Dealernews Issue#6 April 2019

Page 1

DN 2.0 #6

We Interrupt This Program To Bring You...

Top 100 Leaders In Powersports


Robin Hartfiel On Trailblazers The Industry On Dealernews News For Dealers

Who’s Who & Who’s Where

Alaska Mining & Diving Supply Playing Industry Twister With The Big Kids Dr. Paul Leinberger On The Death Of Brand Loyalty Lenny Sims NADAguides On Q1


AIMExpo Update & TrailBlazers

#AIMExpoRocks & #ColumbusRolls 75th Anniversary Banquet

Seeing The Super Bloom In Style

Josh Tolley On Your Brand

The Anonymous Dealer On: Cat Fights The Top 100 Leaders In Powersports Alex Baylon On A Sense Of Ownership

Photo by Jen Muecke







Marq C. Smith On Which Super Hero Are You Motorcycle Mission Kicks Off With Women, Wheels, Wine



Eric Anderson On Every Price Is Too High What Does The MIC Do For You? Don Amador On Advocacy In A Petri Dish Scot Harden On Burn Out

Uncle Paul On Hiring Techs & On The Job Training


Gonzo Gets An Arai Shoei GT-Air II Checks All The Boxes

The Life & Times Of Rocky The Roadrunner


2-Stroke World Championships Ave Atque Vale Jesse Rooke This issue Brought To You By… John Murphy On The Retail Apocalypse

Editor’s Choice

Bob Althoff Dealer/CEO Eric Anderson Vice President Stan Simpson Vice President SALES/FINANCE John Murphy Publisher Alan Landry CFO EDITORIAL Robin Hartfiel Editor Gus Stewart Creative Director Brenda Stiehl Production Manager CONTRIBUTORS Don Musick Genesys Technology Solutions Dr. Paul Leinberger Denny+Leinberger Strategy Lenny Sims NADA Appraisal Guides Scot Harden AMA Hall Of Fame/Harden Offroad Hector Cademartori Illustrations William Douglas Little Unique Powersports Charlie Williams Off Road Editor Marq Smith Holeshot Motorsports, Canada Alisa Clickenger Women’s Motorcycle Tours Don Amador Quiet Warrior Racing Joe Bonnello Joe B Photography Uncle Paul Wunsch Love Cycles The Anonymous Dealer Dealer Advisory Board Bob Althoff Chairman

ON THE COVER: Ray Drea, “The man who replaced Willie G.” is the Chief Stylist, Vice President and Director of the Willie G. Davidson Design Center at Harley-Davidson. His portrait of Arlen Ness was the highlight of Michael Lichter’s gallery at Sturgis and a fitting tribute to an industry icon. Godspeed Arlen! Photo by Joe Bonnello

Joey Belmont Big #1 Sports Jim Boltz Lynnwood Cycle Barn/WMDA Jim Foster Killeen Power Sports George Gatto Gatto Harley-Davidson Malcolm Hunter Deeley Harley-Davidson Robert Kay Star City Motorsports Bob Kee Destination Cycle Jerry Lenz Beaverton Motorcycles Kurt Mechling Performance PowerSports Don Owens Dothan Powersports Mark Peterson Southwest Superbikes Sandy Stroope Boat World Honda Polaris ADVERTISING John Murphy Publisher (949) 463-4319 Tigra Tsujikawa Sponsorship Manager (949) 861-0863 Blake Foulds Account Executive (760) 715-3045 Dealernews Magazine P.O. Box 73640 San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone (949) 463-4319



© Copyright 2019

Reason For Being By Bob Althoff


We Interrupt This Message…


lifetime of… well… life and business experience, have combined to teach me some lessons. However, I have also found the truth in the fact that “almost everything we need to know, we learned in grammar school.” One of the grammar school learnings went like this: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Pretty good advice to live by… Usually. The motorcycle business can be a bit rough and tumble. Let’s face it — there are no shy people who ride (or choose to become motorcycle dealers). As riders, we come in all shapes, sizes, genders, ethnicities and economic stations. It really is the beauty of who we are. We are every freedomloving, fun-seeking, adventuresome and friendly folk. Usually. Dealers come in different varieties, too. Some are decedents of multi-generational family businesses. Others just hung a shingle out thinking, “Hey, I am passionate about motorcycles. Why don’t I become a dealer? Some are able to translate their passion for motorcycling into successful, ethical and professional businesses. Usually. Some even get the passionate part right… But struggle with the rest of what it takes. Yes — it is possible to be passionate and incompetent; to be passionate and ethically challenged. Who knows when the bad actors started acting badly? It’s a tough business, deeply cyclical and deeply seasonal.


The Manufacturers have their own worries (and demands). A Distributor may be selling to you at wholesale and sometimes to your customers at retail over the Internet. So, maybe you just needed to cut a few corners in order to keep your associates paid, or the tax man happy? Just this once, just this season, or from now until the end of time… But as we should have learned in grammar school deviating from the straight and narrow is usually a mistake. Usually. We have seen and heard it all. Some of what we see is sickening to us. Some of it is smoke and mirrors. Some is shell games. Some is just plain illegal… And our customers and our industry are hurt by it! We would have hoped that the OEMs would come in, been better referees and take corrective action (for surely they know). Or perhaps the enforcement folks at State Agencies would step in? Until they do, our advice is to tread very carefully. Just because their name is “Honesty Motors” doesn’t make it true. Just because they offer “come-on” deals on a motorcycle doesn’t mean they won’t take a customer into the business office and de-pants them. Just because they have a big award on the wall doesn’t mean it was won on merit — it could have been a slip of the accountant’s submission data that went to an OEM too busy, or short-staffed, or simply looking the other direction. What sometimes purports to measure excellence, in fact, measures subservience and creative accounting. No apology for this not so cheery subject matter. But our customers deserve our very best. Every day, every time, every customer. True Leadership must be the hallmark of our profession. And for the vast majority of the dealers we know, it is… Usually. Leadership of an Industry? The very thought of it seems a bit preposterous. Leadership of anything is daunting enough. Say, leading a club, a family, a meeting, a team, a community — all full of importance for sure. Each with its nuance, its peculiarities, its own unique set of difficulties. So who then dares lead an entire 25 Billion Dollar Industry? Well, these men and women do. Sure, there are perhaps several hundred more who are deserving of consideration to be included in the list presented in this issue. It is doubtful that any of those we included ever set out to actually lead an Industry. They just went to work one day, did a great job; got a bigger job; and one day they found themselves being referred to as… well… leaders. Yes, we interrupted the 26th year of recognizing the 100 greatest powersports dealers in North America. We didn’t do that without real considerations. After all, there is phenomenal work being done by dealers, large and small, of all brands, in every part of North America, every day… Usually. Bob Althoff Dealer Principal, W.L.M.


Vanderhall Dealer Network and so is


is our model selection

Inquire about territory opportunities and join with us in delivering joy in motoring.

A classically refined demonstration of art-on wheels. 1,375-pound dry weight, with a 4cyl turbo charged engine. An American-made, hand-crafted auto-cycle starting at $29,950.

2 A fully electric roadster that combines a refined and eye-catching design while maintaining classic lines. Timeless. Electrified. Performance. Fall in love with the road again. $34,950

This Model brings more luxury and convenience to the Vanderhall lineup. With front entry doors, a wider cabin and elegant custom touches, the Carmel promises additional class and comfort for your journey. $39,950

The Vanderhall Motor Works is seeking partners to create a unique and high-end experience for our clients. Expected dedicated showroom area of at least 1200 to 1500 square feet is targeted to create a store within a store—a boutique experience with a trained Vanderhall Brand Ambassador who is knowledgeable and refined in their delivery. If you feel your facility will deliver these requirements and you are ready to bring additional passion into your business, inquire now.

Trailblazers’ acceptance speech. Sorry, gallows humor is about the only way to handle the loss of so many incredible people. The untimely passing of Jesse Rooke and Arlen’s celebration of life remind us all of the sanctity of life and the fact that nothing is guaranteed. Well, almost nothing… the one guarantee we have is that this really is the greatest industry in the world. There may never be another Don Brown or Tom White, but there will always be a cast of colorful characters and true leaders on the Top 100 list! I went to my first TrailBlazers banquet with Don Brown in 1991 and have marveled at the pantheon of legends just about every year since. Enjoyed some epic bench racing sessions and mourned the passing of true friends in the intervening decades, too.

Editor’s Note By Robin Hartfiel



all them TrailBlazers, pioneers or leaders, the powersports industry has been blessed with an inordinate amount of truly amazing individuals! Between the 75th Annual banquet and hall of fame induction ceremony for the TrailBlazers and the hours (and hours!) spent deliberating the Top 100 finalists, the entire Dealernews team has been focused on the legends and heroes who make the motorcycle industry what it is!

Seeing my friends and heroes at TrailBlazers is always a great reminder that our industry has an incredibly rich heritage and compelling story that needs to be imparted to future generations of motorcycle people. That is a job for our Top 100 industry leaders. Meanwhile I am just happy to hang out with heroes like John Penton and to be the black sheep of the Penton clan (even if it was just for a photo with my old bike). Thanks Jack for corralling the whole passel of Pentons! Being able to chat with the Motorcyclist of the Century himself, Malcolm Smith is always an honor… and it was neat, really neat to be able to give Malcolm a copy of Dealernews!

Attempting to determine the 100 most influential drivers of our $24 billion industry was tough! We asked each member of our team to put forward their nominees. Then we began a series of meetings that lasted hours discussing, arguing and reminding each other of the great work being done by all of these nominees. For the record, there were more than 350 men and women who made the “short” list… and then the real discussions began. In addition to recognizing how truly blessed this business has been, we were also struck by the fact that we are losing our industry leadership at a phenomenal clip. When we determined there would be no posthumous awards (the leaders had to be actively influencing and shaping our industry), it was shocking to see how many of our cornerstones are gone. With apologies to Tom Brokaw, “The Greatest Generation” in the motorcycle market is slipping away. Last month’s cover tribute to Arlen Ness, the passing of filmmaker Bruce Brown, racer turned entrepreneur AMA and TrailBlazers hall of famer Skip Van Leeuwen and a host of other heroes passed away in the last year alone. In fact, Motocross Files and Penton movie producer Todd Huffman’s poignant tribute reel to our missing friends, leaders and heroes lasted almost as long as Chris Agajanian’s


Former Editor-in-Chief and publisher of Dealernews circa 19902003, Robin returns to the magazine. In addition to having been instrumental in creating the Dealernews Top 100 program (still the industry’s ultimate accolade for a motorcycle dealership), Hartfiel has worked for most of the B2B publications in the Powersports arena. Prior to the trade side, he worked as a beat reporter for a local newspaper was an editor of publications ranging from All About Beer to VW Trends.

Thank you in advance for the assistance. In the ‘30s my father’s High School/Jr. College experience resulted in not only an AA degree but also a pilot’s license. This enabled him to immediately begin flying for the Marine Corps. Other classmates did the same, while others obtained their “A&E” (air frame & engine) certifications. A number of them, including my Dad, served in the “Black Sheep Squadron” made famous in the TV series. Education as a profession and over the years as a financially constrained entity has fallen away from “vocational” education. It is sorely needed once again. RIDE THE DAKOTA 600 The latest issue of Dealernews is the best one yet! You guys are doing a great service to our industry and filling a void that needs exposure and concerned thought. The breath of timely topics and informed editorial viewpoints is valuable indeed. Looking for more… keep up the good work. PS: We still have a couple open slots for the Dakota 600, an extraordinary offroad motorcycle event raising money to develop trails dedicated to motorcycles. Bill Hearne, SAICON – Special Advisor In Charge Of Nothing Keystone, SD

HIGHER EDUCATION Although I have been a Lotus dealer and am now a motorcycle dealer, I also am employed as a facilitator of multi-party decision making or dialogues. I have an upcoming visioning exercise the patrons of which are seeking to initiate a, new to them, facility in their High School District that has a curricula focused on VoTech. The idea includes a new facility in partnership with a local Community College District which is located some 20 miles away. Are you aware of any articles or other references I might obtain about this subject?


Steve Barber Barber & Gonzalez Consulting Group Granite Bay, CA There are a still a few folks in the industry who went the A&E route, but most of them are retiring or already retired. If you have not already seen it, the guys at are trying to get more people connected to powersports. We also shared a couple pieces via social media recently, including one on a teacher in Texas using motorcycles to teach STEM from CBS Evening News:

YOU CAN BANK ON DEALERNEWS We definitely want to market Dealernews as much as possible to the dealers we talk to. We want them to realize it is the ONE industry magazine that is the true voice for the dealers and a trusted resource for them. In an environment where fake news runs rampant, Dealernews is owned by a dealership and the entire executive team has extensive expertise at the dealership level. Matt Tanzy, President MIC BankCard Roswell, GA Matt and MIC BankCard Managing Director Gene Lydick sat down in front of the Dealernews LIVE cameras at AIMExpo to explain how dealers can put more money into their pockets… and less into the banks. Check out the two part series at Dealernews’ YouTube Channel: watch?v=jYHX1RRWfUs

There are also a couple of community college programs like Iowa Lakes Community College:

ON THE PIPE! You’re doing a fantastic job with Dealernews! You guys are on the pipe and really have your fingers on the pulse of the motorcycle industry! Lance Bryson, Senior Sponsorship Manager MotoAmerica Costa Mesa, CA

OPINION+ Just wanted to say thanks for publishing my Harley opinion article. I laughed my ass off when I saw the picture you chose! LOL! Good stuff! Lowell Anderson, Principal Wellington, OH

COMING EVENTS I’m the Marketing Coordinator for the Vegas BikeFest and with the event happening in October, I wanted to see if we can post about our event on your event calendar. Please contact me and I’ll happily give you an event blurb and the logo to use for the event. Please call me

or email me if you have questions. Thank you for taking the time to read this and have a great day! Rachel Nepomuceno, Marketing Coordinator Vegas BikeFest Las Vegas, NV

We hit the Vegas BikeFest as part of AIMExpo’s Bike Week festivities last fall. However what happens in Vegas should probably stay in Vegas. Mark you calendars for October 3-6, 2019 and we will get our event listings updated for

SOUND OFF! Dealernews is indeed back. Join in the conversation by emails Check us out on Instagram: Like us on Facebook: Follow along on Tune into the new YouTube channel:







Hurry Limited Time Savings Only Until 04/30/19



May marks the return of motorcyclists to the roadways, so the American Motorcyclist Association is appealing to motorists to be aware of motorcycles during Motorcycle Awareness Month. Car drivers should double-check their mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes, maintain a safe distance when following motorcycles and pay particular attention when making left turns across traffic. “Motorcycle Awareness Month also provides an excellent opportunity for us to educate the non-riding public about the safety issues that affect motorcyclists every time we leave our driveways,” said AMA President/CEO Rob Dingman. “May typically is a time when riders in much of the country are getting their motorcycles out of the garage and onto the roads. By calling special attention to motorcyclists in the spring, we hope that motorists will stay alert to them throughout the rest of the year.” Motorcycle Awareness Month — launched by the AMA in the early 1980s and adopted by many state motorcycle-rights organizations, government entities and AMA-sanctioned clubs — is observed each May. The AMA is tracking bills in state legislatures across the country that address the safety of motorcyclists, including the issue of distracted driving. Distracted driving is dangerous for all road users, claiming 3,166 lives in 2017 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The AMA supports legislation that includes enhanced penalty options to be determined by the courts in cases where distracted driving results in a crash. The official AMA position statements on distracted and inattentive vehicle operation can be found at: distracted-and-inattentive-vehicle-operation-1



Local trade school students are being partnered with HarleyDavidson dealers for real-world training by helping build the coolest custom motorcycles in the world in the “Battle of the Kings” competition. “Harley-Davidson’s goal is to build the next generation of riders, and those new riders will need service technicians and customization experts to help them along the way,” said Heather Malenshek, Senior VP of Marketing & Brand. “Introducing trade school students to the unlimited possibilities of custom bike building will unlock their creativity and inspire them to think outside the box as they embark on their careers.” The “Battle of the Kings” is the largest dealer custom build bike competition in the world, showcasing Harley-Davidson’s leadership in customization. Since 2015, Battle of the Kings has created more than 500 custom bikes. This year, U.S. trade school students were invited to join their local Harley-Davidson dealership for the builds, with the goal of inspiring the next generation of skilled tradespeople to join the world of motorcycling. Under the guidance of experienced Harley-Davidson mechanics, students from across the country were introduced to the creativity, customization prowess and technical precision of motorcycle customization. The public can vote from a selection of more than 40 rolling works of art featuring the latest in design, fit and finish created in partnership with the students of future mechanics, designers and welders of America. See the builds from dealerships around the world by following #BattleOfTheKings on social media. For more information on the rules of the competition and to vote on the bikes, visit:


Nancy Gerloff and Mark Augustyn, creators of Mimi and Moto: The Motorcycle Monkeys, will be participating in the 2019 “Gas Tank” Competition. “The program gives powersports professionals an opportunity to present their business plan for a new powersports-related innovation, product or service live in front of influential industry business leaders at the AIMExpo in Columbus, Ohio,” explains MIC’s Cam Arnold. “Applicants will be paired with a powersports industry mentor in order to prepare or further develop their business plan and presentation.” Nancy and Mark have been paired with industry icon Frank Esposito, formerly with Scorpion Helmets, Kendon Industries and Tucker Rocky. “This is a great opportunity to help and encourage new business ventures in our industry and I’m thrilled to be working with Nancy and Mark. The Mimi and Moto brand shares a wholesome message about the quality of a motorcycle lifestyle with parents and their young children. “What Nancy and Mark have created is perfect for introducing motorcycling to children in their formative years… If there is such a thing as a ‘win, win, win’, this is it,” explains Esposito. “From our very first conversation, it was obvious that Frank was a great mentor for us,” adds Nancy. “Frank’s industry experience speaks for itself. On top of that, as a father, grandfather, and lifetime motorcyclist, he understands intuitively what we are trying to do with the Mimi and Moto brand.” Nancy and Mark are currently working to complete their second book, MIMI AND MOTO RIDE THE ALPHABET which they plan to release this year. Get more details here:

And AIMExpo, Too!

