The auto batteries manufactured here are mostly recycled lead from old car batteries used here. It’s cyclic. As a customer, I am now starting to stock an extra “factory activated” battery or two in my garage a year or so after a new battery has been installed in my

“Maybe it’s time to take the chemistry set out of the back of your dealership and leave the activation process to the pros who construct those batteries.” ticking on shelf life, it’s important the process doesn’t start on the other side of an ocean connected with a two-three month shipping journey. The lifespan of an activated battery ranges from 10 to 12 months from the time it leaves the activation plant, so it’s important to track your inventory and turn it over quicker than an older dry-charged battery that has a longer shelf life. – just an inconveniently long activation time. Quicker shipping and domestic activation makes it all possible in this modern age. The lithium-ion battery market is certainly growing, especially where weight savings is important. The road racing and off-road crowd will spend the extra money to save the weight, but what’s odd is it makes no economic

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various motorcycles. What’s funny is, the lifespan of these batteries activated professionally by the factory (as opposed to my local dealer) seem to last much longer – twice as long so far. Maybe it’s bad for your battery sales, but powersports battery longevity is becoming more obvious to me due to my experiences with factory activated AGM batteries for cars. Maybe it’s time to take the chemistry set out of the back of your dealership and leave the activation process to the pros who construct those batteries. Do you still cook lunch these days, or buy it ready-made? No offense to anyone doing their own activation processes in the back – my point then is to take the extra man-hours to follow the instructions to the letter and then brag to

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“The biggest mistake we all make is assuming everything is great if the battery cranks the engine over and it starts.” your customers that you are “activating” correctly. Point-of-sale signs should read “Ready to Plug-in and Ride Now.” We’re all smarter these days, so we won’t assume you are short-cutting the process if you’re doing it correctly. Have you also noticed your customers are adding tons more electrical draw to their machines lately? Monster stereos, auxiliary lighting, GPS systems, electrical clothing, heated seats/grips, chargers and more. Standard alternators will not finish the charging on a new, partially activated battery – they don’t have the power. As electrical accessories continuously get added and stock alternator outputs remain low, guess where the strain goes? The battery. It’s more important than ever to start out with the strongest battery possible right out of the chute. If my local dealer sent

his customer out the door with a new battery activated on-site in under 45 minutes, you can bet that KLR 650 alternator won’t be able to catch up ever! The biggest mistake we all make is assuming everything is great if the battery cranks the engine over and it starts. That’s better than “click-click-click” this morning when it was dead, but by no means does it guarantee a properly prepared battery with a long life ahead. The AGM (absorbent glass mat) style of battery, like in automotive circles, will become the majority of the market in powersports since it is sealed, vibration resistant, spill proof and heat resistant. The glass mat layered in between the lead plates holds the electrolyte evenly in place increasing electrical efficiency as well as durability. You can even run these batteries upside down or sideways while

beating the living crap out of them in heated, pounding environments – like our UTV team tends to do in SCORE Baja and Best in the Desert races. Add “factory activation” in North America and you’ll see the future of standard batteries in powersports. Make it easy...and they will buy, plug in and ride. t

The long-running Confessions of a Customer™ is one of columnist Eric Anderson’s commitments to the industry, which includes his retail sales training efforts and service to the MIC Board of Directors. He has built several well-known aftermarket brands and is the founder of Vroom Network, an industryspecific consulting company specializing in marketing, training and brand development.

Clothes Can Make You 1994 styles may no longer be in fashion, but apparel is still a money maker for dealers

This month we are looking back 20 years at some of the leather apparel we were wearing out on the road. And while our Eric Anderson is looking a little younger, leather today is still popular among riders of all types. However, as our sport bike apparel section this month demonstrates, the industry has adopted many other styles of jackets and pants. t 19

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The Apparel Pro:

Sportbike Special By Alisa Clickenger


t’s summer time and for most of us in the industry that means full tilt boogie in our dealerships. While we all feel the pressure to rack up sales and make our numbers at the apex of the season, keeping a fresh attitude towards each person that walks in the door is sometimes a challenge. It’s easy to fall into mental shortcuts when the demands are high and there are multiple customers to serve. Steve Blakeney, Marketing Director for Joe Rocket, encourages dealers to not make assumptions about their customers just because they roll up on a sport bike. In a 2012 MIC study, the median age of sport bike riders was 32 years old. “The average of the sport bike rider is older than everybody assumes,” says Blakeney. “Automatically that tells us that this customer is going to be more interested in protection and fit, and the more technical aspects of this gear… does it have armor? Is it CE rated?” Dealers can do customers a terrific service by picking a “good, better, best” philosophy and prioritizing training of employees about why the dealership stands behind those brands. In turn, if dealership employees take time to educate customers and transfer knowledge about their products, customers will be able to make an educated decision and leave the store confident in their purchases. Jayson Wickenkamp at Scorpion Sports suggests that dealers bear in mind that keeping a variety of options for their clientele in stock will help them secure a sale. “Seasoned and active sport bike riders are generally somewhat savvy about their gear. They buy based on protective features as well as lifestyle: safety is important, but so is making a statement,” says Wickenkamp. Take these tips from the pros and combine them with the latest sportbike gear featured here to really heat up summer sales. 20 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

Cortech GX Sport 3 Jacket Made from 600 denier Carbolex, the shell incorporates 1680 denier Ballistic Polyester material in the elbows and shoulders. It features a Rainguard waterproof and breathable barrier and a mandarin-style collar with microfiber trim. Waterproof zippered chest vents combine with sleeve vents and rear exhaust vents to provide flowthrough ventilation. Phoslite reflective piping and Cortech’s signature reflective rear triangle increase nighttime visibility. The jacket also incorporates removable, CE-approved armor at the elbow and shoulder with an articulated triple-density back protector. For the colder days, Cortech’s Z.O.Q. (Zip-Out Quilted) Liner features warming 100g polyfill insulation. Two hand warmer pockets and an interior mobile phone pocket. Adjustable waist belts with TPR pulls. Available in red/black, blue/black, yellow/ black, black/black and gun metal/black. Men’s XS- 4XL and tall M-3X. ------------

MSRP $224.99 (818) 880-0000

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Joe Rocket Flexium TX Track Ready Glove Double stitched with an embossed cowhide chassis, this glove has a double layered leather palm, thumb and pinky, along with injection molded armor at the knuckles. High-density padding and polymeric sliders are at the fingers, palm, pinky and wrists. Ram-air vents keep the hands cool while articulated panels on the fingers and expansion panels at the wrists significantly increase mobility. The gloves feature a double cuff closure design with a built-in slider flap and convenient TPR pull tab. Colors: Black/black, black/red, black/blue, white/silver. Sizes small thru 3X-large (3X-large in black only) ------------

MSRP $99.99 (800) 447-7505

REV'IT! GT-R Race Suit Speedmaster Jacket by Joe Rocket Joe Rocket’s race suit cut in half; performance features include a 1.2 to 1.4mm embossed premium cowhide chassis that’s held together with double overstitching and backed by titanium reinforced shoulders, CE-approved armor at the shoulders and elbows, plus a removable high density spine pad. Injection molded vent intakes at the shoulders with Variable Flow intakes at the forearms and large adjustable exhausts mid-back, plus a removable insulated vest liner. There’s a six-point SureFit adjustment system at the forearms, biceps, sleeves, and waist, with snap loops and an 8” zipper for jacket to pant attachment. Ultra low profile neoprene collar, and ample reflective striping. Colors: Stealth black, hi-risk red, radio active yellow, cool white. Sizes: 40 to 54 (54 black only). ------------

MSRP $349.99 (800) 447-7505

Sidi Apex Lei Ladies Boot! This boot is built around a lady specific foot mold and features a unique graphic appliqué to set the boot apart from the men’s version. The patented Vertebra System protects the rider’s Achilles tendon, and there are bolt-on, replaceable, adjustable and aerodynamic nylon scuff pads on the toe. A 1.7mm thick Technomicro is used as a base material, there is a nylon inner sole with removable arch support pad, a dual compound sole and a shock absorbing heel cup. Featuring a full-length zip open entry, a DuPont polymer toe shift pad and a closable air vent. The Apex Lei is double stitched in all high stress areas. Available in black/silver. Sizes 36-43. ------------

MSRP $225 (619) 401-4100

The REV’IT! GT-R one-piece suit offers the ultimate combination of safety, comfort, function and style. Designed to fulfill all the needs a sport rider could have, it has CE-approved armor that can be found under the dual-comp protectors, which together significantly lower the impact forces of a crash. The suit’s highly abrasion resistant Monaco performance cowhide is perforated at critical areas to keep riders cool. Stretch panels have been incorporated to provide excellent freedom of movement and help maintain flexibility. Carbon hard-parts at shoulder, dual-comp knee sliders type A, ProLife CE protection at shoulders and elbows. Adjustable ProLife CE comfort protection at knees, Tryonic Seesoft CE-level 1 type B hip protector inserts. Safety stitching, double leather seat, comfort collar and cuffs, stretch lips at back, shoulders, elbows and knees, stretch panels at chest, sleeves, crotch and legs, easy entrance zipper at calf, removable lining, and aero cool 3D mesh at shoulders and back. Available in black/white, white/red and black/acid green. Sizes 44-56. ------------

MSRP $999.99 REV'IT! Sport USA, LLC (888) 681-0180 21

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AGV Sport Sky Ladies Waterproof Textile Jacket This jacket is constructed of 100 percent Polyester MaxTex 600 Denier fabric, with an integrated waterproof and breathable Reissa membrane. Textile spandex stretch panels are incorporated into the shoulder area and down the sides of the jacket, and there is a 100 percent Polyester anti-bacterial fixed mesh lining. Comes with a removable 75 gram thermal insulating lining, CEapproved protection at the shoulders and elbows. Equipped with zip open vents on each arm and two on the upper back, there are two front hand warmer pockets and one interior, plus a waterproof vertical wallet pocket with zipper closures. Available in black, black/gunmetal, black/purple, black/pink, black/red, and black/ fluorescent yellow. Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL. ------------

MSRP $149 Motonation, exclusive North American importer (619) 401-4100

REV'IT! Xena Ladies 2-Piece Suit This leather jacket and pants accentuate all the right spots with figure-hugging leather. Not just another pretty fashion piece, it’s designed for the serious female rider who demands performance, plus all the safety features found in any top-shelf motorcycle jacket. The outer shell is made from 70 percent Monaco Performance cowhide, 27 percent polyamide and 3 percent elastane. SAS-TEC CE protection at shoulders and elbows, Seesoft Back Protector -Type RV(Back Protector sold separately), safety stitching with adjustment straps at waist and an adjustment tab at the cuffs. Ventilation panels at chest and back, a comfort collar and cuffs, and stretch panels at chest, back, waist, sleeves and collar. The Xena Leather Pants feature dual-comp knee sliders that can be attached for aggressive-as-youwant-to-be track day sessions (the knee pucks sold separately), yet the Velcro can be easily hidden with the included leather knee patches. CE-approved hip and knee protectors, a double leather seat and adjustment straps at waist. There are ventilation panels at the legs, stretch panels at the back and knees and stretch panels at legs and crotch, with short and long connection zippers, elastic at waistband and a hook and snap front closure. Available in black/white and white/acid green. Sizes 34-44.

