Big Bike Europe sees the acclaimed AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building coming to Europe for the first time. The Championship is featuring over 130 of the year’s finest custom bikes from 23 countries, this unique and never to be seen again display will showcase some of the world’s greatest motorcycle design and engineering. It is a ‘must-see’ for any trade professional or rider who is serious about motorcycle modification and performance.
Big Bike Europe is the all-new expo concept dedicated to the large displacement motorcycle market, showcasing the finest parts, accessories, custom bikes, performance and tuning products, workshop equipment and service items.
Biker Pros Commentary – Routinely we are engaged to write stories for our clients as part of a larger campaign to assist them in positioning their products, increasing brand awareness and improving lead generation. Listed below is the first draft of an article that will be posted in Bikernet.com. It currently has typos and it will go through copy editing and editorial review before it makes it online.
Garage Coffee Builds Man Cave In Nashville & Sells Cups of Road Rage
Late last January during a blizzard on a Sunday night in New York City I met Rob Camardo during the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show while he was promoting his Garage Leathers’ saddlebags. I was talking with him about becoming a sponsor of the Smoke Out Rally, the Choppafest of the East Coast, and while I was looking at his premium-grade American-made saddlebags, a pound of his Road Rage Coffee rolled across the floor of his booth.
His java is packaged in an ultra cool retro-looking bag that smells so good when opened that even Juan Valdez would salivate. Since that night Rob and I have kept in touch and recently I called him and was surprised to find him in Nashville, TN working on his next venture, the Garage Coffee Company Nashville coffee shop.
So who starts a business in this economic environment? I still haven’t figured it out but it could be a gonzo caffeinated-addled serial entrepreneur. Rob decided to add a retail component to his business and found the perfect place in Nashville. The build-out started in the summer and completed with the first cup of Joe being poured in November.
Because his coffee, Road Rage, is a full favor roast made from a blend of premium beans, it delivers a smooth and rich cup of coffee. Garage coffee is handcrafted in small batches that guarantee freshness in the cup. The espresso drinks have been the rage at the shop selling 5 times more than standard cups of coffee.
Rob found a downtown location for his cafe in a history-rich and antiquated Marathon Motor Works automobile factory. The Marathon was an automobile manufactured from 1911 to 1914 in a block long 2 story building that was constructed in 1881.
The Garage Coffee Company Nashville shop was designed to look like a man cave that has everything you’d want in your garage, including espresso. The walls are adorned by metal signs. A cut down 32 Ford radiator shroud provides the coffee menu.
A digital projector is situated above the counter and projects black and white movies on the far wall. Movie selections include On Any Sunday, any Steve McQueen flick, old Winston Cup races, motorcycle races and any vintage 2 or 4 wheel shows.
Located next to the wall is a motorcycle lift that is doing double duty as a community table that has become a mid-morning perch for locals. Kitty corner to the wall is a 5 foot metal Gulf Oil sign.
Lighting is handled by a row of drop-lights over the counter. When the morning sun hits the wall it illuminates the café in a warm glow due to the rich natural wood ceilings and brick walls. Classic rock provides an audio vibe that is a contrasting note to the county music that’s played nonstop in the city.
The biker community has begun to take notice with bikes showing up on the weekends. In the store, enthusiasts can purchase coffee, t-shirts, mugs and Garage Leathers’ saddlebags.
One reason Rob really enjoys Nashville is because the riding season has been extended much longer than his New Jersey enclave. He has two sleds and one he is putting up on Craigslist to fund a purchase of an antique Garage Coffee Company pickup truck that will be used to promote the business. His bike is a 1997 Heritage Softail. It’s stock with only an upgrade of brown leather saddle and saddlebags as well as a set of ape hangers. It’s a sought after model as the ’57 Chevy powder blue over cream color scheme was only available for that year. And combined with that fact that it has only 2,700 on the odometer, it will make someone a righteous ride.
When you see pictures of the outside of the Garage Coffee Nashville coffee shop you will often see a line of people out front. It’s not because the staff is slow on espresso, it’s because of the antique store called Antique Archaeology (the business at the center of the television series American Pickers) is located right next door. Since Mike Wolf, the star of American Pickers, has signed on to be the spokesperson for Indian Motorcycles, Rob expects to see an influx of new American iron in the not-too distant future.
One of Rob’s proudest moments at the shoppe came when he had a conversation with a commercial pilot that flies internationally and who has gotten his morning jolt of two shots of espresso from the major cities in Europe. He looked Rob in the eye and said, “You’re espresso is right up there, I like it.”