For 2019, AIMExpo presented by Nationwide heads back to the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, September 26-29, once again serving as the anchor for ‘Powersports Industry Week’! The week will be highlighted by the 7th annual AIMExpo as Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties continue to step up their commitment to the program. “This is an important part of our industry; it’s another opportunity for Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties to show our commitment to “We Support the Sport,” says LeMans Corp. VP of Sales/Marketing, Jeff Derge. “We look forward to coming together with the dealers, vendors, and OEMs.” In addition to highlighting house brands Thor, Moose, ICON, Z1R, Slippery, Arctiva and AMS, Parts Unlimited is looking forward to meeting with new and existing dealers to showcase all they have to offer. Dealers will have the opportunity to connect with the Brand Managers and take advantage of AIMExpo discounts when they register at the Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties Booth #1931. “With the centralized location of Columbus, this becomes a one-day drive or short-flight for most of the U.S. – an ideal destination for our dealers,” adds Derge. “We look forward to joining the rest of the powersports industry in this unique platform that creates opportunities for dealers, vendors and media to showcase new product, network, and build the future success of our industry.” Dealer registration went live last month, and the buzz is already building! Register right here, right now: landing.asp?sc=&src=&hkey=&iq=&tm=

APRIL 2019



The Martelli Brothers have announced The Mint 400 and the UTV World Championship races will be sanctioned and operated independently in 2020 and beyond. The decision comes after nearly a decade of work in the sport as race promoters. Moving forward, their in-house team of off-road industry veterans will manage all aspects of their events including marketing, film and TV content production and race operations. “We’ve had a fantastic relationship with Best In The Desert Racing Association and we’re grateful for all their hard work. We learned a lot from Casey and we miss him dearly,” said Matt Martelli, CEO and Co-Owner of The Mint 400 and UTV World Championship properties. “Moving forward, we want to implement our ideas and make off-road racing more visible to the world. This sport is dollar-for-dollar the greatest thrill ride on the planet!” “This decision was reached amicably between both parties after careful consideration and discussion about the future of both organizations and what would be in the long-term best interest for each,” added BITD CEO Daryl Folks. “We wish the Martelli Brothers all the best as they move on independently with their events. We are proud of the contribution we have made helping them resurrect The Mint 400 and very proud of our team that did all the hard work behind the scenes to make it happen,” said Folks. “We have been working on contingency plans for some time regarding our 2020 Event Schedule and will be making announcements regarding our plans shortly.” Ditto for the Martelli Brothers: “We have proven our capabilities on the marketing, media, and event management side, now it’s time for us to take control of our future.”



As indicated last issue, Kenda is on a roll! Major distributors Tucker, Parts Unlimited and MTA are expanding their assortment of Kenda product lines to include tubes, trailer tires, trailer wheels and even golf cart tires. This will bring an even greater selection of top selling Kenda products to dealers in new market segments. “We’re excited to help expand our distributors’ footprint in new and untapped segments,” says Kenda’s Director of Powersports, Jason Baldwin. “There is so much crossover between the powersports, golf and trailer markets. We’re in the unique position of being able to provide a one-stop tire option for almost any vehicle that rolls on rubber. From the start, it’s been about giving our reps the products they need to win. That’s what we’re about.” Since 1962 Kenda has been a leader in golf cart tire manufacturing with several major manufacturers using Kenda tires as original equipment on their carts, including Club Car, EZ Go and Yamaha. “Now more distributors will have industry leading tire options for their dealers in the golf cart/specialty segment,” notes Baldwin. In addition to leading in the golf cart industry, Kenda is also a leader in the towable market with Tracker boat trailers using Load Star by Kenda tires, as standard equipment. The expanded product lines of these powersports distributors will now include Load Star by Kenda trailer tires and wheel assemblies proven and trusted by major manufacturers. Check with your favorite distributor for details.


Tucker Powersports has partnered with TEAM Arizona Motorcyclist Training Centers to become its newest 3rd Gear Level Sponsor. Tucker is providing TEAM Arizona training sites with riding gear and equipment; as well as contributing products for giveaways throughout 2019. Specifically, Tucker will highlight Arai Helmets, FirstGear, Speed & Strength and Answer Racing. TEAM Arizona is the premier motorcycle rider training organization in Arizona. They have a motorcycle safety course to help riders get a motorcycle license (endorsement) and enhance their skills. Motorcycle riders have been coming to TEAM Arizona for lessons since 1989 and the team has trained more than 135,000 motorcycle and scooter riders, including three (3) wheel motorcycle riders. More info about TEAM Arizona:


TRace Winning Brands has added CV4 to its rapidly expanding portfolio. Supplying high-temperature precision-fit silicone radiator hose kits, high pressure radiator caps, fuel tank heat shields and race components, CV4 will become a part of RWB’s Wiseco Performance Products division. “CV4 is an excellent fit for Wiseco’s product line,” says Wiseco Director of Powersports Scott Highland. “CV4’s quality and performance has made them the top choice for professional teams and weekend racers, the same group we aim to serve every day at Wiseco.” RWB markets multiple prominent brands, including JE Pistons, Wiseco, Rekluse Motor Sports, Falicon Racing and ProX Racing Parts.


Part of the AMA National Dual Sport Series incentive plan is an opportunity to win a bike. American Motorcyclist Association member Matteo Mercurio from Murrieta, California, won a 2019 Beta 500RR-S — and all he had to do was ride in the Big Bear Run, a stop on the 2018 Beta AMA National Dual Sport Series, hosted by Big Bear Trail Riders. “It’s a great event,” Mercurio said of the Big Bear Run. “It’s very challenging, but they have different tracks for different levels of riders. You don’t have to be an expert. It’s a great series.” A four-year AMA member, Mercurio has been riding dual sports for the past six years. He also has ridden the LA-Barstow-toVegas National Dual Sport, hosted by AMA District 37 Dual Sport. “My staff and I are very happy once again to make one lucky person an owner of a new Beta,” said Beta USA President Tim Pilg. “I hope that this year’s winner, Matteo, enjoys his new 500 RR-S! This is our 5th year as the title sponsor of the series and we couldn’t be happier for all of the past, present, and future winners.” Thanks to sponsors of the Beta AMA National Dual Sport Series, participants who rode at any of the events in the 2018 series were entered automatically to win prizes from Beta, IMS Products, Kenda and Seat Concepts. Adventure Motorcycle Magazine (ADVMoto), also a sponsor of the series, offers a 20% discount to a subscription of their magazine. The 2019 AMA National Dual Sport Series’ schedule and detailed information about the events can be found at:

APRIL 2019


Brought To You By

Neil Grimmer grabs reins at The Motor Co. reporting directly to HarleyDavidson President/CEO Matt Levatich, veteran brand builder Grimmer brings more than 20 year’s experience to the newly created position of Brand President. Grimmer’s role is to evolve the brand to support the company’s strategy to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally. He will be responsible for all aspects of the Harley-Davidson brand including product planning, marketing, retail, apparel and communications. “Neil’s creative instincts, innovation mindset, deep brand and consumer experience and bottom-line orientation is critically important as we lead and inspire our teams and riders,” said Matt Levatich. “He is joining us at a pivotal time, and his leadership qualities and affinity for who we are and what Harley-Davidson is all about will be a spark that ignites people to imagine what is possible for them from Harley-Davidson.” The founder and CEO of Habit, the world’s first personalized nutrition life science company, Grimmer also served in a leadership role at Campbell Soup Company and was co-founder & CEO of Plum Organics, which had been acquired by Campbell’s in 2013. Grimmer also served as the VP of Strategy & Innovation at Clif Bar and Senior Designer at IDEO. “Harley-Davidson is an iconic American brand recognized around the world as a symbol of personal expression and individual freedom,” said Grimmer. “It is nothing short of an honor and a privilege to work with Matt and the amazing team at Harley to bring the strategy to life and excite the next generation of riders, ushering in the subsequent chapter of the storied legacy of HarleyDavidson.” Back in July 2018, The Motor Co. announced its “More Roads


to Harley-Davidson plan to accelerate growth through 2022 and deliver its strategy to build the next generation of riders.” The plan provides the products, access and channels to engage more, new consumers and drive growth. “Our leadership team is positioned to intensify our ‘More Roads to HarleyDavidson’ journey,” said Levatich. “The addition of Neil Grimmer to our seasoned group of leaders, enhances our capabilities and will sharpen our focus on strategic and long-term growth opportunities to ensure our future success. We have a clear vision, and the leadership team and organization are aligned and energized around it.” Grimmer earned an MFA in Product Design from Stanford University and a BFA from California College of the Arts. He is currently a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

Nathon Verdugo

Ex-Ducati PR guy Nathon Verdugo is the new Experiential Marketing Manager for Roland Sands Design. A key component of his role with RSD is event activation for the Super Hooligan series. Prior to his 4-years stint with Ducati, he did a 20-dealership tour on an Aprilia Caponord 1200 which some dealers in the Eastern United States might still remember. He also did tours of duty with Troy Lee Designs, ESPN X Games, Dainese/ AGV and Alpinestars. He knows what it like from the dealer’s perspective having been GM at Pasadena Yamaha circa 2005-2008.

Speaking of Ducati PR personnel, Alex Frantz has replaced Scott Shaffstall as PR manager for Ducati North America. Frantz brings more than a decade of motorcycle industry experience — make that Ducati-specific experience to the PR position. He has served as a technician, trainer and Ducati service area manager in the past. He also served as a crew member on the Spider Grips Ducati race team that won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2018.

Michael Winter is the new VP of Business Development for Lancham International. Among the products that Lancham produces are bearings, wheel hubs, CV shafts, sub-frames, prop shafts and stampings for OEMs including Polaris, Indian Motorcycle and Bobcat. With 25-year’s experience as a key manufactured components supplier, Winter will be based in Prior Lake, Minnesota. “I am thrilled to be a part of expanding Lancham’s North American sales efforts to engage with more industry brands. Millions of Lancham components are already in use on the road, trail and job site. We deliver on-time and competitively priced with or without tariffs, so it’s no wonder leaders trust Lancham as a strategic supply chain partner in the ATV/UTV, Motorcycle and Outdoor Power Equipment markets. We look forward to playing a key role in more company success stories.”

Alex Frantz

Trent Kirby Continued on page 18

Photos : Photopsp L. Swiderek

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Brought To You By

Continued from page 16 No fooling? On April 1 Baja Designs Chief Operating Officer, Trent Kirby, was promoted to Chief Executive Officer. Deanne Moore, who was Baja Designs previous CEO, is retiring from the full-time position, but will maintain her relationship with Baja Designs through her consulting business. Kirby started his career with Baja Designs nearly a decade ago and has worked his way up through just about every role in the business. He comes from a family of offroad enthusiasts and has been working in the industry since 2005. Trent is confident that his years of training under Deanne in addition to working in all of the different departments within Baja Designs have set him, and ultimately the business, up for success. “Our racing heritage and our passion for the off-road industry will guarantee that we continue to develop and deliver the highest performing and superior quality lighting solutions we are known for,” claims Kirby.

“Working with a consumer brand will be a tremendous learning opportunity, and professionally, I am looking forward to the challenge of creating a global consumer brand from India,” says Vinod Dasari, who takes over as CEO of Royal Enfield, a unit of Eicher Motors Ltd. in India. Dasari takes over from Siddhartha Lal, who will now focus on his duties as Managing Director of Eicher Motors. Don’t think this matters to U.S. dealers? India just blew past China as the #1 market for two-wheeled products in the world and the Indian OEMs are destined to be power players globally. “After a phenomenal success story in the last decade, Royal Enfield is now building the foundations of its next level of growth,” said Lal. “As we commence another exciting chapter, I believe, there is no better person than Vinod Dasari to lead Royal Enfield into its next phase of evolution to a global brand.” Dasani does have some U.S.


market experience, having been President of Timken’s Global Railroad business based in the USA. “Vinod’s fearless entrepreneurial leadership, experience of managing complex businesses globally, deep understanding of customers and his vision of how digital technology will be used and experienced around the world are precisely the qualities that Royal Enfield needs as it aspires to lead and catalyze the global motorcycling industry towards middleweight 250cc750cc machines,” claims Lal.

Cherry picking? SSV Works, the market leader in UTV-specific off-road audio systems and accessories, has named industry veteran Will Cherry to the position of Sales Director. “As SSV Works continues to grow, we needed someone with both domestic and international sales experience as well as success in the consumer audio market,” said SSV Works CEO Trevor Kaplan. “Will is the ideal choice and fits in perfectly at SSV Works.” For the past 15 years, Cherry worked with Scosche Industries and BatteryBiz, holding domestic and international sales and business development manager titles. “SSV Works has amazing quality products in an exciting and fast-growing industry,” added Cherry. “I’m looking forward to working with a team that not only has tremendous knowledge of the powersports market and product development, but that has a passion for it, as well.”

Resources for ROXOR dealers: Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) has promoted of three key performers within the ROXOR sales team. The new structure will help lead the brand’s continuing

growth effort with stronger dealer network support. March 2019 was also the first anniversary of launching ROXOR across the nation. Effective immediately: Jeff Brunson steps up as North America Sales Director. Brunson has been a key member of the sales team since ROXOR’s launch. He most recently managed the Central U.S. region providing strong leadership driving network and sales team development for ROXOR. Brunson will oversee all Regional Sales Directors for the U.S. and Canada, reporting to VP of Sales Luc de Gaspe Beaubien.

As part of the personnel realignment, ROXOR dealers in the Midwest are now being called on by Mark Render who has been promoted to Regional Sales Director for the Central U.S. A key member of the ROXOR sales team, Render has provided proven powersports dealer development experience during his 25 years in the industry. Render will report directly to Jeff Brunson.

In a related move, Johnny Hayes was promoted to Regional Sales Director for the newly created South Region. The new region – Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico – will be instrumental for ROXOR as it continues to grow the dealer network in this key recreational and agricultural region. Hayes will be building a team of District Sales Managers to support the new region and will report directly to Brunson. Look for continued growth and development from ROXOR, the new all-purpose off-road brand founded upon heritage, simplicity and durability.


Alaska Mining & Diving Supply Doing Things Differently Than The Lower 48 By Eric Anderson


rom Deadliest Catch to Alaskan Bush People, seems like you can’t turn on the TV without discovering channels about life on the last frontier. But long before the Gold Rush of cable TV programming and Ice Road Truckers making history, there was a pioneering business supplying prospectors, fishermen and homesteaders with all the essentials from ATVs to SCUBA gear. Alaska Mining & Diving Supply was founded in 1976 by two high school buddies, Dudley Benesch and Steve Herschbach, to support the needs of Alaska: The Last Frontier.

AMDS now carriers Can-Am, Evinrude, Honda, Jetcraft, Lowe, Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo and Yamaha. “We offer ATVs, boats, generators, metal detectors, mining equipment, outboards, snowmobiles and watercraft,” says VP & GM Nick Olnezak. “We service what we sell and have done since 1976. We are most known for carrying the highest quality brands, having deep relationships with those brands that allows us to come to market with cutting edge products before our competitors.” Being remote does not mean disconnected. Far from it, says Nick, “We often help design and develop the next ‘hot’ or ‘big’ thing.” That includes an assist with the tracked testing


for ROXOR where we caught up with them. Cutting edge combines with old fashioned customer service. “We always find ways to say yes. When it comes to outfitting a vehicle or rigging boats, we let the customers choose what accessories they want and where they go, versus competitors who only offer an A or B option.” Alaska is still in slow a recovery from a long recession, so it has required some strategic thinking. “Our short term goal is stability with incremental growth,” explains Olnezak. “Through the recession and the unfortunate closing of some nearby competitors, we have added brands such as Suzuki Outboards which has quickly added sales revenues and strong profits.” AMDS was also an early adapter of the STACYC, jumping on the bandwagon before many dealers in the lower 48 clued in. In addition to becoming a ROXOR dealer has opened up a whole new market for us with a vehicle that truly is perfect for the rugged Alaskan bush. Does the next big opportunity in Alaska apply to other rural markets in the lower 48? “We look for opportunities everywhere,” notes Nick. “Right now there are opportunities to tap into new markets with new variations of products that are evolving very quickly in the off-road business. SXS

vehicles that are more capable than ever give people the chance to get out and adventure in ways never before possible.”

and learn in those times is overwhelming. Fortunately with the amount of experience behind us the lessons were brief and we found opportunities amongst them.”

He adds similar evolution is happening in the boating market where boat manufactures are making changes and technological advancements at a pace not seen in boating until now. “Boats designed for a broad range of adventuring in Alaskan waters far beyond the confines of a fishing or cruising-specific boat… the industry is pushing the frontiers, and bringing customers with it.”

One thing they share with just about every dealership is fining good people. “We hear the same story every where we go, its hard to find good people! Being employee owned has its advantages and builds loyalty much more quickly when individual literally benefit direct from their hard work. Alaska is pretty for off the beaten path, so the talent pool is much more restricted. We work hard to find people with a solid work ethic and train within.”

Pushing the envelope is possible with a solid business foundation. “We have been a ADP Lightspeed user for many years and though it can be complex and cumbersome, it really allows you to drill down deep into the numbers — deeper than most really want to go. In order to understand what works and what doesn’t however, you have to measure. We were also in a Spader 20 Group for a number of years and it was highly beneficial for the survival of our business during the recession.” While ownership interest varied over the years the two high school buddies ultimately sold the business to the employees and AMDS became an ESOP in 2011. “Our structure now consists of employee ownership, management, executive management and an ESOP Board of Directors with 90 years of experience. All of those elements come together for a very dynamic team with a view from on deck all the way to 30,000 feet.”

The team forged in this crucible works. “We go above our competition in our market anytime we can or there is a need. We have all spent many weekends in the summer helping a boat customer in or out of the water, handdelivering ATV parts and more just to keep people going. We believe highly in not disrupting that sacred fun time for our customers.” Where else are you going to find an oil filter next to a gold pan? “Our business is just more unique and diverse… it gives folks insight into other activities they may not otherwise consider. We sell boats, outboards and of course powersports equipment, and we are also the largest supplier of recreation gold mining equipment in Alaska! This gives us a unique do it all Alaskan know how that our customers have grown to enjoy.” Continued on page 22

Another area where AMDS is on the frontier has historically been recognizing the impact of the pre-owned market. “Over the years we have had great success with pre-owned products, in some years selling hundreds of pre-owned vehicles various segments.” However it doesn’t come without challenges unique to their neck of the woods. “The pre-owned market in Alaska fluctuates a great deal more than elsewhere with a limited market to flush product in to. So if for example and OEM has huge rebates to clear inventory of a certain type, it can have a greater effect on used sales with the product having fewer homes it can go to.” The same sort of balancing act takes place in the service department. “I wouldn’t say its different but may be a lot more difficult. Our seasons and weather changes are extreme, we deal with snow measured in feet and commonly wind storms with wind speeds exceeding 100mph. These factors make keeping the yard clear and the product moving a challenge. The folks outside just love it when the next 6 crates are frozen down in 1-2’ of snow melt turned to solid ice. In fact just this week, April 22 we are having a pretty sizeable snow storm, just when we thought we had dug out.” As if the inclement conditions weren’t enough of a challenge, fiscal as well as physical cold streaks have hit. “The recession was a tough one for us in Alaska, but we were fortunate enough to react swiftly and make some hard decisions. At one time we laid off about 10 employees at once as we went into survival mode. Those hard decisions are the reason why we not only survived but are now thriving and looking for new opportunities. The amount of knowledge you gain

APRIL 2019


Continued from page 21

“Social media has become a huge part of promoting our business and sharing the Alaska Lifestyle to get people excited to be on the water, snow or dirt. It takes a well rounded approach to marketing to not only be present, but also to drive traffic and ultimately drive sales. There isn’t one smoking hot idea that just always, works but there are a lot of ways to use all of the tools out there to get the job done. “Our success and the success of our staff is proof of that as they are our most important marketing tool we have. Using the product, sharing their excitement and pride of where they work, that is what really makes the magic happen.”

