Nearly 200 sales representatives for the industry's largest aftermarket distributor assembled in Madison, Wis., for six days in late August to learn about product they'll be offering to dealers this coming year.
Dealernews was able to sit in on dozens of vendor briefings to give you an idea of what will be new from Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties. Here we go:
Enjoying double-digit growth in the past year, Suomy USA offers helmets within four model families — the Spec-1R Extreme, Spec-1R, Vandal and off-road Spectre. The brand's top-selling helmets, per model family, include the Gambler Spec-1R Extreme, Bostrom Tattoo Spec-1R, Cult Vandal and Vegas Spectre, respectively.
Rick Marlin, director of Suomy USA, claims buyers of his brand are 10 years younger than the Arai buyer. He says research shows he needs to bolster his product offerings to court the older market by introducing more solid colors. So that's exactly what he's going to do for 2008: add subdued hues of Double Grey, Pattern Grey and Mono Anthracite to the top-end Spec-1R Extreme and Vandal families.
The Suomy Display Showroom (SDS) Program gives retailers display spiffs for ordering a five-helmet minimum. Matched with Suomy Seminars — presentations highlighting the brand's attributes — it's a program Marlin says has been successful in establishing 101 stocking dealers within the past year. The company's website now identifies dealers stocking Suomy lids.
Alpinestars introduced 50 technical products and 80 sportswear items this past year. For 2008 the company has 49 new technical products and 162 new sportswear items. Alpinestars has become a well-known brand not only in motorcycling but also in other highly visible motorsports such as NASCAR, WRC and Formula One. The result is a growing group of consumers who recognize the name and are seeking out Alpinestars' branded apparel.
"Let's take these customers out of the malls and into the dealerships," says Scott Link, Alpinestars' director of sales for North America.
New technical products include five new Stella jackets for women; 17 new models of glove (all with updated sizing); updated Drystar apparel for wet-weather riding; a wide variety of textile and leather jackets; two new pant styles; a newly designed GP Pro leather suit; two updated off-road boots, the Tech 8 and Tech 10; a newly designed version of the popular Bionic protection jacket; and the Stealth vest for commuting and military riders.
AGV Sport is offering a full line of protective apparel, including three one-piece suits, three two-piece suits, 10 jackets in both leather and textile, two leather pants and two textile pants, 11 models of glove, five models of boot, raingear and backpacks.
Next year marks Thor's 40th anniversary. The company plans to offer 21 Force helmets and eight Quadrant helmets, including seven replica helmets and five carbon fiber models. The Force line is home to the replica helmets, which include lids modeled after those worn by Reed, Adams, Tedesco and Twitch. The Quadrants come with new colors and graphics, and are available with multi-color eye port gaskets and tool-less visors.
The 2008 Phase pant, jersey and gloves were redesigned for improved mobility and better comfort through the use of Spandura stretch panels in the bottoms, micro-mesh Ride-Lite fabric on top and Clarino in the gloves.
Dealers likely will see increased advertising of Thor goggles. Developed in-house, the line includes the Hero goggle, now available in nine colors; the Bomber goggle with roll-off system; the entry-level Enemy goggle; and the Sand goggle for dune riders. One model of replacement lens fits all models.
The folks at Z1R hope consumers change their perception of the brand in 2008: "We're updating ZR1's image to be more about lifestyle, and right now we're really focused on the sport end of the market," says Jen Wald, ZR1 product specialist for LeMans Corp.
Already available for delivery are four jacket models, three types of glove and two helmets. The jacket lineup consists of the tailored Dart and relaxed-fit Torque sport jackets, the relaxed-fit and insulated Scrambler, and the Nectar leather sport jacket for women. Gloves include the mesh Cyclone street glove, Brawler gauntlet leather glove and shorter Surge leather glove.
Z1R's best-selling helmets are the Nomad, Strike and Drifter. The new Phantom Warrior helmet — available in seven solids and six graphics — replaces the Strike for 2008. For those interested in the off-road market, Z1R also is offering the new, DOT-certified Roost III helmet for youth and adults.
The best-selling Icon helmets have been Domain Decay, Main Frame Hooligan Pink and Main Frame Skull. New helmets for 2008 are the Mainframe DFA (Death From Above), which features 27 different colors; the Domain 2, which replaces the original Domain and offers replaceable side plates with graphics and a new shield lock system; and the Mainframe GoGo, a women's helmet that matches Icon's GoGo line of women's riding apparel.
