Exhausts and iPhones: Gadget geeks find a home at Two Brothers

Publish Date: 
Jun 12, 2013
By Dennis Johnson

What do motorcycle exhausts and protective cases for mobile electronic devices have in common?

In most cases, not a whole helluva lot. Both products really don’t even sit on the opposite ends of the consumer products spectrum. More like the two merely coexist in a space where people use money to buy goods.

One is an integral part of the internal combustion-powered motorbike while the other saves people grief when their iPhones fall down and go boom.

And then you have Two Brothers Racing and Rokform. The two companies — exhausts and moto-bits, and smart phone/tablet covers, respectively — are run under the same roof in Santa Ana, Calif., by the same ownership, as part of a business model that’s unique unto itself in the powersports industry.

A guy might sit back, take a look at the two disparate businesses, scratch his head and go, huh? But company founder Craig Erion says not so fast. The way he sees it, the two companies simply produce aftermarket parts designed to improve on vastly different existing products.

So how does a company that has its roots as a hobby manufacturer of exhaust systems for road racers in the mid-1980s — admittedly a niche business, Erion agrees — evolve into one that now also produces consumer products that have a customer base about a zillion times larger than the motorcycle crowd.

It all started with gas stations.

Way back when, Erion was a club racer and exhausts were something to do. But mainly he worked as a general contractor building gas stations for the bigger names in the So Cal petrol business. Construction paid the bills. (continued)