Feb. 9, 2004 – Tucker unveils 2004 product

FT. WORTH, Texas —Tucker Rocky Distributing held its 2004 Sales Meeting in its hometown here, Jan. 23-25, and more than 100 Tucker Rocky representatives took part in the affair, learning of new products to be carried by the distributor during 2004.’

A record 82 vendors, each set up in a 10’ x 8’ booth, attended the meeting to educate the Tucker reps.

“Last year, and during the previous years, our reps were allowed to wander,” Stephan Ulbrich, Tucker Rocky’s director of marketing, told Powersports Business. “This year we decided on a new system that allows each of them to get a focused message. We’re moving them around in groups, with each vendor receiving eight minutes per group.”

Suppliers involved in the event included SixSixOne, AC Racing, Accel, Adjure, Allsport Dynamics, Andrews, Arai, Avon Tyre, Baja Designs, Bel Ray, Big Gun, JT Sprockets, BMC Filters, Bridgestone, Maxxis, Cobra, Cox racing, Cyber, Cycle Country, Dakota Digital, Diadora, DFY Sports, D.I.D., Doskocil, Dowco, and Draper Tool.

Also participating were Dunlop Tire, Dynatek, EBC, Factory Effex, FMF, FTM, Gaerne, Galfer Braking Systems, Goodridge, Hooker, IFW, ITP, J&M Corp., K&N, Kayo, KBC, Kenda Tire, Kendon Industries, Kryptonite, Maxima, Mechanix Wear, MK Batteries, Mobil 1, Motion Pro, Multi-Seal, NGK, National Cycle, Nolan, N-Style, PC Racing, Pivot Works, PJ1, Progressive Suspension, ProGrip, Protech Dekalb, Regina, Reima, Roho, S&S, Scott, SDG, Silkolene, Simple Green, Sunnex, Swisher, Tsubaki, UFO, Uni Filter, Vortex, Warn, Willie Max, Yoshimura, Yuasa and Zan Headgear.

While most of the new product revealed will be available for viewing by dealers at the Expo in Indianapolis (Booth #101), Powersports Business received product previews from a number of the firms exhibiting at the Tucker event. Here is a brief summary. Check with your Tucker-Rocky representative for details.

“We updated our rear-sets for 2004,” said Josef Buxton of Vortex. “They have smoother flowing bearings, more available positions, and the peg is knarled to the tip to reduce slippage.”

Best-selling items for Florida-based Vortex are sprockets — sportbike, flat track, drag racing and motocross — rear-sets and frame sliders.

Buxton says Vortex plans to release a new motocross bar in the future, and says the company also plans to come out with a rear wheel stand developed with a unique axle holder. “Plus, we have new triple clamps for motocross, and we’re working with American Honda on a clip-on project,” he said.

SDG USA is an aftermarket seat manufacturer dealing both in the bicycle and off-road motorcycle industries, for which the company makes seats to fit bikes from Japanese manufacturers and KTM, 1996 and newer.

“When you buy a kit, it can be quite a hassle to mess with the cover and try to make it fit,” said Jeff Christman, SDG general manager. “What we decided to do was offer a complete package that would be affordable and allow a consumer to really personalize their bike — not just in look, but in height and fit.”

SDG also offers dual density grips designed to minimize slippage and breaking, and recently revealed a 107cc minicycle prepared for the adult rider.

“We’re also trying to find a cost-effective way to bring an ATV seat to market,” Christman said. “We want it to be a viable option and be affordable, and we’re just figuring out a way to do that.”

Graphics are the meat and potatoes product for Factory Effex, and the firm’s Scott Gilley says its best-selling kits are the Kawasaki Team Green/Chevy Trucks graphics and the Blackfoot Honda/FX graphics.

While graphics for two-wheelers continue to be top-sellers, Factory Effex also offers updated looks for ATVs, off-road motorcycle seats, bar pads, pit boards and street apparel.

Mechanix Wear plans to introduce five new models of glove for 2004. Perhaps best-known for its innovative performance work gloves — 17 models currently — the company also develops a variety of other items designed to protect team members left in the garage, including knee pads, heat sleeves, aprons, support belts and footwear.

In business since 1991, the firm first starred in motocross, but is now involved in NASCAR, NHRA, IRL, and a number of other professional race series, spending about $1 million annually in advertising.

Galfer patented laser-cut Wave Rotors both here and in Europe. Designed to promote better braking through more modulation, increased friction and heat dissipation, the complete Galfer brake kits are available for cruisers, sportbikes, off-road bikes and ATVs, and come with all of the necessary hardware.

Not only a rotor specialist, Galfer also offers steel braided brake lines in a variety of colors, high-quality race brake pads, and clutch kits.

EBC is another European brake specialist. Started 26 years in the automotive sector, the firm has dealt with motorcycles for the past five years, and now services OEM accounts.

“We’re a friction-orientated company,” said the company’s Garry Gallagher, explaining that EBC has brake pads for every bike supplied with discs, plus clutch kits for all sportbikes, dirtbikes and sport ATVs.

Not familiar with Adjure? This lighting specialist offers DOT-approved custom headlights, buckets, and turn signals for Harley and Metric bikes — 166 part numbers in total, including a 4.5-inch light for off-road motorcycle and ATV use.

Sanctioned by Kawasaki and Yamaha, among others, Yuasa specializes in battery-related products such as batteries, chargers and accessories. In fact, Yuasa recently earned the 2003 Quality and Delivery Service Excellence Award from Bombardier for its third consecutive year.