Icon brand manager Phil Davy says the Mainframe DFA will include two shields. All other Icon helmets will contain a list of shields available for each particular model of helmet, he notes.
New items include the Bombshell GoGo line for women; a jacket, chaps and boots that match the previously described GoGo helmet; and the new textile and leather ARC line, which features a jacket, pants and gloves. Also available: the Hooligan UX textile sport jacket; the Hooligan Stealth jacket; the Daytona Vintage Flat-track jacket; four vests, textile and leather; and two new pants, the Insulated jean that replaces the Barrier jean and the Super Duty 2 cargo pant. As for boots, the new Super Duty 3 boots for 2008 are reportedly 10 percent lighter than the Super Duty 2 boot, which is still available.
For the long haul, Nolan claims to have the best-selling modular helmet, the N-102. Company officials say the sales success stems from the helmet's superior venting, built-in sun visor, optically correct shield, pin-lock system, articulating hinge on the chin-bar and bolstered seam-free neck roll.
Looking for a lid that'll appeal to scooterists, as well as vintage and European bike enthusiasts? The shielded yet open-face N-30 Flashback is available in five two-tone color combinations. Three out of seven of Nolan's helmet lines — the N-102, N-84 and N-42 — are Bluetooth-enabled using the company's "n-com" (Nolan Communication System), which installs inside the helmet without tools. N-com packages, sold separately, allow the rider to manipulate his or her phone, GPS, music and helmet-to-helmet communication.
AGV is marking its 60th anniversary year with the release of seven new or updated helmet models, a new advertising policy, an expanded marketing campaign — and, of course, new ownership.
New lids include the GP Tech, AGV's first helmet designed entirely by computer; the half-shell Blade; the newly designed Ti-Tech, which comes with a 10 percent increase in dealer sales margin; the new Rossi Limited Edition Ti-Tech featuring the Mugello heart; the XR2, available in two Rossi graphics as well as a new, lower price; and the Stealth and S-4, both of which feature new graphics and 50 percent dealer margins.
Paolo Bacchiarello, operational manager for AGV USA, says the brand's new advertising policy is aimed squarely to defend dealers against mail-order companies and discounting. The four-part policy 1) mandates a signed distribution agreement, 2) dictates no advertising below retail, 3) bans use of the AGV logo without permission, and 4) calls for strict enforcement of the first three points. Web surfers can find AGV helmets online at MySpace (myspace/agvhelmets).
AGV recently was purchased by fellow Italian Dainese (see Dealernews, September). However, both companies say no changes will be made to AGV distribution in the U.S., and the brand will continue to be made available through Parts Unlimited.
AFX North America is offering 32 helmets for '08. The company plans 12 new designs for 2008 — all built in Taiwan. New models include the full-face FX-16 and FX-20, modular FX-28, off-road FX-35, FX-18 and FX-85, open-face FX-43, and youth FX-10Y, FX-35Y, FX-18Y, FX-85Y and FX-86RY. AFX's Doug Hill says all new product is in stock and ready for dealer delivery.
New product from Scott includes the orange-an-yellow limited-edition Community Service goggle featuring NoSweat face foam, an Amp Yellow WORKS Lexan lens, frame clips with molded tear-off post, articulating strap clips and a Xi NoseGuard and ventilation visor; the updated NoSweatXi available in four new colors; a newly designed HiVoltageIII with ram air ventilation to help cool the inside of the goggle and alleviate moisture buildup; and a 89Xi Turbo snow goggle featuring a new face guard and updated vent foam.
Smith Optics is trying to consolidate goggle names to alleviate consumer confusion. For 2008 it offers six series: the Graphic, Sweat-X, LST (Light Sensitive Technology), Enduro, Sonic Kids and Snowmobile.
New products for 2008 include three new Sweat-X goggles — the Intake, Piston and Fuel — as well as the new Snow Warp Graphic series. The Fuel, Piston and Intake Graphic series goggles receive newly designed Blue Dangerous, Stitches and Khamo graphics.