Tour Master Sonora Air Jacket This quarter length jacket comes with Armor-Link mesh material and 600 denier Carbolex combined with 1680 denier ballistic polyester in the impact areas. Comfortable, mandarin-style microfiber lined collar, reflective piping and Tour Master’s signature reflective rear triangle that increase nighttime visibility. Removable, CE-approved armor at the elbow and shoulder with an articulated triple density back protector. Adjustable, elastic and snap sleeve take-up straps at the forearm and bicep help secure elbow armor. Aqua-Therm twostage waterproof and insulated removable liner. Adjustable waist belts with TPR pulls. Available in black, high visibility yellow and gun metal silver. Men’s XS- 4XL and tall M-3X. Women’s small-XL in regular and plus sizes. ------------

MSRP $239.99 Helmet House, Inc. (818) 880-0000

Scorpion Podium Race Suit Strategically placed perforated panels along with the Powertector GP AirHump work together to effectively regulate the rider’s temperature, reduce fatigue and increases performance. Molded shoulder and knee protectors, SAS-TEC CE armor, padded torso and coccyx protectors all work to provide maximum protection and comfort. Constructed from a combination of premium perforated and nonperforated 1.2 to 1.4mm Monaco top-grain leather. Padded panels in the torso and thighs provide comfort against components of the motorcycle. Removable and washable, KwikWick II moisture wicking and antimicrobial liner with two internal storage pockets. Leatt STX and STX-RR neck brace compatible. Sizes SM-3XL.



MSRP $449.99 jacket; $399.99 pants REV'IT! Sport USA, LLC (888) 681-0180

MSRP $899.95 – $914.95 (888) 672-6774

22 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

23 Joe Rocket Product Spot 6/11/14 11:09 AM Page 23

MPN Product Spotlight:


Joe Rocket Mesh Jackets Joe Rocket introduced the industry’s first mesh riding jacket almost two decades ago as a hot weather riding alternative to perforated leather ... or no jacket at all. According to online reviews, these jackets flow a lot of air and are a must-have to beat the heat without giving up the protection of leather. Dress for the slide not the ride has generally been the motto, but with these jackets, your customers will have style and safety. Joe Rocket Mesh Jacket models include: Mesh/Textile configuration • Phoenix 5.0. C.E. (60 mesh/40 ratio). C. E. Certified armor. Massive color and size range. Industry best seller. • Velocity. (60 mesh/40 textile ratio). Lower cost alternative to the Phoenix. • Ladies Cleo 2.2 (60 mesh/40 ratio). C.E. Certified armor. Massive color and size range. Industry best seller. • Resistor. (75 textile/25 mesh ratio). C.E. Certified armor. Non-restrictive FullFlex system.

Phoenix 5.0

Leather/Mesh configuration • Radar & Radar Dark. (70 leather/30 ratio) C.E. Certified armor. Non-restrictive FullFlex system. • Reactor 3.0. Mesh/textile/leather (70 mesh/15 leather/ 15 textile ratio). C.E. Certified. Lower cost alternative. • Ladies Radar. (70 leather/30 mesh ratio). C.E. Certified armor. Mesh/Textile Waterproof / all season configuration • Alter Ego 3.0. Removable waterproof outer shell. Armored (C.E. Certified) internal jacket. (Available in mens and ladies). Noteworthy points • Protection is never sacrificed for airflow thanks to the layering of mesh/textile or leather over protective armor at all key impact points (shoulders, elbows, and back).

Radar Dark

• Every (60 mesh/40 textile ratio) jacket comes with a minimalist, ultra-low profile collar to maximize airflow. • All Joe Rocket jackets come with a variation of the SureFit adjustment system, not only for comfort, but to ensure that the armor stays in place when needed. • Every mesh and textile jacket is UV coated to protect from material breakdown in harmful UV rays. Distributed by 800-343-5984 (MA) 800-874-9778 (AL) 800-447-7505 (NV)

Alter Ego 3.0 23

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By Robin Hartfiel

Debunking the Myth of Urban Mobility Will Electric Bikes and Scooters Ever Sell In the U.S. Market?


The 2014 Zero-S model (Photo courtesy of Zero)

24 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

n paper, EVs (Electric Vehicles) make sense. Efficient, affordable, sustainable, clean, green‌ in theory, what’s not to like? With motivation coming from a battery, electric motor and a controller instead of an internal combustion engine, EVs are inherently easier to manufacture and maintain than their gas-powered counterparts. In fact, EVs need about one fourth the number of components of comparable gasoline vehicles.

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According to a recent report from Colorado-based Navigant Research, worldwide sales of e-motorcycles will grow from 1.2 million vehicles annually in 2014 to 1.4 million in 2023, while sales of e-scooters will grow from 4.1 million to 4.6 million. “Consumers are seeking refuge from higher gasoline prices, electric two-wheel vehicles are growing more mature, and cities are becoming increasingly congested with traffic,” says John Gartner, research director with Navigant Research. “All of these factors will contribute to growing demand for power two-wheel vehicles – particularly high-powered emotorcycles.” All pretty rosy, statistically speaking. Meanwhile Vectrix, one of the pioneers in the electric scooter market, recently filed for bankruptcy (again) and it was liquidated (again). Around April 1st, 2014 Vectrix Motorcycles (sic) filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, ending the company’s checkered year with an attempt at convincing the market that electric powered maxi scooters were viable. With estimated liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million, the company faced liquidation of its remaining assets (they had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, restructuring and liquidating many of its assets at that time). The design brief should have sizzled since the Vectrix VX1 scooter was intended to appeal to non-motorcyclists, as its twist-throttle single-gear drivetrain and handoperated brakes meant almost anyone could ride it. But it fizzled despite all the theoretical reasons for it to be a success. “Had Vectrix been European, rather than U.S.-based, we think things may have been different, especially had it been based in scooter-friendly countries like Italy, Germany or France,” suggests U.K.-based Transport Evolved writer Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield. “There aren’t that many places where two-wheeled commuting is practical in the U.S. At least, that’s the impression we get looking from the outside in. That’s partly due to traffic conditions, traffic congestion and vehicle size, but it’s also due to commuter expectations and

lifestyle. For the most part, while many Americans enjoy the pleasures of twowheeled transportation, it tends to be in the form of a weekend pastime, not a daily commute. Furthermore, Europeanstyle scooters are generally ignored in deference to more traditional full-size motorcycles.” The operative term for EV success is “motorcycles” not “scooters.” “We make electric-powered motorcycles, NOT scooters,” stressed Zero’s VP of global marketing, Scot Harden. To this day, he points out the name of the company is Zero MOTORCYCLES. Zero’s mission is to transform the motorcycling experience, not to change the way the American people think about scooters or mobility. “Through extensive research, insight and experience, Zero combines the art and science of motorcycle development to create and manufacture products that excite and inspire brand loyalty.” This is definitely not a sterile, commuter-based approach to the EV marketplace. “From our 2014 Zero SR FX ‘stealthfighter’ to our police and security line-up, it’s been a truly amazing year for Zero Motorcycles,” says Harden. “A lot of fun has been had in the process of bringing these amazing new bikes to the marketplace…” proving passion can be more of a motivating factor in the motorcycle market than cold, hard facts. Pushing the performance envelope is just part of the equation for Brammo, albeit a large portion! “Our customers expect Brammo to design and produce the world’s most desirable, high performance electric motorcycles… and that’s exactly what we do,” says Craig Bramscher, founder and CEO of Brammo. With its unique water-cooled motor, six-speed gearbox and integrated rapid-charging system, Brammo’s 2014 Empulse remains as the market leader in the category. A top speed of 110 mph and a 3kW onboard charger means the Brammo Empulse retains its crown as the world’s fastest electric motorcycle in serial production both riding and charging. Brammo is expanding into the apparel market and attempting to

broaden the range of products its dealers can offer (hey, it works for Harley-Davidson – revenue from general merchandise, which includes MotorClothes apparel was $75.9 million last year). “After hearing from our fans and customers across the globe, we launched a new Brammo Merchandise store for all to access the latest Brammo Gear. Like our bikes, our merchandise is kind to the planet too; every item in our store is recycled, organic, or otherwise sustainable.” It is working – “2014 continues to be an outstanding year for Brammo,” according to Bramscher. “We launched the 2014 Empulse and continue to expand global distribution, recently shipping the Empulse across Europe. We also announced a groundbreaking lease program providing another convenient option for customers to enjoy Brammo Electric Motorcycles.” Thinking different is not the sole provenance of the big boys like Brammo and Zero. New players are bringing new ideas into the EV game. “The major breakthrough is simply the approach,” claims Marc Fenigstein, CEO and cofounder of BRD Motorcycles. “BRD doesn’t assume that anyone needs electric. Gas bikes kick ass, and none of us would trade our gas bikes for anything that is slower, uglier, or less fun!” Once the elephant in the room had been addressed, the Bay Area upstart started with its Redshift dirt bike and a Super Moto spin off. “Our goal is to create motorcycles that are easier to ride fast than anything else out there. We build electric bikes because we love instant throttle response and flat, endless torque. Because we want the next bike we purchase to be faster than our last one,” says Fenigsetein. “We set out to build a bike that was prettier, faster and more fun than what was in our garages.” With the equivalent of 40 hp on tap and an MSRP under $15,500, BRD might be onto something, especially when compared to the stratospheric performance and corresponding prices of Mission or Lightning. With its price tag of $38,888 and a 25

