MAGNAFLOW made waves in 2013 with a bold entry into the exhaust market: a co-branded product line developed with Arlen Ness.
To learn a bit more about where MagnaFlow is coming from and where it intends to go, we chatted with Chris McGee, MagnaFlow’s Motorcycle Division director.
Dealernews: So what led to MagnaFlow to break into bikes?
McGee: MagnaFlow has been interested in the motorcycle space for some time. Being the dominant brand in performance exhausts on the automotive side, transitioning the brand into the motorcycle world was sort of a natural evolution.
There’s so much crossover interest as well, as MagnaFlow has been getting questions about entering the motorcycle market for many years. There are many crossover customers: generally speaking, the guy who has a performance truck has got a motorcycle, same with the guy who’s got a classic car or other hot rod.
Also, the way that MagnaFlow has marketed its brand, it’s already been involved in the space where motorcycles have been advertising, such as large-scale MMA and UFC events, right alongside Harley-Davidson. So you’d see a bar-and-shield right next to a MagnaFlow logo. The brand has already been positioned and marketed in the motorcycle space thanks to the crossover niche and demographics. All we needed to do then was provide a quality product.
McGee: The V-twin sector is just the place where [the company is] getting started. Because of the nature and position of the MagnaFlow brand on the automotive side, the V-twin side was a natural place to start. Again, with the like-minded demographic that is involved with MagnaFlow, we’re going to have a greater connection with the V-twin customer. Also, because of some of the great relationships we have with predominate V-twin personalities, such as Arlen Ness, it was just the logical place to start. We are an American performance exhaust company, so the logical place to start is with an American V-twin motorcycle.
Will you eventually have an application available for every bike on the market?
McGee: Well, every bike on the market might be a bit of a stretch, but MagnaFlow is very much committed to the motorcycle industry and intends to become a very active player in the motorcycle and powersports markets.
What sort of development goes into your motorcycle exhausts?
McGee: We have a 75,000 sq. ft. R&D facility here [in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.] which is just dedicated to research and development. We have everything onsite to be able to develop products for the consumer automotive side, for race vehicles, for show vehicles and for motorcycles as well.
Are you looking primarily at creating a premium product line?
McGee: We want to make a statement and make sure we got everyone’s attention right from the start. Arlen Ness has never put their name alongside another brand name aftermarket product before. This is very much a co-branded product line. They’ve designed their signature series Victory motorcycles and done design work for Polaris, but the Arlen Ness by MagnaFlow product line is something new for them.
And it bodes well for MagnaFlow to attract, and partner with, as an iconic brand as Arlen Ness. We’re taking the most iconic names in custom motorcycles and combining it with one of the most legendary names in performance exhausts. It’s going to be an attention-getter, and we wanted to start out with a brand and a product line that would grab a lot of attention.
This is only the first offering from MagnaFlow. We will be offering a product line under the MagnaFlow name at a later date that will be unique to itself for the V-twin market. This line will include a completely different look: different bends, different configurations and so forth.
McGee said the company plans to continue to work through distributors in the U.S. and worldwide, and not sell dealer-direct or consumer-direct. For more information, visit the MagnaFlow or Arlen Ness websites.