As we began planning for this issue, naturally we looked back at our first issues. In going through them, we couldn’t help talking about the companies we covered and the stories we reported.
And up popped the question: Who were the 100 most influential companies in the industry over the last six years?
Indian Motorcycle comes to mind, of course, as does Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Company. Both are gone now. But who are the winners, the influencers who are still leading the pack?
Good question, and who better qualified to answer it than the editors of Powersports Business. So, that’s what we set out to do.
We looked back through our 99 previous issues; we talked with our consumer magazine editors, and we chatted with our friends in the business. And we came up with a list of 100 companies and organizations that we feel had a significant effect on the powersports industry during the last six years.
We always try to quantify things here at Powersports Business, but this project didn’t lend itself to statistical analysis. It was more subjective. Companies who we felt have demonstrated their influence in substantial ways.
We looked at several things: Market share, product development, industry involvement, and innovation in the way a company does business. And the companies had to be in operation today, so Indian and BigX didn’t make the list.
We didn’t pick dealers, preferring to limit ourselves to the supply side of the business, although we certainly could have named consolidators such as America’s PowerSports, which has put together a dealer organization with annual sales of more than $100 million.
We didn’t limit ourselves to companies, either. How could we when we have organizations such as the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) and the BlueRibbon Coalition who are working, literally day and night, to improve opportunities for businesses and riders alike.
Was picking 100 companies easy? Of course, not; our first list was nearly twice that size.
You can argue with our final choices, I’m sure, but we think this final listing represents the most influential companies that the powersports industry has to offer.
Take a look at the complete list. It’s an interesting read, because, in a very real sense, it describes the shape and style of our industry. In reviewing the list, think about the companies. What makes them successful and what lessons can we learn from them?
We hope you’ll find that trip stimulating as well as interesting.
So, what’s the next step? Another 100 packages of news and analysis to help you run your business better, of course. And, maybe, another look at influential companies next year.
Arvin Meritor (RydeFx High Performance Shocks)
Arvin Meritor is the manufacturer of RydeFX High Performance Shocks. ArvinMeritor also is a leading OE supplier to snowmobile and ATV manufacturers such as Arctic Cat, Bombardier, Honda, Polaris.
This Italian manufacturer of motorcycle riding apparel is a leader in producing stylized gear.
American Honda Motor Co.
Honda manufactures ATVs, motorcycles and personal watercraft. It holds leading market share positions in ATV and motorcycles and it produces the largest number of powersports machines, building some 375,000 units annually.
American Suzuki Motor Corp.
This diversified manufacturing company produces automobiles as well as ATVs and utility vehicles, motorcycles and marine engines. It has made an aggressive push to gain ATV marketshare and has negotiated a joint-venture agreement with Kawasaki.
Answer is a leading apparel and motorcycle handlebar manufacturer, perhaps best known for its innovative handlebar designs.
Aprilia USA, Inc.
Aprilia is a top Italian manufacturer of motorcycles, offroad motorcycles and scooters and produces winning racing bikes, both off-road and street.
Arai Helmet Americas, Inc.
Arai regularly takes the number one spot in consumer helmet satisfaction surveys conducted by J.D. Power and Associates.
Arctic Cat manufactures snowmobiles and ATVs and related parts, apparel and accessories. The company has won several awards recently for its unique ATV accessories.
Arlen Ness Ent. Inc.
Best known for his unusual custom motorcycle designs, Arlen Ness has teamed up with his son, Corey, to build a retailing powerhouse. The company owns two major dealerships, in California and Florida, produces a premium line of motorcycle accessories and assists Polaris with its Victory motorcycle line.
Baker specializes in drivetrain products for the American motorcycle aftermarket.
Barnett Tool & Engineering
Barnett is a leading manufacturer of clutches and clutch accessories dedicated to making the world's finest clutches and cables. And it’s all American-made.
Bell Powersports, Inc.
Bell is acknowledged as a leading manufacturer and distributor of helmets for powersports and bicycling. The company was reorganized last year and now sells a completely-revamped product line direct to dealers.
Big Gun Exhaust Systems
Manufacturer and distributor of exhaust systems for ATVs and motorcycles.
BlueRibbon for many years has taken a leading position in the battle for access to off-road riding.
Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP)
This Canadian manufacturer of Sea-Doo PWCs, ATVs, snowmobiles and other powersports equipment was spun off last year as an independent operation. Its unique product engineering has resulted in many industry awards.
