Three wheels, and one hot segment pushing growth
Conversion company sees growth as riders turn to three wheels
It was just this summer when Powersports Business reported an uptick in searches for trikes on NADAguides.com, so it was no surprise when Jeffrey Vey, owner of Motor Trike Incorporated, reported that his business grew last year and is expecting another increase in 2012.
“Our business has been outstanding,” he told Powersports Business. “We grew almost 13 percent in 2010-11, and we’re looking like we’re going to do it again in 2012. Yeah, we’re probably the poster child of success in the industry right now, but we have the product that the market needs, and that’s what makes it so special.”
NADAguides.com reported a 27 percent year-over-year increase in trike views earlier this year, and Vey is riding that wave of popularity.
Motor Trike has found a niche that’s growing as traditional riders are aging and many are getting into the sport later in life. The company’s average demographic is couples ages 50 and older and women ages 35-40 who are just beginning to ride.
“Our demographics are different than what you normally have in the motorcycle industry in that with the people we sell to, the house is paid for, the kids are gone, and if they’re going to continue to ride, they’re going to want a trike to do it because they get the stability, they get the better ride, better comfort, better handling. So it’s just the right product for the right time,” Vey explained.
The company produces trike conversion kits for metric and V-twin motorcycles out of its 108,000-square-foot facility in Troup, Texas. It then relies on its dealer network to sell and install the kits on customer bikes.
Motor Trike’s dealer network is growing, and the company is always looking to add more, but becoming authorized requires more than a signature on a dotted line.
“We’re probably a little unique in our industry in that dealers have to come to our facility to be trained before they can become a dealer,” Vey said.
Motor Trike dealers travel to Troup to learn about company’s sales and marketing plans, understand order processing, meet the plant’s employees, and of course, learn how to install the kits.
“They have to understand because when they become a dealer for us, they are nothing more than an extension of our company,” Vey explained. “They come to our facility, and they’re aware of the caliber of the people that work there, and they know when they leave there that they’re not on an island by themselves.”
The conversion kits can be added to new bikes, or can be installed on pre-owned models. Some dealers even install them on their own used units to push them out to a different audience.
In addition to the conversion kits, Motor Trike has added a line of Harley-Davidson Tri Glide accessories, which is featured in the Drag Specialties catalog. The line includes about a dozen items, from fender bras to running boards to a suspension controller.
“This is a very, very special product line designed for the Tri Glide, and no one else has accessories for that product,” Vey said.
The line, which was first unveiled at Drag’s Reno Showcase in March, is available exclusively through Drag. Dealers who only pick up the Tri Glide line do not need to attend training in Texas, as installation is simple and the directions are found online.
“Dealers can look at it before they purchase it, and the directions are very, very well written. And because we have our own engineering staff in-house — we have four mechanical engineers there — all the drawings are done in SolidWorks or CAD, and they’re just a brilliantly-written piece of work,” Vey explained.
Even though the line is new to Motor Trike, it has been moving well, following in the footsteps of the rest of the company.
“Anytime that you add to your business base through a different marketing method, that you haven’t had before, it’s a winner,” Vey said.
Those dealers who have gotten on board with the trike trend probably feel the same way about that segment.