To offset the downturn in the U.S. economy, Ridley Motorcycles has beefed up its branded parts and accessory line and added a low-cost alternative to its lineup.
The privately owned manufacturer based out of Oklahoma City, Okla., is best known for its automatic transmission motorcycle.
“When we came out with these (the Ridley motorcycles), we were solving a problem,” said Jay Ridley, vice president of the family owned business. “We had a certain niche in the market that wasn’t able to ride because of the lack of a low seat, lightweight (bike) and automatic transmission.”
Ten-plus years later, Ridley says focus groups with the company’s riders show the problem has changed.
“Now it’s a lot different,” Ridley says, noting that riders’ habits have changed, not to mention their wants. “More people have baggers and are spending more time on the road. These people are demanding more accessories” that provide storage and other touring amenities.
To accommodate those riders, the company has bulked up its branded parts and accessories to roughly 150 items, three times the products Ridley offered just two years ago.
“The one thing we’ve done is we’ve made sure and paid attention to the people who bought bikes from 2003 until now,” Ridley said, noting that in almost every circumstance the current parts and accessories will fit on current model and past-model year bikes.
The additional parts and accessories also comes at a time when consumers are holding on to their bikes longer. With that thought in mind, Ridley also is providing a low-cost vehicle alternative to dealers. The company recently started selling a vintage motorbike that offers two engine options, a 70cc, 2-stroke model or a 48cc, 2-stroke model. The company says the motorbike can be powered by either pedal or motor and gets more than 120 mpg.
“For us the bicycle thing has been a really big deal,” Ridley said. “It’s something the dealers find easier to sell than the motorcycle. They’re not cheap, but they fit on a credit card.”
The company’s biggest hit remains its automatic offering, its Auto-Glide Classic that features a 25-month limited warranty.
Copyright 2009 Powersports Business