BIG news, from the industry — and us

Mary Green Slepicka
Publish Date: 
May 23, 2013
By Mary Green Slepicka

WITH APOLOGIES to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Dealernews presents its first “super-sized” issue. Our June issue is available online and should be in your mailboxes this week.

Of course, the magazine itself isn’t super-sized. But we’re focusing on an area of the customer base that we believe is often ignored: the big and tall rider. We did some research with the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows and found that a sizeable percentage of the more than 350,000 attendees this past season said they wear a size XXL or larger — and many said they have a hard time trying to find items that fit.

We did a little digging and found a number of premium gear and apparel manufacturers either already supporting larger riders or getting ready to do so. Because with so many advances in design and materials, there is no reason for your plus-sized customers to not be suitably protected, feeling comfortable and looking darned good. The key is to do your homework: Stock these pieces intelligently and provide superior customer service to your clients. 

Let’s not forget the vehicles; there are scores of add-on parts and accessories — suspensions, seats and more — that your service departments can install to enhance rider ergonomics and keep the bikes, trikes and other rides running smoothly and for a longer time. Our technical guru, Tracy Martin, gives the details in the June issue.

We start it all off with a super-sized dealership: Worth Harley-Davidson, a Top 100 Dealer just outside Kansas City. Worth H-D retails 1,500 bikes a year, and owner Rick Worth recently opened up to our Joe Delmont on how they do it. There are lessons to be learned here, even if you’re a small store — just downsize the execution.

Finally, we have BIG news here at Dealernews. First, we’re pleased to announce that Beth Dolgner, former editor at 2Wheel Tuner, avid street and offroad rider, and steampunk novel author (I’m not kidding), is our new Senior Editor of Gear, Helmets and Apparel. Beth is based in Atlanta. Watch for her reports online, in the DealerNEWS ALERTS and in the pages of this magazine.

Second, we’re delighted to tell you that Bruce Steever, a contributor to Dealernews for several years now, is our new Senior Editor of Parts and Accessories. Bruce, who works in Southern California, brings an additional level of sophistication to our reporting given his experience in media, at the dealership level and, most recently, working for a major OEM. Read his profile on Scottoiler in June's SpeedRead (page 8) and his midyear Tire Spotter’s Guide (page 40), and we think you’ll agree.

Dealernews veteran Dennis Johnson, who served as senior editor as well as editor in chief, is taking on other industry assignments; however, Dennis remains a valued contributing editor, and you'll continue to see his reports in the magazine and on the website.

Now that winter has finally relinquished its grip on much of the country and we are basking in warm, sunny weather, let’s resolve to put the first quarter numbers behind us, and have a super-sized summer.

This story originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of Dealernews.