Yuasa says it already sold over 2,500 units of its three-month-old 12V battery tester. Also new for 2004, the company is offering dealers a free double-sided display rack with the purchase of 24 high-performance batteries and any four chargers, jumper cables or digital battery testers. Display includes the rack, two header cards, two application charts, two literature holders, six peg hooks and 50 product sheets.

Diadora’s Mauro Piva came to Ft. Worth from Italy to show his company’s 2004 product, a series of road and off-road boots, kidney belts, and a number of other protection products.

Piva says Diadora hasn’t forgotten about the entire family, and says the company has boots for women and children among its product line.

Fabio Pasqualoni was another traveler from Italy. Pasqualoni represented BMC Air Filter, a company which began operations in 1995 by working with Ferrari, BMW, Sauber and Toyota F1 teams, plus the Audi and Bentley Le Mans teams.

In motorcycle, BMC has collaborated with Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda, and is formulating a working relationship with Yoshimura. BMC’s air filter technology is new to Tucker Rocky for 2004, and Pasqualoni said the company is currently working on ATV applications.

National Cycle’s Sean Cummings showed Tucker reps his firm’s new quick-release Lexan windscreen, which includes three units ranging from long to short. “We’ve been working on developing this product for three years,” Cummings said. “The mounting brackets attach in five minutes and windscreen installation is literally a snap.”

Pivot Works’ Jeff Wells says his company is excited about new product for ‘04 including new offerings from the firm’s Hot Cams brand.

“We have cams for all four-wheel-drive quads, plus new cams for the CRF450 and the entire YZ line,” Wells said.

An all-new fork seal kit, developed with upper and lower Teflon bushings, is not available from Tucker, but Wells says he hopes it soon will be.

“It includes everything needed under one part number, which we hope makes life easier for the dealers and for the customers,” Wells said. “Looking at the number of fork seals that are replaced every year, this will probably turn out to be one of our biggest sellers.”

New products from both brands will be publicly unveiled at Indy.

Eddie Cole, originator and former owner of Answer Racing, is the owner of SixSixOne, a company specializing in protection products —chest protectors, shin and knee pads, elbow guards, neck support, kidney belts, gloves, etc. — for motorcyclists and ATV riders.

“Only about $1500 stocks our whole product line,” Cole told Powersports Business. “It’s not a large investment for the retailer to stock the product; it’s mutual branded, goes with Fox, AXO, MSR, O’Neal products; plus, it offers margins of over 40%.

“We haven’t met a retailer who has stocked the product who hasn’t been successful with it.”

Michael Johns, sales manager at Progressive Suspension, updated Tucker Rocky reps on the virtues of his company’s new Control Valve Technology — “A completely new type of suspension that we’ve been developing over the past two years,” he said. “It started in downhill mountain bike racing, and our plan was to work all the bugs out there, and then bring it to ATV industry.”

Johns said a YFZ450 outfitted with the new shocks will be on display at Indy. “And we also hope to show a mini 50 with the shock system,” he said.

James (Ted) Dobson, Kendon president, talked of his fold-up trailer featuring an integrated wheel chock system for easy one-person loading; round tube steel construction; a long and strong loading ramp; 13” chrome wheels and trailer specific tires; large casters; and an optional full size spare. Additionally, the two-bike trailer features a torsion bar axle and a 5’ x 7’ platform allowing for two bikes or utility use.

“Forget about the difficulties and costs associated with shipping and storing trailers,” Dobson said. “These units stack flush and can be stored vertically up against each other, offering absolutely no wasted space.”

Glen Urquhart, Tucker’s ATV manager, says new quad-related product will include additional Ducks Unlimited-branded gear, made available through the distributor’s 2003 tie-up with the conservation organization.

Urquhart described the Ft. Worth and Indy previews as a part of the “soft launch,” and said the hard launch will occur at the yearly QuadBoss jamboree in June.

The branded gear, available exclusively through Tucker Rocky, includes single and double Gun Racks made by All Rite Products; a six-ply rated Wetlands ATV Tire made by ITP; a 2,500lb ATV Winch by WARN; a 44” wide X 80” long Bi-Fold ATV Ramp; and black and Advantage MAX-4 patterned soft-side ATV luggage, including stowage pack, gear pack , fender pack, hand warmers , tank saddlebags and storage cover.

Urquhart said most product should be in stock sometime this month, but said the new luggage will arrive in March or April.

Bill Carter, vice president of research and development at Tucker Rocky, says the distributor’s Answer, MSR and Pro Taper brands have been “re-energized”for 2004.

“All three of the lines have experienced substantial growth over the last year, and so we’re just really excited about what’s coming,” Carter told Powersports Business. “We stepped up and invested significant money to hire top level racers, and we’re doing a lot of things to attract significant attention to our product designs, and what I would call energizing the brands with exciting and effective advertising, packaging and promotions.”

On the Answer side of things, Carter says Tucker is expanding on “the historical elements of quality and value and good reputable product.”

With MSR, he said, there’s more of a significant change in brand positioning.

“For a few years, the brand kind of got to be more off-road and less motocross. Now we felt it was time to jump back in and become more prominent in motocross while still keeping with the off-road flavors. So, basically, if it involves dirt, it involves MSR,” he said.

Carter said the big story with Pro Taper is the level of investment in new product development. While the brand’s new SE (7/8”)handlebar was a hit here, Carter says other new product will include new rubber-mounted triple clamps, new grips, a minibike kit including clamp and bar, and other developments.

“Pro Taper has always been about innovative products in the handlebar category, but now we’re expanding that into the control category,” Carter said.

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