Feb. 8, 2010: Expo Hot News

Tucker Rocky adds several high-profile brands

Tucker Rocky Distributing is entering the spring selling season with a number of new high-profile brands as well as notable additions to its house brands.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based national distributor has added at least three high-profile brands since last spring: OGIO, Scorpion helmets and Renthal.

“We’ve been pretty busy adding new products to the portfolio and growing our own brands,” said Tucker Rocky President Steve Johnson.

The most recent of those additions — OGIO — was announced in late January. Johnson says Tucker Rocky will carry the brand’s complete line of powersports products, including its ramps, stands and bags.

“It’s a powerful brand in that particular segment,” Johnson said of OGIO, which is affiliated with several high-profile powersports athletes, including Travis Pastrana and Andy Bell.

Tucker Rocky also has several new products within its house brands that it will show off at Indy. That includes the extension of its relatively new Speed and Strength brand, which in the coming year will now include helmets and footwear in addition to its other men and women apparel items.

Other new house brand additions include:

•The BikeMaster new TruGel battery, which uses an unique gel electrolyte that the company says provides higher cranking amps, lasts twice as long as a conventional battery, resists vibration, is nonspillable even if the battery is cracked and operates in any position. (MSRP: $25.95-$196.95)

•New James Stewart Collection Gear through its Answer brand. The collection of gear will include pants, jersey, gloves and a helmet.

•New MSR apparel gear that is in collaboration with a well-known freestyle motocross team called Metal Mulisha. The gear will include pants, jerseys, gloves, helmet and a chest protector.

Marshall to bolster its sales force this year


Marshall Distributing is adding personnel and products this year, some of which will be on display at the Dealer Expo.

The Cass City, Mich.-based distributor expanded its territory last year as it added a shipping location in Sparks, Nev. As a result, the company added sales reps in that territory and has plans to add more personnel there and in other key competitive U.S. areas, including the Northeast and the South.

Marshall currently has 35 sales reps, more than double what it had just three years ago. National Sales Manager Chuck Herman says the company could add up to 20 more in the coming year.

“I think it’s unhealthy in any economy to just standstill on a yearly basis,” Herman said of the company’s expected growth in a challenging economy. “If you’re not taking a step forward, it’s awful easy to take a step backward and that isn’t going to be Marshall Distributing.”

Along with the expected sales force additions, Marshall Distributing is bringing several new products to the market. Those include:

•Its own private branded line of inner tubes. “Most people may not realize how fragile that inner tube business is,” Herman said. “There are not that many suppliers of butyl rubber in the world. We’ve found a new supplier that has given us a huge selection of inner tube sizes and is guaranteeing a constant supply.”

•Zoan helmets. Many dealers will see this relatively new line of helmets, exclusively distributed by Marshall, for the first time as they were introduced last fall. The company currently has three models in stock — two for street and one for dirt — and may have a fourth — expected to be a modular helmet — available by the expo.

•Midland Communication Systems. Marshall Distributing added this longtime electronics supplier late last year. “It’s growing with us,” said Herman, noting the company has received rave reviews on the ease-of-use of the new product. “We expect it to be very strong in 2010.”

•Vee Rubber tires. “I think it’s going to have a huge impact on the motorcycle tire business around the country,” Herman said of the brand, noting it has very competitive pricing and a stable supply. Vee Rubber also is introducing a sport bike tire that Marshall will have at the show.

Some of these new brands could be part of the newest Marshall facility, the one located in Sparks, Nev. Marshall Distributing Chief Operating Officer Joe Mooney notes the company started stocking only a few brands out of that facility to start with but is quickly ramping that number up. Mooney notes the company is currently seeking vendors to partner with on the West Coast for direct shipping into the Nevada warehouse.

Helmet House focusing on improving shoei training

While national distributor Helmet House is approaching the new year with new products, it’s also putting considerable emphasis on dealership training.

The Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based distributor is strongly encouraging its sales reps to conduct training courses at dealerships in the new year, says Richard Kimes, Helmet House’s director of marketing.

“We find it more important than ever to not only go back to the basics, but reinforce those key best practices that we’ve culled from working with some of the most successful dealerships in the country,” he said.

Kimes says Helmet House personnel will work with dealers specifically on Shoei product training and best practices to build that profit center. “Given its price point, knowledge of the product is absolutely essential when closing the sale,” Kimes said of Shoei’s line.

Shoei also is offering a pair of new helmets that will be shown at the Dealer Expo. That will include the X-Twelve, which features the manufacturer’s Quick Release Self-Adjusting base plate system, and the RF-1100, a sport touring helmet that incorporates the aerodynamic advantages of a spoiler into the shell of the helmet.

“Shoei has done an incredible job taking really outstanding products and finding really significant ways to make them better,” Kimes said. “For that, we’re very fortunate.”

Helmet House also will be showing its new Tour Master Centurion One-Piece Textile Suit, which includes a patent-pending device that eliminates seepage in the collar area.

In addition to the new products, Kimes says Helmet House has rolled out some aggressive programs. That includes repricing a number of products to provide lower consumer retail prices while holding dealer margins, and offering aggressive terms for dealers, including in some cases providing ways to earn better margins.

Perhaps as a result of some of those changes, Kimes says Helmet House recently enjoyed its second best December in company history. “There are opportunities out there,” he said of the current marketplace, “they’re just different than what was historically in the past.”

Moose Racing adds more atv accessories to its lineup

Moose Racing is introducing a new line of drive belts plus other new products at the upcoming Dealer Expo.

