March 8, 2010: Dealer Expo Digest

Yamaha adds to its distribution portfolio

INDIANAPOLIS — Yamaha’s parts and accessories division announced a number of new supplier relationships at the recently held Dealer Expo.

The company last year changed its parts and accessories distribution, from strictly Yamaha-branded items to parts and accessories that fit a variety of Yamaha applications.

Among the new supplier relationships include:

Cycle Country. Yamaha will now have a full line of side-by-side and utility ATV products for Grizzly ATVs and Rhinos that will be focused on farming, agriculture and snow removal;

Arlen Ness technical riding gear. Greenstar, the manufacturer of the Arlen Ness line, will be working closely with Yamaha to design and develop a brand that is tailored to the U.S. market. The spring 2010 Arlen Ness collection includes leather and textile jackets, riding boots, leathers suits and gloves.

“The Arlen Ness line of apparel has a host of new and innovative technical features using special leather and nylon developed by Greenstar,” Mauricio Giersztein, founder of Greenstar, said in a press release.

ChatterBox. The company offers bike-to-bike and/or rider-to-passenger communication as well as Bluetooth capabilities. These are now available through Yamaha.

Matrix Concepts accessory line for Yamaha. This includes motorcycle stands, ramps, tie-downs and a complete line of work mats. Chad Cole, co-founder of Matrix Concepts, said in a press release, “Our products are used by many of the Yamaha race teams, including Am-Pro in off-road racing, L&M, JGR, Star Racing and JLaw Racing in SX/MX.”

Trailer firm expands with dealer direct program

INDIANAPOLIS — A trailer company known for its no-bounce, adjustable air suspension product is expanding its dealer-direct business.

Bushtec Products Corp., a Jacksboro, Tenn.-based business, is moving to the new business model after being acquired more than a year ago by Alliance Industries. The manufacturer of touring trailers had previously been operated as a family owned business for more than 25 years.


During that time, the company was mostly consumer-direct, although it did have a small dealer network, said Andrew Preston, the company’s general manager. That’s going to change this year as the company will work to establish dealers in large metro areas across the United States.

“We understand for our trailers to do well beyond the level of what they’ve done to this point, we need to have a strong dealer network,” Preston said.

Bushtec’s parent company will provide flooring for dealers, which will be grouped into two levels — Bushtec-authorized dealers and Gold Star dealers — depending on their sales volume.

The company’s trailers can work with a variety of metric, V-twin and European motorcycle models.

“It’s not so much what they carry (in brands), it’s having the right clientele,” Preston said of potential Bushtec dealers. “If they are a touring dealer and they have a touring base of consumers that are serious riders, they can be successful whether they’re dealing with metric or V-twin because we support both.”

In fact, Preston said the company’s diverse customers have included BMW, Honda, Harley-Davidson and Kawasaki riders. “We’ve opened up segments of the market that weren’t something a lot of people thought about initially,” for trailers, he said.

The company also offers a number of accessories for both the interior and exterior of the trailers, which typically sell for around $4,000. Some of the interior accessories include a map and document pouch, garment holders, interior lights and a cargo divider. Exterior options include custom color matching, graphic packages, different wheels options and a number of bolt-on products.

Most of the company’s manufacturing is done in-house at its 50,000-square-foot facility in Jacksboro. That includes the chassis fabrication as well as all painting.

Longtime manufacturer enters new market segment

INDIANAPOLIS — Saddlemen, a longtime manufacturer known for its cruiser applications, is entering a new market segment: the sport bike arena.

The Rancho Dominguez, Calif.-based manufacturer has recently introduced a line of seats for a number of popular sport bike models and will follow that with a new line of luggage for the same riders.

“We’re going to make a statement that we are a sport bike-oriented supplier,” Tom Seymour, Saddlemen’s president, told Powersports Business at the Dealer Expo. “So luggage that changes the way you look at luggage and seats that change that market as well.”

Besides adding a new, more stylized logo to its sport bike product, the company is making no other changes to its business model in tackling the new market. Seymour noted the company will continue to be exclusively distributed by Parts Unlimited.

Seymour said the company entered the new segment to take advantage of what they viewed as an opportunity in a market typically defined by its young demographic. “That is an enthusiast segment that we felt was not being adequately covered by the type of products we offer, particularly luggage and seats,” he said.

Saddlemen’s first foray into the market is a seat that has a channel down the middle of it, a feature that hits both design and comfort elements. “One of the most dominant visual things you see on the bike is the seat,” Seymour said. “So we knew we could do some things that would change the look of the bike by simply changing the seat.”

Seymour said the seat’s channel, meant to take pressure off a rider’s lower regions, is new to motorcycling, although not necessarily unique to the industry. “It (the channel) actually makes the seat more comfortable, but it’s part of that visual cue that we’re talking about that gives it a different look,” Seymour said.

Saddlemen will provide the seats in 20 applications, including in some two-piece designs. The one-piece designs are meant to hit the middle of the market in terms of price at a MSRP of $259. The seats, which also will be available in Europe, have already started shipping to Parts Unlimited.

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