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Brammo’s Empulse R can reach a top speed of 110 mph. (Photo courtesy of Brammo)

shocking 200 hp on tap, Lightning is about to strike the EV market. On December 16, 2013 they announced “Lightning VIN 000001 is registered and on the street! Lightning has completed all of the required DOT set up and DMV requirements. This milestone moves Lightning one step closer to delivering our superbike and sportbike to the market.” By the time The Quail Motorcycle Gathering took place on May 17, Lightning was ready to unveil what it called the most technologically advanced and highest performing street-legal production motorcycle in the world – the Lightning Superbike LS-218. “Since 2006 the Lightning team has been dedicated to developing electric motorcycles that meet and exceed the performance of the best ICE (Induction Combustion Engine) alternatives”, said Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning Motorcycle. “To have broad acceptance from the motorcyclist community, we need to provide design, performance and value that competes head to head with the best

gasoline motorcycles on the market. Lightning’s R&D team has developed electric vehicle technology through years of competition at racing events around the world. We believe that the LS-218 offers consumers the best of design, performance and value in today’s market. “Consumers no longer are required to pay more for less performance to support green technology,” said Hatfield. “The Lightning LS-218′s can compete with the best ICE alternatives today. Lightning achieved the goal we set in 2009 to compete against and win against the best gasoline race bikes. In June 2013, at Pikes Peak, Lightning won first overall competing against 93 other motorcycle teams (electric and gasoline) by over 20 seconds.” Big Names Nobody Has Heard Of… As our editor discovered at the Taiwan show, there are big things happening in the EV market, even if you can’t pronounce the names. Billed as Japan’s top electric two- and three-wheeler

26 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

developer, manufacturer and retailer, Terra Motors plans to sell 100,000 units of its new A400i electric scooter in 2015 alone! Although the firm’s funding was actually put together by a Californiabased venture capital investor – Fenox Venture Capital – and major Japanese venture capital firm Mizuho Capital Co., Ltd., Terra has no plans to sell into the U.S. or Japan. Instead the company plans to expand to India, Bangladesh, and in few years, to Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand and other Asian countries. “Generally speaking, electric vehicles tend to be thought of as a means of mobility in Europe and in America, but their main market is really Asia,” explains Toru Tokushige, CEO and founder of Terra Motors. “More than 30 million electric two wheelers were sold in China in 2013 alone, and hundreds of thousands of electrics have already been sold in India and in Bangladesh because of the high price of gasoline. Therefore, we need to focus on Asian markets.” A polite way of saying electric scooters

27 Deltran_Battery Tender 6/11/14 11:11 AM Page 27

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Left: The Lightning Motorcycle team with the LS-218 (L to R): Glynn Kerr, the bike's designer, Jim Shook, who handled the clay modeling, and CEO Richard Hatfield. Middle: BRD Redshift Super Moto Bottom: Terra Motors A400i electric scooter.

won’t sell in the U.S. – borne out by the rise and fall of Vectrix scooters and companies like Terra Motors blatantly turning their back on the U.S. (even though Tokushige started his business in the Silicon Valley). Navigant’s numbers also skew toward Asia in general and China in particular. “The market for e-motorcycles and escooters is led by China, where the majority of these vehicles are sold,” says Gartner. According to the report, however, policies limiting urban traffic in China indicate reduced sales in that country. E-motorcycle manufacturers in North America and Europe will address the market challenges by improving product quality and expanding their distribution channels. Navigant Research forecasts that sales of e-motorcycles and e-scooters in these two regions will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 30 percent through 2023. There is a global market for cheap transportation and more than 80 percent of the world sales for gasoline motorcycles is currently concentrated in Asia. Motorcycles have improved peoples’ lives as a convenient means of transportation, but as gas prices continue to rise and concerns about emissions are eliminating smoky old 2-strokes, EVs are seen as the wave of the future. However, what will sell in Asia doesn’t necessarily translate into the U.S. motorcycle market. So bottom line: U.S. dealers can expect to see 30 percent growth of the EV motorcycle segment within the next 10 years … on paper! t

28 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

29 MTA West 6/11/14 11:11 AM Page 29

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Charging Up the Powersports Battery Industry By Greg Jones


ay after day, month after month, and year after year you start up your motorcycle or ATV, and it’s easy to forget that every time you turn over that motor, it’s a battery that keeps the fun going. But what battery option do you choose when you eventually need to replace it? The powersports battery industry is very much its own animal. When compared to the automotive battery industry, it has been slow to adopt a “plug and play” option for consumers. Think about what you do when replacing your car battery. You go to Auto Zone, plop in a new battery and then drive away. There’s no pouring of acid, no charging and no waiting. Well, those dry-charge batteries are beginning to be seen as old technology and are no longer the only option available. The battery world within powersports has been changing in numerous ways, with lithium ion and factory-activated technology starting to creep in. These improved battery technologies offer consumers more options for their motorcycle and powersports toys.

Dealers and distributors like drycharge batteries because they have a virtually endless shelf-life. However, consumers are looking for a more convenient option than having to wait for a battery to be filled and charged before being installed, which usually takes several hours. Many factory-activated batteries are precision-filled, non-spillable and maintenance free, so they’re ready to go when you get it. But it does have a shelf life. In three to six months of sitting on the shelf you’ll have to recharge it. Some retailers and distributors don’t like this idea because it is now a perishable product. However, retailers who move batteries quickly can benefit from this technology. Absorbant Glass Mat (AGM) technology is also found in factoryactivated batteries, and offers premium performance such as vibration resistance, installation at any angle, ability to withstand repeated charging and discharging, and performance in cold weather. As electrical loads on powersports

30 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

vehicles become increasingly more demanding, customers are asking for battery technology that can handle the heavier loads. Those demands include heated handle bars, heated seats, additional running lights and more advanced audio systems, along with GPS devices and cameras. Factory-activated AGM batteries are well suited to handle loads that require deeper cycling. And since customers today want convenience and are willing to pay for it, that’s good news for the folks dealing in lithium ion technology, because these batteries come at a higher cost, but also offer many advantages. Lithium technology offers manufacturers many chemistry options, and therefore there are differences between the lithium batteries of various brands. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) is the predominate chemistry, but in general, there is an increased sophistication of the batteries in the powersports industry and lithium is no exception.

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Deka AGM Sports Power Batteries There are at least five big advantages to lithium technology: 1) Lithium batteries are approximately 80 percent lighter on average than a lead-acid battery. They weigh from 3 lbs. to 20 lbs. less than a lead-acid battery. 2) They have a longer service life than lead-acid batteries under the same circumstances. A lead-acid (AGM or Flooded) battery will typically last 10,000 engine starts or roughly 300-400 deep cycles. A lithium battery produces roughly 50,000 engine starts and typically 2,000+ deep cycles. 3) They have a much lower discharge rate, which means you can go a longer time without having to charge it. 4) There is no sulfation with a lithium battery, because there is no lead or acid plates to sulfate. 5) A good lithium battery will typically crank the engine faster than a lead-acid battery will. Despite all these advantages, lithium technology does have a couple downsides. Lithium is still new technology, so the price is high compared to other battery types, but because they last longer than lead-acid the price difference evens out in the long run. A second downside is that its performance in extreme weather conditions isn’t as strong as lead-acid. For these reasons lithium ion batteries are most commonly seen in temperature-controlled situations and in racing applications today, but consumer interest is high and the advantages have the attention of OEMs. For instance, Erik Buell Racing is using lithium ion batteries in all of their bikes. As the technology becomes more and more understood and accepted, more OEMs are expected to go in that direction. Yet, with these new technologies still slow to infiltrate the powersports industry, lead-acid batteries remain the majority in the current market. But in time, both factory-activated and lithium batteries will be gaining ground in the very near future. So the question remains: which battery will your customers choose? t

East Penn Manufacturing Co. offers a premium quality line of Deka Sports Power AGM batteries for ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles, personal watercraft, and motorcycles. The advanced AGM technology delivers superior power, durability and life. These batteries come completely factory-sealed and are fully charged eliminating the hassles of dry battery filling and activation. The line’s capacities range from 8 to 26 amp hours, 120 to 400 Cold Cranking Amps, covering the Power Sports Industry’s most popular replacement sizes. This battery line features a versatile patented terminal design with top and side molded-in “threaded hardware,” which provides greater flexibility and more convenient installation. The terminal is molded into the cover for durability and leak-free performance under the most severe conditions. The Deka Sports Power line also features Power-Perform full-frame plates that maximize power while protecting performance from severe service or liferobbing electrical shorts. The premium AGM construction has a low self-discharge rate and an enhanced durability that resists vibration damage for season-to-season reliability and extended performance. ------------

For more info:

EarthX ETX18F, ETX36E and ETX48E Batteries New lithium battery models from EarthX are designed for more power and better fitment. The ETX18F is a direct replacement for the YTZ10S case with 230 CCA; the ETX36E is a better fitment for the YIX30L-BS case and 405 CCA and the ETX48E is a beast of a battery designed for race cars, small boats or experimental aircrafts even with 600 CCA’s. All of these models come complete with a built in microprocessor (BMS) that monitors over discharge, over charge and balances the cells so you do not need a special charger. ------------

Price range is: $219-$725. For more info: 31

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Drag Specialties Premium Motorcycle Batteries Give your customers a fresh start this spring with premium motorcycle batteries from Drag Specialties. The AGM separators with superior grid and component designs offer one of the most powerful batteries in the industry. These batteries have an improved charge recovery capability from a deeply discharged condition that allows for longer shelf-life and improved life cycle performance. These batteries are factory-activated with a spill-proof design and feature new heavy-duty, flush-mount terminals that eliminate the need for spacers, ensuring a secure, direct-path connection. These batteries fit most H-D applications and are made in the USA. ------------

