According to industry estimates, a total of 273,368 off-road bikes were sold during 2002. With a number like that, imagine how much money was spent on parts, garments and accessories (PG&A). To get a picture of what retailers have been moving during 2003, Powersports Business asked PG&A professionals across the country what the hot items have been in their particular region.
“We’ve had a really good spring, and the off-road gear is really moving right now,” says Robert Jarra, manager of Bob’s Cycle Supply in Minneapolis, Minn.
Bob’s Cycle Supply is in its 35th year of business and ranks itself as one of the top five mail-order firms in the country.
Jarra says he feels high-end helmets seem to be taking a hit. “Arai, Shoei, they just aren’t moving because I think the prices are starting to get a little too high,” he says. “HJC is probably our hottest line. They have very good mid-range helmets – helmets in the $150 range seem to be moving pretty well.
“And, in the apparel market, things to be a bit more spread out this year. Fox and Shift are holding strong, but AXO and Troy Lee Designs are coming up. In fact, we’ve had a great season with them since around Christmas time.”
In boots, Jarra says Alpinestars are tops, but that the Fox Stewart replica boots “haven’t been too bad, either.” As for goggles, he says: “Spy seems to be one of the companies really on fire right now. They are doing very well with their goggles and casual wear.”
Popular hard parts at Bob’s include Renthal sprockets and handlebars, Acerbis and One Industries plastic,VForce reed valves from Moto Tassinari, and FMF pipes. “It used to be that we sold Pro Circuit three to one over FMF, now it’s pretty close to even,” Jara said.
In tires, Bob’s is seeing increased demand for the Dunlop 773 and Kenda 771 Millville Series.
Layne Kolbet, accessories manager at Big Valley Motorsports in Reno, Nev., is a 12-year veteran of the industry. Kolbet says he often see families come in to buy a number of bikes at one time.
“The bikes are the expensive part until you start buying the gear,” Kolbet muses. “A lot of times, the families will buy everything for everybody. Apparel and accessories aren’t really expensive, but it sure adds up in a hurry.”
Petersen says he has noticed that the consumer base is “a lot more knowledgeable that what it was 10 or even five years ago. A lot more knowledgeable.”
“We’re moving tons of everything in off-road,” says Timmy Nelson, parts salesman at F&S Kawasaki & Suzuki in Dayton, Ohio. “We do a lot with TAG Metals in handlebars; and we’re moving a whole lot of Works Connection master cylinder kits, Vortex triple clamps and clutch baskets, Dunlop 756 tires, and Cycra plastic.
As for helmets, Nelson says HJC is the most popular brand at F&S, followed by a “fair amount” of Shoei. “Spy goggles and No Fear apparel are also popular here,” he says, “and we sell a lot of Sidi and Alpinestars boots.”
In the mountains, at Fay Myers Motorcycle World in Denver, Colo., parts man Jimmy Gallegos says Shoei helmets seem to be among the most popular of the five brands they carry.
“In apparel, a lot of people are running Fox and Thor, and we’re moving a lot of EVS knee braces, chest protectors and kidney belts,” he said. The most popular boot at Fay Myers appears to be the Alpinestars Tech 8.
Although Fay Myers carries Oakley, Scott and Smith goggles, Gallegos says he sells “probably six sets of Spy goggles to one set of Oakley.”
As for hard parts, Gallegos says two of the most popular items after the purchase of a new bike are handlebars and exhausts. “A lot of people in this area are running Bill’s pipes,” he says. “Otherwise, all of the FMF series pipes seem to be selling pretty well because we’re going through their stuff pretty quick.”
On the West Coast, Jennifer McFadden is accessories store manager at Chapparral Motorsports, a nationally recognized powersports retail and mail-order location in San Bernardino, Calif.
“We carry probably 10 or 15 brands of motocross apparel,” McFadden said, “but we’re moving a lot more Fox than anything else.”
In women’s apparel, “Fox is doing the best job at it, but we also carry Acerbis, O’Neal and MSR,” she said. “Plus, we always sell a lot of youth gear because kids grow so quickly. But, unless the kid races, the consumers are usually going to target a price point, and the best price apparel we have in the store would probably be our own brand, Ocelot.”
Copyright 2003 Powersports Business