WESTERVILLE, Ohio - Top 100 Hall of Fame dealer Iron Pony Motorsports has started a rider school to offer Basic Rider Course training this year, and expanded courses starting in 2014.
The Academy reportedly expects to train more than 200 riders this year and up to 400 next year.
It's a marketing initiative for the dealership as well as a community involvement project to get more people riding. "It is basically a way to grow new customers, from their very first motorcycle experience," said Scott Holbrooks, brand director for Iron Pony Motorsports Group.
Ohio residents seeking motorcycle rider training have a number of options, from the state's Motorcycle Ohio program to private courses that can approach $400. The course at Iron Pony costs $199.95.
The Academy is fully funded by Iron Pony. "We receive no outside assistance to defer costs," Holbrooks said.
"We feel this is a break-even for us," he noted. "Most private providers charge more than we do. The state offers the course for $50. We are trying to find that happy place -- somewhere in the middle where we can justify four times as much as the state course by adding extra value."
Holbrooks said that compared to the state course, Iron Pony is able to offer:
- Greater availability. "We usually have openings allowing you to take the course within a couple of weeks," Holbrooks said. "Often the state is booked months in advance."
- Better instructors. "The state has to be fair and distribute its classes among all available certified instructors, but we can hand-pick the 'cream of the crop' instructors," he noted. Many IP-RA instructors teach for the state as well as Rider's Edge courses at Harley-Davidson dealerships, he said.
- Better equipment and training facilities -- just outside Iron Pony's store in the Columbus, Ohio, suburb of Westerville.
- Flexibility. "We might be a little more easygoing on rescheduling, being tardy and other such infractions that would cause you to be dropped from the state class and needing to start over again with an additional $50 cost."
For the launch year, Iron Pony is focusing on the basic course; however, the dealership plans to offer "some interesting and unique schedules that will allow students lots of flexibility -- again, to set ourselves apart from the rigid state system," Holbrooks said.
Press image courtesy Iron Pony Riding Academy