Suggested retail price: $114.95 - 184.95 For more info:

VARTA AGM Powersports Batteries Johnson Controls, a global manufacturer of leadacid batteries, launched its premium VARTA AGM powersports battery line in North America last October. The powerful line-up of batteries are made for active enthusiasts who expect the highest level of performance and durability. VARTA powersports batteries come in 16 different group sizes covering more than 90 percent of powersports applications including; motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, UTVs, scooters and personal watercraft. All VARTA powersports batteries are fully charged just prior to shipping. This “freshly charged” approach will offer distributors, dealers and end users the same ready-to-install convenience North America has experienced with automotive batteries for many years. VARTA AGM powersports batteries, with AGM technology, are engineered to provide longer life and improve the performance of the battery. VARTA AGM batteries last longer in demanding applications, are maintenance-free, nonspillable and can be installed at any angle. Each VARTA battery features an established grid design for improved durability, has a rugged case construction, can withstand repeated charging and discharging, and is high performing in a wide range of temperature conditions. ------------

For more info:

PulseTech Products 4-Station QuadLink Kit PulseTech Products’ maintenance charger kit allows users to automatically maintain and desulfate up to four batteries at a time. The maintenance charger kit (XC-QL4-K1) includes everything that a customer needs to charge four 12-Volt lead-acid batteries – both an Xtreme Charge Battery Charger and Desulfator (XC100-P) and a QuadLink (XC-QL4), a four-station multiplier that distributes the charger’s properties. The Xtreme Charge Battery Charger and Desulfator evaluates and tests all types of 12-Volt lead-acid batteries. This battery charger makes maintenance and bulk charging simple with proprietary algorithms and microprocessor controlled technology that measures voltage and current to determine the proper operating charge. The variable float charge, of this battery charger, improves battery condition by increasing the charge rate safely to optimal levels and protecting it from being overcharged. The QuadLink turns the Xtreme Charge Battery Charger and Desulfator into a 4-station maintainer, automatically splitting and distributing all of the charger’s maintenance capabilities into 10-minute sequencing segments making remembering to switch your battery charger back and forth between batteries in storage obsolete. Cycle rotation will continue indefinitely without overcharging – maintaining the charge of all four batteries for you automatically. The QuadLink can be used with virtually any brand charger using eight amps. The XC-822-TEST 12-Volt battery tester quickly indicates a 12-Volt lead-acid battery’s state of charge at 100, 75, 50 or 25 percent. It also provides a quick GOOD or BAD alternator test result. The QuadLink and XC-100-P combination kit works with any 12V battery, regardless of size of CCA rating, including AGM, gel-cell, VRLA inducing or deep cycle. ------------

MSRP: $199 For more info:

32 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

33 Yuasa Battery 6/11/14 11:13 AM Page 33

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Thermo Tec Battery Heat Barrier Thermo Tec’s battery wrap acid absorbing heat barrier protects batteries from both extreme cold and high heat conditions. The mat reflects over 90 percent of radiant heat up to 2,000 degrees F, traps and neutralizes battery acid, protects against corrosion, is inexpensive and easy to install. An acid absorbing pad is included for complete protection. The battery mat is a universal kit and will fit any battery. ------------

For more info:

DelTran Battery Tender Lithium Batteries DelTran Battery Tender has launched a new line of extremely high output Lithium Iron Phosphate (LifePO4) batteries and battery chargers. All DelTran Battery Tender lithium batteries include built-in cell balancing circuitry that will automatically balance the cells during recharge. The NEW Lineup of DelTran Battery Tender lithium iron batteries are up to 60 percent + lighter and have five times the cycle life of traditional Flooded or AGM lead-acid batteries. Deltran’s unique Quad Terminal configuration allows for easy installation and fewer part numbers to stock. All Deltran lithium batteries are backed by a three year warranty. DelTran’s engineering team is constantly looking ahead; with the Lithium Battery Technology making a push they wanted to offer a complete line of batteries and chargers for their customers. With only five battery sizes covering 95 percent of the powersport industry, dealers can keep floor inventory to a minimum. ------------

MSRP: $99.95-$299.95 For more info:

34 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

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Yuasa GYZ Battery Family Yuasa’s GYZ family of batteries are made with advanced engineering, premium and unmatched reliability. The GYZ has an EZ Grip Cover for simple installation. The battery has large, heavy-duty flush terminals constructed to allow front and top connections and fit requirements on newer popular bikes. Built-in brass nuts allow up to 50 percent better conductivity than stainless steel. The GYZ family has enhanced active material compounded to withstand vibration, prolong battery life and dependability, and its Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) separators absorb electrolyte, making the battery non-spillable. The safety flame-arrestor has a leak-proof valve to relieve excess pressure, and a heat bonded cover eliminates leaks and corrosion. The GYZ’s thru-partition construction provides shorter current path with less resistance than “over the partition” construction, resulting in more cranking power. And, the GYZ’s taller plates give the line extra surface area for more power: up to 500 CCA and 32 Ah to power more accessories.

Shorai LFX Batteries Shorai Inc.’s LFX19A4 high performance battery is the most compact and energy dense battery it has produced to date. The Shorai LFX19A4 is an all-new battery developed to offer better cranking performance, longer lifespan and more power under demanding applications. Compared to the equivalently sized YTZ10S lead-acid battery, the LFX19A4 offers 50 percent more cranking power and saves 4.5 lbs. In the Shorai product finder, the LFX19A4 is recommended as the standard spec for more than 50 applications and the duration spec for more than 150 applications. Shorai LFX batteries are 80 percent lighter than their leadacid equivalent, with 20 percent greater starting performance, delivering more energy faster, with less weight and with less wear on the battery per start cycle.



Models: GYZ16H, GYZ16HL, GYZ20L, GYZ20H, GYZ20HL, GYZ32HL For more info:

MSRP: $199.95 For more info: 35

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By Brendan Baker


s powersports dealers, most of you stock and sell products from all over the globe. While there has been much debate over whether it is healthier for the economy to buy American, or healthier for the environment or your patriotism or whatever – whether you agree or not, the fact remains the U.S. is an open society for global business. Dealers know this better than most because the motorcycle industry is truly international with OEM and aftermarket manufacturers from just about every corner of the world trying to carve out a share of the market in North America. One thing you may not know (or maybe you do) is that the majority of motorcycles and powersports vehicles in the world have at least one component that was made or sourced in Taiwan. That’s pretty staggering when you think about it. After attending the Taiwan International Motorcycle Show in Taipei, Taiwan held April 9-12, it’s not difficult to see how this is possible. The 9th Taiwan International Motorcycle Show, the 30th Taipei International Auto Parts & Accessories Show, the 9th Taipei International Automobile Electronics Show and the 4th Taiwan International Electric Vehicle Show, are all held simultaneously in the Nangang Exhibition Hall of the Taipei World Trade Centre (TWTC). These shows offer a buyers smorgasbord for attendees who come from, not only Asia, but from around the world. While there were four separate trade shows, officially called the 4 into 1, we were only there for the Motorcycle Show with a little bit of crossover into the EV Show that shared part of the same hall. There were indoor electric vehicle demonstration rides available, however, the primary part of the motorcycle show was dedicated to Taiwan’s domestic scooter market. Why is Taiwan Important to the Motorcycle Industry? Taiwan produces components that are used in about 90-95 percent of the world’s motorcycle and powersports vehicle population, according to Taiwan Transportation Vehicle Manufacturers Association (TTVMA). That means that without Taiwan suppliers to OEMs and the aftermarket, the industry as we know it would look quite different. While Taiwan is a relatively small country of 24 million, it packs a lot of punch. It is the 19th largest economy in the world and has a large, well-educated and skilled workforce. Its

36 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

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gross domestic product (GDP) of nearly $1 trillion is the 17th highest in the world. The number of scooters in the domestic market of Taiwan is also quite staggering at an estimated 10-11 million units. At its peak, manufactures were selling 850,000 scooters a year in Taiwan alone. This makes sense when the scooter is the main form of transportation on the island. With such a large percentage of the public riding scooters, it’s no wonder the industry has been able to grow with it while also maintaining a growing number of exports to other countries with large scooter and motorcycle populations. The opening ceremony was the kick off of all four shows and featured the kind of pageantry reserved for major international events. It even included a spin dancer named Coco who performed the opening dance, spinning around in dizzying circles with all four trade show logos her dress. While much of the opening ceremony had to do with the 30th anniversary of the automotive show, the motorcycle industry has grown its presence since its inception in 2005. Show officials reported that last year Taiwan exported more than 300,000 motorcycles worth almost $500 million. We visited with the following companies on a well-organized foreign press tour to see just what they had to offer. Ming Ming Aluminum Co. Ltd. Ming Ming Aluminum, originally Ming Ming Cooperation Industries, claims to be one of the top aluminum casting foundries in Taiwan. The company was established in 1974 and built a name for itself as an aluminum expert and supplier of OEM components. Some of its clients include pretty big European manufacturers. The owner said they generally keep a low profile, but the show was important for attracting international business. Ming Ming specializes in slow gravity casting, which is like the difference between sauteeing and barbecueing. The quality of their beautiful swing arm on display at their booth comes from years of expertise in gravity casting techniques. They don’t offer anything for the aftermarket at this point, but said they are always on the lookout for new opportunities and partners. HaiHao Technology Co. Ltd. HaiHao Technology has more than a decade of experience in trading various electronic components in Taiwan. The company integrates hightech electronic devices with traditional transportation such as the 37