What else would you like to tell other dealers in the lower 48 who only know Alaska from Bush People reruns on TV? “Alaska really is bigger than Texas,” he jokes.


Alaska Mining & Diving Supply 3222 Commercial Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99501 (800) 478-3444 (907) 277-1741

Dealernews Research By Don Musick


Playing Industry Twister With The Big Kids


ack from Dunkin’ with an extra-large dark roast/cream, so it’s time to revisit the Twister mat! You may remember our deep dive into Vector UTV’s market penetration via Home Depot in the past couple of issues? We took a look at how they were distributed across the United States (left foot orange in our game of Twister parlance). So where does a dealership get a toehold? Just take a look at how many lawn mower and OPE repair places go in around “Big Box Depots” — they might be able to sell units from a mega-store, but they farm out the service work (and in the case of UTVs, accessories).


As we noted at the end of our last column, Tractor Supply Co® UTV inventory can also be queried on a daily per store basis similar to Home Depot® Vector UTV. I reference “UTV inventory” since TSC carries multiple brands of UTV (e.g. Massimo, American LandMaster, Coleman & BMS. See Fig.1) unlike the exclusive Vector product carried by Home Depot. In this regard, TSC is more characteristic of a multi-line retail network than an OEM-exclusive based business model such as with Home Depot’s Vector. The exclusive nature of Vector can be seen from its dedicated product website Meanwhile, TSC’s mix of available UTV OEMs and models can vary during the selling season... as well as can in-store availability. This lack of consistency is another opportunity for a savvy powersports dealer as well. For the purposes of this analysis, TSC’s Massimo MSU-500 (Go Green!) was selected for a head-to-head evaluation with the Vector 500 4WD (left foot-orange). This model was selected in part because of its consistent availability throughout the 2018 season, as well as making a fair “apples to apples” comparison as much as possible (see Fig. 2). As noted in our last column, both of these products are manufactured by Hisun (coincidentally, Coleman is as well!).

Figure 1: TSC UTV OEM products

Figure 2: Tractor Supply® Massimo MSU-500 vs. Home Depot® Vector 500 4WD

The “2018 season” was analyzed for both retail networks, although the actual periods covered were TSC®: 11/201712/2018 and Home Depot®: 11/2017-02/2019. While the retail footprint of both retail networks is similar — TSC 1,763 vs. Home Depot 1,966 — their approach to after sales support is somewhat different. Home Depot’s Vector website identifies 151 independent servicing locations which are strategically placed to support Vector stocking stores (a shout-out to Ryan Daugherty, VP Sales & Marketing at Hisun Motors USA for the clarification) while TSC® relies entirely on the Massimo dealer network of 543 locations.

Figure 3 Reference to the Massimo network is not explicitly stated on the Tractor Supply website, although it can be found indirectly in the Q&A for individual models (Fig. 3).

Back to apples and apples. Let’s first take a look at the geographic distribution of TSC stores at a national level (Fig. 4). Measles outbreak? If so, it is mostly east of the Mississippi. TSC store distribution is heavily skewed to the eastern half of the country while Home Depot locations are more uniformly spread. We will take a deeper dive into the retail outlet map and Massimo marketing efforts next time. But for now, whether it’s “Where’s your Vector Victor” (left foot-orange) or “Where’s your Massimo Maximo” (right foot-red) the exposure of Hisun-manufactured product through big box retailers (Home Depot, Tractor Supply Co), adjacent market retailers (Cub Cadet) and independent dealer networks (Hisun, Massimo, Bennche), collectively serve to strengthen the brand’s prospects of success moving forward.

Figure 4: Tractor Supply Retail Network From his first motorcycles (a Honda S65 and an S90) when he was 16 to 50 years later, Don Musick has never stopped twisting the throttle. Although his accomplishments in the research arena have surpassed his MX career Don has over 25 years experience with major manufacturers in the Powersports and Automotive industries specializing in e-business solutions for retail distribution networks. His solution portfolio includes the development and implementation of manufacturer/dealer extranets, consumer-direct commerce portals, manufacturer/dealer e-channel integrations as well as development of web-based sales force automation tools. For most of his career, Don has been fascinated (his wife would say obsessed) with geographic market analytics, dealer location planning and sales territory optimization. He founded Genesys Technology Solutions (GenesysTech) to develop new tools and market intelligence products to help manufacturers understand the competitive landscape of their industries, recognize opportunities and grow their businesses. A Spartan to the core, Don earned a B.S. in Physiology APRIL 2019 25 and PhD in Biochemistry from Michigan State University. Contact:

Dealernews Research By Dr. Paul Leinberger



ave you ever heard the marketing term “B-to-C”? “B-to-C” is shorthand for “Business-to-Consumer” and it means that we, as business owners, sell our products and services directly to the consumer. B-to-C also means that we, as business owners, are in charge of the relationship with consumers. We initiate, consumers respond. Since the end of World War II and the rise of consumer affluence (think the Populuxe era of the 1950s and early ‘60s), consumer marketing has been defined by us as business owners. We marketed to “them” (consumers). We defined the terms of the relationship – what to buy, why to buy, when to buy and where to buy. If you want to buy a new motorcycle, we will tell you what we have to offer, where you can buy it, when you can buy it and why you should buy it. We dictated every aspect of the buying process. If the consumer did not like our terms of engagement, they could go somewhere else. However, every other business had the same terms, the same rules. Fast forward to today. As you have heard over-and-over by now, there is a revolution taking place in retail and it is sweeping across the land. Retail, as we have known it, is being upended and the pace of change is speeding up dramatically. Halfway through April (2019), American retailers have announced plans to shut 5,994 stores, exceeding the 5,854 stores announced in all of 2018, according to data from Coresight Research.


Why is this happening? Well, we all know the answer. It sits on our desktop and resides in our pocket. Increasingly, we are bypassing brick-and-mortar stores and buying directly online. Every year the numbers go up and most projections suggest that by 2025 more than 25% of all consumer spending will take place online. (I’d say that is a conservative estimate). Technology has made it possible to shift the terms of the buying process. There has been a polarity shift from B2C to C2B or consumer-to-business. You, as a business owner, are NO LONGER in charge of the relationship. The consumer is in charge. Let me say that again: As a business owner, you can no longer dictate the terms of customer engagement; the consumer now controls the dealership experience. What defines this dramatically-changed world, this C2B world? Consumers are no longer in service to us; rather, we are in service to them. That means we need to rethink our approach to business growth and ensure that our customers are at the center of all that we do. Our collective purpose is to respond to and deliver what our customers want. This may be the biggest challenge we have ever faced as powersports dealers. We have to put our customers first and that is easier said than done. Let’s look at some of the data. DL Strategy, my consulting firm, has just released the results of our 2019 Culture & Technology Intersection Survey and we see a dramatic shift away from traditional brand loyalty. Today’s consumers almost always comparison shop between brands when buying a product and almost always compare one retailer to another when making a purchase decision. In fact, 73% of consumers strongly agree or disagree with the statement: “I always comparison shop between brands when I want to buy something.” Many of us would like to believe that brand loyalty is as strong as ever. However, the reality is that in today’s C2B world, brand loyalty is dead! At retail, shoppers use smartphones to do additional research – and often make purchases via their phones while still in the store. Almost half, 47% of consumers strongly agree or agree with the statement: “I often use my smartphone to comparison shop – even when I’m in the very act of shopping in a store.” That number jumps to 68% of Millennial shoppers – those consumers who are key to our present and future business success. That is a very different reality than the one most of us are accustomed to. Powersports dealers are responding to shift to online buying and communication by moving our communications with our customers (and prospects) to online. That is the right thing to do. However, even online, the customer is exerting control. When we look at brand and dealership communication, we see a majority of consumers stressing that they get too many marketing emails from brands (and dealerships). Attitudes towards these emails vary.

© 2019 Denny Leinberger Strategy. All Rights Reserved. v010919

While many appreciate these emails – even if they don’t do anything about them – a sizeable number shunt all incoming brand and dealership emails to spam folders or dedicated low interest email accounts… 31% of consumers (and 39% of Millennials) strongly agree or agree with the statement: “When brands send me emails, I have them all sent either to my spam folder or an email account I rarely check.” Across a wide spectrum of brand communication options, the ones that are perceived as most influential are ALL useroriginated: being findable when looked for, either via online search or through circles of trusted friends and professional peers. When your customers are in control of the communication you win. We no longer live in a B2C world. We live in a C2B world!

A perennial keynote speaker for the Motorcycle Industry Council's annual Communications Symposium, Dr. Paul Leinberger has become the powersports industry's de facto futurist/strategist. Dr. Leinberger is an expert in market/brand strategy and research with more than two decades of social trend forecasting, market strategy and strategic planning. Prior to joining TTD, he was Senior VP of GfK NOP, where he ran the company’s flagship consumer trend services, Roper Reports, as well as the company’s groundbreaking Global Visual Database. His client list reads like a Who’s Who of corporate America: HewlettPackard, Apple, Disney, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Levi Strauss, E.& J. Gallo Winery and Toyota, among many others. Prior to his global responsibilities at GfK NOP, Dr. Leinberger was the Corporate Manager in the Product Planning and Market Strategy department at Nissan North America.

APRIL 2019


Dealernews Research By Lenny Sims


NADAguides Market Insights Power The Market Values


verall, the powersports market looks strong going into the prime selling season. In a pleasant surprise, sportbike values are seeing multi-year highs. Cruisers are also looking more positive than the previous two years. Meanwhile market leading utility Side-by-Sides are in line with recent trends, and sport Side-by-Sides remain solid. Looking at motorcycle values specifically, cruisers continue to lag 2015 and 2016, but are running slightly ahead of 2018, with positive directional movement. Employment and wage growth in 2018 likely attracted new buyers to this segment. Sportbikes continue their hot streak, bringing 6.2% more


money than this time last year, with prices continuing to appreciate. Moving over to Side-by-Sides, the utility segment started the year slightly behind 2018, but lost very little value later in the first quarter. Values are now essentially identical to this time last year. Sport Side-by-Sides are at a multi-year high, currently averaging 1.3% ahead of a strong 2018. Looking forward, the economic picture is somewhat less rosy than in early 2018, but discretionary spending should remain healthy going into the prime activity months.

About, the largest publisher of the most market-reflective vehicle pricing and information available for new and used cars, classic cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs and manufactured homes, offers in-depth shopping and research tools including a broad range of data, products and service and informational articles as well as tips and advice. NADAguides. com also produces electronic products, mobile applications, raw data, web services, web-syndicated products and print guidebooks. is operated by National Appraisal Guides, Inc., a division of J.D. Power.

J.D. Power/NADA Guides, Inc. 3200 Park Center Drive, 13th Floor Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (800) 966-6232 Fax (714) 556-8715 APRIL 2019




t may have taken a village to raise a child back in the 1990s, but with the Millennials it takes a community to get them out to experience a motorcycle ride. If only there was a better way to ride socially! Built as an integrated experience for the ultimate group ride WolfPack is a technological solution to the age-old problem of herding cats on a ride and a new way to getting new riders to embrace the open road. “There is a generation of younger riders who rely on their phones for route guidance, social connection and travel information,” says WolfPack CEO and founder Jonathan Chashper. “The WolfPack app delivers all of those benefits to our users.” In the works since 2017, WolfPack now has a trademark from the U.S. patent office, a pending patent application and it is now ready for prime time. With more than 50,000 users in more than 100 countries, a critical component to the App is the direct involvement of the dealer. WolfPack provides the perfect platform for dealer engagement with the rider community by putting access to dealers on the most intimate possession, their smart phone!


“We integrated features designed to support the business needs of motorcycle dealers,” explains serial entrepreneur Chashper. “Effective May 1, the app includes an event registration process and will help dealers engage the participants before and after their dealership-sponsored events. In addition, dealers may post recommended rides routes for small groups of riders and be acknowledged for being the source of that ride.” See WolfPack Central sidebar. “I started riding motorcycles 7 years ago and on one of my first rides with my buddies, we got separated… I spent a very frustrating couple of hours trying to reconnect — making a series of phone calls, text messages, then waiting until they were received by each person at a stopping point. We finally all got on the same page, but needless to say the ride was ruined and everyone wanted to head home.” This is the part where the motorcycle industry tends to lose a customer for life. Fortunately Chashper is made of sterner stuff than the average newbie. “As I was riding back, it got me thinking: there has to be a way to fix this — why should we get lost, separated, frustrated when each of us had a mobile phone, GPS and data? There had to be a solution… and that is how WolfPack was born, with the goal of keeping people traveling together, well… together.”

Here are some interesting insights from WolfPack current user base:

WolfPack Central


e all know the challenge of delivering a great experience on a group motorcycle ride. “Who’s signed up?” “Have they signed the release form?” “Does everyone know the route?” “What do we do if the group gets separated?” It requires a combination of great staff, high-quality advance planning and great road captains to make it happen. As a business person, it can make you nervous… And let’s not ask your insurance carrier how they feel about this, either.

As a Dealer using WolfPack, your planned events are posted directly to our riders. This allows a dealer to engage them before and after the event, specially, focusing on their participation, attendance and responsiveness. With WolfPack alerts, every event can draw new participants to your rides and more importantly, new customers to your dealership. With WolfPack dealers can analyze behavior, patterns, need for service or a new pair of tires, through actual user usage pattern.

According to Chashper, WolfPack is the ultimate dealer tool for delivering great customer events, and bringing new customers to your store. Forget the village, there is a community of riders an potential customers waiting at the tap of an App. If you are ready to run with the pack, click here for more details:

Last, but certainly not least, how do you make every ride an opportunity to reach, and connect with new customers? That’s why the WolfPack app and WolfPack Central are a perfect solution for motorcycle dealers and their customers. With the free Wolfpack app, each ride participant can log into the private “pack” that you set up for the event. You’ll have contact information for each rider as soon as they log in. The app delivers each participant turn-by-turn directions, so even if the group gets separated, your customers will never be lost. The app’s radar feature keeps your road captains updated on everyone’s location and allows instant, onebutton communication of pre-selected messages to the whole group. As a WolfPack Dealer, your planned events are posted to our riders. And with WolfPack alerts, every event can draw new participants to your rides and new customers to your dealership. With WolfPack Central, you’ll be able to save great routes from previous events, or plan rides for future events, monitor participant locations real-time during rides, and keep in close contact with all participants with the WolfPack chat feature. As a business, you want to minimize risk and deliver great customer experiences. As a motorcycle dealer, you know that the more a customer rides, the more likely they are to keep buying accessories, gear and new motorcycles. Making WolfPack Central part of your event program will set you apart from competitors and deliver your customers a confident, professional group ride experience. Connection, confidence, security. Great reasons to make WolfPack and WolfPack Central part of your dealership’s event plan. Best of all, WolfPack is offering dealers a 45 day free trial period here:

APRIL 2019


North America’s Most Important Powersports Tradeshow and Industry Gathering • See new products • 500+ OE's, distributors, aftermarket manufacturers and service providers • Poweful dealer education designed to make your business more profitable • New floorplan, lifestyle features and schedule make it easier to access the products, tools

and education that are most important to the growth of your business


Free Dealer Registration Now Open at








IMExpo presented by Nationwide, the premiere showcase for the powersports industry in North America, has re-imagined the show for 2019. Innovative new features, more relevant and powerful education tracks, new show hours, an industry job fair, hooliganstyle racing and more are on tap for this year’s event. Also new, Dealernews will produce the official show directory and show dailies for the 2019 AIMExpo in Columbus, Ohio, September 26-29, 2019. “Dealernews is proud to announce its partnership with AIMExpo to produce and publish the 2019 Show Directory and Show Dailies,” said Dealernews Publisher John Murphy. “For more than 50 years, we have been the leading trade media outlet for the powersports industry, so it is a natural fit to partner with the premiere trade show in North America.” In addition to its digitally delivered package, the August 2019 issue will serve as the official show directory and will be printed and distributed to all AIMExpo attendees. “The AIMExpo in Columbus is the powersports industry’s Show, and it is a vitally important component of our $24+ Billion industry.” “We’re returning to Columbus with a host of changes from last year’s successful show,” added Andre Albert, AIMExpo director of sales & marketing. “We’re excited to spotlight and energize the powersports industry and showcase the best it has to offer. The new lifestyle segments in the show bring the passion, excitement and freedom from our sport to the exhibition floor. Outside, we’re excited to add off-road demo rides to AIMExpo Outdoors. These additions combined with subtle but significant changes to the basic architecture of the show will give dealers, exhibitors and consumers the best show experience possible. “The move back to centrally located Columbus, Ohio, makes it a terrific opportunity for dealers and the public to see the 2020 products, but perhaps more importantly, to see one another. This “face-to-face” time is an opportunity to put a face to a name and to shake a hand to solidify existing relationships… and the chance to make new ones,” said Murphy. “That’s really what makes the AIMExpo so important.”