So if you are passing through Nashville, head toward downtown and just off interstate 65 at 1305 Clinton St. is a little slice of heaven called Garage Coffee Company Nashville. If you are not coming to Nashville anytime soon and want a slice of heaven by the bag, then motor over to http://garagecoffeecompany.com/store and for 12.95 you can have a bag of beans delivered to your door.
The 14th Anniversary Smoke Out comes together at “The Rock” in North Carolina. The Smoke Out is about choppers, about builders, from professional builders to those bloody-knuckled guys (and ladies) burning the midnight oil in an unheated shed to build a chopper they can call their own.
Chops of all makes are featured, American, British, Metric, everything. The event is about riders, cross-town to cross-country in a rainstorm.
Mark your calendars now…
June 21 and 22, 2013
Friday – 12 noon to 11 pm
Saturday – 10 am to 11 pm
The event is two days to look at fine chops, listen to good music, relax, catch up with old friends or make new friends, eat good food, take a couple nice puts in a pretty countryside, drink some beer, shop the venders wares… and on and on…
Publish Date: Jan 22, 2013
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Advanstar announced today that Tracy Harris has returned to direct the Powersports Group as its senior vice president.
Many in the industry know Harris from her long tenure with the Advanstar Powersports Group, which includes the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows, Dealernews and Dealer Expo.
Harris for the last two years had been vice president of the company’s centralized operations division, which supported not only the powersports properties but also events in other industries.
“I’m excited to return to the powersports industry and have the opportunity to work with our customers and the team to create a stronger portfolio of products,” Harris said. “The next 90 days will be spent meeting with customers, partners and staff to listen and learn, to make sure we are focusing on what’s important.”
Harris replaces Danny Phillips, former EVP of the Powersports Group, who will focus on international sales development projects in other markets for Advanstar.
Over the weekend of February 15-17 an international selection of custom bikes was gathered together in London’s ExCel center as competitors vied to win not only travel expenses (sponsored by Ocean Events) to the 2013 World Championship event in Essen, at Big Bike Europe but also an additional €1,000 of prize money from Zodiac International.
No Stock Bikes, which is based in Gijano – Villasana de Mena, Spain, was named best in Show with its BMX inspired bike Herejia.
In the Freestyle class the top honor was taken by Mark Bosher with his Sportster-based Speed Bobber. The runner-up places in the Freestyle class went to Dejavu by AFB Custom Motorcyclesand Snob’s Custom Cycles’ Hamdi’s Pan.
The Modified Harley class (sponsored by Harley-Davidson UK who also provided a £1250 prize for the winner to compete at the World Championship) was closely contested between authorized dealer Shaw Harley-Davidson and leading UK custom shop Krazy Horse Customs, with the latter taking not only first place with its Flat Iron but also third with Studdy’s Knuckle. Splitting the two Krazy bikes was Shaw’s Da Hui in second place.
The second UK affiliate show, again operated by Ocean Events, is now accepting entries via The Custom Show and will take place during The Custom Motorcycle Show at Beaulieu, home of the National Motor Museum, 15-16th June, 2013.
Chillin’ at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Old School Chopper Show is a Bike Week tradition with the sickest hardcore sleds running down Highway 1 on Ormond Beach. Everyone ends up at Willie’s from TV-star builders to Harley’s designers to patched riders. Bragging rights from this event carry some old-school cred.
The Anniversary Chopper was won by Dallas native, Jordan Cambell.
It will be awarded at the Cycle Source Daytona Magazine Party at the Broken Spoke.
Cycle Source Magazine and Bikernet.com showcased the build of the Anniversary Chopper. The build team, Chop Docs and Kustoms Inc., fabricated the light weight, fast and seriously fun motorcycle. Each month Cycle Source Magazine ran the article in print and Bikernet ran it online at www.Bikernet.com.
Product sponsors for the Bikernet/Cycle Source 15th Anniversary Giveaway Chopper include 3 Guyz, ACCEL Motorcycles, Aeromach USA, Bare Knuckle Choppers, Barnett Clutches, Bell Helmets, Biker’s Choice, Crazy Horse Motorcycles, D&D Performance Enterprises, Evil Engineering, Fab Kevin, Grip Ace, Handy Industries, Hawg Halters, Las Vegas Bikefest, Metzeler, Ridewright Wheels, Rivera Primo, Rocking K Custom Leathers, Spectro Performance Oils, Texas Bike Works, Wire Plus and XPress Lid by SmartCup.