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scooter. With some countries that get a high amount of rain, and some with large populations which can be dangerous for riders, the company has come up with two new lines of motorcycle and scooter helmets for 2014: the ‘Double Lens Event Data Recorder Helmet’ and the ‘Visor Wiper Event Data Recorder Helmet.’ Both helmets are reinforced and strengthened for safety of riders and installed with direct USB ports to allow immediate access to recorded information. AMC Ample Motorcycles One of the few actual motorcycle companies on display was AMC Ample. AMC said that 70 percent of its components are made inhouse, but the primary components were from well-known aftermarket companies like S&S Cycle. The Color Bee was the less expensive of the two models they had on display and it retailed for $40,000. The Daddy Jack was a hefty $50,000 and was a custom pinstriped machine that went to Daytona and won an award in the pinstriping competition. The company was launched only five months ago, but it has done custom work on other models for four years. Large bikes on the road in Taiwan are 550cc of which you don’t see that many in Taipei. Most ride scooters as their daily transportation, so AMC went to a smaller wheelbase design. Acewell International Co. Ltd. Acewell designs and produces high-efficiency computer controlled gauges for ATVs, motorcycles and a variety of other vehicles.The company develops very accurate speedometers that are suitable for all kinds of vehicles. The speedometers are water resistant, 8G vibration tested and 100G mechanical shock tested, and take precise records even under extreme conditions. Acewell is distributed by Baja Designs in the U.S., Quadtech in the U.K. and Motovan in Canada. The Quadtech distributor was on hand to explain (and translate) their story. Acewell went from two gauges five years ago and now covers up to 15 applications of motorcycles. Each distributor decides the options they want to include such as warning lamp colors, speed warnings, etc. The end user can set wheel size, cylinder number, max revs for warning and many other features. The shift light is programmable with some models having a series of lights that go from green to red. Overall the design is meant to be nearly plug-and-play for the rider. There are currently 13 mechanical drive adapters available for powersport applications. Acewell gauges are typically less expensive and more robust than the OEM gauge, according to the U.K. distributor.

38 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

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MOS Sport The MOS Sport marketing brand, a division of the JaiWei company, was developed in 2010 for the Taiwan domestic market, primarily. The brand manager said they are interested in the U.S. market but have no distributors lined up at this time. And being that they only focus on performance and restyling products for scooters, they may need to develop a wider range of products for the U.S. They had one of the most elaborate booths at the show and a number of attractive models on hand to help promote said products, which is known universally to grab powersports buyer’s attention. MOS Sport makes a variety of carbon fiber products for headlight assemblies as well as custom CNC components for most brands of scooters available in Taiwan including the Grom and Zuma. Interestingly, however, carbon fiber is one of the few things NOT manufactured in Taiwan and it must be finished overseas due to government regulations. Wukawa Industry Co., Ltd. Wukawa produces forged wheels for motorcycles and is actually the only company in Taiwan making them for over 300cc bikes. Forged wheels are lighter, which help to provide better handling and is said to improve fuel economy. The company has also come out with a carbon-fiber wheel for BMW’s 1000RR that has been fully torsional tested and is available for $2,800 retail, which is quite a bit less than other carbon-fiber rims we have seen. It was

40 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

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difficult to understand if they have a U.S. distributor or not. However, they said one of their main markets is the U.S. Alligator Cables Alligator derived its name from the Japanese word “arigato,” which means thank you. Alligator is one of the more established suppliers that has been mainly making cables for bicycles, but has also branched out to supply cables and brake parts for motorcycles and cars. About 80 percent of their product coverage is for bicycles and 20 percent for motorcycles. Their unique I-Link cables are very light and will not kink or fray due to the anodized eyelets that encase the cable. The cables are available in three different styles – mini for bike shifters, big for a motorcycle clutch and medium for both. Alligator also designs and manufactures scalloped brake rotors that offer better cooling and dissipation of brake dust. They also make some rather unique carbon pads, which they say operate at a lower temperature on steel rotors. Alligator representatives said they plan to come out with carbon pads for motorcycles some time in the middle of the year. Currently they are not distributed in the U.S. but are working on a deal with a motorcycle distributor for North America. The biggest distributor is RMS in Italy for bikes and scooters and they do a lot of testing with Moto 2 and Moto GP. Alligator’s German distributor, said that it combines the best of three worlds: Italian design, German engineering and Taiwan manufacturing. He also noted some of the differences with doing business in Taiwan compared to China. He said you can sue a Taiwanese company but you can't do so in China. Therefore, he believes that there’s more accountability in Taiwan to produce quality products that they can stand behind. While we had interpreters for all the exhibitors we visited, some were much more difficult to understand or they simply didn’t understand us. All told, the suppliers were names we’ve never heard of, but many of the components are imported under private labels or different brand names, so it’s easy to miss the “Made in Taiwan” label if you’re not looking. And for most consumers, if the quality and value are right, they don’t care where it’s from. t 41

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OEMs Can-Am

By Robin Hartfiel

Can-Am Comes Out With a Bumper Crop For 2015 Two New Outlanders & Updates To UTVs Put BRP in the Driver’s Seat


s our May ATV/UTV update issue was going to press, Can-Am was introducing its 2015 line-up to the media and the BRP dealer network. While we could hint at some of the big happenings, including two brand new Outlanders and the re-introduction of the Outlander 800R X model, we didn’t have the space to squeeze in more specifics on the new ATVs and UTVs coming to market from Quebec. “The launch of the new 2015 Outlander L line of ATVs is a significant and sensible decision for BRP,” explains Chris Dawson, VP of BRP’s Global Sales & Consumer Experience. “It can be challenging to maintain premium positioning with a truly superior product in the price competitive mid-range category, but our engineering and design teams have done an outstanding job creating the affordable, class-leading Outlander L family of Can-Am ATVs.” The price is right! Can-Am’s new Outlander L 450 comes in with an MSRP of $6,399, under the Honda Rancher 420 ES among other competitors, despite having more horsepower, greater

suspension travel and a full 5-year 6x6s offer class-leading performance, warranty. Ditto for the larger Outlander L while still incorporating consumer500 with a starting MSRP of $6,999 friendly features, such as selectable compared to Honda’s Foreman 475 4x4 six-wheel-drive, multi-purpose dump ES. However the price point doesn’t box, 1,650-pound towing capacity, CVT mean BRP skimped on the Outlanders. (Continuously Variable Transmission) with According to Dawson, the new 2015 Outlander L 450 and L 500 ATVs include Can-Am’s “DNA” of industry-leading performance, precision-engineered handling and a rider-focused design – they just happen to represent the most affordable Can-Am ATVs in this class to date. The Outlander L models come with either a purpose-built 38-hp liquidcooled, single-cylinder Rotax 450 four-stroke or the established 46-hp liquid-cooled, SOHC Rotax V-Twin 500 engine. When it comes time to work, Can-Am’s 6x6 platform is ready to tackle any tough job. Powered by either 650cc or 1000cc of Can-Am Photos courtesy Rotax V-Twin, the Outlander

42 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

The 2015 Maverick 1000R X now gets fully adjustable FOX piggyback shocks and the new lower granny-gear.

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a new granny gear in low range, Double Torsional Trailing Arm Independent (TTI2) rear suspension and Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering. The revamped Outlander 800R X returns to the lineup after a hiatus,

featuring the one-up SST G2 chassis and the proven tire-and-wheel package from the flagship Outlander 1000 X. Along with the new ATVs, BRP also introduced five new optional color schemes for the 2015 ATV line-up.

Can-Am’s SxS models get six new colorways and several enhancements. For example, the 2015 Maverick 1000R X now gets fully adjustable FOX piggyback shocks and the new lower granny-gear. WARN’s 4,500-pound ProVantage winch is now standard on all XT models. New cast-aluminum wheels were redesigned on both the Commander DPS and Commander XT platforms, while the Commander XT-P platform has updated beadlock wheels. Heading into the 2015 model year, Can-Am was already the leader in big bore ATV sales, but the Outlander L 450 and L 500 should help them carve into the mid-range market as well. They were also a strong No. 2 in the burgeoning SxS business and the upgrades to the Maverick and Commander platforms could put them into the driver’s seat for this category in 2015. t 43

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ADP Lightspeed Dealer Management Solutions are designed to help manage dealer operations by tracking and storing data from every department and delivering information that will assist dealerships in making successful business decisions. Every night, more than 1,800 Lightspeed powersports dealers automatically transmit their information to a collective database held at the ADP Lightspeed offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. Summaries and aggregated reports are available to dealers for both current tracking and historical research. This helps dealers know how their dealership is performing compared to other dealers across the country. Parts and major unit inventory information is gathered and used in the highly successful Lightspeed Dealership Locator program. This program is designed for dealers to post obsolete inventory, allowing other dealers from across the country to locate hard-to-find parts and units. ADP Lightspeed stands ready to work with all parties to move the industry to new levels of understanding, and ultimately to more efficient and profitable operations. For questions regarding this report or to inquire about a custom report, please contact Lightspeed Data Services at (800) 521-0309.

Powersports Dealer New Units in Stock

May 2014 1,837 Lightspeed Dealers, Distribution of Units by Type and Model Year Prior to 2013 Model Year

2014 Model Year


20% 71% ATV 12% 23% 65% Off-Road Motorcycle 12% 28% 59% On-Road Motorcycle 15% 37% 47% Scooter 12% 18% 71% Snowmobile 4% 11% 85%

Utility Vehicle

44 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

2013 Model Year

45 ADP Lightspeed 6/11/14 11:17 AM Page 45

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Operators CLUB

By Steve Jones

April Service Department Performance I

n this month’s Best Operators Club, the article contains actual numbers obtained from our 20-group data reporting and analysis system. 20-groups consist of dealers from non-competing markets who meet three times a year to share financial and best practice information. The goal is to grow and improve their businesses profitably. GSA provides support, data reporting tools, guidelines, and moderates their meetings. Key performance indicators for the overall store in Apirl are shown in Chart 1. These are provided as a point-ofreference for the department numbers. Total store gross margin is anemic for the Group Norm as the target is 25 percent. The Top 5 and National Norm dealers are right on the mark. However, all three groups are up when compared with last year – this is a good thing. Service contribution to overall store gross profit has increased notably for the Group Norm as well as the Top 5, but dropped off slightly for the National Norm dealers. Door swings are down a bit for the Group Norm, but up considerably for the Top 5 dealers. I noticed in the reporting data that the Top 5 dealers were paying considerably more per door swing, but it paid off. Once they got them in the door, the Top 5 and National Norm dealer staff did a better job of selling them something as indicated by the gross profit dollars per employee. Labor margins are good for both the Group Norm and Top 5 (total labor less tech compensation). National Norm dealers are a bit short of the 70 percent goal. Margins slipped since last year, but not significantly. Operating profit is pretty flat across the board.