The August 2019 issue of Dealernews magazine will feature all the cutting-edge research, columnists and industry advocates dealers have come to expect each month, but will also contain EXCLUSIVE: FLOORPLAN EXHIBITOR LISTINGS & PRODUCT CATEGORIES GENERAL SHOW INFO & HOURS MAP OF GREATER COLUMBUS CONVENTION CENTER & ADJACENT ACTIVITY AREAS DEALER EDUCATION SCHEDULES Get your message in front of the entire industry at AIMExpo in the August issue as well as every dealer in North America each month leading up to AIMExpo presented by Nationwide in Columbus, Ohio, September 26-29, 2019. Visit to stay updated on all the 2019 news as it happens. Contact: for Advertising Space Reservations THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD! Returning to its home at the Greater Columbus Convention Center for 2019, AIMExpo attendees will be able to access the demo rides at AIMExpo Outdoors, as well as the re-imagined show floor. Three individual “Neighborhoods” will reflect the diverse powersports lifestyles, catering to the passions that help define our industry. “The Camp” is dedicated to Two- and Four-wheel Off-Road and Adventure enthusiasts, “The Alley” will cater to Street, Urban and Sport riders, while “The Shop” is where visitors will find the V-Twin, Cruiser and Custom segments. Each neighborhood will allow visitors to quickly find their area of interest and showcase the newest vehicles, parts, gear and accessories that best fit the lifestyle. Attendees can also enjoy specialty brews, coffee and music, as well as small, intimate “shop talks” hosted by industry experts specific to the individual niches to celebrate riding culture. Additional features will be highlighted in the months leading up to the show, but in addition to the traditional “trade show” visitors can expect a race night, custom bike show, industry job fair for those looking to start a career in the powersports industry, as well as a host of OEM event activations and aftermarket suppliers looking to earn your business.

Don’t forget that @AIMExpoRocks & #ColumbusRolls with great riding routes, nightlife and world class venues like the new Veterans Memorial to see around Columbus. If you do ride into Columbus, AIMExpo presented by Nationwide will offer FREE MOTORCYCLE PARKING and free gear check courtesy of Sheffield Financial.

COLUMBUS-STYLE PIZZA? DISCOUNT TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR LIMITED TIME AIMExpo presented by Nationwide – the only trade and consumer show for the North American Powersports Industry – is excited to announce that individual and group tickets are now on sale for the 2019 show taking place in Columbus, OH on September 26-29; individual, single-day adult tickets will never be offered at a lower price than now. For those who want to buy early and save the most, individual tickets for AIMExpo presented by Nationwide will be discounted to $10 each for the first two weeks. After that, tickets will be available at the regular price of $16 ($14 when purchased online). The four-day show is open to consumers on Saturday and Sunday, while trade attendees and media have exclusive access on Thursday and Friday. New for 2019, AIMExpo Outdoors – the home of street and off-road demos – will be open to all attendees including consumers on all four days. There is no fee to visit AIMExpo Outdoors but riders will need to wear appropriate gear if they wish to participate in the demo rides. To buy tickets now at the lowest price, please visit:

TEXAS HOLD ’EM? SOUTHWEST SUPERBIKES ALL-IN FOR COLUMBUS “I have attended every AIME event to date,” says Southwest Superbikes head wrangler Mark Peterson. “To get in front of the manufacturers, distributors and reps is by itself worth the effort to attend. The seminars, and informative meetings that are available are icing on the cake; not to mention getting to hang out with the industry friends that we don’t get to see often enough.” “The payback from attending AIMExpo far outweighs the time and expense put forth. The show is invaluable to see, touch and try new product; speak to the manufacturers, meet up with industry icons and learn the current market trends. The show offers the key ingredients needed to prosper and move forward in the powersports business.”

#ExperienceColumbus By Nicholas Dekker


olumbus is rich in pizza. Every corner of the city is home to multiple locally owned pizza shops, some old and some new, all churning out delicious pies. There are many different approaches to pizza, even Columbus style! Yes, it is a thing! Columbus style, also referred to as square cut, party cut, or tavern cut, is baked on a thin crust, covered edge-to-edge in toppings and cut into smaller squares. So where do you find it? Pizza pies with various toppings at Iacono’s PizzaIacono’s – serving central Ohio since 1978, Iacono’s has three locations around the city, serving Old World Pepperoni, Margherita, BBQ Chicken and other specialty pies. Visit for weekday lunch or Tuesday dinner for their pizza buffet! Rubino’s – follow the vintage neon sign down East Main Street to this Bexley institution, where you can enjoy delicious pizzas on cracker-thin crusts. Villa Nova Ristorante – a favorite spot on the southern end of Worthington, Villa Nova is known for their generously topped pizzas, including the fabled taco pizza. Tommy’s Pizza – another Columbus institution serving our signature cut, Tommy’s has long been serving thin crust pizzas from three locations: Dublin, Upper Arlington and across from OSU’s campus. Veggie-topped pie from Pizza House – open since 1961, the family-run Pizza House has served generations of Columbus residents who love their signature pizzas like the All The Way, the Pesto Special and the Hawaiian. Massey’s Pizza – getting its start in 1949, Massey’s now serves central Ohio from more than a dozen locations. Pizza flavors range from Philly steak to fiesta chicken, Hawaiian to supreme. They even offer a few deep-dish pies! Donatos – Donatos has a national presence but started right here in Columbus; their signature shape and cut is Columbus style all the way! In addition to writing for Experience Columbus, Nicholas Dekker is the blogger behind He writes about breakfast, brunch, coffee, donuts, beer, and more on his site.

APRIL 2019


With the exception of our motley crew, strategically positioned next to the Penton clan, the Carson Center was packed with the legends of our industry, from dealers, racers, entrepreneurs and promoters. “There are always so many friends to see and great moments to remember from the banquet,” adds Emde. “A few that stood out for me were the presentations to our honorees, including our first-ever double presentation of Dick Hammer Awards to Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey. They are both classic TrailBlazers who started young, riding local scrambles and TTs, then on to Ascot and finally becoming champions of the world.”

TrailBlazers 75th Anniversary


ince A.F. Van Order first brought together “The Old Timers” back in 1936, the TrailBlazers M/C has been honoring powersports pioneers. The first official “Trail Blazers” banquet was held in 1940 and it still remains a hot ticket after all these years. In fact, it only took eight hours to sell every single one of the 800 seats for the 75th Annual TrailBlazers Banquet on April 6 at the Carson Event Center in Carson, California. Thanks to Dealernews VP Stan Simpson, we were able to crash the party.

Hail to the Chiefs! MIC President Tim Buche with former AMA Chair (and Dealernews VP) Stan Simpson

“The purpose of the Trailblazers banquet has always been very simple,” says club President (and former Dealernews publisher back in the day) Don Emde. “Once a year we give former racers and members of the motorcycle industry a chance to reunite with old friends from days gone by. In addition to the legendary cast of honorees on stage this year, many more former world and national champions were in attendance, including Kenny Roberts, Malcolm Smith, Brad Lackey, Mert Lawwill, Bubba Shobert and others representing all aspects of the motorcycle sport.”

AMA Hall of Famer Jack Penton with Southwest Superbikes head wrangler Mark Peterson


The legendary John Penton with Dealernews Sponsorship Manager Tigra Tsujikawa

The rest of the night provided a great mix of motorcycle history recounted by this year’s Hall of Fame inductees: Chris Agajanian, A.C. Bakken, Mark Blackwell, Ed Burke, John Penton, Rex Staten and Jim Wilson. “We were also pleased to have previous TrailBlazers Hall of Fame inductee Paul Hunt on stage to present him with a replacement of his medal that was destroyed when his home was consumed last fall in the massive Paradise fire.” “It was also great to have Marty Tripes join us for the first time to be part of our recognition to MX pioneers Andy and

Marie DeLaTorre, former proprietors of Mid-Valley Cycles. They are now both in their 90’s and living in New Mexico, but Marty drove all the way out there and brought them out to the banquet.” Kudos to co-host Larry Huffman, who postponed heart surgery to be at the event. “I know I speak for everyone in the TrailBlazers universe when we wish him a speedy recovery. As I told him on the telephone the other day, he’s got a year to get healed up for the 2020 banquet.” Continued on page 38

Co-host Larry Huffman, Dick Hammer co-winner Eddie Lawson and co-host Don Emde

Larry Coleman, Tigra and Linda McDonald talking sidecar racing

Stan Simpson and Answer Racing founder Eddie Cole

APRIL 2019


Who’s Who


he list of motorcycle racing luminaries in attendance is always impressive with former world champions Kenny Roberts, Kel Carruthers and Brad Lackey on hand, plus many AMA Flat Track, Speedway, Off-Road and Baja champions, including: David Aldana, Mike Bast, Debbie Evans-Leavitt, Bob Hannah, John Hateley, Mert Lawwill, Bobby Schwartz, Del Kuhn, Bubba Shobert, Chuck Miller, Gene Romero, Mitch Mayes and many more. It was great to have Malcolm Smith in attendance following a freak accident recently where he suffered a broken hip after being struck by a golf cart. Other previous Dick Hammer Award recipients on hand (in addition to Roberts and Romero already mentioned) included Everett Brashear, Dave Ekins, Dennis Mahan, Sammy Tanner, CH Wheat and Ralph White. The late Dan Gurney’s sons Jimmy and Justin and Curt Van Leeuwen, son of our dear-departed friend Skip, were all on hand to represent their fathers. Scott Heidbrink gets the shot of Bob Hannah and Dick Hammer Award winner Wayne Rainey

This year’s Tom Cates Memorial Bike Show presented by Hagerty was better than ever, according to Emde. “Hats off to Co-Director of the show, Norm Bigelow, who rearranged the whole layout that allowed the motorcycles to be spread apart a little farther so you could see the whole bike. Some commented that it looked like we had less entries this year. The fact is we actually had about the same as always, they were just spread apart farther and we also had room for more chairs for people to sit on. Great job to the whole bike show team.” Emde extends the TrailBlazers thanks to all 800 people who ponied up for their tickets. “Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s banquet. You helped make it the biggest and best event in our long history. Of course it would not have been possible if not for the year-long commitment and hard work of the Trailblazers Board of Directors, our extended Banquet Committee, industry sponsors and selected contributors to produce the videos, artwork and printed matter. Thanks to all.” Mark your calendars. The 76th annual Trailblazers banquet will be held at the Carson Center on Saturday, April 4, 2020. As you read this, the committee will have already met once to begin plans for next year!

A passel of Pentons with our editor’s Penton




877.789.4940 |




Vanderhall Speedster Run To The Super Bloom By Alisa Clickenger Photos by Jen Muecke Editor’s Note: Is it an automobile or a motorcycle? Neither one... and both, it’s an autocycle says Jeff Whaley, VP of Sales & Operations for the Utah-based OEM. We pinned down Jeff just six weeks into his new gig and asked him to demystify Vanderhall’s product positioning and powersports industry opportunities for the Dealernews Live! cameras at the AIMExpo. Jeff does a great job of articulating the unique selling proposition in the three part series. However, nothing is as convincing as butts on seats, so we jumped at the chance to put the new Speedster through its paces. We also took the one person on the masthead who doesn’t even own a car to do the “rode test” with a fresh set of eyes since several of us had some seat time in the two-place Vanderhall models. For specific details on dealer programs, tune into Jeff’s YouTube interviews. He says opportunity is knocking for select dealers… tune in and profit:


erhaps living in the LA area I am unduly influenced by the motion picture industry, but from the moment I saw the Vanderhall at AIMExpo, I wanted to drive one. They appear to me like a cross between a space machine and something out of Hollywood’s glory days, and to me they are irresistible. When I was offered the opportunity to drive one to the Mission Motorcycles event at Moto Doffo in Temecula wine country, I jumped at the chance. That fact that it coincided with the Super Bloom was a true bonus.


Full disclosure: I do not own a car, only motorcycles. I don’t get to drive regularly, so I was a little intimidated by the Speedster. It being so low to the ground, I was worried that I would do some irreparable damage to it because I was out of driving practice. The instructions I was given to operate it were quite casually delivered, and in my excitement, I forgot them as soon as my tutor drove off and left me alone sitting in the Speedster’s solo seat. I couldn’t even get driver’s training if I wanted it. People think riding motorcycles is scary, but I have logged thousands of miles all over the globe without a care in the world… My initial timidity with the Vanderhall vanished as soon as I fired it up and went half a block! There was a party in my driveway that night, between the neighbors coming around to make their comments and my driving it up and down my little street. Yes, I wanted to do a few test runs before taking it on the open road. Turns out driving of the Vanderhall was not nearly as intimidating as I had made it out to be in my head... in fact, it was the opposite: the wind-up of the turbo activated some primordial part of my cortex. I can only blame the Speedster for what happened once I left my neighborhood in the dust. I am fortunate enough to live on the other side of the mountains from Malibu. There is a whole network of backroads that are just a joy for motorcycles… and Vanderhalls. Heading up and over the mountains and down

to the Pacific Ocean, the handling on the machine is so tight and responsive that once I gave the bump shifting a go, let’s just say that there was a lot of laughing out loud and shouting into the wind. I chose to wear a full-face helmet, which I think was a good move given my stature. At 5’ 11” in height my face stuck up quite a bit from the windshield (the Speedster gets a cutdown windscreen compared to the two seaters). That low to the ground there is lots of debris kicked up from the road and from other vehicles, so as much as I wanted the cool look of a leather flying helmet and split frame goggles (and a fancy silk scarf to stream behind me), instead I opted for a full face Schuberth instead. A word of warning: if you are the least bit shy, do not attempt to pilot a Vanderhall of any shape or size. I got hundreds of honks, thumbs up, and people shouting and hooting at me wherever I went. With the Vanderhall you will also need to build extra time in to any excursion. Beyond your neighbors, who get used to your sexy bullet-shaped vehicle, people will invariably stop you and ask you a question. They may even run towards you and startle you or holler at you on the freeway! Luckily there were postcards in the vehicle for me to pass out. I may have had a frown on my face when I gave back the Vanderhall, but I take solace in the fact that thousands of people driving down California’s Route 1 last Sunday still have smiles on their faces remembering that cool chick in the sexy boutique vehicle. I was so enthralled with the ride, I barely remembered to stop and smell the Super Bloom! The Vanderhall Speedster may not be the vehicle for every customer or every dealership… at least not until your butt hits the seat and that turbo spools up for the first time. After that, all bets are off! To become a Vanderhall dealer, click here:

APRIL 2019


WHAT THEY SAID The Vanderhall Venice Speedster is as much fun as you can have on three wheels! One seat, three wheels, four cylinders. It kept me smiling from start to finish. When I finally left the congested suburban town center and its gawking crowds, I opened up the Speedster’s throttle and gave out an exhilarated giggle. The wind whipped my hair around my face, every little tap of locks to skin is a sharp reminder of the bliss of open-air motoring. I didn’t quite realize how much I was smiling until my cheeks started to hurt. ~ Julia La Palme Road & Track The Speedster delivers quality, aesthetic beauty, a direct hands-on driving experience and a wonderful feeling of freedom not available in a car, motorcycle or even in some lesser autocycles whose names we shan’t mention. Sales have been more than healthy since the initial launch, too, with a percentage growth in revenue as follows: 2015 to 2016: 400%, 2016 to 2017; 333% and 2017 to 2018 (projected) 177%. ~ Josh Max Forbes The real breakthrough here is the way it attracts grownups, not just kids. Of course, some states still think of three-wheelers like this as motorcycles, so your DMV might tell you that you must have a motorcycle rider’s license and wear a helmet. But some 28 states now recognize the “autocycle,” which is legally categorized as an automobile. As soon as you snap your goggles in place and take the wood-rim steering wheel in your hands, you know this is really all about a classic driving experience, where the number of wheels on your car is way less important than the number of bugs on your teeth. ~ Michael Jordan, Automobile The Vanderhall Venice Speedster is a charming ride, and, no doubt, a great fourth, or fifth vehicle for someone who wants a fun weekend toy. That the Speedster costs $3,000 less than the standard Venice makes it the more appealing option of the two, especially once you look at the list of standard features. The biggest hang up for most people is going to be the price tag. While it is priced competitively against a mid-spec Polaris Slingshot, or even a higher-end motorcycle, bringing in customers not well-versed in the powersports world might be a bit tough. Whether or not the charming drive is enough to win you over is ultimately your call, but I certainly recommend giving it a go. Regardless of price point, I couldn’t help but smile behind the wheel of the Speedster, and isn’t that the point of a toy? ~ Jake Stumph 6SpeedOnline


Continued from page 41

BRAND BUILDING BASICS By The Numbers With Purple Monkey Garage By Josh Tolley


n my last piece for Dealernews we spoke about the realities of being in business during a time of major transition for an industry, like it is today. A decision needs to be made: either you succumb to the dread and just die off… or you fight to redefine your industry, and your role within it. Since you have read this far, I am going to assume you have decided to fight. The fist step then is getting back to your brand. Remember, a brand is not a logo, name, color scheme, or slogan. All of those things can be associated with a brand, but they do not constitute a brand. We also have to realize that whatever manufacturer’s products you carry are not your brand, either. Too often in the dealership world business owners want to just adopt the franchise brand’s identity and hope the draw of that larger name bring in customers willing to spend money. This is a huge mistake! When we make the error of adopting the OEM brand as our identity we are relying on something (in this case that larger company) that is out of our control. For example in the past 20 years many of the brands in the motorsports space have done an absolutely dismal job building and keeping their brands strong. In turn, the traffic into dealerships has suffered due in no small part to the declining ‘pull’ of that larger manufacturer’s brand.


The second problem with relying on the larger brand’s pull to be the driving force for your business is that it actually takes away from the power of your own brand. A brand is an expression of your company’s beliefs. Let’s take Apple for example. If you were to go ask a hundred people what comes to mind when you say the word “Apple” they will not say the fruit or even the pie. Instead they will answer “Computers, phones, tablets” — even more that just the products though, they will say “Higher priced, quality, less viruses, yuppy-ish.” Apple Inc., spends a lot of time, money and energy making sure that is what people think when they hear the word Apple. What do you want people to think, and thus believe, about your dealership? Your brand has to be more than just “the place you go to buy XYZ” otherwise the Internet will continue to kill you as it brings to the customer hundreds of other places to order XYZ. If you believe your dealership is the best place (even better than the Internet) to get XYZ, then you have to be able to tell me why. That ‘why’ is the beginning of your brand. Now taking that ‘why’ and making it experiential is bringing it home.

Continued on page 46

• 1.0 to 1.2mm cowhide leather • • Pockets for optional armor at the shoulders, elbows & back (D.D. Spine pad JRP 159-0024, • C.E. Elbow JRP 659-1005, C.E. Shoulder JRP 659-1006) • Removable quilted full sleeve liner • 2 zip hand pockets • 5 inside utility pockets (2 inside vest liner, 3 inside jacket) • Variable Flow™ ventilation system front & back • High density padding in elbows & shoulders


• • YKK® zippers throughout • Comfort neoprene edge on collar • Subtle embroidered tone on tone badging










Continued from page 44

Make a list of eight reasons people should be buying from you. Then for each of those reasons come up with four ways customers can experience those eight reasons. Now, develop a plan to let people know about and experience your now solid brand.

