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AS WE REPORTED LAST MONTH in "Speed Read," Tucker Rocky Distributing hosted 500 dealerships at its national sales meeting in late July. Nearly 150 vendors showed product during the event, double the size of any product showcase previously organized by the company. Below is just a portion of what we discovered. Log on to www.dealernews.com for additional coverage. Click on "Web Exclusives" on the left.
Answer's new Comet X racing helmet has a carbon fiber/Kevlar shell but retails for only $249.95 (sister brand MSR offers a similar model). It comes in two different graphics to match Alpha or F-10 gear. In other helmet news, Answer has a new Comet Rockstar helmet to go with its Rockstar gear. It also has introduced youth Rockstar gear, including a helmet. Answer claims to be the only company selling energy-drink-branded gear for kids. Finally, Answer's Nova entry-level helmets use three shell sizes and come with a removable liner. Dealers can expect at least a 40 percent margin on Nova helmets, an Answer rep says.
Following the success of Answer's Ernesto Fonseca-inspired colorway of Alpha race gear, the company has expanded the limited-edition line to include four colorway patterns.
An Answer rep claims that prices of mid-level gear in general have gone up. But the price of Answer's Ion lineup hasn't changed, even though sublimated graphics are now on not only the jersey, but also the pant and gloves.
Ariete products are made in Italy. Therefore, the exchange rate hurts. A rep describes the situation as "losing in business just to stay in business." New Ariete products include the Glamour 09 goggle, the company's midrange model. The goggle comes in 11 color combinations and has three layers of face foam and an anti-fog, anti-scratch clear Lexan lens. Other new products: a zip-up goggle case with several pockets; a Desert grip designed for sandy conditions; a brake reservoir pipe; Estoril road grips in five color combinations; Harri's road grips with different surfaces for the palm and fingers; and casual items like caps, visors and beanies.
Bridgestone has new rubber for the dirt: M203/M204 tires for soft terrain, and M601/M602 tires for hard. Bridgestone says it developed and tested both tires using top AMA factory teams.
More and more customers are trying to save money by riding their old motorcycles. Continental responds with a new tire lineup in sizes for many of those bikes. ContiGo! is a cross-ply tire for sport-touring or general purposes. Continental claims the tire has perfect grip in all weather conditions, excellent mileage, and a tread pattern that results in even wear and "unmatched" water displacement.
CST (a.k.a. Cheng Shin) has a new sand tire: Surge P. Eight cupped paddles cross the entire section width. The tread compound resists chunking, claims CST. The company also says the tire's low weight makes for cooler running temperatures. A fat, round profile keeps riders afloat in the sand. The full CST lineup will be available to dealers this fall.
Cycle Sounds LLC has long offered 2-inch bullet speakers. Now it expands its lineup with 3-inch Premium ones. A shim system allows the 100-watt speakers to fit onto 7/8-, 1-, or 1.25-inch bars. Customers can buy the speakers by themselves or as part of a system for either Harleys or metric cruisers. These systems retail for $499 and accommodate the rider's MP3 player or satellite radio. Cycle Sounds also has a system specifically for the Road King. Unlike some other Harley Touring models, the Road King does not come with a radio — so this is a good product to offer for the model, the company says.
DID Racing Chain has upgraded its VT2 Narrow Enduro Racing chain, which now has low-friction X-rings instead of T-rings. The chain is for race bikes without the clearance for a wider sealed chain.
DID also has a new tool. Its M501E Sport Cutting and Riveting tool is machined instead of forged, so it retails for only $120 and is aimed at consumers. (Dealers often pay $170 to $200 for a forged tool, the company tells us.) The tool is made to rivet DID ZJ rivet-style links and to cut and press side plates onto rivet- or clip-style connecting links. It works with DID 520, 525, 530 and 532 chains.
Epic Power Sports is in its second year with Tucker Rocky. Looking for bling? The Florida-based company offers a variety of products, including color-coordinated lowering links, lighted and otherwise custom fender eliminators, bar-ends, heel guards, chain guards, tire huggers, kickstands, radiator covers, master cylinder caps, mirror block-offs, top clamps, belly pans and side covers.
"Our latest products include a new Spider Eyes tire hugger (left) in polished chrome and black powdercoat; a wide variety of new lowering links (even for the new Ninja 250R); and a line of radiator covers for the Suzuki M109 and VTX 1300," says company founder Danny Henderson.
There are several additions to the Firstgear lineup, including a redesigned Kilimanjaro model (pictured below) and a line of adventure apparel. "The Firstgear line is much more streamlined and focused now," says Firstgear spokesman Mark Kincart.
