HOW THE GARMENT FITS and hangs from the body, the materials used and how the armor is placed are key when designing protective gear for larger riders.
Thinner, lighter textiles may allow for more comfort and range of motion. For leather garments, it may be handy to have a tailor available to ensure customized fit. (However, keep in mind that additional tailoring may affect the piece’s technical attributes.)
Standard sizing charts may not apply, so trying on the garments is critical. Stock one larger size in a variety of jackets — a 3XL in one style, a 4XL in another, etc. — so the customer can test different sizes. Usually, the top apparel brands can provide expedited shipping for custom orders.
Train your staff. They should be aware that larger sizes exist, the brands that carry them and in which models. They also should know how to adjust side panels, zippers, etc. to ensure proper, comfortable fit.
Be aware that larger items may be priced higher due to the increased amount of fabric or leather involved.
Visit a local “big and tall” store or department store for compelling, respectful merchandising and marketing tips.
It’s a little unorthodox, but some powersports-related e-commerce sites allow you to filter results by sizing — this may be a good way to educate yourself on the brands and size ranges available.
Work with your vendors. Motonation, for example, may be able to outfit one of your “big or tall” customers at cost, and then “let word-of-mouth work its magic,” says Bill Berroth.
This story originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of Dealernews.