Make a list of eight reasons people should be buying from you. Then for each of those reasons come up with four ways customers can experience those eight reasons. Now, develop a plan to let people know about and experience your now solid brand. Too often when I talk to dealers they say, “Well we do demo rides” or “We have a social media presence.” Yet neither one of those things will move the needle if you don’t also develop and expose your brand correctly. We need to stop thinking that a product’s brand name will draw business because it used to in the past or because you are the only one with that product line in a certain geographical territory. That’s just being lazy. There is no room for lazy in an industry that needs to develop a way to survive. Also, realize that even if you are locked into a single manufacturer’s product line, you still need to develop your own dealership’s brand. When I work with dealerships in this position — as well as most franchise owners — one of the first things that needs to be done is becoming a brand within a brand. You now have some basic understanding of what a brand truly is, as well as some homework to help you develop that brand. Next time we will talk about adverting.

ABOUT PUPRLE MONKEY GARAGE Home to one of the Top 100 Business Trainers, Josh Tolley, Purple Monkey Garage has been in operation for 20 years. In a world dominated by motivational speakers, failing dreams, and economic turmoil, we have created what is believed by many to be the most complete coaching/consulting company in the world. Instead of building engines or realigning tires, we’ve forged a comprehensive toolbox that’s already helped thousands. Purple Monkey Garage’s teachings have been raved about by huge names from governors of states, presidential candidates, network television, billionaire CEOs, and householdname brands. We don’t have to name drop because we are the name to drop. Now, literally 20 million people have been exposed to our brand of teaching. Learn more at:




t seems like we are always refereeing the sales people on the floor. There may be that one salesperson who talked to a certain customer, only to have that customer buy a bike from a different salesperson. Maybe someone phoned in, then came in and bought a bike from someone else. Sometimes a customer will go to a different salesperson because they think that a better deal is to be had from someone else. Or the customer in question never asked for the guy he talked to on the phone. Or forgot the name. Of course, the “wronged” salesperson puts up an argument that that sale was “his” and he should have the deal. We have all experienced these problems. These types of conflicts are bound to happen in a competitive environment. I call them “cat fights.” I have heard many sales managers getting upset by these conflicts and constantly trying to prevent them. They get upset, or try to convince the salespeople involved that this infighting is not healthy. WRONG! I appreciate salespeople for what they are; Strong people expressing a territoriality about their sales process. Think about it. Would you rather have these cat fights, or salespeople who are always trying to avoid these conflicts? Strong salespeople will always have conflicts. It’s part of their makeup. They look at every customer as a sale, and when they lose that sale to another salesperson, it rubs them the wrong way. It gets their dander up. I’m not saying that you should allow fist fights, yelling matches and other dramatic turns of events, but controlled dialog and debate are very healthy. If there is always peace, then could it be that your sales team is too comfortable? That they are not hungry? That they are not fighting for every sale?


Maybe a customer puts up a few objections, and instead of knocking those objections down, the salesperson involved capitulates… and that sale walks out the door. A more aggressive salesperson would have handled all of the objections and made that sale. Do you have sales people that don’t like to contact customers because they may get a “No?” Of course, you must have rules. Use Lightspeed to make notes about each customer as they make contact with the team members. The first person to make contact (AND make the notes) should be that client’s primary contact. If someone comes in, and it’s obvious that they know too much, or make hints that he’s been there, the salesperson should be inquiring about that. If the client doesn’t remember who he was talking to, and there are no notes in Lightspeed, then that client is fair game. If a customer waves at a salesperson, and calls him by name, that would also be a clue. There are many things that would be a tell or a sign that maybe this customer has been dealing with someone else, and he should be directed back to that salesperson. However, if one salesperson just says “Hello,” to a customer, that does not make them “his.” There should be continued contact and questions that perhaps can lead to a sale. If a customer says “I’m just looking,” and is left alone, but sometime later buys from someone else, the first salesperson cannot claim that customer as “his” just because he said “Hello.” The customer belongs to the store, and not to anyone else. The salesperson must work for the sale. One of our rules is that if the customer is currently in the system, and another salesperson puts him in again, and makes a sale, we deny the second salesperson the commission from that sale. There must be some checking of every name that’s put into the system. You have to have rules that refer to the problems you might have on the floor. Your shop may have different problems; however, I suspect that a lot of them share salespeople “stealing” deals from each other. Establish rules that are fair, and treat everyone at an equal level. Listen to every claim, and make a balanced decision. And, of course, be consistent. Don’t look at “cat fights” as necessarily a bad thing, but a symptom of salespeople who are probably aggressive, and working every situation for a deal. Because that’s what you want!

Yes, our international man of mystery is a real dealer; no we are not going to tell you who he is. Saying the things that you are thinking, without risking getting the franchise pulled. The Anonymous Dealer has more than three decades experience at the dealership, in every position from porter to dealer principal.

We Respect the Ride For forty years, Yuasa has set the standard by which all other powersports batteries are judged. It’s why more OEMs — in the US and worldwide — choose Yuasa. / #WhatDrivesYu


TOP 100 LEADERS IN POWERSPORTS We Interrupt This Program To Bring You An Important Message

By Bob Althoff


here are far too many interruptions in life. The pace seems even faster. The noise from our devices can be deafening. When every tweet, every e-mail, every call, every staffer and every customer needs to be considered, it can all be a bit too much. Dealers deserve to be recognized for retail excellence now more than ever. Given that context, the decision to interrupt the Dealernews Top 100 Dealer competition was not taken lightly. We remain convinced it is the most comprehensive; the most objective and the most prestigious measurement of excellence in our industry. It is important… and it will return.

Being in the Dealernews Top 100 really means something to those worthy of the honor. Sure, there are awards Dealers can win from their OEMs, but they can sometimes measure servitude better than retail excellence. There are other wanna-be competitions, but their judging is not as rigorous and track record not nearly as extensive. Dealernews has always employed a panel of industry experts to score entries independently. It takes multiple judges — blind to one another’s scoring — whose scores are then compiled to


secure consideration for the Top 100, it requires the further compilation and distillation of perhaps six or eight separate category scores to be tallied to then rise to the top of our industry. Final compiled scoring can be razor thin. The difference between Top 100 and being number 101 with no cigar is literally a fraction of a point. For any Dealer good enough and fortunate enough to have been named a TOP 100 winner over the past 25 years, you know what a truly big deal it is. We know full well the great work being done by our approximately 10,000 powersports Dealers across North America. Work being done by Dealers large and small in big cities and in rural communities. Work being done under what must be considered very difficult times. Work that represents the passion our Dealers have for our sport, our lifestyle, our customers and their communities. To our Top 100 Dealers — we salute you! You know who you are. You know the hard work going on in your stores. You know the long hours you and your staffs endure in your pursuit of passion and profit.

Nevertheless, we have interrupted the Top 100 this year. We were busy preparing this year’s Top 100 Dealer competition when someone on our team asked out loud, “What could be more important than this?”

We all recognize the honor that comes with being listed here as having reached the pinnacle of an industry. We trust that being included will result in a renewed drive to lead — really lead — from every honoree.

After some debate, we considered the fact that there might be something, if not more important, perhaps equally important. We asked ourselves with some temerity if we shouldn’t compile a list of the Top 100 Leaders of our industry. That set us down a path that was long, and at times, torturous. We compiled lists of categories of Leaders who might be considered.

Our industry has for far too long been separated into too many silos. We can no longer afford the luxury of multiple tribes defined by historical divisions. Our industry needs to come together. And only leaders who boldly define a new vision are capable (and deserving) of setting that course.

Then we asked that each member of our team put forward their nominees. It was then that we began a series of meetings that lasted hours. These meetings reminded us of the many contributions being made by all of these nominees. And, as should be added, there were more than 350 men and women who made the “short” list. How could we possibly narrow the list to only 100? This is, of course, the dilemma our judges faced every year for the past 25 years in determining the Top 100 Dealers. But we continued to meet, to educate one another and to extol the virtues of the nominees… Sadly, some very good and deserving folks ended up on the cutting room floor. To them (and they know who they are) we ask: Keep slugging, keep serving the industry from which we derive our living… the industry we love. Dealers need you to lead. So, if you are absent from this list, know that by dint of your dogged perseverance in the pursuit of excellence, you will one day be honored by inclusion. To those whose names are among the listing, accept our gratitude and respect for the work you do. Your work, over the years, today, and on into the future, is absolutely crucial to our shared success. Your failure to lead might similarly be the reason we all fail. It must be noted that we were staggered to recognize the recent passing of far too many of our industry leaders: To death, to retirement or simply from leaving the industry. This churn is common, one supposes, to many industries, but the loss of even one hurts us all. It does however open lanes for new leaders to emerge.

As Dealers, we all recognize that these Leaders are critical in the re-birth of our industry. Surely, we could take a minute to recognize their importance. And to thank them for their many contributions to our industry. Assembling this list wasn’t easy. Nor should it be. There are surely many, many more Leaders than 100. For whomever we have omitted, we sincerely apologize. Maybe a more important question has arisen: Exactly what have these Leaders done to lead our industry? Has that leadership been sufficient to the task? Who are the next generation of Leaders? If you are listed here, perhaps you are asking yourself these same sorts of questions. There is an old saying that the greatest gift a teacher can give a student is that of introspection. Our industry can use a little of that about now. We hope that our “interruption” will be perceived by all as a call to arms. We need bold, inspired leadership. We need fewer “silos” and more alignment. Vague exhortations about “the need for new riders” must perforce be consolidated in order to achieve critical mass. They say a brand is a story. Our industry has such a rich and compelling story. We seem, however, to have lost our way in effectively telling our story in a big, emotional and impactful way. Great leaders are invariably great storytellers. But an industry must find a way to take 100 great storytellers and crystalize them into that one story that is so undeniable that future generations are inexorably drawn to it. Congratulations TOP 100 Industry Leaders. You have done much… and have much yet to do.

APRIL 2019


Donald Amador Terry Baisley George Barber Alex Baylon Phil Bellomy Joey Belmont Bill Berroth Greg Blackwell Mark Blackwell Chuck Boderman Mitch Boehm JosĂŠ Boisjoli Jim Boltz Maggie McNally-Bradshaw Anthony Bucci Tim Buche Erik Buell Jon-Erik Burleson Chris Carter Alisa Clickenger Cliff Clifford Leticia Cline Mike Collins Davey Coombs Rod Copes 52

Dave Damron Sam Dantzler Roger DeCoster Rob Dingman Don Emde Jeff Emig Donny Emler Fred Fox Kerry Graeber Scot Harden Mel Harris Tracy Harris Kim Harrison Carey Hart Byron Hines John Hinz Roland Hinz Todd Huffman Bill Jenkins Buzz Kanter Bob Kay Cinnamon Kernes Kim Knupp Michelle Kumbier Troy Lee

Jerry Lenz Matt Levatich Larry Little Michael Lock Rod Lopusnak Mike Martinez Mary McGee Jeremy McGrath Mark Mederski Steve Menneto Frank Miyake Bill Nash Lynn Nathan Robert Pandya Jill Parham Travis Pastrana Robert Pearce Mark Peterson Mike Peyton Ryan Ragland Wayne Rainey Terry Rymer Don Riggle Adam Sandoval Sarah Schilke

Genevieve Schmitt Ron Seidner Craig Shoemaker Oliver Shokouh Christine Sommer Simmons Lenny Sims Curtis Sloan Malcolm Smith Bob Starr Marilyn Stemp Gart Sutton David Thom Valerie Thompson Mark Tuttle Terry Vance Anya Violet Paul Vitrano Dale Walksler Scott Wallenberg Mike Webster Joe White Scott Wine Jim Woodruff Rod Woodruff Gail Worth APRIL 2019














A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP Personnel Files By Alex Baylon


ave you ever heard of “sense of ownership?” Common sense will tell you it’s when a person has a sense of ownership over something. Even my dog has a sense of ownership… sure, it’s over her toys. Try to take away a toy and she will rush to stop you. Tell her to fetch her favorite (Earl the hedgehog), and she knows exactly what and who I’m talking about. It makes sense then that the same sense of ownership can be used to motivate employees, but on a much, much, higher level. Let me tell you a story that will explain exactly how you can use this sense of ownership to increase profits, improve job satisfaction and engagement, and as a bonus, help your customer service improve tremendously. I was at a dealership in the parts department one day talking with the owner when he told me he assigned the off-road section to one of his parts guys, and the street side to a


different parts guy. Simple enough, right? Guess what happened? The guys started competing to make their sections better. They took pride in their departments. During slow times they cleaned and merchandised their sections instead of being on their phones. The owner didn’t increase their pay and he didn’t offer any additional bonuses. Instead what the owner offered was to involve his employees in the decision of bringing in new brands and products that fell into their proper department like street or offroad. It created a sense of pride and ownership in their work… and it didn’t cost a dime. Later I ran into a dealer who was complaining about their parts employees being on the phone instead of working. It’s a common problem with all businesses these days. I remembered the dealership I was in previously and what happened when there was a sense of ownership over things so I discussed that with the dealer. He already had employees in

charge of parts that he didn’t want to move… so I encouraged him to think outside the box. After talking back and forth, we decided to address the root of the problem: smart phones! The dealer ultimately put one employee in charge of Instagram and another in charge of the Facebook account. Since most people are competitive, and especially those in the motorcycle industry, the employees stated competing for “likes,” on their respective social media platforms, creating specials and giveaways that enticed customers to come in the door, etc. This was a win-win for the dealership and its customers, and it possibly saved the employee’s jobs by keeping them off the phone on personal pursuits. How To Encourage Employees To Have A Sense Of Ownership Be Honest. Let your employees know about business processes and be truthful about the outlook. You’ll be amazed when things look bad how quickly employee support can help turn things around.

Here are 10 tips to creating a sense of ownership at the dealership level. 1) Delegate Authority: What better way to show employees you’re all in the same boat? 2) Share Your Vision: Want a real team? Share what your vision is for the company… employees with shared vision will be invigorated… those who don’t share your vision can move on. 3) Allow Employees to Help with Goal Setting: A goal set by a team becomes a reality more than a goal set by one. 5) Encourage Problem Solving: Give employees a chance to find solutions instead of just pointing out issues. Employees work harder when they are working toward a goal/solution they set. 6) Hold Employees Accountable: When something doesn’t go right, hold employees accountable. They’ll make sure everyone is in line and you’ll get less push back in the end.

7) Explain Why Things Are Done: Don’t tell employees to do things, explain why they’re done. Employees have ideas about how to fix things… and have better alternatives if you explain why you do things a certain way. 8) Trust Your Employees: They’ll make the right decision if you lead them to it and give them space to try. 9) Recognize and Acknowledge Good Work: Nothing makes employees feel better than being recognized for their good ideas, work, and ethics. 10) Provide Constructive Feedback: Make sure your feedback helps and doesn’t hinder. Feedback given too late or in a negative way only makes kids upset. It does the same for employees. Providing employees with a sense of ownership can make a huge difference in your company. And, you can utilize this rationale outside of the business as well. Trying to get your kids to clean their room? Give them a sense of ownership over their things. Explain why they should take care of their stuff, etc. Bottom line: Providing a sense of ownership is a win-win, in the motorcycle industry and outside!

MIJ Industry #PROfiles

Dealernews is honored to work with Motorcycle Industry Jobs to recognize the people who make up this great industry. “When you start reading the Industry #PROfles, you will notice that 80-90% of them get their start at a motorcycle dealership,” says MIJ founder Alex Baylon. “The dealers are on the front lines and have always been the heart and soul of the industry. Without motorcycle dealerships, most of us wouldn’t be where we are today, so part of our message is always going to be ‘support your local motorcycle shop.’” In addition to recognizing industry pros, Dealernews is also working with MIJ to create a job ticker tape of the latest positions opening in the industry at the site. Check it out at: “Tell us your story,” adds Baylon. “We would love to feature you! Click here to fill out the questionnaire: founder Alex Baylon has been hiring and firing people in the powersports industry for 25 years. Currently with a major distributor, he has also been with Dragon Alliance, Ceet Racing, MX GP Services in Europe, Acerbis USA, Motonation/Sidi Boots and Scott USA. He started MIJ as he saw a need in the industry for people who are passionate about the motorcycle industry to have an employment outlet. The motorcycle industry like many others has always recycled employees from one company to another and it has always been done by word of mouth. MIJ allows companies in the industry to post their openings and give others in and out of the industry a chance to apply and insert new blood and fresh ideas in the many opportunities in the motorcycle industry. APRIL 2019 57

Northern Exposure By Marq C. Smith

Which Super Hero Are You?


n these days of these mega budget super hero movies, it has often occurred to me that certain characteristics of managers can be likened to comic book characters. For instance, are you the manager who looks at all infractions as if you were the Punisher, or do you have the diplomacy of a Captain America?


Do you immediately go into the mode of making an offending employee who has made a mistake pay for his misdeeds by giving him something to “think about?” Or do you sit down with him, and find out what the motivation was for this seeming error? You have to remember that most people want to do well, and are usually looking for

validation. If you are always the one who immediately goes into situations with guns blazing every time someone makes a mistake, then you’ll find that the good employees will go away, and the ones who are, shall we say, less motivated, are left working for you. I always try to find out all of the facts about an incident before I make a decision. At least, now I do. When I first was an employer, I would often go off, halfcocked, thinking that someone has deliberately tried to mess up my day. Usually that was not the case. Then I would have to find a way to make amends. Sometimes it was quite embarrassing. I realized, after some time, that most people usually had a very good reason for their actions, and more often than not, it was the right decision when all the facts and options were looked at. But perhaps they didn’t have all the facts at their disposal. Maybe this was a totally new experience for them, and they made the best decision they could at the time. And, of course, there were often other actions that could have been taken. That’s when you go into a “Coach” mode. (Maybe that could be a new super hero!) Let’s look at what happened, why it happened, and what could we have done differently. You’ve been around. You’ve probably seen this problem before, and maybe the employee just needs some guidance to see another process that could have changed the outcome. Do you think that a Coach or Punisher mode would work in most situations? Are you the guy who looks for a way to “teach them a lesson,” or are you the guy who will take the time and teach them a lesson? You have to decide where the line is. What behavior is unforgivable? Is it sneaking out to have a smoke? Is it someone who makes an adding mistake, and costs you some money? Is it a staff member telling off a rude customer? Most things can be investigated and then a determination made as to what was really done, and what could have been done differently.

One thing I dislike is when a mistake is made, and it is hidden from me. Usually the Punisher type of manager has this happen. Another is when a trusted employee steals from the company. Or threatens another employee. Or is a bully, or makes sexual remarks to others. These types of things are symptoms of a lack of morals or integrity. Other than that, most things can be explained. We just need to look at the facts with some impartiality.

