Amanda Bramble grew up around motorcycles but never had the confidence to throw a leg over a seat until she was in college. Now, as co-owner of Indian Motorcycle St. Paul, she contributes to instilling this confidence in elementary students.
The dealership has partnered with All Kids Bike to provide bicycles to Highwood Hills Elementary in St. Paul, Minnesota. The organization’s mission is to teach every child in America how to ride a bike in kindergarten gym class.
“We raise money for their program and then build the bikes,” Bramble says. “They send the bikes to us, we assemble them and get to surprise the children with a new bike.” “When I talked to the PE teacher at the school,” she continued, “they came to her first, but she didn’t think that she’d be able to raise the money, and she forgot about it. She got a call that the dealership met the goal, and it was a complete surprise.”
The dealership raised $6,500 to provide a fleet of 25 Strider bicycles, helmets and a teaching curriculum to the elementary school. On Feb. 15, Indian Motorcycle St. Paul delivered the Strider bikes to the school. “We had bikes piled full in the St. Paul van,” Bramble explains. “We came in and set up the bikes. They brought in more than 80 kids, and they came in screaming. It was intense. Everybody was getting super emotional. One kid came up and hugged me, and then we got pictures of everyone in a dogpile. They said thank you 100 times. It was heartwarming.”
In the day-to-day job, dealership staff sometimes go through the motions of selling bikes, accessories, service and basically doing their job, Bramble notes. “Our people said it took them completely out of that grind. Immediately when we got back, Jeff, our general manager, asked, ‘what else can we do?’ It takes you to a whole new level of, ‘we are bigger than just selling bikes at a dealership.’ It hit all of us.”
The bikes are delivered without pedals as a starting point for students to practice balancing. The pedal kits are later installed, and students learn how to ride as part of their PE curriculum. Highwood Hills Elementary invited the dealership to return to help assemble the pedals and dealership employees plan to bring their motorcycles and give a presentation about their own bikes.
Bramble shares that dealers must dedicate energy and funds to reach new customers, but they must also encourage the next generation of riders. She was excited about the idea of introducing young people to a hobby that takes them outside, as many young people are consumed with digital screens today.
“There’s that freedom on the road for us, and as a kid you feel that exact same adrenaline rush [on a bicycle]. I remember when I was little, I had a bicycle and I put a Pokémon card on the front wheel, so it sounded like a motorcycle. I wanted it to sound like I was a biker.” There’s no doubt that she wasn’t the only one, and her dream may now be shared with Highwood Hills Elementary students.
The road to St. Paul
“My dad built and rode motorcycles. I was always around it, but I was a young girl and thought, ‘Oh, I can’t do that,’ and left it to the guys. I didn’t have the confidence to ride. In college I followed Indian motorcycle, and I fell in love. I was looking for a job and the first one that popped up was Indian of Charlotte. I honestly never looked back.”
After working at Motorcycle Indian of Charlotte in North Carolina as marketing manager for three years, owners Tim Sutherland, Lloyd Greer and Sara Ramser asked Bramble if she was interested in purchasing Indian Motorsports St. Paul. She agreed without hesitation, they acquired the dealership in Minnesota in January of 2022 and Bramble relocated from North Carolina.
“I’m honestly humbled and honored to be here. In a male dominated world, women definitely bring something different to the table. Lloyd told me when I first started, ‘you’ve got two things going against you. You’re a woman and you’re new to this.’”
Now, as an avid motorcyclist and dealership owner, Bramble shares some of the secrets to her success in the industry: Knowledge is your biggest tool; You can’t let people underestimate you; You can do anything; Self-doubt hinders success.
“In the last three years I’ve seen so many more women get on bikes, whether they’re young or 60 years old or a mom of four. It’s really cool, the freedom you get from it. It’s fun, I can wear heels, but I can ride a motorcycle and know what I’m talking about.”
The dealership sold the most Indian Motorcycles in the country in the month of January. Yet, because there is no shortage of inventory, they are still navigating where to store the abundance of bikes.
Bramble recognized that the balance of inventory versus sales is not perfectly even, “but I’m not worried because I feel like the floor traffic has grown a lot and spring is coming and there’s more options [available].”
“The past year, it was hard, but it was good. It was completely a ‘sellers’ market and now it is a ‘buyers’ market. You do have to negotiate pricing now and ask, ‘how can you make this a best deal for the customer?’ And they know it. They’re doing their research now and will drive further for that deal, where before they wouldn’t.”
Indian Motorcycle St. Paul has addressed this change and has prioritized retraining the sales department. “Our general manager had a talk with everybody on the sales team a month or two ago. You really have to cater to the customer because they could go anywhere else. You have to bring an experience, not just a bike now.”