Company plans spring 2017 A/C unit release
It’s been a busy year for DFK Cabs. After postponing the DFKool air conditioning unit’s original 2016 spring launch, the company has invested in hours of testing to make sure it releases its best product yet.
“We didn’t rush the product to market because we didn’t want to be in a situation where issues were going to pop up in ways that we weren’t aware of because we hadn’t tested it enough,” said Mike Kelly, vice president and general manager of DFK Cab America.
In May, the company used a loaner Polaris Ranger Crew 900 from Mike’s Engine Works out of Darlington, Wis., to test out the A/C unit on the Tri-County Trails. “We did a very rough trail ride to make sure that the vehicle would withstand the weight on the top and that the bouncing around wouldn’t knock any of the components loose,” Kelly explained. “We just rolled out of the warehouse and started running the heck out of it at 55 miles per hour.”
The trails hadn’t been groomed for summer riding at that time, so the Polaris unit had to navigate numerous snowmobile pits and did so without any problems. In addition to the A/C unit, the ride also helped test out a DFK-designed mounting plate, which attaches the generator to the vehicle.
Initially, Kelly said that when the European prototype came over for AIMExpo last year, it had a large box attachment that the generator was supposed to fit into, but the team didn’t feel that was an appropriate way to house the generator. “Basically, because of airflow,” added Kelly. “Plus, we wanted the generator to be available for use with other things. So we came up with our own design of a plate.”
While most sport generators have rubber feet on them, DFK integrated the mounting plate to match up with the holes, and then the feet are screwed on through the plate. The feet keep the mounting plate centered, and it is completely supported underneath.
This design allows the mounting plate more stability and gives users the opportunity to use the generator for more than the A/C unit. Kelly said the generator can be positioned in the back of the unit however the user wants.
With 10 units on the way, DFK has been busy designing more cabs as well as fine-tuning its A/C unit. “We have a cab for the Arctic Cat HDX now, which even Arctic Cat doesn’t have a cab for,” he added.
The company is excited to showcase its second air conditioning prototype at this year’s AIMExpo in Orlando, Florida. He said that new cabs for the Kawasaki Mule Pro FXT and the Can-Am Defender will also be only display during the show.
“The others are all rolling in, and we’re always working on new stuff. We’ve got engineers coming again in a week or two; we’ve got about four new projects that they’re going to start on,” said Kelly.
Over the past year, the Yamaha Viking cab continues to sell well for DFK, alongside the Polaris XP 900 model. “I’m anticipating big things for Arctic Cat and Can-Am [products], once people realize it’s out there,” he said.
New for this year, DFK has also changed its distribution model. The company is no longer working dealer direct, but has chosen to work with Tucker Rocky’s QuadBoss line of products, Western Power Sports’ open trail line and Parts Unlimited’s Moose Utilities products.
So far, Kelly said that the distribution change has been very positive and has led to increased sales in 2016. “The interesting thing that I have found is that bringing on these new distributors is that with the sales that they’ve generated, I’ve not seen any crossover yet. Parts Unlimited had a three-year start on them, but the orders I’ve got from Tucker Rocky and WPS are from dealers we have not done business with before.”
“We’re garnering some more interest from OEMs, which is great,” said Kelly. “I see nothing but positives coming down the road, and I hope that the market supports it.”