Marq C. Smith has been involved in motorcycles since he was 17 years old. He worked for Canadian HarleyDavidson importer Trev Deeley as well as being the dealer principal for his dealership Western Powersports (not to be confused with the American Distributor Western Power Sports) for 21 years. He currently works at Holeshot Motorsports, in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. He taught rider safety courses for 10 years, and still is involved in making sure new riders get proper training. When he is not working in a dealership, he tours all over North America by motorcycle. He does plenty of dirtbiking and ATV riding as well. Famous Last Words: “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

APRIL 2019


By Alisa Clickenger

Women Wheels Wine


t was a sunny Sunday afternoon, but with 200 miles of back roads along the California coastline and a wine tasting event at the end of the long journey, my pace was anything but sluggish. Pushing the Vanderhall Speedster through the Malibu hills then down the California coastline, slow was simply not an option. Although the Vanderhall is the type of vehicle that makes a destination unnecessary, this was a case where there were places to go and people to meet. Doffo Winery was hosting its Women Wheels Wine fundraiser. The event was to benefit Motorcycle Missions, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation helping Veterans and First Responders who deal with PTSD and suicidal ideation find hope and healing through motorcycles. Motorcycle Build Mentorship Program is a program aimed at getting warriors with PTSD connected with the motorcycle community, working with their hands, and subsequently renewing their sense of passion and purpose for life. Motorcycle Missions was founded by Krystal Hess, a nurse and customizer who suffered from PTSD after escaping domestic violence in her marriage and witnessing a loved one’s suicide attempt. Hess turned her tragedy into triumph through motorcycling and founded Ricochet Customs, a powder-coating and customization business. She says the goal of Motorcycle Missions is to instill a life-long passion for riding and building motorcycles that will help sufferers enjoy a happy, healthy and balanced lifestyle after trauma.


Motorcycle Mission’s founder Krystal Hess and the first all-women build. Next time we see this little Honda will be the finished project at the Long Beach IMS.

The Motorcycle Build Mentorship Program that Motorcycle Missions created gets them actively participating in a motorcycle build AND working with their hands. This helps facilitate the healing of PTSD by renewing their sense of passion and purpose for life. Motorcycle Missions aims to build two to four custom motorcycles per year, ensuring that participants have access to tools, lifts, welding equipment, and hands-on instruction from start to finish. At the Moto Doffo event Motorcycle Missions announced their first all-women bike build. Like Motorcycle Missions’ other builds, the participants meet once a week until project completion. Then their bike gets shown around the country at various shows for at least six months before it is sold or raffled off to raise money for future projects. While it may seem unusual to mix motorcycles and wine, it is, in fact, business as usual for Doffo Winery. The winery has a long tradition of artistry with both wine and motorcycles, thanks to family patriarch and winery founder Marcelo Doffo. Marcelo collects and restores motorcycles, and when he ran out of space in his garage, he started storing his bikes inside the winery itself. Combining his passions has become a de facto way of life and it is one of the big draws for this unique winery and vineyard. The entire Doffo family rides motorcycles and several generations of Doffos are regularly seen at the track all at one time. The entire family is also at the Doffo Winery, with all children growing up with wine running through their veins. Marcelo’s son Damian once served as assistant winemaker, and now serves as general manager. Marcelo’s daughter Samantha is the winery’s events coordinator and is responsible for turning Doffo Winery into the Temecula Valley destination that it is today. Marcelo’s daughter Brigitte Doffo-Cartaya runs the tasting room and is responsible for creating the wonderful vibe in the Doffo wine tasting experience. After the unveiling of the Motorcycle Missions’ latest project bike and a meet and greet with Motorcycle Missions founder Hess, The Real Deal’s Jessi Combs offered a welding demonstration and lessons to any interested women. Talented Theresa Contreras also offered a pinstriping demonstration and a raffle was held with all proceeds going to Motorcycle Missions.

After the kick off party, the real work on the old Honda scrambler begins for the ladies. We can’t wait to toast the finished product at the Long Beach IMS tour stop. Maybe we will have to return to Doffo a few more times for progress reports? Where did we leave the keys to that Vanderhall Speedster? More details on Motorcycle Missions and the application for the program can be found at:

APRIL 2019


the right track. Poke the bear! He explained the risks of a cheaper product for someone who rides as much as I do — he knew how many miles a year I put in and was protecting me from a disappointing experience. Agreement from a product expert like him will always seal the sale for me. I pulled out my wallet. This salesman also knew something about me that I didn’t know myself. Customers justify with their intellect, but buy with their emotions. My intellect tells me “too expensive.” My emotions tell me “this thing is awesomely cool and I have to have it.” The salesman, however, diverted my simpleminded price comparison onto emotional experiences by explaining the plusses of the Belchfire. I didn’t need to hear the negatives on the other products — they were for other riders who didn’t ride as much or as hard as I did. Do you see the emotional compliment the salesman triggered inside myself? Now, I was actually afraid to buy a cheaper exhaust system.

Confessions Of A Customer


By Eric Anderson


Encouraging Customers To Invest In Premium Products


s I stood there holding a new uber-premium, featherlight, titanium and carbon Belchfire X-Power exhaust system in my hands, the salesman said something that stopped me in my tracks. “Every price is too high, you know.” The salesman’s pause allowed the statement to sink in before continuing.

Both government and private business surveys show “price” is the sixth most important consideration when buying a product, yet it is the easiest (and first) to compare for an uninformed or inexperienced individual. Originally, the price was all I saw on the product. The bullet points, warranty, performance and the rest didn’t become clear until the salesperson pointed them out to me. For an expensive investment like this, it’s necessary to have a trained staff expert. Do you have nametags for your staff which points out their area of expertise? Suspension? Performance? Tires? Apparel? Batteries? Touring? ADV? Offroad? Seeing those specialized nametags gives customers more confidence in making our buying decisions.

“That system costs more because of the quality materials used in construction and the huge amounts of testing, research and racetrack development invested. I have lower cost systems with lesser materials and simple dyno testing, but they might actually end up costing you more than the one you have in your hand.” My “price whining” instantly stopped while the desire for more information began to grow. The salesman wisely awaited my response without attempting to fill the pregnant pause as I re-lived my memories of dealing with “cheap products.” I remembered in a flash my cheap MX boots which I hated so much I gave them away. I remembered the Harbor Freight impact hammer that exploded when I needed it most. And then the memory of that cheap battery charger which gave out on me last week. It takes “time” to deal with the fall out and replacement of such cheap parts and accessories. Time is money. I couldn’t resist asking, however, “Whaddya mean, the cheaper one might cost me more?” I knew the answer before he even answered, but as a customer we occasionally need to hear what we already know... just to be sure we are on


Price is usually the first line of resistance when considering any product. It’s actually an invitation from the customer to you, Mr. Salesperson, to justify its value. If you don’t rise to the occasion, the buying process comes to a rapid halt. Value is the emotional combination of price, quality and service. Your job as a salesperson is to tell your customer why he is better off with the products you are offering him.

TOP FIVE TACTICS Here are five ways to go beyond “price” when selling premium products: 1. Explain product benefits rather than just prices. 2. Protect the price whiner’s ego--focus on non-price extras/services 3. Sell visions and testimonials regarding the product Practice using comments like: increased comfort, improved durability, better styling, superior performance, more convenience, cheaper in the long run, better image or superior protection. These all help you justify the customer’s “investment” in the product, which BTW is a much better word to use than “price.” Every price is too high — until you explain the benefits and involve your customer emotionally. Encourage your dedicated riding customers to invest in themselves and not just buy commodity products.

4. Paint the picture of using and enjoying the product 5. Train yourself to sell “value” and not “price”

COMMUNICATIONS Honda and Score Big Media Placement for Little Bike The latest issue of Popular Science includes a two-page color spread with the new Honda Monkey and a story by Editor-in-Chief Joe Brown. The national magazine media placement is one of the latest orchestrated by, the industry’s media outreach program. “Of course, it started with Honda building the latest version of an irresistible classic and gaining the attention of Joe Brown, a long-time contact,” said Ty van Hooydonk, MIC communications vice president. “He pinged us, wanting to set up a photo shoot in New York, so we called Honda and they made arrangements to deliver the bike. Boom, another giant earned mainstream media placement.” Read More

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS Interior Gives Outdoor Recreation, Public Access a Boost The MIC and other outdoor recreation industry groups applauded a recent secretarial order that will help prevent the sale of public lands important to outdoor recreation while ensuring that public access be a key consideration in land exchanges. The U.S. Department of the Interior last month released Secretarial Order 3373, which directs the Bureau of Land Management to formally consider what impact the disposal or exchange of BLM land will have on the public’s ability to access federal lands for recreation. “This order will help ensure that the Bureau of Land Management considers public access to public lands,” Acting Secretary David Bernhardt said. Read More


Preserve Protect, Promote You take care of business. We take care of the business environment. Strong, effective representation in Washington, D.C. and state capitals • Vigorous media outreach • Industry statistics source Sales data • Educational symposiums and networking opportunities Join MIC’s 650 member companies and strengthen the industry. Visit the MIC Business Center on the AIMExpo show floor at Booth #141 to learn how your company will benefit from membership, including how to get $200 or more off your 2019 AIMExpo Booth.

I have found there are no short-cuts in the relationship building process. Relationships with supporters, sponsors, colleagues, agency staff, conservation/ environmental representatives, media, and legislative staff are developed over many years… even decades. There is no “Baja Line” fast track to relationship building. However, there is a clearly marked trail to building an effective working relationship in the off-road sector. There are the three main relationship building blocks when it comes to effective advocacy of off-road recreation issues: Trust

ADVOCACY GROWS IN A PETRI DISH The Fungus Among Us? by Don Amador


believe the powersports industry can be viewed as a Petri dish where leadership skills are cultivated and refined. Just as it takes time for microorganisms to grow and mature on that culture plate, a similar process occurs for those who are regarded as effective and successful in their own specific advocacy area. During the past 29 years, I have had the privilege to know and work with many of those industry icons who have graciously taken time to share their professional, and often personal, leadership journey with me. It is hard to condense my somewhat circuitous educational trek through the off-road jungle, but the CliffsNotes version states it all boils down to relationships.


Regardless of who you are dealing with, they must be able to trust your word when it comes to confidentiality. Advocacy leaders must never breech that tenet as it will tag you permanently as somebody who cannot be trusted. The degree of your effectiveness is directly proportional to your ability to honor privileged conversations. Credibility

If you adopt these three building blocks, you will find that agency staff will be more likely to work with you on trail issues. After all, government officials are people, too. Remember they have a lot of discretion when it comes to providing, or not providing, high-quality recreational opportunities. Sponsors and supporters will be more likely to fund your land-use efforts. You will also find conservation leaders more willing to work with you on joint projects that directly enhance or maintain trail access and protect resources. I believe these concepts, if adopted and put into practice, will establish you as a credible leader and valued friend… a fungus created on the Petri dish of the powersports industry… and that is a good thing!

If you expect to become a reliable source for correct information, you should make every effort to research a topic before offering information that may be factually incorrect, misleading, or false. One should resist the temptation, in an effort to appear knowledgeable, to supply inaccurate information that may actually harm your position. In addition, the most successful advocates have a core group of “advisors” where their ideas can be vetted. Commitment The most common assumption that new advocates make is that it will only take 1-2 years of a concerted effort on their part to set everybody straight, correct all problems, and then get on, or in, their OHV of choice and ride off into the sunset. If only! The stakeholders you interface with want to know that you are committed to building a strong professional and/or personal relationship with them. They want to know their effort in this two-way process will not be a waste of time and resources.

Don Amador has been in the trail advocacy and recreation management profession for almost 29 years. Don is President of Quiet Warrior Racing/ Consulting. Don served as a contractor to the BlueRibbon Coalition from 1996 until June, 2018. Don served on the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission from 19942000. He has won numerous awards including being a 2016 Inductee into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame and the 2018 Friend of the AMA Award. Don currently serves as the government affairs lead for AMA District 36 in Northern California. He may be reached via email at:

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IT’S ABOUT THE RIDE Work Vs. Play Vs. Burnout By Scot Harden


hat’s the quickest way to kill your love affair with motorcycling? Answer: Get a job in the motorcycle industry. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, and it would almost be funny except for the fact that in far too many cases it’s true. As a lifelong member of this industry, I’ve witnessed this malady impact friends and associates over and over again. Guys and gals who’s love for motorcycling was their primary motivation for pursuing a career in the motorcycle industry have a burning desire to combine hobby with livelihood… and in the process create a lifestyle that kept them connected 24/7 to the sport they love. What sounds like a great plan upfront far too often doesn’t seem to pan out in the end.


Why? Well, the answer is complicated, there are as many reasons as there are number of individuals employed in the powersports business. Certainly, our industry isn’t immune from the same pressures and demands every other chosen field of business holds. Too much work, too few resources and the modern day workplace condition of the continually moving goal line all conspire and compete for the one commodity that everyone holds dearest: Time. While I don’t claim to have all the answers (believe me there are definitely times when it all gets a little overwhelming even for a diehard like me), I’d like to offer a few practical solutions that might rekindle your love for the ride. At least share some ideas that work for me and keep me engaged and active as a rider even as I approach the latter stages of my career. This first suggestion may sound silly, but give it a try. Start setting appointments with yourself to go riding just like you would any vital business function. Make it “official,” schedule your next ride by sending yourself a “Meeting Invite.” Get something on your calendar that involves riding. Give it a date, time and description. Make it something to look forward to. Leaving quality seat time to random chance, “I’ll get to it when work settles down when I have a spare moment” is a recipe for never finding the right time. We are all creatures of habit. Earmarking ride dates on your calendar are the best way I know to make sure you set aside the time to keep your love affair with motorcycling alive and well. Find a riding buddy or group. As you start setting the dates of your next ride, inviting a friend (or two or three) is the best way I know to ensure you won’t back out. Once the two of you or your group are committed, it’s hard to back out at the Continued on page 70

Please tread lightly and travel only on routes and in areas designated open for motor vehicle use. Remember, Respected Access is Open Access.


Continued from page 68

last minute because now you are letting someone else down as well. I use this strategy all the time. In fact, I founded the Nevada 200 Trailride with my best friend and partner Casey Folks just to make sure we had a date set on the calendar to meet and ride at least once a year no matter what our work schedules looked like. Despite the fact we lived hundreds of miles apart, and both had hectic schedules it worked for 33 years (the best idea I ever had, by the way) until Casey passed away in 2017. Now I continue the tradition with his son, Daryl Folks and approximately 150 other off-road enthusiasts and friends every year in mid-April like clockwork. Mix it up. Don’t get stuck in a rut. While the tried and true favorite weekend ride to some local destination like the Rock Store or Julian for apple pie is always a great option to keep you connected, make time to plan new rides, visit new places and meet new people. Use the latest in digital technology to help you prepare. Platforms like REVER and WolfPack are a great way to meet new riders and discover new routes. Take advantage of them and broaden your horizons. If you’re really fortunate and have more than one motorcycle in your stable, vary your ride plan to include different types of riding. I have an Adventure bike for long weekend rides,

a dual sport for local adventures and a pure cross country/ moto bike for track days and hardcore trail riding. I swap them out all the time. It keeps things fresh and new. Lastly, never, ever fall for the old line “I’ll do it later” or “It can wait till next month” or “I’ll wait till the off-season.” I hate to tell you this, but you aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, let alone next month or next year. Maybe it’s just my age showing or too many recent painful losses of good friends and riding mates, guys like Tom White and Casey Folks. Man, I miss those guys… and would give anything to share one more ride with them! A big part of my mission is to promote motorcycling and bring new riders into the sport. Plus 1 Rider is dedicated to this effort, but I realize that sometimes it’s current riders — especially those of us fortunate enough to be involved in this industry — that need to be extra careful to protect and nurture our personal journeys through motorcycling. How can we be great ambassadors for the sport when we are losing touch ourselves? If this column convinces you of nothing else, let it be a reminder that the clock is ticking. Never take time for granted. It’s a finite commodity. Get out there and ride like there’s no tomorrow because you never know.

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Scot Harden has enjoyed a nearly 40-year career as one of the world’s top off-road racers and compiled a set of records that few can match. From 1971 until his final professional race in 2007 — at the age of 51 — Harden mastered a wide range of off-road disciplines. He also has compiled an impressive executive management resume within the motorcycle industry as a brand builder, race team manager, sales professional and product planner with such companies as Husqvarna, KTM, BMW, Zero Motorcycles and Best in the Desert. Harden also is owner of Harden Offroad, a business consulting practice. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2008.


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be pretty damn dumb if they can pull off a “Mr. Wonderful” scam for 90 days. I never met an Alien that didn’t expose whatever character flaws, personality disorders and technical limitation he might have after 90 days on line. Then there’s the team effort, the spy thing. Aliens are weird. If they don’t accept the new guy into their little club, you’re spinning your wheels trying to force him on them. Ninety days gives your service team time to get to know the newbie and work with him before damning him to hell right off the bat ‘cause he dips snuff. A little counseling to the tutors about the role they play in bringing the new Alien aboard acknowledges their input and their importance to the entire effort. The second half of the trial period –– should be devoted to monitoring the newbie’s production, work habits, and figuring out a way of achieving both shop and Alien financial goals for long-term employment. Only you and the newbie are privy to information cussed or discussed in this second 90-day period.

