Distributor Update: Vendor Highlights from Western Power Sports

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Michelin now has a brand manager within WPS to assist sales reps and dealers. Jered Coles will also maintain in-house tracking of sales and sales programs for Michelin, and answer questions that come in about the brand. Coles joined the company after working for Yamaha Motor Corp. as a race mechanic. The Motorcycle Mechanics Institute graduate is originally from Salmon, Idaho.

The new Unlimited slip-on exhaust from LeoVince has 13 fitments and comes in a compact size, but that’s not the trick part. Consumers can customize the pipe’s aluminum sleeve by uploading their own artwork or text to the company’s website. Through the end of October, the Unlimited comes with a POP kit with tear-off coupons for free laser engraving worth $100. Sales manager Tim Calhoun said the possibilities are pretty wide-open for this. Street riders might want to use their club’s logo. Military riders may want to use their unit number. They just ship the unopened inner package back to LeoVince and upload their artwork. The company will ship it back.

Calhoun also pointed out that the company’s website (www.leovinceusa.com) is an invaluable tool for reps and dealers. For most products, the site features downloadable dyno charts, fitment instructions and 3-D schematics. Part numbers, weight savings and MSRPs are listed and there are even sound files that can give customers an idea of what the exhausts sound like installed. Calhoun added that there are sales scripts that spell out specific selling points to help parts workers upsell exhausts.

It’s pretty much common knowledge that the stock speedometer on most motorcycles is off by a certain percentage. For this problem there is Speed Tuner (www.speedotuner.com), a plug-and-play unit that allows consumers to correct speedometer error, said Richard Botting of Total Fuel Systems. The unit installs directly inline on the speedo sensor and requires no math or special formula for calibration. Because most OEMs use the same sensors, there are few part numbers for the unit, which also is available with a universal connector. The Speed Tuner can correct error after a sprocket or gearing change, or a tire profile/size change. It fixes most intrinsic OEM speedo problems, Botting said. The unit comes with bright POP packaging and a two-year unconditional warranty.

Progressive Suspension’s John Gabriel talked to reps about the company’s products during its Dealer Training program. Progressive’s marketing guru David Zemla pointed out that motorcycle suspension can be a profit center for dealers in the know. The possibilities include beefed up P&A and service sales and added points to modified bikes on the sales floor. Progressive offers a program that helps dealers unlock this potential. The curriculum consists of targeted training seminars that can be taught on-site or in local meetings. The company’s trainers will highlight product selections, give installation tips, explain setups that match the customer’s needs, and teach service techs how to spot worn-out OEM shocks. Certified dealers are then added to Progressive’s list of Certified Suspension installers. Contact the company at info@progressivesuspension.com for info.

Progressive also has the new 425 Series high-performance UTV suspension, which is made for riders who have added weight to their machines or just want a better suspension. Currently available for the Yamaha Rhino, the 425 retails for $349 per pair. The 465 Series monoshock replaces the 420 Series and has applications for the Star Motorcycles Road Star, Kawasaki KLR650, Suzuki V-Strom, Suzuki M109R and Victory Vegas. The 465 comes in stock length and 1 inch lowered.

Matt Schumann, director of sales for Valencia Sport Group, said that an avalanche of new products are hitting SixSixOne’s lineup, and many existing items are getting made over. The Evo knee guard and the Evo Bomber shorts now feature d3o armor, which is a material that remains soft and flexible, but upon impact tenses up to absorb energy. For the Sunline brand, dealers who order 15 of the V1 MDX lever get a free POP display. Schumann also pointed out the interesting story behind the high-tech device that comes in clutch or brake applications. The lever’s original inventor, motocross racer Vince Warren, died from cancer before he could get the lever patented. His mother, Loretta, went on and got the patent in her son’s honor. Valencia president Eddie Cole found the lever and made it a part of Sunline’s lineup. A portion of the proceeds on every lever goes to the Vince Warren estate.

New and exclusive to WPS is the Asterisk knee brace, available in adult sizes — the Cell — and youth sizes — the Germ. Sales manager Darryl Atkins said that the whole device is designed to accommodate for differing body mechanics and allows for a freer range of movement when a rider folds his or her leg back at the knee. It is completely adjustable, but remains rigid, has a full-coverage knee cup, and has a unique fastening system and anti-rotation tether.

This article is from the October 2009 issue of Dealernews.