The Kilimanjaro's (MSRP: $299) outershell has always been waterproof, but fairly light — about 330 denier — so this new model is a much heavier coat, about 600 denier. Key features: pit vents, waterproof stretch panel, a waterproof midlayer, a large back vent, a multitude of dry pockets and CE-rated armor. Front vents are no longer part of the pockets. The jacket's available in high-visibility yellow, tan, gray/purple, wine/gray, and a light gray. It comes in tall sizes and women's sizes.
"High-vis will likely be our hottest seller this year, and I think tan will be the new black," Kincart says.
The other new Firstgear product is an adventure jacket called the Katmandu ($320), which features zippered pockets, an integrated under-helmet rain hood, two large chest vents with waterproof zippers, multiple dry pockets, arm tension straps, pit vents, waterproof stretch panels, a quilted liner, a vent and large pocket in the rear, CE-rated armor in shoulders and elbows, and a hydration pack on the back. The matching Katmandu pant ($199) has a waterproof outer shell, CE-rated armor, a stretch-and-waterproof crotch and vents, a removable insulated liner, and tank guards sewn in along the knees. Available in gray, sand/gray and orange/gray.
"I believe this combo will be a runaway hit this year," Kincart says. "The adventure segment is growing by leaps and bounds, and that jacket/pant combo is perfect for it."
Frogg Toggs has been with Tucker Rocky for only a few months, but the company has been in business for a decade. The main market for its suits is the outdoor/camping industry. Frogg Toggs began to market to motorcyclists about three or four years ago after it started getting calls from dealers. CEO Drake Maples went to Dealer Expo last year to discover the reason behind all the calls. "Frogg Toggs evolved into the motorcycle industry by accident," he tells us. "It was all by word of mouth." Recently, the company altered the suits to make them tougher so that they can resist the winds at motorcycle speeds. The company also updated the zippers and added reflective piping. The company's No. 1 seller is the Road Toad with reflective piping. It comes in blue, gray, black and (for women) cherry. Maples says he's happy to be with Tucker because dealers can now receive better terms and qualify for free shipping more easily. In just the first 92 days, Tucker ordered (at cost) more than $225,000 worth of product. Sales at Frogg Toggs in general were up 25 percent YTD in August.
With its new Shadow Brakeline Kits, Goodridge claims to be the only company to offer a black chrome appearance on stainless steel fittings (which should make a splash at the local bike night). The company uses a process it took two years to develop. According to Goodridge, black coatings have long appeared on brass and other types of metals, but not stainless steel because of adhesion problems. Kits are available for all high-end sportbikes. Goodridge says consumer response has been amazing, and the company is struggling to keep up with demand. Dual-line Shadow kits retail for around $120.
Tucker Rocky picked up the GoPro line of helmet-mounted cameras this summer. The manufacturer, Woodman Labs, also sells dealer-direct and through Yamaha. According to Woodman, a big advantage of its flagship camera, the Motorpsorts Hero, is its price: $179.99. The company's new product is the Wide Hero with a 170-degree wide-angle lens. It comes with a 2GB SD card that can store up to 56 minutes. The camera also takes 5MP still photos. People who already have a Helmet Hero or Motorsports Hero mounting kit can buy just the camera and housing for $139. Otherwise, the full kit is $199.
Hot Cams has three new cams for the Honda CRF 250R. One is a Stage 3 cam for the 2008 model. The cam reportedly provides an increase in top-end power, as well as "excellent" over-rev. The Stage 3 cam is a drop-in camshaft that uses stock lifters, stock valve springs, and the stock auto decompression mechanism. The other two new cams comprise the company's Gold Series. They are for avid racers looking for more performance than what's found with a drop-in cam. Because they come with valve springs that allow for more lift, installing them requires more work.
Hotbodies Racing entered the TR catalog three years ago with race bodywork. The company has added a number of new items since then. "We try to bring new products out every year to keep up interest," says Justus Standley, the vendor's sales manager. "What's really hot right now is this smoked, transparent lens kit for the '08 Hayabusa, new ZX-10R and the new R6. The lens gives the look of a solid tail section until you turn the bike on and the lights shine through."
Of course, Hotbodies also offers its well-known undertail kits. "And one of the hottest undertails we have right now is for the CBR1000RR," Standley says. "It seems like Honda dealers just love that undertail and the matching rear tire hugger."
JT Braking is a new sister company of JT Sprockets. Its TUV-approved rotors are made out of heat-treated stainless steel. The company already has 70 dirtbike applications, and like JT Sprockets, it plans to sell a high volume to achieve a lower price point. Street applications will be out next spring. A rep for both companies says that there's a worldwide shortage of stainless steel. This past spring JT Sprockets ran out of raw materials for the first time in its history.
