New digs, new products and same old success
Doing business in California proved to be a bit of a growth inhibitor for TechSpec, so the manufacturer of tank grips and saddle box covers decided to take a new lease in Nevada. Suffice to say, the move was warranted. TechSpec has grown from two full-time employees to a staff of eight, and the company has plenty of room for growth with its innovative product lineup.
Located in Mindon, Nev., near Carson City and Lake Tahoe, TechSpec has plenty of supreme areas to test its products. Owner Dean Davis formed the company in 2006, in El Dorado Hills, Calif. After a couple of expansions to its garage, TechSpec, then with the addition of Robbie Boulais as general manager, opted in 2010 to head for the hills of Nevada.
The original 2,500 square-foot facility recently was replaced by a building twice that size.
“We found that Nevada was a lot more responsive to new businesses and a lot more business-friendly,” Boulais told Powersports Business. “Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the U.S., and two heads and four hands can only get you so far. We’re building a business that will have continual steady jobs.”
The six full-time (and two-part time) hires the company has made since moving to its new digs have been needed. TechSpec’s growth has been phenomenal, with rises of 25 percent each both last year and in the first quarter of 2013. The company has grown sales in every year of its existence, Boulais said.
Davis initially brought his new rubbers and adhesives products to the dirt bike market, and soon ventured into sport.
“The sport bike product blew up. Those guys are going 160-180 mph into the corners, and when they brake, their momentum goes forward. They were putting all the pressure on their wrists and shoulders. Putting our grips on the tank, they can now squeeze the tank with their thighs, and use their core to hold themselves up,” he said.
Owners of Ducati 848s and 1098 and Triumph Daytona 675s were the company’s most frequent customers in 2012, with sport touring bikes like the Kawasaki Concours also making noise on the TechSpec sales charts.
Paint protectant, too
“Guys are buying $25,000 bikes and the paint’s wearing away, so they’re buying our products to both protect the paint and provide cohesion of friction,” Boulais said.
TechSpec has capitalized on the popularity of adventure touring bikes with its newest product, saddle box protectors, which mount with adhesive onto the top of the box to provide paint protection from natural elements as well as scuffs by a passenger. In addition to the Concours, the protectors are available for the BMW K 1600, BMW R 1200 and Yamaha Super Tenere.
“We’ve found a huge demand for those,” Boulais said. “Customers love it because it protects their paint at the same time. Adventure touring is a bigger market now. Our material is durable enough to withstand the abuse they can put it through.”
TechSpec touts itself as the only supplier of tank grips that have a resealable adhesive, which allows the rider to take off the grip and reapply it. The grips are available in the company’s Snakeskin (most aggressive), C3 (comfort, control and confidence) and High Fusion (thinnest and lightest) synthetic rubber patterns. They come with a one-year warranty.
“We try to make a quality product and provide customer service support. It’s showing and the team is working hard to keep things beautiful for the customer,” Boulais said. “There’s nothing to clean off after they peel off the grip. We don’t want to leave our customers with a mess.”
Two-piece kits average $54.95, with three-piece kits at $64.95. Saddlebox covers are in the $90 range. TechSpec sells dealer direct, through distributors and direct to consumer via its online store. Wholesalers can count on margins of 35-40 percent, Boulais said.
With the year off to another strong start, Boulais said TechSpec’s future plans include revisiting its dirt bike product lineup, and move more of its seat grip products.