Wünschisms By Uncle Paul

Hiring On-The-Job-Training -------------------------------------------------------------------------------A Close Encounter Of The Third Kind This installment covers the things that need to happen when the new mechanic starts work. We still have to get this newbie, this Alien From Another Planet, on line and crankin’. We need to jump into this trial period I’ve been jacking my jaws about in the last couple of issues. Let’s apply Wünschism #71 here: “Even a skeeter doesn’t get a slap on the back ‘til he starts working.” Speakin’ of working, I want you to cut these pearls of wisdom out each month and set them aside in a special folder. About a year from now, you will have a comprehensive operations manifesto for running a dealership. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Mr. Wonderful For the first 90 days, all newbies have an assigned playmate, a tutor. Every 30 days, this shop person is changed, and the newbie is passed along to another shop pal. Our tutor is there to provide help with the newbie’s integration into the shop, to answer policy and procedure questions, and to assist him with paperwork or problems. The tutor is also a spy… Well, that may be a bit overstated. Look, most Aliens From Another Planet could take up acting in Hollywood and do just as well –– if they were willing to lower their wages. All Aliens can fool ya for 30 days. The real Oscar winners can con ya for 60 days. But you gotta


Toolbox Envy? “The good, the bad and the ugly” are all housed in that one red toolbox from hell. Sometimes the newbie shows up with a rolling “tool condo,” complete with built-in surroundsound. Damn thing costs as much as a car. I think Aliens consider toolboxes as a “mine’s bigger than yours” deal… Something us Aliens don’t get to say very often. Uncle Paul gets a special gleam in his eye when he gets ahold of one of these newbie’s toolboxes. “We’re going to clean it, aren’t we?” he asks. “Kinda,” Uncle Paul replies. Then we empty the grubmeister’s toolbox on the nearest workbench. Ya need to pick through his entire tool and memorabilia collection and save only the stuff he needs to perform the duties he’s been hired to do. Everything else goes back into the box. In addition to Spiderman comics, old chewing gum wrappers and un-opened packs of designer condoms, remove specialty tools for machines you don’t service and duplicates of same-size tools. If you don’t service and duplicates of same-size tools. If you don’t work on British bikes, get rid of the Whitworth stuff. No farm equipment or Harleys? Chuck the U.S. stuff and 10-pound sledge. The only true duplicate in hand tools might be a combination 10mm open/12 point box-end hand wrench… and that’s the only exception. Air, electric or hand, no exact duplicates of any other tools are needed. No parts, expendables or supplies are allowed in toolboxes, carts or storage lockers, either. No personal caches, or you’ll end up financing half a dozen inventories of junk they can’t locate. All unused parts on a job, all left-overs and all customer parts go back to the parts person for restock or disposal. This particularly includes shims, jets and fasteners over every description. “See that red, three-tray steel service cart?” I ask. “The one with two drawers? Roll it over here. See the black 3’x6.5’ five-shelf steel storage locker against the wall over there? That’s yours. The cart is for you to work from, the locker

for you to store stuff. All this other junk you should carry to the house… including your toolbox.” Be ready, you will get resistance here. Explain to the newbie that we’ve been doing this a long time (before his conception… even before his mommy chased troop trains). We know which techniques work and which ones fail. If he wants to learn how important efficiency or time and motion is to his paycheck, try it our way during the trial period. He can petition for change once he comes aboard as a regular Alien. Few mechanics use their box as a working tool, anyway. Most always, it’s there for a secure tool storage and junk collections. Cluttered, unorganized, stationary toolboxes are time consuming and disruptive to the job process, so eliminate them whenever possible. Once you “mobilize” your team, by making it easy to work at any lift in any area of the shop, production will increase automatically. Uncle Paul won’t get into the exact working details of what the cart should be stocked and/or equipped with. I will tell you it should contain all the tools and test equipment the mechanic needs to do 90% of the jobs assigned to him. Quantity-wise, that isn’t very many tools, folks. The rest of his collection, which he will need for the other 10% of his assignments, is placed in his storage locker. Everything else goes back to his house.

I’m tellin’ ya, it’s like shaving the boy’s head. They feel kinda powerless. That’s why even High Commanders need the trial period… “We do it different here.” Once newbies start to suspect you might know what you’re doing, they will realize that the methods employed really do work. They will usually conform to the program because they can produce better (make mo’ money quicker) if they’re concentrating on doing their job without superfluous distractions. Spies Like Us This first 90 days is our break-in and spy period, when the other Aliens give you their input as to how the newbie is fitting in. We teach him most of the shop policies and procedures. He also gets a good dose of Uncle Paul’s infamous “PMS” – Parts Management System: See Dealernews’ July and August 1996 issues. Then check out the gospel contained in the September 1996 issue for the skinny on U.P.A.S.S. (Uncle Paul’s Atomic Storage System). I might mention that, here at Love Cycles, we have our Aliens pull their own parts. We don’t let them put anything back –– hell, we wanna be able to find it next time –– but we do have mechanics pull parts, and the time is also billed to the customer at shop scale as part of the job. Unless you run an extremely tight operation, I don’t recommend Aliens pulling or replacing parts. Aliens get confused with numbering systems, especially the concept of alpha-

The second half of the trial period –– should be devoted to monitoring the newbie’s production, work habits, and figuring out a way of achieving both shop and Alien financial goals for long-term employment. Only you and the newbie are privy to information cussed or discussed in this second 90-day period. All personal tools that remain on the premises will be marked twice with the owner’s initials. It gets kinda scary when you notice four sets of initials on the newbie’s tools already (and none of them are his?). I’m not certain Aliens actually steal tools, but I sure seem to replace a lot of “missing stuff” every time one of them leaves. Must be like loaning out books. Friends don’t steal them, they just never get returned. The newbie will want to know where his personal work bay is. “Sorry, don’t have any,” should be your response. No personal work stations (a.k.a. personal trash heaps), no walls displaying full-frontals of totally nude bow-legged ladies, no satellite dish hook-ups for noon cartoons. “We be mobile now. We work all over the shop.” This also means the Alien must pick up after himself, keep his work area clean and put away his tools at the end of the day. Horror of horrors! Does Uncle Paul want housekeepers? No. I just want the area safe, clean and organized. I want excellent work produced in a consistent manner. We cannot achieve our production goals in the slip-shot environment of a disorganized, distracting pig-sty. End of argument.

numeric. You might consider having them supply their own part numbers though. A lot of chest-beating and wild accusations will occur if you put a parts person between an Alien and his work. “Yes, you did! No, you didn’t!” Back an’ forth like a couple of white-haired biddies fiightin’ over a Vegas slot-machine. Make your Aliens look up their own numbers on parts required for a job. Let the parts dude do the actual ordering, retrieving and stocking. This is also the time we teach the newbie about paperwork. He needs to know how important it is to the shop, how important it is to his paycheck and how important it is to America’s legal system. Locate some old copies of Dealernews containing my three-part article “Eight Dollars and Ninety-Three Cents” (February, April and May ’95). You need to read these.

Continued on page 74

APRIL 2019


Continued from page 73

Mr. Memory The newbie needs to learn the innermost workings of the Mr. Memory Sheet. Aliens are usually equipped with the same memory-retention device as that of the Clinton Cabinet. Any occurrence short of having sex with the entire female contingent of Baywatch will automatically be lost upon input. Aliens are unable to retain any life experience for longer than seven nano-seconds. “Mr. Memory” is simply a daily time and event sheet. It works something like this:



Uncle Paul: “What did you do during that 1.5 hours? Let me see the WO. Says here you pulled the front wheel.” Alien: “Yep.”

Uncle Paul: “How long were you here today? What jobes did you work on? Time spent on each job?”

Uncle Paul: “Let me get this straight. You want me to charge the customer 1.5 hours to pull a wheel off a standard? That’s 60 bucks at ‘scale one.’ I can’t do that.”



“I dunno.”

“Uh, I ran into problems.”

Uncle Paul: “OK, let’s break it down: What time did you get Uncle Paul: “What kind of problems? There’s nothing on here?” the WO about any problems.” Alien:

“I dunno.”

Uncle Paul: “Did you come to work today?” Alien:


Uncle Paul: “What time is written on today’s Mr. Memory as ‘time in’?” Alien:

“Nine forty-seven.”

Uncle Paul: “Good… Out for lunch?” Alien:

“Eleven fifty-five.”

Uncle Paul: “Excellent 128 minutes, really tearing ‘em up today. When did you get back from lunch?” Alien:

“I dunno, about twelve-fifteen.”

Uncle Paul: “No, look at your Mr. Memory Sheet. What does it say?” Alien: “One thirty.” In addition to keeping an exact record of time spent in an out of the shop (line hours), our sample Alien will also record whose job should be billed for his 128 minutes of morning work. At first, they will take liberties with this new responsibility. They must record info as it happens (not at the end of the day) or it will probably go something like this: Uncle Paul: “What did you get accomplished? Who did you bill this time to?” Alien:

“I dunno.”

Uncle Paul: “What does it say on your Mr. Memory Sheet?” Alien:

“Johnson, 1.5 hours.”

Uncle Paul: “That’s all? Johnson, 1.5?”



“There’s not? Maybe it was another bike I was thinkin’ of.”

Uncle Paul: “Yeah, sure. Want me to change this 1.5 hours to read, “Johnson, .25 hours’?” Alien:

“Uh huh.”

Uncle Paul: “What else did you do for the remaining two hours?” Alien: “Well, I went to the bathroom. See, it’s written right there, ‘Dump.’” As ridiculous as that may sound, this scenario isn’t that far off the mark. I still remember one Alien I told to “go big” before coming to work ‘cause he spent so much time on the porcelain throne. Removing naked lady magazines shortened down-time in the restroom also. Never have figured out why that was. Mr. Memory Sheets keep up with times on line. They record where the mechanics’ time was spent as the day progresses. Whenever a job is changed, or a break occurs in the flow of work, it’s the Alien’s responsibility to enter that change right then. After the trial period, this daily information is still recorded and maintained. Pay, bonus money, flags on deficient work habits, even job scheduling problems will come to light if these things are kept up the way they should be. Aliens have only two forms of paperwork they must maintain at Love Cycles: The OW and Mr. Memory. They’ll require a lot of help on a daily basis during the trial period. Most Aliens have never had this kind of responsibility before. Once they understand the paper trail and how it works to their benefit, they quit whinin’ and get on with it. See, the customer is paying them to keep up this paperwork, to generate and maintain good records. The paper trail is not a loss to mechanics in time or money. Nor is it a loss to the shop. These two items are great management tools, and since they’re generating their own pay records, the Aliens aren’t so paranoid come payday. Continued on page 76

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Continued from page 74

His file is getting fatter… you’re still making notes and observations, I hope. You’re going to use this stuff when the trial period ends and final negotiations begin. One of the biggest hurdles you will face in the latter stages of the trial period is estimating how much time-maintenance is required to keep this new individual in a high state of production.

Humps & Hurdles/Second 90 Days The first 90 days will be about settling in, reviewing, and learning the system. The second 90 days –– the latter half of the trial period –– is about production. What can the newbie produce? This is also time for management to start placing the true dollar value on this Alien. What’s he worth to you? How is he going to fit the big picture? What are we willing to pay to hang on to him? His file is getting fatter… you’re still making notes and observations, I hope. You’re going to use this stuff when the trial period ends and final negotiations begin. One of the biggest hurdles you will face in the latter stages of the trial period is estimating how much time-maintenance is required to keep this new individual in a high state of production. This is important now, because the one thing a manager never seems to have enough of is time. For six months, you’ll be bird-doggin’ this newbie, so figure out how much time management and/or staff you’ll spend keeping this guy up-right and rolling in the second 90-day phase. Devote the last 90 days of the trial period to observin’, figurin’ and cogitatin’ the new mechanic’s capabilities, his production. What’s this Alien really worth to you? Uncle Paul will give you awhile to mull this over… say 30 days. In next month’s issue, we will have a look at how we pay the Aliens who survive the 180-day trial period. Reward packages that are fair to the shop and the Alien? Who would’a thunk it?




while back, a fella handed me his business card and said he wanted to come to work as a motorcycle mechanic. Right there behind his name was “Ph.D.” printed in bold letters. This yahoo had a doctorate. Mechanical engineering, network management, computer geek extraordinaire… this cat had it all. Turns out he was making a career change from teaching at a local university. Having been scooter trash all his life, he decided to try his hand at the motorcycle business. Hey, I’ve never addressed another Alien as “doctor” before, but what the hell? I hired him –– I liked the guy, very interesting person, good mechanical abilities and knew how to spin a wrench. His work was absolutely perfect, every detail attended to whether the customer paid for it or not. But slow, so slow a three-hour job stretched into days, weeks even. And questions, God knows I answered questions. It was like a V.C. interrogation every time he wanted a mechanical question answered. “Oh sweet Jesus, help me outta this one,” I begged. “I be High Commander, but this guy is spooky.” The fact is, the good professor was killing me time-wise. I couldn’t get my own job done because of the time I spent babysitting him. Additionally, the shop was losing “opportunity bucks” hand-over-fist. We finally had to quit seeing each other. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*Paul Wunsch was the owner of Love Cycles, a service-only shop located in Houston, Texas. “Wunschisms” are truisms that, according to the author, are often plagiarized or modified clichés – statements quoted so often that the employees of Love Cycles have numerically designated the most popular. Paul passed away November 21, 2003 but his wit and wisdom live on in the pages of Dealernews. 76










Continued on page 78

949.874.2645 |


EDITOR’S CHOICE By Robin Hartfiel


ow many times have you talked to somebody in the powersports business and have them admit they “just wanted a deal on tires or the racer discount at their local dealership” — it happens more often than not. Tires are expensive and new gear is always cool! Even after seeing model roll-out at trade shows around the world for more than 35 years, I’m still a sucker for new technology and bold new graphics alike. But I’ll admit, it is the story behind the brands as much as the products themselves that have interested me lately. Here is a selection of the stories and products that proved to me most interesting this month.

Photo by Jason Gearld

APRIL 2019


Phoenix Handlebars

Phoenix Handlebars is set to support the people responsible for growing our industry — the dealers. Dealers are the front lines of excitement and knowledge says company founder Jason Gearld. You are the place where the magic begins, so we want to support the dealers the best we can. We do that by creating a brand that is fun and exciting. We also do that by offering a line of handlebars and grips that is easier to sell… fewer SKUs, more profit, cool collaterals. We offer a minimum of 35% dealer margin. It’s important for all of us to make money, so we do our best to make that possible. There is no minimum order. We want to work closely with dealers to find what works best for you. In addition to handlebars and grips, Phoenix offers T-shirts, hats and stickers — the currency of the moto industry! When a rider isn’t on the bike, they still want to show the world they are a dirt biker…. And we have the goods to prove it proudly.


This is NOT a safety goggle. These goggles are purposely built for motorsports use only. They are designed to protect you from wind, dust and impacts from water and mud only. From their disclaimer to the story behind the family run start-up, FlowVision is the American motodream for Nick McBride. FlowVision was started with the pure passion and love for dirt bike and BMX riding. Our goal is to create a company that harbors creativity, innovation and responsibility to our employees and customers. Through this passion we plan to offer the finest quality and best looking products to today’s dirt bike riding consumers… works for me! MSRP for the full spectrum of FlowVision Rythem goggles is $56.

Rocky Creek Designs Bifocal Safety Glasses

A full 180-degrees from FlowVision goggles are Rocky Creek’s bifocal safety glasses. Basically, these are riding glasses with bifocal lenses, according to my Australian friends (whom I met at a trade show in Taipei). The bifocals are available in +1.5, +2.0, +2.5. “Whilst riding you look down the road through the non-magnified lenses and when you want to check your instruments, speedo or GPS, you simply look down through the bifocals,” says Rocky Creek’s Janice Jansen. How simple is that! The frames are lightweight and are super flexible. The temples (arms) are very flat so they fit comfortably between your head and the helmet. The lenses come in three different “colours” — Smoke, Yellow and Clear. All lenses are fitted with a dust seal which protects your eyes from fine dust, pollen, other irritants as well as peripheral light. When it comes to motorcycling your vision is critical. As we get older most of us experience some deterioration in our eyesight. These glasses are available Stateside from Mid-USA:


Highway 21 Louie Gloves

There is nothing quite like a perfectly broken in baseball mitt. Functional, comfortable and a leather extension of your brain, a good glove makes you a better ball player. Hopefully the Louie works the same way to make better riders… Premium deer skin for fit is combined with a short riders cuff and single layer design for better feel. This is the evolution of a classic work glove, not a carbonfiber vibranium roadracing gauntlet. A rich drum dyed finish is highlighted by the tooled exterior treatment. Better yet, there is no need to resort to the five-fingered discount, MSRP is $39.95

Rizoma Bronze 21 Mirrors

Whenever I cover the EICMA in Milan, I always set aside time to check out the fantastic display of intricately machined bits from Rizoma. And like the super models they have working the booth, Rizoma is using a bronzer for their summer palette. Bronze 21 is described as a new finishing shade in a gentle, elegant bronze that has never before been seen on Rizoma accessories. The warm, classic color makes for timeless products that lend beautiful chromatic accents to any motorcycle. The Quantum is the ultimate mirror for those looking for pure, minimalist design. At only 5mm thick, its pared-down silhouette is almost too perfect… and there is a bar end version for my cafe’ racer. Fizoma recently did a distribution deal with RevIt in the U.S.

Zulz Pivot Backpack

One of the cool things about this year’s Tucker sales meeting is that the road reps were all issued a new Zulz Pivot backpack… A literal swag bag! Like Phoenix handlebars and FlowVision goggles, Chad Zulian admits creating a moto-luggage line from scratch is a steep slope to climb but adds, “I’ve got a sh!t ton of doubters to prove wrong and a family to make proud, so it’s full throttle ahead.” The saying “you get what you pay for” really applies to his Pivot backpack… we’ve completely overbuilt this badass pack. Between the YKK zippers, the hard box pocket for sunglasses or other valuables, the suspended felt lined laptop sleeve and custom shaped back panel you cannot go wrong with the Pivot for the price (MSRP $109.95).

Alpinestars Supertech R

Fit for a king! Alpinestars iconic Supertech R boot is already the choice of many champions, but the King Kenny replica rolled out at COTA during the MotoGP is the crowning achievement! The Kenny Roberts Limited Edition Supertech R recognizes King Kenny’s racing success, his revolutionary riding style and his bravery, according to Alpinestars. Our creative director Gus is a recovering roadracer and a Yamaha 2-stroke junkie so he was jonesing for this footwear as much as I was! Featuring all of the technical innovations of Alpinestars’ Supertech R boot, including the microfiber upper construction offering superb levels of flexibility, lightweight rubber compound sole for better grip and feel on the foot-peg, this boot is more than just another pretty face. Newly designed external TPU shin protection is ergonomically shaped and wraps around to outer calf and is engineered to spread and dissipate impact energy across the entire surface… take my money now! Wait, there is a Kevin Schwantz replica Supertech R, too? (MSRP $499.95)

APRIL 2019


at one end and perfect helmets come out the other. Workers are so specialized they never leave the building, they live in their blue work smock. Arai uses the words “Hand Made” but I never really put a face with the hands. The one video showed about 40 Arai employees riding motorcycles into the parking lot one morning. Bikes of all shapes and sizes, riders of all shapes and sizes and age but one thing was evident, they were excited to be there. They were just regular people, they looked like all the parts counter guy’s I know, only the Japanese version. I finally put a face with the hands that make the perfect helmet. They had all achieved their dream job, The one guy they interviewed was in awe of his surroundings and station in life, I don’t speak Japanese, but I can sure read body language and this made me smile.

