Mar. 10, 2008 – V-Twin Expo Briefs

Trike Company Reporting Growing Kit Sales

CINCINNATI — Although most of its business is currently east of the Mississippi River, The Trike Shop is reporting a rapidly growing business.
The Minnesota manufacturer is building 20 Harley-Davidson and Honda trike kits per week, a vast increase over just three years ago.
“Trikes aren’t the sexiest things in the world compared to choppers, but it’s a good business,” said Doug Lindholm, the company’s general manager.
The Trike Shop has two retail locations, in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and at Destination Daytona in Florida. However, Lindholm said its dealer network, which numbers approximately 70, does the bulk of the company’s business.
“We still do more Honda business than Harley,” Lindholm said, “but I think there’s a lot more opportunity in the Harley line. Honestly I don’t think anybody builds a really good Harley kit, and we came out with a new Harley kit a couple of years ago, and it’s been doing very well.”
The company provides kits for Harley touring models and Softails and is currently working on a Sportster kit to provide a lower-end option. The Harley kits are sold to dealers for roughly $7,200 who then turn around and retail the kit and the appropriate service work for $11,500-$12,000.
“A lot of the dealers at the Expo were like, ‘Wow, it’s been awhile since I made $5,000 on a transaction,’” Lindholm said.
The Harley kits have different options with the top price range around $15,000.
The Trike Shop builds the kits from its 25,000-square-foot White Bear Lake, Minn., facility. The increase in business — the shop’s weekly build has gone from six-eight per week to the current 20 in the past three years — has the company currently employing 25 at its White Bear Lake facility.
Lindholm says the company is seeking dealers throughout the South, in Texas and the Northeast to name three areas.

Big Dog Motorcycles Presents Sneak Peak at 2009 Model

Big Dog Motorcycles provided a sneak peak at a 2009 model it will be introducing in September that will feature a saddlebag option.
The new model, called the Wolf, will include an X-Wedge 121 cubic-inch engine with electronic fuel injection, a drive-side brake, a radical swing-arm design and a single down tube.
The Wolf also will feature an extensive standard chrome package.
Expect more details on the 2009 model this summer.

Nonprofit Custom Bike Group Seeks corporate Sponsors

The director of the recently launched Custom Bike Association says the nonprofit group that is hoping to standardize bike building is seeking corporate sponsors.
The association is aiming to:

  • establish a standardized education and certification process based on accepted specifications and standards;
  • educate the industry and public on V-twin issues, including state and federal regulations;
  • serve as an unbiased source for guidance and direction for the V-twin industry.
    “What’s key is we remain 100 percent objective,” said association director Tim DeMirjian, who created the group with Robert Hudepohl, his partner at Velocity Inc., a marketing and advertising firm whose clients include Orange County Choppers and Pirelli Tires. “We really, really are going to remain true to our objectivity so that all can benefit from its existence.”
    As part of its initial goals, the association is seeking corporate sponsors. The sponsors, which are called charter sponsors, are asked to help fund some of the group’s start-up costs and in return will be placed on the group’s Web site and on any marketing material. Charter sponsors also will be part of an initial steering committee.
    For more information on the group, contact DeMirjian at tim@custombikeassociation.org.

    Big Bear Unveils its Latest Creation: The Paradox

    Big Bear Choppers showed off a new bike with a dropped front-end and large diameter wheels (23-inch front, 20-inch rear) called the Paradox.
    The bike features a downtube fiberglass 3D molded cover that hides the clutch cable and a swingarm design that includes a stylistic cover, which hides the tubular frame structure, axle adjusters and brake line.
    The Paradox, which the California manufacturer made available to ship in December, starts at $31,900.

    OCC Motorcycles Shows Off Bagger, Another New Bike

    Orange County Choppers unveiled two additions to its Limited Edition Production line during an industry-only reception at the 2008 V-Twin Expo, including a bagger.
    The OCC SR Cruiser (MSRP: $53,000) retains the essential elements of a true bagger: stability, storage and comfort. A dual-style gas tank and twin exhaust pipes that exit out the side of the saddlebags lend an aggressively updated style. The Cruiser also features S&S Cycle’s EPA-certified X-wedge engine and a custom-framed rear 240 tire.
    OCC also showed off the Sweet Amber (MSRP: $48,900), which pulls strong curves out of a traditional softail frame. It includes an oil tank discreetly mounted in the transmission, 2-inch thick Springers and original OCC flow-cut chrome wheels. The bike has a 21-inch front tire and a thick, 240mm rear tire.

    Viper Motorcycle to Begin Production This Spring

    Viper Motorcycle Co. says it is scheduled to enter full production mode on March 1 with its own short-stroke engine.
    The Minnesota manufacturer originally launched in 2005 with Patrick Racing engines. But the company opted to develop an in-house engine, which was designed in part by Al Melling, a well-known car engine designer.
    The resulting 152-cubic inch engine provides more torque (148 foot-pounds) than horsepower (128 hp), says Fred Proctor, Viper’s national sales manager.
    Proctor, who worked formerly with Titan Motorcycle Co., is helping Viper develop an assembly line production process at its Big Lake, Minn., facility. That includes having manuals at each station, ensuring as a bike moves down the assembly line it’s being double-checked by each staff member.
    “That worked very well for me at Titan,” he said.
    Viper has hired two sales reps to be on the road to handle any dealer concerns, Proctor says. “If there are any issues, we’ll take care of them right away, especially warranties, customer service-type stuff,” he said.
    The road reps also will help with sales training, he notes.
    “We’re not going to tell our dealer how to sell the bike,” Proctor said, “we’re going to help them sell the bike. We have ideas on how to move these products in and out the door.”
    Viper has three models, including its cruiser, the Diablo, that features 18-inch front wheels and its deluxe cruiser, which will feature a package of accessories that include a windshield, floorboards, saddlebag and rear pegs. The cruiser will start around $35,500 and the deluxe version would be around $43,000.
    Viper also has a pro-street model, called the Diamondback, with a 21-inch front wheel and a rigid chopper.

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