CHART 1 Total Store Stats for April 2014 Total Store Sales YTD



2.5 mil.

4.0 mil.


Total Store Gross Margin Percent




Gross Margin Percent for Prior Year




Contribution to Gross Profit: Service




Service Contribution to Gross Profit Prior Year




Door Swings: Percent change from Prior Year Gross Profit Dollars per Employee







CHART 2 Service Dept Stats




Labor Margin Percent




Labor Margin for Proir Year




Dept Operating Profit Percent of Chg from Proir Year




RO Volume Percent of Change from Prior Year




Personnel Exp as a Percent of Department Gross Profit




Personnel Exp as a Percent of DGP for Proir Year







Parts Sold to RO Labor Ratio




Billed Hours per Repair Order




Billed Hours Percent of Change from Prior Year




Labor Sales per Repair Order




Group Norm

ROs per Service Writer / Month




Dept Productivity Percent




Tech Efficiency Percent




Dept Proficiency Percent




Average Number of Service Staff, YTD Gross Profit Dollars per Service Employee, YTD

46 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News







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Repair Order (RO) volume went up considerably for most. This is in line with the increase we saw in parts and accessories sales compared to last year – they do walk hand-in-hand. Personnel expenses (non-tech service employees) have risen across the board. I suspect this is due to changes in service advisor compensation. This position has been a focal point for many of the groups. They are aware of the value and potential ROI for having the right number of high-quality service advisors for the service volume. The goal for parts to labor ratio is 1:1. The service advisor plays a key role in this. When dealers have sufficient welltrained service advisors for the service volume, this number increases. Overloaded service advisors don’t have the time needed to do the up-sells. The goal for hours per repair order is two. Only the Top 5 are hitting it. Again, the service advisor is the key person in all of this. Repair orders per writer, per month is often an indicator. We like to see this

“Productivity goes up when techs don’t spend their time pushing bikes, chasing down special tools, pulling parts, etc.” number in the 160-170 range. It does tend to spike at certain periods of the year. All are showing decent efficiency. However, productivity and proficiency should be at least 75 percent. Only the Top 5 are hitting it. This is an indication that they excel at keeping their techs turning wrenches. In particular, productivity (actual hours worked on repair orders divided by hours they were there to work) is the number to look at. You really need a time clock to track this. Productivity goes up when techs don’t spend their

time pushing bikes, chasing down special tools, pulling parts, etc. This is the most expensive hourly time in your dealership, and it is the department with the tightest profit margin. Pay attention to what goes on back there. Compare your gross profit dollars per service employee. Where do you stack up? How is your productivity? If you want to become more profitable and have happier customers, you must first find the holes and then implement processes to fix them. t

Steve Jones, GSA senior projects manager, recaps critical measurements used by the leading 20-group dealers. Access to GSA’s Voyager 5 data analysis & comparison system is available for any dealership for a nominal fee. For more information on Voyager, management workshops, dealer 20-groups, on-site consulting or training, send an email to or visit 47


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Today’s aftermarket exhaust system manufacturers are concentrating on much more than just letting the engine breathe and the noise they create. Today, there is a much greater focus on the performance aspect of exhausts and the overall styling. Exhaust manufacturers are squeezing more horsepower out of motorcycle engines via the exhaust and tailoring their aesthetics to fit consumer’s styling. And mind you, they’re doing this all while complying with state and federal regulations. This month we focus on several of the industry’s latest pipes, slip-ons and exhaust-related products.

Akrapovic Open-Line 2-Into-1 Exhaust Systems If your customers are searching for a unique look and a deep resonant sound for their H-D ‘09-’14 Night Rod Special, the open-line 2-into-1 exhaust systems from Akrapovic has both qualities, while providing optimum performance throughout the entire RPM range. The systems include a stainless steel header, carbon fiber heat shields, a performance insert and a muffler in either a black-coated or natural titanium finish. The suggested retail for the black-coated version is $1,219.95 and the natural titanium finish is $1,164.95. ------------

For more info:

DEI Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap The Exhaust Wrap is a simple and effective way to control heat, protect against serious leg burns and improve performance. A proprietary coating is applied to all DEI wraps to act as a bonding agent and to increase durability levels under extreme heat. Each wrap includes sewn-in guides for easy quarter-inch overlap to aid in installation. It provides direct heat protection for up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. ------------

48 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

For more info:

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Freedom Performance Exhaust ‘Combat’ Slip-Ons New from Freedom, ‘Combat’ Slip-Ons are 4-1/2” steel and billet mufflers that not only look good, but were designed to increase power and add a throaty sound to a bike. Sold in pairs for use with stock headers or Freedom Performance True Dual headers. Fits all Touring models ’95 and up. ------------

For more info:

Drag Specialties Python Slip-On Mufflers The 2-1/2” Slash-Cut, Slip-On Mufflers from Drag Specialties give your customers the famous Python look and performance, while still using stock header pipes, and feature non-removable, highperformance baffles. Choose from chrome or a black ceramic finish. Each muffler has an embossed Python logo and comes with all necessary mounting hardware and instructions. These mufflers are available for 14 XL models. They are made in the U.S.A. and are sold in pairs. The suggested retail for the chrome mufflers is $269.95 and the black is $349.95. ------------

For more info:

Two Brothers Racing Tarmac Exhaust Two Brothers Racing’s (TBR) all-new Tarmac line of exhausts boasts a revolutionary trapezoidal design and a variety of performance enhancing characteristics. Launching initially for the Kawasaki Ninja 300, systems for the Honda CBR250R, CBR500R and Ruckus will be available soon, with additional applications in development. Developed using aerospace grade high-temp carbon fiber and available in 8, 10, 12 and 14-inch lengths, TBR offeres a wide range of options to ensure the perfect fit and finish. Increased ground clearance, aluminum CNC inlets and outlets, and a refined mounting system are just some of the additional features highlighted on the Tarmac system.   Never straying far from its roots, the patented spiral wound perforated core provides that unique Two Brothers sound that has become synonymous with the brand.  In addition, the Tarmac exhaust features an aerospace grade hightemp carbon fiber sleeve, a bracket mount allowing for use of rubber grommet at mounting points, a sound reducing “T-Tip” and stainless steel deep draw stamped inlet with brushed finish. ------------

MSRP: $619.98 (Ninja 300 slip-on) For more info: 49


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Scorpion Serket Exhaust The Scorpion Serket features include a unique precision formed six-facet profile and an aerospace derived multi-composite ‘Claw Contoured’ outlet. Additionally, Serket features a tempered / fused sleeve seam with compression coined ends and a GP Style double spring mount. This CARB compliant pipe is available in stainless, carbon or titanium finish. Weight is 7.5 lbs., which offers 8 lbs. in weight savings over the OEM pipe. There is also a short GP style version available that reduces the weight to 2 lbs. ------------

Retail price is $1,199 For more info: 

Pro Moto Billet Spark Arrestor The new Pro Moto Billet Spark Arrestor for KTM 50s and 65s is simple to install and available for just $99.95. Installation leaves the muffler in place and does not require any modifications. This spark arrestor, available in black, was made just for the smallest off-road riders. ------------

Retail price is $99.95 For more info: 

50 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

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RB Racing LSR 2-1 Exhaust RB Racing’s LSR 2-1 “C” Style exhaust for big inch Softails features 2” primary tubes. Pictured below is a Turn Out tail with the optional 45 degree rotation. Tail section options include Turn Outs, Slash Cuts and +5” longer Slash Cuts. RB Racing offers more than 700 part numbers for everything from FX and FL Shovelheads through all EVOs and Twin Cams, plus aftermarket models such as Confederates and Big Dogs as well as Right Side Drive variations. ------------

Retail price is $645 For more info: 

Vance & Hines Hi-Output Slip-Ons Vance & Hines has introduced its first performance exhaust offering for the Victory brand, the Vance & Hines Hi-Output Slip-On muffler set for all Cross Country and Cross Roads models. Identified by its signature stepped muffler body, the Hi-Output design has become well known for its aggressive and deep bass-like tone. Featuring large 4.5-inch CNC machined billet end caps, the Hi-Output provides a bold and powerful appearance that complements the forward-looking Victory bagger line. ------------

For more info:


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Roland Sands Design Slant Slip-On Mufflers Roland Sands Design has introduced the Slant for 1995-’14 H-D touring models, including extended drop skirts/ saddlebags. The RSD muffler features a high-quality finish and a deep and full sound. The muffler has a racing inspired touch that is available in chrome and matte black, both with a carbon fiber end cap. ------------

Retail price is $899.95 For more info:

Santee 225 Series Pipes Santee 225 Series pipes have 16-gauge 2 1/4” diameter seamless tubing that is precision bent and then chromeplated. They are designed to fit 1986-’14 Sportster models. And optional heat shield sets and baffles with billet tips are available separately. They come in either a chrome-plated or black finish and are made in the USA. Order in Slash Cut or Short Cut styles. ------------

For more info:

52 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

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Samson Longtail Muffler

Ron Wood Racing Polaris RZR XP1000 Dual Exhaust The Wood complete dual exhaust system features a full-length radius tapered megaphone with reverse cone configuration before entering into the muffler canisters. Larger diameter head pipes, spring loaded for engine movement, are featured for a balanced system. With this style exhaust, superior horsepower and torque is achieved in the midrange and top-end with no loss on the bottom-end. Durable packing in the mufflers is long lasting. A good 10 percent increase in power can be achieved when tuned correctly. Two styles of turned down end caps are available; One set longer in length to accommodate the stock USFS approved spark arrestor (shown), or a short set for race application, and our own SuperFlo spark arrestors are also available. The complete system is designed for long lasting durability in extreme terrain and fabricated from 304 stainless steel, TIG welded with a satin brushed finish, 9 lbs. lighter than stock. Easy installation, includes all hardware and a one year guarantee on materials and workmanship.