Camoplast Rockland, Ltd.
Camoplast is the world's largest manufacturer of high quality tracks, supplying a wide selection of snowmobile tracks and plastic skis to snowmobile manufacturers and aftermarket distributors throughout the world.
Cobra is the manufacturer of Cobra ATV exhaust and the Sparky Spark Arrestor. It’s known for its aggressive and creative marketing and leading product development.
Led by the creative designs of founder Mike Corbin, Cobin-Pacific has played a leading role in the development of motorcycle seats and fairings for more than 30 years.
Custom Chrome (CCI) is the largest component in the stable of distribution companies owned and operated by Global Motorsports in Morgan Hill, Calif. Global also owns the Motorcycle Stuff distribution company.
Cycle Country Accessories Corp.
Cycle Country is a leading manufacturer of popular ATV accessories, including front blades, mowers, sprayers, trailers, gun rack, winch mounts, cargo boxes, mesh racks, three point hitch and implements and more.
Cycletrader operates one of the Internet’s largest sites dedicated to buying and selling motorcycles, PWC, ATV and snowmobiles.
Manufactures and markets soft components and accessories such as ATV covers, soft-storage for ATVs, and helmet bags for the powersports and recreational marine markets.
DP Brakes North America
DP is the exclusive North American importer of premium simtered brake pads.
Owned by Lemans Corporation, Drag Specialties is an affiliate of Parts Unlimited. Drag is a leading distributor of American motorcycle parts and accessories.
Ducati North America
This is the North American operation for the Italian motorcycle company. Ducati is best known for its top performance and superb designs.
Dunlop Tire Corp
Dunlop is the leading motorcycle tire and produces ATV tires, as well.
Dynojet Research, Inc.
Dynojet manufactures state-of-the-art dynomometers, fuel management and diagnostic products for ATV, motorcycle and snowmobiles.
Edelbrock is a publicly traded performance company specializing in the automotive and motorcycle industries. The company purchased Russell Performance Products in 2001.
EMGO International, Ltd.
EMGO manufactures and imports motorcycle and ATV parts. It supplies wholesaler distributors worldwide.
EPI (Erlandson Performance, Inc)
EPI specializes in CVT/Automatic transmission ATVs. EPI was founded in 1992 by Glenn and Diane Erlandson. EPI provides customers with the highest quality, field tested performance products for ATV’s and snowmobiles.
Factory Pipe is an award-winning manufacturer and distributor of high performance PWC exhaust systems, waterboxes and ignitions. Exhaust pipe job shop for industry leaders such as FMF, DG, Pro Circuit and Yoshimura.
Featherlite Trailers, Inc.
Featherlite is an innovative leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing high-quality specialty trailers and luxury motor coaches. It produces aluminum and steel open and enclosed recreational vehicle trailers
FMF is a manufacturer and supplier of performance ATV and motorcycle exhausts , and markets top quality handlebar control products through its distribution channel.
Fox Racing Shox
Fox Racing Shox manufactures and distributes high performance and racing suspension products for ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles, mountain bikes and off-road vehicles.
GE Consumer Financial Services
Formerly Conseco, GE Consumer Finance is a leading provider of financial services to retailers,manufacturers, and consumers in over 35 countries around the world.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
With sales in excess of $13 billion, Goodyear is a manufacturer and worldwide supplier of tires and related products.
Harley-Davidson manufactures Harley and Buell motorcycles; markets parts, garments and accessories; and offers financial services to a worldwide clientele.
Helmet House Inc.
Helmet House is a wholesale powersports distributor of helmets, gloves, luggage, street apparel and MX gear.
HJC is a manufacturer of high-quality yet affordable helmets for motocross, road race, snocross and freestyle motocross enthusiasts.
Household Retail Services
Household provides consumer and commercial private label credit programs and its suite of products and solutions includes revolving credit, installment loans, and commercial programs.
Industrial Tire Products (ITP)
ITP is in its 21st year and offers a wide variety of ATV and AG tires and wheels for OEMS and the aftermarket.
Int'l Snowmobile Manufacturers Assoc.
The ISMA is a non-profit group representing the four major snowmobile manufacturers, coordinating committees within the industry to handle statistics, snowmobile safety, promotion, and the economic impact the sport has throughout the world.
Intersport Fashions West (IFW)
Intersport Fashions West is a North American distributor of high quality boots, helmets, and gloves for off-road, dirt motorcyclists and ATV riders.