#10 Biker’s Choice Rock N Ride Premium Audio System With Speakers
#9 Biker’s Choice Leather Jacket
#8 K&N Filter Sets
#7 Case Of Spectro Oil
#6 D&D Exhaust
#5 Metzler Tires
#4 Custom Bell Helmet
#3 Par of Ride Wright Wheels
#2 Handy Lift
#1 The BikerNet.com / Cycle Source 15th Anniversary Chopper
TWO custom bike builders won expenses to take their bikes to the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building when the Irish Motorcycle and Scooter Show hosted the Irish affiliate round of the Championship.
The event which was held in Dublin, Ireland, over the weekend of 1-3 March had prize packages for both domestic and international custom builders in the Custom Show.
In a repeat of the 2011 Show, Netherlands-based René van Tuil, of Revatu Customs once again took the top prize in the International class. This year his build was a one-off, vintage-styled, custom built around an Arona 600cc diesel engine.
A one-off frame with adjustable Springer forks and a Panhead / FX Shovel hybrid motor from Italian custom shop took second place for Italy’s Inglourious Basterds Cycles, while Destiny Cycles from the UK mainland placed third with Vic Jefford’s Carousel.
It was a similar story of a former winner coming back to take the top spot with the domestic builder prize package. In 2009 Don Cronin took the prize of travel expenses to the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building and he did the same again this year with his Moto Guzzi engined Nouvo Falcone. Built in conjunction with Michael O’Shea, the bike with a V-Rod swingarm as the front end and V-Rod wheels, features numerous one-off parts and elaborate detailing that made it a clear winner in the Freestyle class.
In a first for any affiliate show in the AMD World Championship’s history second place was taken by a sidecar outfit in the form of Noel Connolly’s Model A “whiskey Chaser”, a ground-up build inspired by board track racers and powered by a Honda GC160 generator engine.
The top three was rounded out by a Sportster based build from Dinny Shannahan, which was 80 percent handmade.
Well, actually our photographer, Jack Mcintyre, has a digital magazine with pics of Daytona and events. We gave it the eyeball during production and it seems to be heavy on chicks and light on information. But that is the way Mr. Mcintyre rolls. For him, it’s all about the image. He’s always going for that drop-top Swedish look.
Bike Week has been a tradition since January 24, 1937 – the inaugural running of the Daytona 200. The first race took place on a 3.2 mile beach and road course, located south of Daytona Beach. Ed Kretz of Monterey Park, CA was its first winner, riding an American made Indian motorcycle and averaging 73.34 mph. Kretz also won the inaugural City of Daytona Beach trophy.
WIN ON SUNDAY, sell on Monday. It’s the long-held adage of the performance sector.
But in the post-2008 powersports market, OEMs and dealers alike are forced to make critical evaluations on how to spend their constricted budgets. It seems that many business owners in our industry are choosing to sacrifice racing support and involvement.
Does this make good business sense, or are these cost-conscious dealers throwing out the baby with the bathwater?
To learn whether racing still makes for a compelling business model,Dealernews talked with several dealerships that have created a name for themselves thanks to their involvement in racing at various levels. Each dealership offers a different perspective on how to make the most of resources spent in the sporting side of the industry. These perspectives include everything from hands-off marketing, to various levels of direct support, to dealer principals who themselves still race.
Representing the classic model of how racing can build a business, John Beldock of Erico Motorsports in Denver (a Top 100 Hall of Fame Dealer) is very clear on the risks involved if you expect racing to become a turnkey revenue stream. That being said, he is also quite clear that each business owner needs to carefully consider whether the love of the sport can overcome the potential drain on resources.
“We have been involved in racing over the years at many different levels,” Beldock says. “As far as racing as a promotional activity for dealerships, I have found it to be a revenue drain rather than a stream. There are a few racers that can trade their high visibility and skill for discounted services, but the faster the racer, the faster the drain.”
Beldock is the first to claim how his business was built “hustling crashed bikes to racers” to help them create new track-ready race bikes. But he also feels that the racers themselves are part of the problem. He says that “trackside advertising does serve to build the name and brand, but much of the clientele it targets is the racer crowd.
“Many in this group perform their own mechanical work, negating the need for a dealership’s service department,” he continues. “There are independents that perform work for racers, but they operate at a muted cost level and can offer a more affordable opportunity for those racers. Most race programs are on a pretty tight budget and need to look for heavily discounted services.”
But as mentioned, Beldock understands that for many enthusiasts working in the industry, the potential red on the balance sheet is just part of the cost of being involved in the sport. Racing is very rarely a zero-sum game, and if living the dream is the primary concern, then potential losses of supporting a racing effort can be considered sunk costs.
“With all this said, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that racing is cool and offers one of the most incredible outlets in our industry,” Beldock explains. “Racing is also responsible for much of the development in the equipment that we all take such great advantage of. If not for racing, our sport would be bland at best. My suggestion is to race your heart out but don’t expect it to pay for itself!”
