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Back in Black Tour a Triumph-ant success for dealers

Minneapolis-area dealers host event to show off new bike models in front of customers

The brewery was full of leather jackets, Triumph-branded gear and expectant glances cast at the motorcycles covered by drapes. There was no doubt that the Modist Brewing Company in the Minneapolis North Loop was the place to be on a freezing December night.

As part of its campaign to bring new model debuts into a public setting, Triumph North America launched its Back in Black Tour this year to showcase the new Bonneville Bobber Black and Speedmaster. The 2018 Tiger family also was on display. 

For the third year in a row, three Minnesota-based dealerships combined to co-host the event: Belle Plaine Motorsports of Belle Plaine, Moon Motorsports of Monticello and Moto-primo Motorsports of Lakeville. 

Moon Motorsports customer and Triumph enthusiast Katherine Rimnac tests out the seat height of the Bonneville Bobber Black during the event at Modist Brewing Company. Photo by Kate Swanson/Powersports Business

David Fields, a regional manager for Triumph Motorcycles, said Triumph asks local dealers to participate in the tour financially and provide staff and additional products to support the event, as well as in marketing to drive consumer registrations. Once the brand has a commitment from a dealer or dealers to participate, the OEM is able to budget and select a venue with input from the dealers. 

“This is the third year of having the three local Twin Cities Triumph dealers pull together to host a fantastic launch party, and I’m very fortunate that they are able to see value in working together to make this possible,” Field said.

“We all have a common goal of promoting the Triumph brand in a cool and different way,” said Kyle Erickson, owner and sales manager at Moon Motorsports. “We all work together well and have fun doing it. It’s always a nice change of pace to do something outside of the dealership walls.”

Modist Brewing Company is no stranger to Triumph. In fact, one of its co-owners is a Triumph customer and attended launch parties in the past. Erickson said the venue was important because it allow the dealership staff and customersd to engage in a relaxed atmosphere. 

“We can have a beer, and just talk about anything. Naturally, we’re here to talk about motorcycles and it’s easy; it’s what we all like and what we have in common. This event and venue just sort of removes the salesman-to-customer barrier,” Erickson said.

In addition to the 2018 Bonneville Bobber Black, Speedmaster and Tiger family, several Triumph motorcycles like the Thruxton were being displayed.

Katherine Rimnac, a Moon Motorsports customer, attended the event with her husband to get a look at the new Bonneville Bobber Black. “It’s a great event for us to come and see the new product,” Rimnac said. “Everyone here has something to do with motorcycles; it’s something we all have in common.”

Fields said that the return on investment for dealers who participate in the tour is based on their ability to drive excitement and pre-sale deposit activity for the new models. 

“It is not uncommon for dealers to have a quarter of their new model orders pre-sold before any of the new bikes ship,” Fields said. “This really enhances their discussions on the sales floor for the season and they are able to retain higher margins based on their confidence in the new models.”


Consumer interest at the event was enacted upon literally overnight.

“While still at the event, we received many compliments and people thanking us for the invite,” Erickson said. “Already the morning after the event, we received a few emails from customers who had been waiting to see the new models and expressed excitement for the opportunity,” said Erickson. “Now we have a better opportunity to help the customers commit to the motorcycle that’s right for them.”

Every half hour during the Triumph Back in Black Tour in Minneapolis, the drape was pulled off a 2018 model, and a line quickly formed to hop on the models. Photos by Kate Swanson/Powersports Business

Erickson said the big push for the event was to highlight the Bonneville Bobber Black and the Speedmaster. Moon Motorsports had some early pre-sales of the Bonneville Bobber Black.

Fields, the Triumph regional manager, had forecasted 250 attendees at the brewery event. Approximately 280 showed up to get a first look at what Triumph has to offer in 2018. 

“I love to hear people talking about one of our events months later when I meet them at a bike night or in passing at one of the local dealerships. It lets me know that Triumph is being successful in engaging our customers and working to expand awareness,” Fields added.

Erickson was also pleased with the number of Triumph and motorcycle enthusiasts who came out to see the new models: “I have to say that even though I was expecting a great turnout, I was still surprised at how full the venue was. It proves that the consumer is interested enough in an event like this to dedicate an evening, fight traffic and parking to make sure they are among the first to see hot new product.”

Lori Otto, owner of Belle Plaine Motorsports, said the event was a great experience for the dealership. 

“Any event that brings people together to share their passion for Triumph Motorcycles is a success. We saw interest in all the models (during the event), with the Speedmaster leading the pack,” she said. “The attendance numbers definitely met our expectations. We want to thank everyone that made it happen and look forward to a great year and 2018 riding season!”


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