Samson introduces the very first aftermarket slip on muffler for the 2014 Indian Chief Classic, Indian Chief Vintage and Indian Chieftain. These new 4” longtail mufflers have been road tested and provide a deep, rich and throaty tone while keeping the vintage look and feel of the nostalgic Indian. These new mufflers come with baffles installed and allow the new 2014 Indian’s engine to breathe freely in order to release all of the additional power of its 111 cubic inch engine. The Samson longtail muffler provides more horsepower and torque, improves gas mileage, is installer friendly and has a deep tone. The quad chrome finish and heavy-duty construction prevent discoloration and improve airflow. The Samson longtail muffler has a limited 1-year warranty. ------------

MSRP $799.99 For more info:


Retail price is $895 Exhaust systems are available for the Big Three UTVs; Arctic Cat Wildcat, Can-Am Maverick and Polaris RZR XP1000, plus 450 sport and utility quads. For more info: 53

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Dealership Story by Marilyn Stemp

Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson at Destination Daytona 20 years after


ou hear a lot about family-owned businesses and the values such legacies imply. Does this mean you can only have those values if you’re a multigenerational shop? Well, no, because whether your shop is decades old or brand new we all have the potential to develop solid ethics and lead by example, characteristics both your staff and your customers will appreciate. The power of leading by example came up when speaking with Shelly Rossmeyer Pepe, general manager of Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona HarleyDavidson at Destination Daytona, a family-owned shop, but not a typical one. After a career running auto dealerships, Bruce got into motorcycles as a hobby career, one that soon took over his life. When Bruce passed away unexpectedly in 2009 it was part of a perfect storm of challenges for the Rossmeyer family. “The toughest times we’ve had, whether my father was here or not, were because of the overall economy,” said his daughter Shelly. The family coped then, whether consciously or not, by reflecting on the example Bruce had exhibited in his life. Explained Shelly: “I know this, I witnessed it: If he had a disagreement with someone, next time he saw them he’d step up and shake hands. He never avoided people. And he never made promises he couldn’t keep. People don’t always get along or agree with each other, but the example from my dad showed us how to make it work.” At Daytona Bike Week 2014

Rossmeyer’s H-D celebrated its 20th anniversary and while there’s not one among the family (there are four daughters, one son, a son-in-law and mom Sandy) who will say it’s been easy, they all agree it’s been worth it. They’re proud to continue Bruce’s dream.

The family celebrating with perf ormance artist Perego ( at the 20th ann iversary party during Bike Week 2014 at Destination Daytona .

Bruce had started to address the economic changes before his accident, recognizing that business wasn’t what it had been. “It was the hardest thing for him to do but he wanted to make sure we survived and stayed profitable,” said Shelly. “After we lost him it took us six months to a year to get back to what we needed to do as a company.” So getting to 20 years – and doing it without their leader – is a satisfying milestone, though Shelly and her siblings had been active in Bruce’s car dealerships long before Destination Daytona came about. There was the H-D dealership on Beach Street, too, the location Bruce opened in 1994 after buying the Daytona H-D franchise from

54 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

longtime owners Joe and Angie Robison. Biking culture was different then, remember? “Who knew Harley made other things besides T-shirts and parts?” said Shelly, reflecting on the Beach Street days. “My dad was one of the first dealers to embrace that.” In those days riders wanted access to products that dealerships didn’t usually offer. Bruce responded by bringing the aftermarket world to his dealership, quite a renegade idea at the time for a franchised Harley-Davidson dealer. In fact, he encouraged aftermarket companies to promote their products, which spurred the creation of a vendor village around the Beach Street store that ultimately became a Bike Week hub. As bold as it was innovative, this concept essentially evolved into Bruce’s vision for Destination Daytona. “It was our belief to open it up and see what would happen – and we saw what happened,” said Shelly. Shelly credits this inclusive attitude not only for Rossmeyer’s success over the years but also for the business’s evolution. “We see the motorcycle

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Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson Ormond Beach, FL 866-642-3464 u Year Established: 1994 u Number of Employees: 110

industry as a place for combined opportunities. But there was always the quality and value of Harley-Davidson backing it up, and as a Harley-Davidson dealer that’s where we focused – as we should.” And that’s an important point because at any franchised dealership an open approach has to live in harmony with brand loyalty. That’s where balance and creativity enter the picture, something Bruce mastered and Shelly echoes: “We’re very proud to be exclusive with Harley. It’s something they’ve worked hard to protect and we respect that. But I’m always glad to listen to ideas, too.” If you’ve been to Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson at Destination Daytona you know it’s way more than a bike shop. Surrounding the dealership on its 150-acre plot are retail stores, a hotel,

condos, restaurants and bars, specialty shops, a special events pavilion, even a motorcycle mechanic’s school. When you’re billed as the world’s largest Harley-Davison dealership, it sets up expectations. Shelly said, “Some people think ‘big’ means ‘impersonal’ or ‘expensive’ but the proof of our success is when they have a great experience and leave thinking, ‘This is what buying a motorcycle should feel like!’” From a business standpoint, the challenges of such a huge facility can be complex, with issues and expenses related to building projects, real estate, and massive overhead and maintenance matters most bike shops never have to deal with. Keeping that all running well, says Shelly, is a credit to the staff. Recognizing their importance is a vital element in Rossmeyer’s progress; and

another lesson learned from Bruce. “We have spent effort on recruiting and maintaining our key management team and associates over the years. I’m grateful for their loyalty and hard work.” In particular, Shelly credits her husband Dean Pepe, who acts as general counsel. Bruce, who operated largely on a handshake basis, came to value and depend on Dean’s input on agreements and contracts, and today the dealership couldn’t run without this member of the extended Rossmeyer family. “He’s the voice of reason and the most balanced person I know,” said Shelly. Yes, Bruce Rossmeyer’s spirit, determination and example certainly brought his family to a certain point in terms of business success. But you have to credit their own persistence and talents for where they are now, 20 years on. t 55


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re you sick of losing Parts, Garments & Accessories (PG&A) sales to click and order mega-retailers? With online retail revenue up 109 percent in 2013 compared with 26 percent growth in off-line retail sales, many powersports dealers have begun to dip their toes into the eCommerce space. However, simply implementing a cart to your website doesn’t ensure success, you need to work it. Think about your own online shopping experiences – if a site loads slowly do you bail? If the navigation is nonsensical do you trust that retailer with your credit card information? If a goal of your website is to sell more PG&A, you need to make sure that your site makes a buyer’s shopping experience a joy instead of a nightmare. Whether you built your own website, work with a website provider or are considering jumping into eCommerce for the first time, read on to learn about four of the most common eCommerce mistakes that result in a high rate of shopping cart abandonment and lost sales; a.k.a. empty online cart syndrome! Your Website Moves Like a Sloth The ideal load time for a website is under three seconds. However, a recent report by Radware clocked the average retail website load time at 8.56 seconds. The drag is attributed to the usual suspects – large images, HTML, CSS and

By Heather Blessington

How To Cure Empty Online Cart Syndrome The tips to make sure you’re welcoming online buyers

JavaScript files. Other factors that can impact website load time include third party plug-ins such as Facebook and Twitter widgets, ad network tracking scripts and cloud-based content delivery systems (CDN). This infographic from the team at KISSmetrics is stacked with facts that should scare you into making your website laser fast, since they report a seemingly insignificant one-second delay can cost you a whopping seven percent in conversions. Not sure what your online load time is? Test it with this cool tool from Pingdom: (it’s free). You may be surprised by the results. Pingdom provides you with a detailed, actionable report of the load time for every single page of your website. Armed with that information, it’s up to you or your website provider to make any necessary changes to drop your load time and improve sales conversions. Your Website Display Isn’t Consistent Across Web Browsers Are visitors to your website having the same experience on your website regardless of which browser they use? To find out, try accessing your website using the most commonly used web browsers, including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox. Viewing your site this way, you’ll see exactly what buyers see – Are inventory images displaying properly? Is all of your

56 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

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content loading correctly? And, more importantly, is the shopping cart experience flawless. Here again, it’s up to you or your website provider to take control and resolve any issues you uncover. Since most of us naturally assume the entire world uses the same web browser that we do, going through this exercise is especially important. I’ve found most dealers are still using Internet Explorer (IE). Only 9.4 percent of the population uses IE, so you are a part of the shrinking minority. The far and away leader is now Google Chrome at 58.4 percent. Your Cart Isn’t Secure Today’s online shoppers are savvy. They’re aware of the numerous fraudulent websites that exist simply to trick consumers into providing credit card information for illegal use. Here’s three ways you can show your customers that your website is fully secure and reassure them their personal information is safe on your site:

• All pages that collect personal information should be secured with a Secured Socket Layer certificate or (SSL) that automatically displays the pages in the address bar preceeded https:// (rather than unsecured pages proceeded by http://). • A small lock icon should display in the address bar in browser windows on secured pages. This icon is clickable to view the sites SSL issuer, type and expiration date. • Prominently display the shield icon and/or logo of your SSL provider on your home page to provide your site shoppers an added visual reassurance of your website security.

down the shopping cart. The cart and its contents, including item thumbnails of the PG&A that’s loaded in the cart, should be easy to access at all times so that online buyers can quickly doublecheck features, quantities and costs – no matter what page they’re on. In order to convert more shoppers into buyers and increase your online sales, it’s critical that your website provides a shopping experience that is easy-to-use and builds confidence in the products they’re considering. Take some time to check your website performance, compatibility with web browsers, security and shopping cart optimization to be sure you’re welcoming online buyers. t

Your Shopping Cart Isn’t Optimized Your shopping cart should make the shopping experience as quick and simple as possible while removing any unnecessary steps to improve conversion rate. Offer a simple, visual experience. There’s nothing more frustrating than backtracking or scouring a site to hunt

Heather Blessington is a nationallyrenowned speaker on social media strategy and a digital marketing veteran with more than 20 years experience. As an MPN columnist for Web Savvy and CMO at ARI Network Services, Blessington is dedicated to educating powersports dealers about digital marketing best practices. 57