However, we also talked with Michael Stanfield, owner of Freedom Cycles(Grandview, Mo.). Freedom Cycles (a Top 100 Dealer) not only supports racers, but much of the staff is involved in various forms of two-wheeled competition.
“We are very proud of our staff,” Stanfield says. “Not only are we a place that sponsors riders, but we ride ourselves and can share our product experiences with our customers. In addition, we have recently begun Freedom Rally Racing, which focuses on supporting international and domestic riders at the Dakar Rally.”
Freedom Cycles uses a variety of techniques to market itself and support the local racing community. These include sponsored track days, demo days (featuring ex-Dakar race bikes, no less) and parts and service discounts. Supported racers are expected to represent the dealership in local and regional events as well as run Freedom Cycles Racing graphics on their machines.
The challenge in determining a specific return on investment (ROI) dollar amount is always a challenge. According to Stanfield, “we have not tried to determine actual dollar returns. It is very difficult to calculate. Our approach is that either you are in the racing business or you are not. Our feel for return is based on going to the racetrack and seeing how many bikes have our decals on them compared to our competition. If we stand out as having a high percentage of the exposure, we feel like we have been doing some of the right things.
“Our racers are also very loyal to our dealership,” Stanfield adds. “Just four of the many riders we support have purchased six new units and spent approximately $25,000 in parts and accessories in 2012. It goes without saying, not all our riders invest that much in their racing, but we pride ourselves on helping each and every racer we can that is willing to represent Freedom Cycles on the track.”
Clearly, the miles may vary when it comes to more direct involvement with your local racers. If you aren’t able to commit resources to supporting racers through the traditional channels, you need to change how you approach the sport. You can either maximize your impact to increase the results your racing participation can deliver, or you need to minimize the cost involved while still guaranteeing some level of return.
Two California Ducati dealers managed to show both approaches. And interestingly, thanks in part to Ducati’s strong national marketing, both dealers found these results working with the same racing event: the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb.
Pike’s Peak was certainly an interesting venue for Ducati to step into, and much of the brand’s success “on the hill” can be placed on the shoulders of Carlin Dunne, a racer and Ducati Santa Barbara’s general manager. Ducati’s Pike’s Peak protagonist became part of Ducati Santa Barbara in 2005.
“Back then, it was hard to tell if we were racing to own the shop or owning a shop to go racing,” Dunne says. “We’d been circuit racing, doing AMA, but we really didn’t see that much return on our racing efforts. In ’07 or ’08, when Ducati decided to try the Pike’s Peak, Paul Livingstone contacted us. They’d heard about us through the grapevine. Going there as support the first year, I completely fell in love with it.”
Fast forward to 2011 and 2012: Dunne’s racing experience, combined with a competitive bike, catapulted Ducati Santa Barbara to the national spotlight.
“In 2011, we took our Multistrada base model demo bike. Without frills, we got it race-prepped and it worked really well during practice. We ended up winning and setting a new course record, beating Ducati’s own backed effort,” Dunne says. “It was very much a David-versus-Goliath thing.
“In 2012, Ducati asked me to be part of factory effort. We set the course record again. I was able to bring our input and setup experience on the development side to make sure we had a competitive bike. I think a lot of that came from our little effort in Santa Barbara,” Dunne adds.
Ducati Santa Barbara became the home of the record-setting race team, as well as the inspiration for a new OEM trim level of the motorcycle they raced: the Multistrada 1200 S Pike’s Peak. Dunne has no doubts that his efforts racing up a mountain in Colorado has paid dividends to his business in California. “It has given us a return in more ways that we can imagine,” he says.
“We’ve had people tell us directly: ‘I’m buying this bike from you because of what you’ve done.’ On the whole, it established even more our trust with our customer base. They know that we go so much further [than just selling bikes and parts]. Our accessory sales have benefitted, as I think people are less likely to price-shop us.
“It was just what we wanted to do. We’ve struggled, had some bad races and crashes, but we’ve had some great successes,” Dunne continues. “It’s made us part of the bigger riding community, one that we’ve actually helped grow in the area.”
Dunne says it is this sense of reaching the performance-oriented riding community that has been the source of Ducati Santa Barbara’s positive ROI. “I know for a fact that we’ve sold quite a few Pike’s Peak MTSs because of our involvement with the race,” he says. “Ducati is a lifestyle brand, so if we are the guys out there doing it and getting involved in the lifestyle, it makes you want to buy the bike from us even more. The marketplace is so incredibly competitive, so it is really special to have someone drive an extra couple hundred miles to buy from you, all because they have that extra trust in your shop.”
