Aftermarket company thriving on innovation, variety of clutch kit offerings
The sustained growth of the side-by-side segment over the past few years hasn’t just helped OEMs and dealerships, it’s also helped aftermarket and accessory companies achieve success. As the saying goes: a rising tide raises all ships.
Through innovation and variety, Baxter, Minnesota-based EPI Performance, an aftermarket company known for its clutch kits and replacement axles, has seen significant growth. Not just in the past few years, but also in the early months of 2018.
“I know the entire industry always seems to follow along on the same path. But after a little slowdown mid-to-late last year, things just took off for us,” said Jeff Supinski, president of EPI Performance. “We’re just enjoying riding the wave, it’s been crazy busy. I know others are feeling the same thing too — it’s been a great 2018 so far and we’re only a few months in.”
While EPI Performance has been selling its Severe Duty Axles for over 12 years, their sales have seen an uptick recently, as demand for the fully assembled axles has grown in comparison to the individual parts.
“We used to sell more individual CV joints and half-shafts, but in the past couple of years the demand has shifted to full-shafts,” Supinski said. “As prices have come down in this area, I think people are choosing to replace the entire assembly rather than get their hands dirty disassembling the shaft just to replace the bad joint.”
Of course, the product that brought them into business 28 years ago — the clutch kit line — continues to be the bread and butter. With more and more UTV buyers upgrading their unit with accessories such as tires at the point of sale, Supinski noted that many of them also turn to EPI to upgrade their clutch system.
“Clutch kits continue to be our biggest growth product line. Our strategy has always been to design and offer affordable, bolt-in recalibration kits that include outstanding installation instructions so that the average enthusiasts can install the kit themselves, or have their dealer do it for them,” Supinski said.
He added that while they sell a number of clutch kits for popular models like RZRs, they maintain a long list of compatible machines in order to satisfy dealers. Through their powersports distributors like Parts Unlimited and Tucker Rocky — as well as the EPI customer service department — it’s never been easier for EPI Performance to get its products into the hands of consumers.
Another benefit of the UTV segment’s growth is that it has allowed EPI Performance to invest in its engineering department and come up with new products. One result of this is their new adjustable clutch weight line, made for their more popular clutch kit series like the famous Belly Busters for Polaris and Arctic Cat, X-series weights for RZRs, Rangers and Generals, and T-series weights for RZR Turbos. While EPI Performance has a handful of new products to-be-released in 2018, the new line of adjustable clutch weight kits has been a hit so far in 2018.
“These adjustable weights provide outstanding fine-tuning capability for anyone who likes to tune their own clutches, they’re very popular with racers and shops all over the world who build custom rigs,” Supinski said.