Bend Euro Moto
1064 SE Paiute Way
Bend, Ore. 97701
David Bingham and Kathy Jo Porter
Bend Euro Moto owners David Bingham and Kathy Jo Porter should have no problem selling the motorcycling lifestyle at their Oregon dealership. Before getting into the business, both were passionate about riding their bikes to their jobs every day, eschewing cars altogether. Bingham eventually transferred his love for European motorcycles, and Ducati in particular, into a repair shop, which opened in September 2001. Despite the economic downturn that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bingham managed to keep his shop afloat and grow it enough during the next three-and-a-half years to open a full dealership. Bend Euro Moto’s 7,500-square-feet facility opened in April 2005. Bingham only sells and services motorcycles and intends to maintain his narrow focus. The vast majority of units at Bend are Ducati, although the dealership recently added high-end European dirt bikes from Husaberg and Husqvarna. “I like seeing the next, latest, greatest things coming in,” Bingham said.
In Oregon, state legislation has been proposed to severely limit children under the age of 16 from riding dirt bikes on public land and Bingham is concerned it will deter parents who were interested in purchasing a bike, also. Bingham also is displeased with the amount and quality of Chinese motorcycles coming into the country. Bend Euro Moto will not sell or work on the bikes. “[The Chinese] are starting to make really cheap inferior product and bringing in bigger bikes,” Bingham said. “The people who are buying these aren’t always properly educated. I question whether the bikes are safe. If someone has a bad experience right off the bat, they’re less likely to buy another bike. We need tighter standards for these [bikes].”
Like most parts of the country, the Ducati 1098 is a bike that continues to be a hit with customers at Bend Euro Moto. “There’s still quite a bit of hype going on about that,” Bingham said. “That’s a bike that will be sold out for us until the end of summer. People come in every day to see if we’ve taken on more.” Ducati STs and Sport Classics also have been popular at the dealership.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
While Bend Euro Moto might not have been open long enough to establish any glaring customer trends over its short life, Bingham has noticed some subtle differences. For awhile, it looked like people were searching the Internet for whoever could sell them a bike for the cheapest. But Bingham believes people have moved away from that, whether because of bad experiences or otherwise. Now, people want a dealership where they can get comfortable with the personnel and the product; somewhere new customers can learn to ride their bike and see older customers come into the store to buy parts and accessories. “They want to be a part of a community, to have a Red Bull and hang out,” Bingham said. “People come back to us for everything from gear to adjustments and to meet other Ducati people to ride with.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
The dealership is one of the top Ducati apparel dealers and the employees are thoroughly educated on technical apparel. Workers tend to wear Ducati apparel when they’re riding. “Customers see that and understand we know what we’re doing,” Bingham said. “It makes it easier to sell them the proper pants, helmets, etc.” The trick is getting customers to see the greater value in spending more money, Bingham said. Bend Euro Moto manages to pack on the accessories for new bikes with a 15 percent off gear promotion only good the day customers take delivery. Just about every Ducati the dealership sells leaves with about $1,500 in performance parts on it, Bingham said.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
The dealership tries to take Ducati promotions a step farther, particularly its new model introductions. For one promotion, Bend Euro Moto rented a nightclub and solicited sponsorships from Red Bull and a local vodka distillery. The dealership built a runway out of old wood crates and showcased its apparel offerings. Instead of models, Bend Euro Moto used employees and customers to show off the clothes. The show was a big hit and the place was packed, Bingham said.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“If somebody’s really passionate about motorcycling and really enjoys the sport, they might consider getting a job in the industry or starting their own business because we need more people interested in what they’re selling,” Bingham said. “There’s always more room in this industry for enthusiast-based shops.”
— Lisa Young
Copyright 2007 Powersports Business