KBC is offering four models of helmet featuring Ed Hardy graphics: the R2R racing performance helmet ($390), the Pro X off-road model, the OFS three-quarter helmet ($149) and a "shorty" half-helmet ($149). KBC says the helmets will be items of limited availability and, as of right now, only available in 2009.
"We met the Ed Hardy people while at Dealer Expo in Indy," explains a KBC representative. "We thought it would be a cool thing to work with Ed Hardy and create a buzz for our entire '09 lineup. The Ed Hardy graphics are very distinctive and unique — something you won't find anywhere else."
New from K&N is a race-specific high-flow filter for the 2008 Hayabusa. The company claims a 5.1 hp increase at the rear wheel after modifications to the exhaust and fuel management system. The filter is pre-oiled and washable, retails for $89 and is legal for closed-course competition only.
K&N also has a complete high-flow airbox assembly for the 2008 Polaris RZR 800 that reportedly boosts power by 3.4 hp without fuel management modifications. The assembly (MSRP: $449) comes with an oversized X-Stream Top Filter that's pre-oiled and washable.
Maxxis offers two new ATV tires based on heavier ones. The Bighorn 2.0 6-ply ATV tire is a slimmer, less-expensive version of the Bighorn. It has a similar nondirectional tread pattern. The 25-inch version of the tire is reportedly 3 to 4 lbs. lighter. The 6-ply 'Zilla mud tire is a scaled-down, trail-friendly version of the Mudzilla. It costs 40 to 50 percent less and competes with ITP's MudLight rubber. Maxxis also has a new side-by-side tire: the Ceros.
MotoCam 360 expands beyond one-angle recordings with two- and four-camera systems retailing for $1,599.99 and $1,999.99, respectively. The systems allow the user to view multiple angles on a single LCD screen. Both systems come with an 8GB SD card, camera stabilizers and software. The DVR image quality is 720x480x30 fps. The systems are packaged in a clamshell for hanging. Why do people use the cameras? According to MotoCam 360, mechanics obtain objective feedback, racers record courses to memorize them, and race bike owners monitor riders. Of course, many customers buy the systems just for fun.
In other MotoCam 360 news, the company has revamped its rear vision system so that users can feed in video from an iPod when the bike is not in motion.
National Cycle's brand-new VStream Aeroacoustic clear windshield for 2001-2008 Gold Wings is 25 inches high and 26 inches wide at its widest point. It is made out of 4.5 mm polycarbonate that has been hard-coated with the company's proprietary Quantum material.
National Cycle already had two VStream Fork Mount Windshields for the Suzuki M109R. Now it has a third — made from a light material that allows the bike's cowling to show through.
Moving on to exhaust systems, National Cycle has expanded its Peacemakers line to include Yamaha's big baggers and cruisers. It's also added two new optional end caps: turned-down and tapered (to replace the slash-cut tips that come standard).
Nolan's big news is the N-103, its revamped N-Com modular helmet reported on last month in our Gear bonus issue. Nolan added a short, drop-down dark shield that moves independently of the main shield. The N-103 is offered in lots of colors, including less conservative ones like fluorescents and graphics.
Nolan also has the Art Series N-30 half-helmet. The solid models retail for $399. It comes in several retro designs, Italian-themed graphics, a British flag graphic (aimed at the vintage bike crowd), and a pigs graphic (yes, pigs). The helmet comes with a removable, washable liner and retails for $200.
Nolan also updated its three-quarter N42 model. The N42E is much like the original but with a complete redesign of the shell so that it matches the N-103 in some features and looks. It also has new vents.
No-Toil says its Super-Flo Filter Kit for dirtbikes increases throttle response and horsepower by removing the backfire screen. The kit comes with a two-stage, flame-resistant foam air filter. No-Toil also replaces the OEM filter cage screw with one that's reportedly easier to remove and insert. The kit retails for $79.95 and is available for CRF, RMZ, KXF, YZ, WR and KTM models.
PowerStands Racing has moved beyond only stands and is promoting the PSR brand in general. It has new click-and-roll levers cut on a CNC machine. It also has a lot of Ducati stuff: five case cover designs, as well as clutch pressure plate designs in five colors. The company offers case armor for all late-model Japanese sportbikes, and says it will have a street steering damper before the end of the year. PowerStands Racing started with Tucker four years ago with two part numbers; today it has 150 — 80 percent of which are in the Tucker catalog. The company tells Dealernews that it has been placing ads in magazines, sponsoring riders, posting racing contingencies and participating in charity events. Tucker Rocky dealers can expect profit margins of 30 percent or higher, the company says.
