Feb. 10, 2003 – D&D to make pipes for AIH

Although D&D Performance, Ft. Worth, Texas, is probably best known for its wide-ranging line of exhaust systems designed for performance bikes, owner David Rash does deal in other applications. Late last year, his product caught the attention of a neighbor with a penchant for producing custom V-twin cruisers.
“We are now manufacturing all of the American IronHorse OE pipes, and I’m getting ready to produce a line of accessories for them, as well,” Rash recently told Powersports Business. “I’m not building them a private-label product, I don’t do that, but we will be building their exhausts.”
Rash also said AIH will handle D&D pipes, which, he says, should be on display at the AIH booths in Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
Rash’s history in the powersports industry goes back more than 30 years. In 1972, he gave up managing a Honda dealership to own and operate a road-racing team. More than capable in the machine shop, he rebuilt and tuned the racing bike’s engine, formed his own exhaust system, and completed all of the design and research required to field the competition motorcycle.
To finance his racing endeavors, he started to manufacture and market his systems for consumer applications.
Today, D&D, which had $3.5 million in sales during 2002, still acts as a sort of privateer in an industry ripe with big money, corporate-backed exhaust manufacturers. Rash, who still spends every day in the shop, says he manages to grow his consumer base by supplying a line of high-quality products that are widely recognized as both attractive and capable of performance gains.
“Most people who have been in business for 30 years have found a place to sit down behind a desk and point their fingers at other people, but you are talking to an old guy who wakes up at 3:30 a.m. every morning, puts on a pair of blue coveralls, goes down to the R&D and makes pipes,” Rash said.
D&D employs about 40 workers at its 17,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Ft. Worth, and Rash says the key to keeping his business profitable and growing is in offering what he calls “functional aesthetics.”
“The big difference between my organization and other manufacturers is function. Aesthetics — yes, they are important. But my major goal in life revolves around functional aesthetics,” Rash said. “My forte is for making stuff that makes power, and quality is Numero Uno. I totally refuse to cut the quality and function of my product to make more money. And I make sure everyone who works here has the exact same attitude, or they do not work here.”
Designed with the R&D guidance of Jon Minonno, a multiple land-speed record holder and former racer, D&D’s exhaust systems are being built for an increasing number of motorcycles.
D&D manufactures exhaust systems for most of today’s popular models, yet the company also continues to roll out product designed to fit bikes built as of 1984 — a fact Rash says soon will be shared through a new ad campaign and upcoming color catalog.
“My background has been with the Japanese sport bikes, and they are a big part of our business, but we also have new products for the muscle twins — like the Warrior and the VTX — and for bikes like the Buell XB9S and the Dyna, Heritage, Springer and V-Rod,” he said.
In addition, the firm also is on the cusp of releasing new systems for Harley-Davidson’s FLH/FLT, Kawasaki’s ZZR, Honda’s ST1300, and the Yamaha FJ1300, among others.
Although available through Tucker-Rocky — another Fort Worth neighbor — D&D product is still sold dealer-direct.
“I have a very close association with dealers because they are the bottom line,” Rash says. “If someone doesn’t work with Tucker, or if they are having other problems getting a hold of our product, they can call us up here and we’ll take care of them.”
D&D recently purchased a fourth building to aid in serving its dealers. With an estimated 7,600 sq. ft., the new facility is intended to be used for warehouse space.
“So what we’re going to do this year, with this new building, is expand our capabilities by keeping our own inventory,” Rash explained. “That means we’ll have everything here, in stock, ready to be shipped to where it’s needed, when it’s needed.”

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