The drive belts will offer faster and more consistent throttle response at high speeds and quicker throttle response at mid-speed acceleration, according to a company press release. There will be two belts available: the High Performance Plus, engineered for 800cc and above engines, and the Dayco High Performance, which are built for ATVs, utility vehicles and golf carts.

Other new Moose Racing products will include:

•A winch cushion, which stops a hook before it reaches the roller fairlead. These are made of a durable, high-impact absorbing rubber and will retail for $12.95.

•ATV foam grips, which are soft-closed cell foam grips. They are sold in pairs, include end caps and retail for $6.95.

Western power sports increases tire offerings

Western Power Sports is adding to its tire offerings, both from new suppliers and with its in-house brands.

The Boise, Idaho-based national distributor recently announced it will be a supplier of Pirelli tires. Western becomes the second U.S. distributor to have access to Pirelli’s complete line of tires.

Another Western tire supplier, Shinko, is adding to its offerings with a dual compound street tire.

Plus, Western’s house brand, Sedona, is expanding its wheel and tire selection, including a new radial ATV tire and doubling the number of its off-road motorcycle model offerings, says Terry Baisley, the vice president of sales for Western Power Sports.

Outside of tires, new suppliers for Western Power Sports include:

•Spidi, the high-end street apparel line manufactured in Italy that was previously

distributed dealer-direct.

•Two Brothers, the exhaust manufacturer, is new to the distributor since the past Dealer Expo;

•Asterisk, the knee brace manufacturer is currently exclusive to Western.

Western Power Sports also will be displaying the result of a new partnership it has with a display company that also works with Target and large auto parts chain stores, Baisley says. The two companies have worked together to produce a complete store display program for Fly Racing, a house brand of Western’s that is distributed in more than 40 countries.

Icon introducing helmets, adding to its women’s apparel

Icon is adding a pair of distinctive helmets, an addition to its women-specific apparel and a limited-edition jacket to its product portfolio this spring.

Icon Product Specialist Brenda Trumbo says the brand’s new helmet, the Variant, has received its share of rave reviews, and questions. The latter is a result of its different styling.

“Some people are like, ‘What is it? What’s it for?’” Trumbo said, noting some dealers have wondered if it’s actually an off-road helmet.

The Variant, however, doesn’t stray from Icon’s history of street products. It’s a full-face street helmet with an extended nose piece and a curved shield. The product, entitled an “urban assault” helmet by Icon, will be priced at the upper end of Icon helmets with a MSRP of $390.

The other new, distinctive Icon helmet is the Alliance SSR Britton Igniter, which features a pair of fins that can be placed toward the back of the helmet.

“We’ve been asked for years, when is Icon going to make Mohawks?” Trumbo said of the decoration style that some sport bike riders have adopted. “Well, we’re not.”

But the brand’s first signature helmet by renowned stunt bike rider Jason Britton gets pretty close. The fins are actually a kit, and can be placed on the helmet or left off. Either way, they won’t affect the product’s vents.

“It’s kind of fun to stick them on because you definitely will get attention and that’s usually what people are looking for when they put a Mohawk on,” she said.

Besides helmets, Icon is adding to its women-specific apparel with an entire outfit devoted to the new Hella product. The new Hella will come in three color waves and feature not only a jacket, but gloves, chaps and street-riding boots.

Icon also has something for the rider who has it all — a limited-edition jacket that will retail for $1,200. The jacket, called Victory Metal God, features a slew of metal skulls, including three rows of them that are placed on different sections of the arms. Icon will only make a hundred of these jackets, each of which will be individually numbered.

Former BRP director wenzel joins S&S Cycle

S&S Cycle has announced the appointment of Gary Wenzel to the position of director of sales and marketing.

Wenzel, a 10-year veteran in aftermarket, comes from BRP U.S. where he served as director of parts and accessories. While at BRP, Wenzel was involved in launching the Evinrude brand e-commerce site, increasing dealer support through an internal and external sales network, improving product availability through an expanded distribution footprint and developing an alternate channel strategy that reached a broader customer base.

In his new role, Wenzel will oversee sales and marketing efforts throughout the S&S Cycle’s dealer, distributor and OEM channels. He will report to George Smith, CEO and acting president of S&S Cycle.

“We are very excited to have Gary join the S&S Cycle team,” Smith said in the press release. “The market environment is evolving more rapidly today than ever before and to maintain S&S Cycle’s leadership position as the premier provider of performance motorcycle products, we must have the agility to evolve with it.”

Parts Unlimited to distribute Driven Racing products

Parts Unlimited will distribute Driven Performance Products, a manufacturer of performance parts for dirt, street, super moto and ATV vehicles, according to a press release from Driven Racing.

“Parts Unlimited has a vast network of dealers through which we hope to make our products readily available to dealers and consumers throughout the United States,” said Driven Racing in the release. “We are very excited about this new relationship. For 2010, Parts Unlimited will be carrying several products from the Driven lineup.”

Two Brands Collaborate to Provide off-road tools

Warn Industries, a provider of powersports vehicle products, has announced a new partnership with Benchmade Knife Co.

Edged tools manufactured by Benchmade Knife Co. will become available early this year bearing the Warn logo.

“We are very excited about the partnership with Benchmade,”?said Warn President John McCalla. “Their history of producing the best knives in the world couples extremely well with Warn’s industry-leading off-road technology.

“Warn is one of the world’s most recognized names in the off-road community,” said Greg Mooney, president of Benchmade Knife Co. “This partnership will help expand the Benchmade brand into new markets and reach new consumers.”

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