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Finance Insurance

By Steve Dodds II

Selling Between the Lines


efore reading on, stop and ask yourself, “What do I sell?” When I ask this question to a group of finance managers or other dealership staff members, I get a variety of answers. “We sell motorcycles,” I hear. Or, “I sell financing,” or, “I sell warranties and insurance.” These are all correct on the surface when we think about a job description or the nuts and bolts of what we do. The truth is that a customer can get a motorcycle, financing or insurance at many different locations in your area. Even if they can’t buy the same brand, they can still fulfill their needs. We see this all the time. When we can’t get a customer approved for one bike, we switch them to a different bike. It still fulfills their core desires. They are not buying a motorcycle. They are buying the ability to fulfill a desire. Let’s go a little deeper to find out what you really sell – or, what customers are really buying. If you say, “We sell motorcycles,” stop and think for a minute that you are not really selling the customer a motorcycle, but rather you are selling: • Fun times riding with friends • A bonding experience with spouse and/or kids • The experience of riding to Sturgis or another rally • A way to release stress • The joy of riding all over this amazing country If you answered, “I sell financing,” you are really selling them: • The ability to afford a dream • A way to build a solid credit history and one day own a home • A way to keep some money as a safety net just in case

If you answered, “I sell warranties and insurance,” realize that what this means for your customer is: • Peace of mind • The ability to afford a mechanical failure • The ability to make the cost ownership affordable When we think, “We sell motorcycles” or, “We sell warranties,” what we’re thinking about is how these tangible products affect us and our dealership’s bottom line. When salespeople, sales managers and finance managers shift their thinking from what their products mean to them toward what their customers can gain, customers can hear it in what they say and how they act. This communication “between the lines,” as it were, can mean the difference between a customer buying at your dealership and moving on to your competitor. What your customers can’t get at other dealerships are: • You! (your knowledge, friendship and smiling face) • The community that has formed around your business o Rides o Bike nights o Poker runs • Dealership events o Open houses o Customer appreciation days o Chili cook-offs o Ladies nights o New rider events • Coworkers knowledge o Combined years of service experience o If the people you work with are also riders

58 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

I worked with a man by the name of Donnie for 10 years. You could ask him the part number of the front fender on a 1979 Honda CB750K (or almost anything else) and he would know. I’m sure he still knows. Customers couldn’t find that anywhere else. In fact, we had customers who would only buy their parts from him. So, try to make this shift. The more you talk about what the customer wants out of their purchase and less about the actual item, the more the customers will desire to have what you offer. Go to for details and new workshops as they are announced. t Upcoming Workshops: August 2014 Parts Management F&I Level 1 September 2014 Service Management Service Advisor 5 Profit Centers (dealership mgmt) NEW F&I Level 2

Steve Dodds II is a moderator, trainer and consultant for Gart Sutton and Associates with experience in every position in the sales and finance departments. Dealers rave about his ability to identify areas for improvement and implement the changes that produce superior results. If you have questions about what he or one of GSA’s other consultants can do to help you meet and exceed your goals, you can email:

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Cyclepedia Press LLC

The ‘Mysterious’ Little Black Box


omputer, Igniter, CDI, ICM, ECU, and ECM are all names for the black boxes that are the brains behind modern engines. Depending on the type, they control ignition, fuel injection, ABS, display meter or a combination of all. They are very important and often very expensive. Unfortunately, they often unnecessarily take the blame for mysterious electrical or running condition problems. At we provide technical support to motorcycle, scooter and ATV owner’s who have online service manual subscriptions as well as professional service departments or technicians that have our PRO subscription. Periodically we receive phone calls or support tickets from mechanics, shade-tree and professional, that have become frustrated by a vehicle’s puzzling problem and have decided the black box is faulty. They think the problem is mysterious, the black box is mysterious, and that must be the cause of the mysterious problem. In most cases there are not diagnostic procedures for black boxes themselves. If you are lucky the manufacturer might specify some output voltages or resistance figures. The last line of an ignition troubleshooting chart is often, “Faulty ECM – replace with a known good unit.” The statement is assuming that everything else on the vehicle is

ECUs are often blamed for mysterious electrical problems.

A bad ground can create frustrating electrical troubles. functioning correctly, not that there is a damaged wire in the harness you haven’t caught yet. Replacing the black box is a last resort option. They are very rarely the cause of the problem. They should only be replaced once all other issues have been ruled out – not just testing the obvious components, but carefully inspecting the wiring harness, connectors, grounds and switches. Don’t get too fixated on one component or one system. Have an open mind. Take a break and come back to the problem if possible. All too often we hear from folks who have become frustrated and declared they have a faulty box on their hands. Hopefully they sought further advice before wasting a wad of money. The worst case is the person has jumped the gun and bought a new box, and often other electrical components too, just have the same problem. The following is a list of the true faults behind some

Switches are often the cause of problems that may initially point towards a bad ECU.

60 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

Never unplug an ECM while it is still powered. suspected bad black boxes Cyclepedia has helped out with over the years: gear position switch, reverse override switch, engine kill switch, ignition switch, side stand switch, bad ground, wire harness damage, poorly installed aftermarket components, and a fouled spark plug. In all the years of working on powersports vehicles the collective staff at Cyclepedia has only encountered two true faulty black boxes. The first was an ignition box that was damaged by being unplugged and plugged back in while powered. Never unplug or plug in this type of component while the circuits are powered. The second was an ECM that emitted smoke and a black liquid that smelled of an electrical fire when the main switch was turned on. Further research showed that this component should have been replaced years ago by an OEM recall. t

Cyclepedia Press LLC authors powersports service manuals, a specification database and training modules to help technicians efficiently service ATVs, motorcycles, scooters and side by sides. Each month Cyclepedia examines real life shop scenarios with recommended tech tips for handling the problems encountered. For more information about Cyclepedia manuals and professional products visit

61 SEMA 6/11/14 11:22 AM Page 61

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MarketPlace Same Day Shipping • Huge Inventory

909-350-2727 888-258-0369 TO ADVERTISE IN CLASSIFIED MARKETPLACE CALL Roberto Almenar 330-670-1234 ext. 233

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Ad Index ADP Lightspeed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 ASA Electronics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Deltran/Battery Tender . . . . . . . . . .27 Design Engineering Inc. . . . . . . . . . .51 Duro Tire/Wheel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Earth X Lithium Battery . . . . . . . . . .35 East Penn Mfg Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 EMGO International . . . . . . . . . . .9, 50 Fulmer Helmets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Gibbs Technologies Inc. . . . . . . . . . .17 HJC America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Johnson Controls/VARTA . . . . . . . . . .5 K & L Supply Co. . . . . . . . . . . . .Cover 3 Kuryakyn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Marketplace Events/AIMExpo . . . . . .7 MBA Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Motor Trike . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Cover 2 MTA Distributing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Mustang Motorcycle Products . . . . .52 National Powersport Auctions . . . .16 Protective Asset Protection . . . . . . .39 SBS Friction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 SEMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 Service Manager Pro . . . . . . . . . . . .53 Sudco International Corp . . . .Cover 4 Sullivans Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10, 11 Vega Helmet Corp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vroom Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Wizards Products/RJ Star Inc. . . . .57 XY Powersports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Yuasa Battery Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Zep Inc./Original Bike Spirits . . . . .41 63

Find out more about the classified advertisers in this issue online at

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ith ped w e swap hursday. r e w s ff es on T take-o These tzeler 888 tir e new M it was still a crowd that was in town to spend money on their motorcycling habit. In order to capitalize on the enthusiastic crowd, many of the vendors went all out. For example, Küryakyn chose to kick off its 25th Anniversary celebration this year in Laughlin rather than Daytona, debuting a couple new product lines, custom bike builds (including “Project 25” 2012 Harley-Davidson Street Glide) and even multiple semi trucks with its new anniversary livery. Vance & Hines also had a semi truck full of new things to show off, namely its revolutionary FP3 fuel management system. Progressive Suspension joined the fray with a brand new Sprinter van and an entirely new look for the self-professed leading

its line of Küryakyn is expanding ners for 2014. ow y tor products for Vic

manufacturer of motorcycle suspension. The OEMs also pulled out all the stops. Depending on which direction you entered town from, you encountered Indian/Victory and Yamaha/Star down by Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort or HarleyDavidson’s demo ride pavilion on the What Bike Week in Daytona is for many other end of town and on the other side East Coast bikers, the Laughlin River Run of the street from the Edgewater, with has become for riders in Southern literally hundreds of smaller vendors California, Arizona and Nevada. From April serving as the buffer zone. Speaking of 23-27 arguably the largest motorcycle buffer zones, the strict “no colors” policy event on the West Coast kicked off the that has been in effect since the 2002 riding season for 2014. Since it had been a River Run Riot when a battle between few years since the last time we rode out to Hell’s Angels and the Mongols left three the event, we decided it was time to check dead and 13 critically injured really has it out once again. While the regulars noted worked for the past decade. In fact, most attendance was flat (local press gave a very of the vendors and attendees that we generous estimate of 45,000 attendees), polled didn’t even know about the riot. Of course that means they know even less about the history of the River Run when a Harley dealer named Dal Marschke wanted to take his customers on a fun weekend ride. Starting in 1983 with 426 participants, the show has flourished in the past three decades. Who cares about ancient history when you have a hot prospect at the Performance Machine rig looking to drop $2,500 on a set of wheels, or a guy at the Yamaha event truck wanting to buy the Bolt demo bike on the spot? It may not be the world’s biggest biker rally, but for vendors looking to make an impression on r Run. the SoCal scene, Laughlin is Rive ual Ann d 32n the for g’s crew rolls into Laughlin definitely worth the effort in the That’s how we roll… Mustan long run. t

32nd Laughlin River Run

64 June 2014 | Motorcycle & Powersports News

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Motorcycle & Powersports News, June 2014  

Motorcycle & Powersports News delivers business ­intelligence to powersports dealers and other industry ­professionals who sell and service...

Motorcycle & Powersports News, June 2014  

Motorcycle & Powersports News delivers business ­intelligence to powersports dealers and other industry ­professionals who sell and service...