Dunne has also seen a very real improvement in morale, as both the relationships between his staff and with Ducati North America have been strengthened. Racing is never just about the bottom line.
“[Pike’s Peak] is a bucket-list race, and it’s built a lot of camaraderie in our shop,” Dunne says. “It’s created a better bond with a common goal, and it’s the same with our OEM. These are the same guys we were getting greasy with, ultimately being victorious together. Now, when I talk to Ducati corporate, I’m not just dealing with a guy in a suit; I’m dealing with my friends.”
What if you have identified a great racing event but don’t want to spend the tens of thousands of dollars it requires to compete? The better approach becomes one of making the most of the tools you have available to maximize your marketing impact.
Michael Guerin, president of Ducati Triumph Newport Beach, does exactly that. Having already proven that good planning can create immediate success, Guerin believes that racing is something that can serve your dealership as a fantastic sales tool, but it isn’t something that will directly keep your lights on.
“You have to remember that racing is a marketing tool — period,” Guerin says. “You will not directly generate revenue by racing.”
Instead, Guerin believes that motorsport involvement is something that should complement the established branding of your dealership. Instead of getting tied up in the costs and complexities of directly supporting a racing effort,Ducati Newport uses local performance and racing events as just one arm of its various marketing and social media efforts.
“Getting involved is easy,” Guerin says, “with track days, for example. You can do it without it costing a lot. We are in an industry where you can’t throw money and people at things [and expect results]. Other dealers do it, but not many.”
For Ducati Newport Beach, racing involvement is a marketing game. Events are carefully selected to complement both the Ducati brand and the skills of the dealership’s staff. Parts, budget and human resources are only used if the event is a good match.
“A lot of it is having the right staff that is knowledgeable about performance and the industry as the whole,” Guerin notes. “So we might donate tech time and travel costs, but you always have got to have a plan. We got involved with Pike’s Peak to generate awareness for the dealership and the brand. Did we sell more Multistradas because of it? Probably, but I never tracked it. At the end of the day, our racing involvement is just part of the overall marketing budget, and we don’t spend much, maybe $1,000 a month.”
When it comes to racing support, your return on investment depends on how you approach your involvement. No company may understand this better than Yoshimura Research and Development. You see, Yoshimura wants to get every dealer involved in the sport.
We talked with Yoshimura’s vice president, Don Sakakura, sales manager John Haskell and Systematyx’s Dave Waugh (producer of Yoshimura’s E-Training platform) on the potential ROI that concludes the argument for race involvement perfectly.
If you are able to tap into the racing world, even tangentially, you open up your dealership to that community — just like Ducati Santa Barbara and Ducati Triumph Newport Beach. If you can ensure your staff is properly educated on performance products, you can make the most of your staff’s riding involvement — just like Freedom Cycles. And never forget that racing is what has helped build our industry — just like Erico Motorsports used it to build their business.
According to Yoshimura, dealership involvement is more about reaching and connecting with the audience than making sure your stickers are on the fastest bikes. Here’s what the trio told us:
TIP No. 1: “You shouldn’t plan on starting too big, with a huge new Toy Hauler and a crew at your local racetrack. Follow the racers. If racing is getting too expensive in this economy, the number of full-time racers will decrease. But you know where they go? To your local trackdays.”
TIP No. 2: “Racing is more than just sponsored riders. To dealers, racing should mean supporting all sorts of performance-minded riders. Find out what racing means in your community. Racing should support a niche, scratch an itch. Riders want to be sold something. And remember that while a dealership will never lose a customer due to racing involvement, you might lose them for a lack of involvement.”
TIP No. 3: “You need to know your PG&A investment is safe, that you are going to turn it quickly and see a return. Making a performance display on the sale floor, like putting a system on a new bike, is going to help sell the bike — which, of course, is going to sell the exhaust system. If you widen your view, you can see that looking at racing through a straw is doomed to failure because racing is more than teams and riders, its communities and demographics.”
TIP No. 4: “And finally, don’t be afraid to get involved. You don’t need to go straight to the winner of the race to pitch your sponsorship. The hard-charger of the field that struggles to make the podium is potentially the best ambassador you could sponsor, as his enthusiasm for racing can be tapped to represent your business as well. If you sponsor a racer, they should represent your dealership well. Your investment in that racer should be seeing a return even if the racebike never turns a wheel.”
Racing is in many ways the lifeblood of the industry. Without folks willing to push the machine just a little bit faster, there would be little development of motorcycle technology and zero reason to see who was fastest off the line. Make no mistake that racing involvement can be an expensive proposition, but depending on how you approach the sport, it can also be the tool your dealership needs to wins the sales race.