J&M Corp. is in its 26th year of providing a variety of audio accessories designed for motorcycles and motorcyclists.Operates dealer-direct.
Jardine Performance Products
Jardine operates in the automotive and powersports markets, where it supplies exhaust,billet products and accessories for cruisers and sportbikes.
Jims USA is a provider of performance products for American-made cruisers, supplying its items through a number of powersports distributors both nationally and internationally.
Joe Rocket Sportsgear
The Joe Rocket brand name includes riding gear, sportswear, body armor and luggage for the motorcycle industry.
John Deere Comercial & Consumer Equipment
This division of John Deere entered the ATV field last year through a joint-venture agreement with Bombardier Recreational Products. The division’s 2003 sales exceeded $2.5 billion.
K&N Engineering, Inc.
K&N is a manufacturer of high performance washable/
reusable air filters. Comes with a ten year, one million mile warranty for motorcycles, ATV, karts, watercraft, cars, trucks, buses, airplanes and snowmobiles.
Kawasaki Motors Corporation
Kawasaki is a Japan-based manufacturer and distributor of PWC, motorcycle, ATV and utility vehicles and accessories.
Kelley Blue Book
Kelley Blue Book Motorcycle Guide has values back to 1975 plus current new model information. The guide contains used and retail values for motorcycles, ATVs, sidecars, personal watercraft and snowmobiles.
Kimpex USA, LTD.
Kimpex is a manufacturer and aftermarket distributor of ATV, motorcycle and snowmobile parts, accessories and helmets.
KTM Sportmotorcycle USA
KTM is an Austria-based manufacturer of off-road and dual-purpose motorcycles.
Kuryakyn Holdings Inc.
Kuryakyn offers hard parts and accessories for Harley-Davidson bikes, Honda Goldwing and a variety of metric cruisers. It’s known for innovation and quality.
Kwik Tek manufactures a variety of useful accessories for the powersports and marine industries.
L.A. Sleeve Co.
L.A. Sleeve has been a manufacturer of cylinder sleeves since 1945. Supplies sleeves for units from top fuel funny cars to shifter karts.
Lemco & Associates
Lemco & Associates has been serving franchised motorcycle dealers since 1980 with support programs offered to 20 Club members.
Marshall is an aftermarket wholesale distributor of motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile, and PWC parts and accessories.
Maxxis International USA
Maxxis is an international manufacturer of Maxxis/Cheng Shin brand tires and tubes for passenger cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, lawn & garden, specialty, industrial, bicycle, and kart racing.
McGraw Insurance/Western Service Contracts
One of the nation's largest writers of powersports equipment insurance. Commissions are paid to dealers with insurance license. Also, one of the nation's largest providers of service contracts for personal watercraft and motorcycles. Serving motorcycle and PWC dealerships in 12 states.
Mikuni American Corp.
Mikuni is a manufacturer of carburetor parts and accessories, supplying OEMs and the aftermarket.
Moto Tassinari’s V-Force Reed Valve System is available for motorcycle, snowmobile, PWC and ATVs, and used by factory race teams.
Motorcycle Aftermarket Group (MAG)
MAG has acquired several aftermarket manufacturers in a rollup effort to increase the profitability of top companies who lacked capital. It’s member firms include White Brothers, Progressive Suspension, Vance & Hines and Kuryakyn.
Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC)
This leading industry trade association collects data on the production and sales of motorcycles and ATVs. It also provides key lobbying on motorcycle and ATV issues.
Motorcycle Stuff, Inc.
Motorcycle Stuff is an international distributor of ATV, PWC and motorcycle accessories, and is part of the Global Motorsports family.
MSR is a manufacturer and distributor of off-road apparel and accessories.
NADA Appraisal Guides
NADA is a leading publisher of used value guides for motorcycles, personal watercraft, snowmobiles and ATVs.
Oakley is a premier manufacturer of premium-priced sunglasses, goggles, performance footwear, apparel, sports and luxury watches and accessories.
Parts is the largest distributor of parts and accessories for motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles and personal watercraft in the powersports industry. It’s associated with Drag Specialties, another specialty distributor.
Pirelli's business is in tires, energy cables and systems, telecom cables and systems and real estate. Its tire brands include both the Pirelli and Metzeler brands.
Pinnacle Protection Plans
Pinnacle Protection is a leading provider of service contracts and insurance products for the powersports industry.