Sunline's SixSixOne offers a complete line of body protection, including Pressure Suits, knee and elbow protectors, shoulder and wrist supports, neck rolls and gloves. It's appropriate with all types of rider — motorcycle, ATV, PWC, BMX — and is brand-neutral. Stocking dealers receive free rider photos and logo banners, and dealers who purchase $1,500 in Sunline or SixSixOne product receive a free two-sided, four-color display with rolling casters.
Tires and Wheels
Avon enters 2008 with the Cobra, which replaces the Venom R model. Designed for tourers, cruisers and customs, the Cobra features a new tread design that supposedly balances rapid water dispersal better, with increased stability and maximum resistance to wear. Avon marketing rep Thomas "Ski" Maslowski says the product will be available in early 2008.
Kenda has new tires for desert riders, pit bike riders and ATV enthusiasts. The DOT-approved Parker D-T K774F front and K775 rear are built for the desert with a six-ply casing offering increased cut resistance, a natural rubber compound for extended tread wear and reduced knob chunking.
The increased body weight and riding style of the adult pit bike rider has a big effect on a normal mini tire's performance. The intermediate terrain K775 Washougal and hard/intermediate terrain K774 Budds Creek — both available in sticky and standard race compounds — come with a four-ply casing structure with reinforced compounds and a rear tread profile that offers a 10 percent larger contact patch.
Finally, the new Parker D-T K532FA front and K535A rear were designed for ATV riding in the desert and contain all of the benefits of the Parker series motorcycle tire.
ITP has designed a six-ply, 12-inch TerraCross R/T for 4x4 ATVs. The TerraCross R/Ts were designed to improve a quad's handling characteristics, and are especially capable for traveling through mud, snow and sand, and for finding extra grip on rock-strewn and rutted trails.
For customers wanting to add some bling, ITP is offering a new wheel/tire package, matching the R/Ts with 12-inch SS alloy wheels available in three styles. ITP is so confident in these one-piece aluminum wheels that it's offering a lifetime structural warranty.
For off-road enthusiasts, the M403 front and M404 rear Intermediate MX tires are among Bridgestone's latest offerings. These tires build on the M401 and M402 but offer increased durability, an increased contact patch, better damping and optimized block placement for smoother performance at all lean angles. They're available for 50cc to 450cc bikes.
Continental Tire's Greg Reich says his company enjoyed 77 percent sales growth last year. For 2008 the company introduces the Hypersport radial, an ultra-high-performance version of the ContiSport Attack.
"It's perfect for riders who attend track day sessions and demand extreme performance," Reich says, highlighting the tire's 50.8-degree lean angle when operated in the dry, exceptionally quick warm-up time, high-speed stability and braking feedback.
Michelin offers 12 series of street tire, from the track-ready Power Race to the cruiser-minded Commander. For 2008 the company focuses on its twin-compound products, the Pilot Power 2CT and new Pilot Road 2. Twin-compound technology is based on the concept of using soft rubber on the shoulders for solid cornering and a harder rubber in the center for durability. The Pilot Power 2CT is a track-day tire that's equally at home on the road. The new Pilot Road 2 is as sporty as the 2CT but offers a grippier shoulder compound for increased traction in the wet.
Bernard Jarrousse, Michelin's international sales manager, says off-road tire back-orders are dwindling as the company rebounds from a slowdown in deliveries that stemmed from a change in production facilities.
AMS plans to carry spun aluminum wheels made by the same vendor that produces wheels for Polaris. The AMS ATV wheels should be available this month.
Moose Utilities' 100-page catalog for 2008 highlights dozens of new products for quads. Included are the RM3 drive-in style plow, a synthetic winch cable, an ATV seat heater, ATV fender extensions, and the following UTV items: half windshield, gun rack, cab heater, overhead rack, two-piece roof, overhead racks, two-piece roof. It also offers Rhino kick plates, a leg protector and a billet exhaust cap.
The brand continues to brand its partnerships with Honda and the National Rifle Association, promoted through the Moose Utilities website. The NRA initiative includes rack bags, tank bags, controls, a tree stand carrier, a winch, gun racks, gun scabbards, ATV covers, tie-downs and casual apparel. The Honda initiative includes a snowplow and accessories, winches, bumpers, cargo bags, ATV covers, ATV accessories, skidplates and casual apparel.
Moose Racing also boosted its selection of hard parts for 2008. Included are updated OEM-style four-stroke lever assemblies, billet throttle tubes, a forged aluminum shift lever kit designed to accommodate more boot sizes, brake and perch rotor clamps, a mirror-mount perch clamp, and Contour aluminum handguards to better fit tapered handlebars.