GONZO GETS A LID Arai Heads Up By Charlie Williams

Hand made, each individual piece of an Arai is studied and bored into by three generations of Arai minds with one focus, safest possible head gear. Sure, they use tools and machines, they don’t simply hatch egg shaped shells. One guy starts with a glorified bucket and a glob of mechanically expanded fiber mat and carefully lines the bucket by hand, with great skill and tight tolerance. Try this at home: line your favorite fitting bucket with paper mache, getting the correct thickness and weight by 5 grams… the weight of a nickel!


’m sitting here with a brand new Arai helmet in my lap, the gold standard for helmets. Upstairs wants 500 words and of course I’m speechless. How do you convert perfection into words? Especially a writer who rarely uses 5-letter words? I prepared, I read the entire Arai website, a very level and measured informational site at that. Very Japanese in it’s message, the root mission is to create the safest helmet possible. They don’t stray from that message. I could copy and paste paragraphs of technical jargon, dazzle you with my borrowed helmet knowledge. But that stuff is all on their website, you will undoubtedly read it all before clicking buy. You should memorize it before trying to sell. Education is one of the best tools Arai has, and as a helmet salesman, education is the best way to sell a top of the line lid. Arai has training seminars around the country, attend one. Read the website, understand terms like a “Mechanically Expanded Fiber Mat” or “Peripheral Belt Technology” — When you can explain these and hundreds of other features that go into making an Arai, the customer is easily sold. Plus, you look like a professional in your field. Win-Win! I’m still stumped on the words, so I pulled up Arai on YouTube and watched hours of video. Sure there was plenty of close up shots of fiberglass and goop and barrels of quality, but the money shot that got my attention was the Arai crew showing up for work. In my mind, I pictured the Arai factory to look like the Arai box, pure white with blue trim. I dreamed it was placed out on a remote unapproachable peninsula on the coast of Japan. Maybe Dr. No’s old place? Trucks of goop would be dumped


So as I sit here, with an Arai helmet in my lap, I feel a much closer connection to the hands that made this helmet, I’d seen the passion in that one worker guy. That’s the guy I want building my stuff, whether it’s my helmet, my lunch or working on my car, I want the passionate artist. To the accessory salesman who has Arai in the store, seek your sales rep and ask for education on Arai, it is available and a very powerful tool. If you don’t stock Arai, ask yourself, do you have a sales person who could learn and sell the product? I don’t think it’s a “hang and hope” kind of product, you have to sell/educate. An added bonus, when you do sell an expensive helmet there is some profit to be made. Sure profit is nice, but also knowing your customer walked out with the best helmet available? There should be some pride in that aspect of the sale too. Pride like you can see in the faces of the Arai family. See it for yourself here:

SHOEI GT-AIR II Checking The Boxes By Tigra Tsujikawa


it, finish, protection, comfort, quiet… there are plenty of criteria that go into picking a pricey new helmet. Shoei checks all the boxes with this year’s GT-Air II. A host of key features have been added to the same solid foundation of the GT Air line. These features that will offer your customers comfort and convenience without foregoing the Shoei safety focused engineering. Less is more… at least in the case of road noise. Shoei has updated the original GT-AIR introduced 6+ years ago with improved aerodynamics, air-tight beading for the shield and a new chinbar spoiler to reduce wind noise. The intercomready design was specifically integrated to enhance the auditory experience. The Basics The Shoei GT Air II comes in 3 different shell sizes (2XSmall – Small, Medium- Large, XLarge – 3XLarge). Shoei offers replacement cheek pads and center pads of varying thickness so that you can help your customers customize the fit… check the box for fit! Shoei technology integrates a multi-ply matrix designed to meet DOT standards and is built of hand-laid interwoven layers of fiberglass with organic fibers and resin. The interior protection is a multi-piece design with multi-density EPS liner to improve impact absorption. Check the protection box. Wind-tunnel testing not only helped achieve tuned aerodynamics, overall airflow and reduced the noise in the helmet, but also contributed to the “tunnels” in the EPS that allow air to travel through the helmet. Ensuring optimal internal airflow are 3 ram air intakes and five exhaust outlets. Shoei designers added larger intake shutters for the upper and lower ports to make it easy to control the airflow while riding. Comfort and quiet? Check!


What’s Improved The GT-Air II has molded ports for the SENA SRL 2 ($299.00) communication that was developed for this helmet. Having recesses for the wires, speakers and microphone (and boom microphone), add to both comfort and noise reduction. The internal sun shield was extended 5mm in length to eliminate the distraction of too much full sun and glare on the bottom of the rider’s field of vision. The interior shield switch is larger and easy to find and operate on the left side of the helmet. Speaking of shields, the outer shield provides a wider, taller view with premium UV protection (99%) and has a locking position that allows just enough air to flow under the shield that won’t dry out your eyes. A spring-loaded mechanism actually pulls the visor into place tightly against the beading to create an air-tight seal, eliminating any would be wind noise. The lower edge of the chin bar, has a lip extending just enough to prevent turbulence from creating noise. It also comes with a Pinlock© EVO fogresistant system. The chinstrap designed has been patented by Shoei for their 100% stainless steel interlocking buckle and is a quick and adjustable mechanism that is secure and comfortable. The GT Air II also features the Emergency Quick Release System E.Q.R.S. Bluetooth Enabled The Sena SRL2 was custom made to fit inside the GT-Air II and installing the SRL2 couldn’t be any easier. Just remove the plastic covers on the helmet and all the Bluetooth components snap into place. The microphone even has its own pocket in the chin bar with wire routing modes into the interior. With Sena’s Bluetooth connectivity and 18 different paint schemes (including two that are targeted for women), the GT-Air II brings a safe and stylish product to your shelves. If you’d like to learn more about this or any Shoei helmet, head to Helmet House. They have online classes and information to bring you up to speed on all the Shoei helmets.



Only Sidi boots purchased from an authorized Sidi-Motonation dealer are covered by our product warranty.

With the help of Kawasaki co-worker and master illustrator Mark Dickinson, Golde created a children’s book about the life and times of his roadrunner pal. On April 9, the first copies were introduced to their co-workers. They planned to sign and sell a few copies to friends, but the entire first printing was snapped up once word got out. For each sale made, $5 dollars went to Children’s Hospital of Orange County and Kawasaki stepped up by making a matching cash donation to CHOC.



or a select few industry insiders, top dealers and a couple lucky media hacks, an invitation to Rancho Relaxo is the golden ticket of the desert riding world. Hosted by Paul Golde, a senior product specialist at Kawasaki for the past 14 years, a trip to the Rancho is truly something special. Even more unique was Rocky, the resident roadrunner who adopted Paul about a decade ago.

“This is a true story about a special relationship that developed between a wild desert bird and the owner and friends of a special house in the Western Mojave in California,” Golde writes on the book jacket. “If you have ever looked into the eyes of a wild animal, especially in its natural habitat, you know how special that moment can be.” He adds, “Having an untamed animal not only approach you but maintain a constant presence throughout its life was transformative for me and became a defining part of my life. It is a story that is best shared and will hopefully enrich yours as well.”


Available on Amazon or dealers can get quantities directly from Outskirts Press:


Every Rider Has Her Own Story

This Ride Honors the Story of WOmen Host a Women of the Road SCMR2020 lead up event at your dealership and bring more female customers to your door: - Includes an interactive presentation about long-distance touring - We’ll show a cool video about the Van Buren Sisters ride in 2016 - Includes information tailored for your dealership and riding areas Inspire and encourage women riders and passengers, as well as families, to ride more be involved in the event.

Ready to bring more customers to your door? CONTACT US NOW: @CentennialRide @SCMR2020

The Suffragists Centennial Motorcycle Ride (SCMR2020) is a multi-route cross-country motorcycle event and it will be the most inuential ride in 2020 inspiring riders before, during, and after the ride.

Presented by Alisa Clickenger

2-Stroke World Championships

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue…

Photos by Brandon Davis


match made in dirtbike heaven as more than 500 entries filled the gates for the 2019 2-Stroke World Championships on Easter Weekend. More racers, an expanded vendor row and an infusion of fresh sponsorship were all positive signs for the moto-industry. The fact that it wasn’t just a bunch of old guys on 30-year old bikes also bodes well (although there were some dinosaurs out there from the industry enjoying themselves just as much at the kids in the 50cc youth classes). Fasthouse, Hoosier tires and Wiseco all stepped up their sponsorship levels this year. “Wiseco Performance Products was built from the roots of two-stroke racing over 77 years ago and has been supplying two-stroke performance parts to the industry ever since,” said Scott Highland, Director of Powersports for Wiseco. “We are all avid racers and enthusiasts, so we’re thrilled to support the iconic TwoStroke Championships at Glen Helen and share our passion with two-stroke riders everywhere.” As for something old, a galaxy of stars like Kurt Nicoll (the 1994 MX des Nations winner on CR500 went 1-1 to win the 40+ expert class); Dealernews contributor Chuck Sun (the 1980 National champ on a works Honda CR500 and MX des Nations winner that same year, went 2-2 for second in the 60+ expert class), and the evergreen Mike Brown (who finished 4th in the Open Pro class) representing the “seasoned” aspect. These “old guys” were joined by the new wave of moto racers lead by Robbie Wageman.


Also new were most of the bikes on the starting gate. The latest from those OEMs still making 2-strokes outnumbered the old smokers by a huge margin, even in the open pro class. The one new guy on an old bike was AMA Arenacross Champ Tyler Bowers who borrowed a 1991 KX Guru-tuned KX500. Bowers blasted to second in the Open Pro class in moto one, but DNF early in the second moto (his 2-DNF put him in 19th). Instead it was a bLU cRU sweep as Yamaha-mounted mounted racers took the top 5 positions in the Open Pro Class. After winner the 125 Pro class the past two years, Robbie Wageman made the move up to the open class look easy, going 1-2 for first overall on the day. Fellow young guns Carlen Gardner (3-1), City Schock (4-3) topped the box ahead of Mike Brown (5-5). Mother Nature cooperated with a perfect spring day after watering the track earlier in the week. Even the Easter Bunny was on hand for the festivities. Nothing like “the aromatic and auditory bliss of full gates of two-strokes on the mainjets up the many hills at Glen Helen Raceway Park,” noted veteran moto-journalist Mark Kariya in is Cycle News coverage As Open Pro winner Wageman said, “I love the two-strokes! If I could race them all the time, I would. I love them. There’s something about the sound, the vibration, the smell — just everything about the two-strokes, it all comes together and puts a huge smile on my face.”

That sound... that smell! Nothing like 40 2-strokes screaming off the line.

STI Tires Craig Petersen #714

Arenacross champ Tyler Bowers borrowed a 1991 KX500

Robbie Wageman won the Open Pro Class

There were a lot of smiling industry faces as well. Guys like ODI Grips Johnny Jump took to the track to re-live their misspent youth. Husqvarna’s off-road team manager Timmy Weigand raced hybrid Husky SuperMini in the 125 Pro class (he stuffed a 112cc engine into a TC85 chassis), going 9-6 for 6th overall. The TM management team also took to the track with their distinctive powder blue bikes (ensuring that we have the full something old, something new and something blue wedding theme covered). STI tires boss Craig Petersen shut down his display on vendor row to compete in a couple classes. “I still love to go ride and race moto even after all these years.” The Petersen clan made it a family outing. “My son’s business — AHM Factory Services — built the motors and suspension for the 125 and Open Pro winners. That was really cool to see for a young company.” Great to see the family tradition in play and the future of our sport on display. “Great event with big support,” concluded Petersen. “The OEMs need to take notice of the trend!”

APRIL 2019 Kurt Nicoll went 1-1 to win the 40+ Expert Class


Photo by Joe Bonnello

Ave Atque Vale Jesse Rooke


one too soon but he will NEVER be forgotten,” reads the GoFundMe message for custom bike builder Jesse Rooke. He was killed in a motorcycle accident on the morning of April 5, 2019, off of Carefree Highway in Phoenix, Arizona. Best known for his “Schwinn Stingray meets Big Twin” minimalist style, Rooke had been a force on the custom scene since 2002. The rest of the statement reads: “Early morning Friday, April 5th, 2019 the world lost an amazing man, father, son, brother, uncle and motorcycle legend due to a tragic motorcycle accident off of Carefree Highway. He lived and breathed the motorcycle industry & community to the fullest extent with no days off in everything he did – he truly loved riding and no other man could ride like Jesse… Ashley mentioned to me on numerous occasions how he took her breath away as he would ride by her with his beautiful essence, almost like he was one with the bike. Scarlett was Jesse’s #1 project in his life and she was his #1 fan. He was incredibly proud of her and she already has his creative nature and eye for design. If you ever had the opportunity to see these two together they were like two peas in a pod always laughing, wrestling, riding bikes, and designing. Out of all of Scarlett’s amazing memories, her favorite time was spent designing with Daddy. We all know Jesse Rooke from different walks of life and he touched the lives of many. His charisma, fiery temperament,


and indescribable talent will always be remembered. It is unknown at this time the amount of support the family will need for funeral expenses and unforeseen cost to take care of his daughter so we did not intend to set a limited goal. However, any assistance of any kind is greatly appreciated during this difficult time. Jesse Matthew Rooke, we will all miss you more than words will ever be able to describe – your smile, energy and baby blue eyes could make everyone feel like the sun was shining on them. We love you! All donations will go to the beneficiary listed on the account, Ashley Blair, mother of Scarlett Rooke and partner

of Jesse Rooke. The donations will go to funeral & memorial expenses and the remainder to unforeseen cost to take care of Jesse and Ashley’s daughter, Scarlett.” The funeral was a private service for family and closest friends. A celebration of life also was held at Wild Horse West in Peoria, Arizona on April 17, 2019. Ave atque vale Jesse Rooke, January 27, 1975 - April 5, 2019 The GoFundMe page established for Jesse’s daughter raised more than $60,000 of its $50,000 goal in less than 20 days. You can still donate to the cause here:

AIMExpo........................................................................32 Best In The Desert.......................................................71 Beta...............................................................................67 Big Bike Parts..............................................................11 Joe Rocket....................................................................45 McGraw Powersports.................................................43 Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC)............................65 Motonation (Apparel)...........................................CVR 4 Motonation (Forcefield).............................................93 Motorcycle Industry Jobs (MIJ)..................................23 MOTOTV.........................................................................83 National Powersports Auctions (NPA)...................... 9 Performance Brokerage Services.............................47 Racer X..........................................................................75

SHARK Helmets...........................................................17 SIDI................................................................................85 STACYC..........................................................................55 Steelcore.......................................................................63 Suffragists...................................................................87 Tread Lightly................................................................69 Trilobite........................................................................39 Tucker Powersports....................................................19 UBCO..............................................................................91 United States Warranty..............................................54 Vanderhall....................................................................... 7 Vroom Network...........................................................77 Western Power Sports.............................................2-3 Yuasa.............................................................................49

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What’s already happening? U.S. households spent an average of $5,200 in on-line sales in 2018. That number is up over 50% in the last five years! This culling of the herd is happening in some of the largest, “Big Box”, retailers in the world. For example, IKEA and Target are scaling down their stores in Urban areas. Some of their new retail outlets as small as 1/10th their original size. The Big Boxes are now catering to time-sensitive younger buyers in these Urban areas, who want a quick look, then purchase. The trend is towards: *More Streamlined Stores *Less Chaos *Less Inventory *Less Choice If the customer wants something special, they can always order it online. The “revelation” for me is that powersports dealers are already doing these things. You can use this data to fight your own war against online spending, if you are armed and ready.


By John Murphy



certainly do not wish to commit blasphemy, but the explosion of Internet sales is like the opening of the “Seven Seals” from the Book of Revelation for many brick & mortar retail operations worldwide. The White, Black, Red and Pale Horses of the Apocalypse are upon the horizon for many a business. I recently read an article where UBS Group AG — the Swiss multinational investment bank and financial services company — predicted that by the year 2026 on-line consumer buying will go from our current 16%, to more than 25%! This will have the cataclysmic result of an estimated 75,000 retail stores closing. UBS calls out the most vulnerable retail segments as clothing, electronics and furniture. However, this phenomena crosses all product lines as traditional consumer buying habits and patterns are irrevocably changed. In fact, UBS predicts that 21,000 apparel stores, 10,000 consumer electronics stores and 8,000 furniture stores will close due to the shift to on-line sales. They’re calling it the “Retail Apocalypse” and the Four Horsemen are riding our way. Since 2017, more than 15,000 retail establishments have closed. Some of the biggest losers: Radio Shack 1,470 stores closed. Toys R Us 735 stores closed. Mattress Firm & GNC, both with 700 stores closed. So far in 2019, Payless Shoes has closed all 2,100 of their stores. Gymboree has closed 800 stores this year alone; while Sears and K-Mart have closed 1,300 stores. Retailers who sell products that are easily accessible via on-line sales must have a “hook” to get consumers into their stores. Once customers are in the store, there also needs to be a strategy to keeping them there and keeping them coming back. Failure to do so leaves the doors wide open for the Four Horsemen to ride right on through.


The advertising you do, and the vehicles that you sell, are probably the primary reason a consumer first walks in your door. Don’t forget, you’re in a sexy business. Turn the tables on this pending retail apocalypse The online vulnerability to the powersports dealer is in the aftermarket products that you stock and sell. Conversely these products may actually be your best profit center. Maybe it’s time to step back and look at the store layout? Not saying to limit Inventory or choices, but less chaos is a good thing. Streamlined inventory sounds nice. It might also be worth the time to see which of the major products that you stock are being offered online, and at what price. A customer who is in your store, and who wants a product NOW, will be disappointed if you don’t have it NOW. Be prepared with an adequate supply of the “majors” and don’t let that customer walk out of there empty handed. He or she can buy a tire online, but I’ll bet you ten bucks they don’t want to mount it. Same goes for the helmets and leathers. You can take a crapshoot and buy a helmet or a leather jacket online, but when the helmet’s too tight, and the jacket’s sleeves are too short, they’ve got problems. You know the drill... Dealernews is here to help powersports retailers fend off the Four Horsemen of the Retail Apocalypse. We will continue to provide the data and information necessary for business survival. On this you can depend.

John Murphy started his Powersports career selling booth space for the original Dealernews Dealer Expo back in 1983. He then went on to become Publisher of the magazine from 1990 to 2000 before retiring from Dealernews 18 years ago when he was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis. He retired and raised his two children with wife, Patti (former production manager for Dealernews back in the day). But John has beaten the odds. The doctors were correct when they said he would never ride again, and that he would be in a wheelchair, but it ends right there. “Ironsides” Murphy is back in the saddle again and ready for the challenge of ushering Dealernews into the next 50 years.

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