Polaris Industries, Inc.
Polaris is a $1.5 billion manufacturer of snowmobiles, ATVs, personal watercraft, Victory motorcycles, Ranger, Polaris Professional Series and sport boats. It has become known for its innovative products that have won many industry awards.
PowerSports Network (PSN) is a leader in providing Internet services for dealers, and today provides complete custom dealer Web sites and advanced Internet marketing tools for more than 500 dealers. PSN maintains OEM vehicle information and preloaded OEM, aftermarket and distributor catalogs. Recent enhancements include E*bay interfaces and pre-owned vehicle specifications.
Progressive is a manufacturer of quality motorcycle suspension systems, shocks, fork springs and accessories. It’s part of the MAG group.
ProQuest’s Lightspeed dealer management computer software is one of the top systems in the industry. Its installed base of systems exceeds 200 dealers.
For over 50 years, Ramsey Winch has been a leader in the winch industry. Ramsey manufactures more than 150 winch models for ATV, front mount self-recovery and industrial applications.
Riva is a Yamaha and Honda franchise dealership for new units, parts and accessories specializing in performance products for Yamaha PWC.
S&S Cycle, Inc.
S&S is one of the industry’s leading providers of V-twin motorcycle engines and related performance parts. Its engines are used by many custom motorcycle manufacturers for their performance characteristics.
Samson Motorcycle Products
Samson is a leading producer of performance exhaust systems and related accessories, primarily for the American cruiser market.
SBT is a top manufacturer and distributor of remanufactured engines and crankshafts for PWC. It is the world’s largest production rebuilder of PWC engines and crankshafts.
Shoei Safety Helmet Corp.
Shoei Helmets are consistently popular with consumers for their comfort and style.
Skat-Trak is the largest manufacturer of PWC impellers in the U.S. It also manufactures tires for ATVs, sand buggies and mud buggies.
Sportech Inc. is a leading manufacturer of snowmobile, ATV and motorcycle windshields and accessories. Sportech products have been sold through worldwide distribution since 1993.
STR Inc., Motorsports Division is the exclusive importer and distributor for KYMCO brand scooters and ATVs in the US. KYMCO distributes products in over 60 countries including the United States.
Sullivans is the largest distributor in the world of HJC helmets and has facilities in Nevada, Alabama and Massachusetts.
Supertrapp Industries, Inc.
Supertrapp is a leading manufacturer of performance exhaust systems for street, cruiser, Harley, dirt, ATV and autos.
SuperWinch is a top manufacturer of winches for ATVs, mounting kits, wireless remote switches and winch accessories.
Swisher Mower & Machine Co.
Swisher is a leading manufacturer of mowing equipment and related accessories for ATVs.
Triumph Motorcycle has put together an amazing turnaround from a non-functioning company and is looking at producing and selling 70,000 motorcycles worldwide in five years.
Tucker Rocky Distributing
Tucker Rocky is one of the top three distributors of powersports products, accessories and apparel across North America.
Vance & Hines
Vance & Hines is a leading manufacturer of high performance motorcycle exhaust systems for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, import cruisers and sportbikes. It was acquired by MAG last year.
Warn manufactures off-road accessories for ATVs.
Western Power Sports
A full line distributor with three warehouse locations in the U.S. Western provides products and technical support for ATV, PWC and snowmobile dealers.
White Brothers is perhaps best known for its complete line of exhausts, as well as other performance products it manufactures. White Brothers is an international distributor of high performance parts and accessories for dirt bikes, ATVs, sport bikes, American and metric cruisers. White Brothers belongs to the MAG group.
WISECO specalizes in the manufacturing of forged high performance pistons and products for the powersports industry.
Woody’s is a manufacturer of wearbars, studs and traction products for the snowmobile aftermarket and holds top market shares in those segments.
Works Performance Products, Inc.
Works is a top manufacturer of custom shock absorbers for motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles.
Yamaha Motor Corporation
Yamaha is one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of personal watercraft, snowmobiles, ATV and motorcycles.
Yoshimura R&D of America Inc.
Yoshimura is the world’s largest spork bike exhaust manufacturer. It also sells ATV and off-road bike pipes.
Yuasa Battery, Inc.
Yuasa Battery, Inc. is the largest manufacturer and distributor of batteries for motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATV’s, personal watercraft, scooters, utility vehicles and riding mowers.