XCR gear for 2008 — pants, jersey, cold weather and warm weather gloves in blue, bronze, lime, red, yellow, stealth and orange — is reportedly built lighter and stronger yet retains the same pricing as the 2007 product. Also check out the new slave cylinder/case savers, four-stroke silencer guard, and carbon/Kevlar skidplates.
Independent Cycle founder Jesse Jurrens is setting his sights on SxS vehicles. Designed for the Prowler, RzR and Rhino, the Legend Off-Road Air Suspension Kit allows SxS owners to modify their vehicle's ride height anywhere from 1 inch taller to 6 inches lower than stock with the push of a button.
Dynojet/Dynatek is making a bigger push into the sport ATV market with the Power Commander, and "everyone will be seeing more advertising for that part of our business," says Michael Belcher, vice president of sales at Dynojet/Dynatek's Powersports Division.
In the snow market, look for Power Commander applications for the Phazer, Apex and Nitro sleds. Dynatek is going after ATV enthusiasts with an expanding line of ignition applications for EFI models — all programmable to work with any crazy mods.
"People know us as a company that specializes in off-road exhausts, so we're reintroducing FMF as a performance exhaust company — not just an off-road company," says Doug Muellner of FMF Racing.
FMF also represents STM, whose Controlled Engine Braking System (CEB) uses advanced clutch technology to bring performance improvements to the four-stroke off-road, supermoto and ATV markets. The CEB Clutch System reportedly is a unique and highly effective engine-to clutch-to-rear wheel power management system that allows an engine to glide or coast more freely on deceleration, reducing engine braking and unloading the suspension. The end result is less stress on drivetrain components, increasing longevity and durability, while giving more traction control and feedback.
Scorpion exhausts now are approved for use in California, despite the state's new Anti-Tampering Law. Scorpion offered to send the California Air Resources Board an exhaust pipe to test but was told the governmental organization didn't have the necessary testing equipment. So Scorpion reportedly supplied all of the findings from testing done in Europe — allegedly proving that every Scorpion exhaust meets European and OEM standards. CARB ultimately gave Scorpion approval to sell its product in the state.
Erion Racing, despite its Honda-exclusive reputation, also markets slip-on, bolt-on and GP-style mufflers for popular super sport bikes from all four Japanese OEMs. Prices range from $279.95 for a stainless steel side-mount R6 slip-on to $882.95 for a carbon-fiber side-mount ZX-14 slip-on. The units are built by BUB.
LeoVince expects to sell 660,000 exhausts worldwide this year thanks to its SBK street exhaust, X3 off-road exhaust and Scoot scooter exhaust lines. LeoVince's Tim Calhoun says the company has a warranty rate of less than one quarter of one percent. While motorcycles account for the majority of LeoVince's sales, the company is expanding its line of ATV and scooter offerings.
Pro Circuit's exhaust sales are falling but its accessory numbers are up. So the company's new product line for 2008 includes a newly designed brake pedal and kick-starter, throttle tubes, engine plug kits, foot pegs, a clutch perch, a water pump kit, s hot start connector, heat shields and luggage.
"We're working on our entry into the utility ATV market," says Jarrod "Boo" Suber, Parts Unlimited's Pro Circuit brand manager. As for the exhaust line, all '08 Pro Circuit exhausts receive a new, quieter end cap that brings sound volume down to a widely accepted 95dB.
Vance & Hines' Black Line of exhausts for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, available in November, includes nine models. And for metric bikes, V&H offers Slash-Cut Staggereds for the 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900, Big Shots for the 2007 Suzuki M109R, and a new Touring 2-into-1 application for 2006-2007 Yamaha Roadliners and Stratoliners.
Vance & Hines is preparing to again enter the sportbike market. The company is building a new facility to be dedicated solely to new sportbike product, and expects it to be operational by January. Planned product includes three styles of sportbike pipe: underseat, side-mount, and a Moto GP short style. Look for the applications at Dealer Expo in February.
V&H also reportedly plans to expand its product lines ito include air intake systems, initially for Harleys.
Parts & Accessories
Works Z stainless-steel rear sprockets are the newest products from Sunstar. Designed for off-road applications, these sprockets are reportedly up to 50 percent lighter than stock yet feature five times the hardness of aluminum sprockets and twice that of standard steel sprockets. They're available in stainless-steel, polished and chromed versions.
Scorpio Moto Security's new system "is more of a prevention and deterrent system than a recovery system like some other offerings," says spokesman Tal Sander. "It's a technical product that we want to sell as a simple- to-use plug-and-play system." The Scorpio Display Program offers an illuminated POP display kit with $60 worth of free accessories for every three security systems purchased.
Performance Machine straddles the line between sport bikes and cruisers: New product includes the Cartell wheel for the 2007 GSX-R750 and 1000, 2007 R1, 2007 ZX-10 and ZX-14, 2007 M109R and 2008 Hayabusa; a new Phatrod Kit for the V-Rod; grips; a pulley; and 11.5-inch and 13-inch brake discs.
"We're targeting 'the bling guys,'" says Ted Sands. "These guys invest a ton of money into their bikes, and we think that to be a very promising market." Dealers who buy two sets of wheels get a free PM wheel rack display.
New from Renthal are Kevlar-infused off-road grips, a Twin Ring sprocket, a Z-Ring chain for ATVs and an updated Intellilever — a cable and spring-loaded clutch lever that moves 180 degrees like a joystick to prevent damage resulting from a crash. Dealers who purchase $1,500 worth of Renthal products receive a free handlebar stand and an Official Supplier window sticker.
Sportech is offering a variety of sportbike and cruiser shields. Last year the company made news by signing an agreement to produce private-label product for Moose Utility and Drag.
In the sportbike category, look for Sportech to market the new GP series of competition-style shields, a new generation of V-Flow shield and updated applications for the Shadow series. For metric cruiser applications, Sportech's Cruiser series offers low, medium and tall options, all with a quick-release attachment.
"The country's sportbike market is divided," says Sportech's Greg Anderson. "The East Coast is into flash and 'bling' whereas the West Coast guys seem to be more race-oriented, race replica. We're trying to capture some more of those West Coast buyers with the GP series."
Memphis Shades is working on new air-flow systems, plans to further tout the brand's Trigger-Lock system, and is in "discussions" with Cobra about how Memphis Shades windshields and Cobra light bars can fit together — something they've so far had difficulty doing.
Mike Goggans, Parts' Kuryakyn brand manager, says dealers should know about the virtues of the "$100 wall" — a rack of product all priced under a C note.
"It's perfect for dealers with customers who want those bolt-on products like fuel caps, passenger pegs and bar-ends — some of the best-selling, point-of-purchase items," Goggans says.
Metrix Audio is a new division of Hog Tunes, a company that has been supplying sound systems through Parts for the past three years. "Whereas Hog Tunes are for the Harley-Davidson rider, Metrix provides solutions for the metric touring motorcyclists," explains founder Mike Pesdirz.
Pesdirz claims Metrix speakers play 40 percent louder than stock speakers through the mid and high range of sound, allowing the rider to hear the full range of sound without having to turn up the volume. The speakers are warranted for five years and are reportedly water-resistant; they're built as model-specific applications and feature custom-tooled baskets.
"Our goal is that stock speakers can be directly replaced using stock connectors," he says.
Metrix's first product includes front and rear speakers for 2001 to 2005 Honda Gold Wings. Available for shipping, the system expands the stock two-speaker system to four for $99.95 retail ($60 dealer). Each box includes a set of speakers, a wiring harness and hardware.
Progressive Suspension marks its 25th anniversary this year. Pat Louro, director of sales, introduced nine models of motorcycle damper, the 412, 416, 418, 440, 812, 420, 450, 460 and 430, as well as the 425 series designed for SxS applications. Progressive's products range from the entry-level 412 with five-position preload adjustment to the top-of-the-line 440 series featuring a remote reservoir with tool-less preload adjustment and a lifetime warranty.
New products include the 812 Flame and 812 Vintage for Harley, Honda and Kawasaki cruisers; the chrome or black 430 for customs; and the off-road 425 series. Retailing for $495 per pair, the new 430 combines the custom look of the 418 with the tool-less adjustability of the 440. The 425 was designed for the Yamaha Rhino. Retailing for $262 per pair, the units offer heavier springs, more travel, and a 0.75-inch higher ride.