Pro Armor has several new products: a rear grab bar for the Can-Am 450, a rear grab bar for the KTM 450/525, a passenger grab handle for the Kawasaki Teryx, a Dominator front bumper for Polaris Outlaw models, full chassis armor for the Outlaw 450/525, a universal multi-hitch mount for a winch, and so on. Shown here is a half-windshield (MSRP: $199.95) on the Yamaha Rhino. Pro Armor also makes one for the Kawasaki Teryx and Polaris RZR. Full windshields for these models retail for $299.95. All the shields are made of a light polycarbonate.
Progressive Suspension has Drop-In Fork Lowering Kit that allows a tech to lower the front end of a cruiser by up to 2 inches in about 30 minutes instead of the usual two hours. No need to disassemble the forks, pull the wheel or even change out the oil. Shorter springs and Progressive's secondary compensator spring make short work of the formerly complicated task.
Also new from Progressive is the affordably priced Air Dragger Shock with a full chrome body. It mounts to all late-model Harley Touring models, and is powered by a compressor that attaches into the back of a saddlebag via fabric fasteners. The shock provides up to 2 inches of on-the-fly height adjustment.
Quad Boss. Tucker Rocky's new ATV catalog is the largest ever produced by the distributor. The 1,246-page catalog features 12 new vendors and hundreds of new part numbers. TR hired additional people in purchasing, allowing more time to be spent on accumulating products the company feels dealers may be interested in.
Tucker Rocky's Glen Urquhart says that means additional products for the distributor's Quad Boss and Ducks Unlimited brands of ATV and UTV product. Product like: expanded offerings of replacement hard parts, four new gasket kits (produced by Winderosa), new billet pieces for UTVs, HID headlight conversion kits, a new QuadBoss tire/wheel combination (by ITP), and an updated line of Quad Boss luggage.
"We've made a major expansion to the Quad Boss line for this year, and now we plan to expand on the Ducks Unlimited brand product," Urquhart says. "What we're finding is that while new-unit sales may be down, parts are still moving."
Nicky Hayden fans will be delighted: Repsol now sells a Repsol-branded version of the KBC VR-2 race helmet. The company also has a new 10W-30 weight for its 4T Racing oil. Repsol added the weight for the new Honda streetbikes that use 10W-30 instead of 10W-40. Finally, Repsol has a more stylish can for its Chain Lube. Contact the company for details on a dealer promotion that depends on whether you order $800, $1,200 or $1,600 worth of product. Dealers can receive free product and a free Repsol display. The promotion ends Dec. 15.
River Road has several new products, including the men's Taos three-quarter jacket pictured here. The nylon jacket is waterproof. Two zippered vents on the front shoulders work with two exhaust vents. A fully sleeved insulated liner is removable and has a cell phone pocket. The jacket retails for $179.95 and comes in sizes S-XXXL.
Tucker Rocky will start distributing Shad top cases in November. Miami-based Binetto Group already distributes them. Pricing and selection will be the same. About a dozen cases range in size from the 50-liter SH50 (MSRP: $350) to the SH26 ($85) for scooters. Shad says it makes 90 percent of its products, including side cases and ATV cases, at a factory in Barcelona, Spain. The small cases are made in China. OEM clients include BMW, Ducati, Piaggio, KTM, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki. Shad claims it will compete with Givi because its products are of the same quality for less money. People who buy multiple bags can use the same key for all of them. An option for the bigger cases is a brake light that allows the rider to take off the case without removing the light. Some of the bigger cases also allow the owner to easily change the case's color by swapping out a cover plate. Plates are held in place by four screws and come in several colors as well as unpainted.
Looking for lids that can be used for sport riding, touring and even scoots? The Shark EVO is a new, extremely light ECE/DOT-approved modular helmet that serves as a full-face model and an open-face model.
The chin bar on most modular helmets flip up to the top of the lid, where there is then a large mass, making it difficult and even dangerous to ride at speed. The EVO's modular chin bar moves all the way to the back of the helmet, where it then slides into place and forms a spoiler for an open-face version. The chin bar can be operated with a single finger, and the helmet also has an integrated optically correct sun visor, a removable liner, large ear pockets and an easy-to-use latch system.
Christophe Miravalls, Shark export director, says the solid EVO sells for $399; the versions with graphics sell for between $425 and $450.
Speed and Strength is Tucker Rocky's new house brand. The distributor commissioned Bruce Parker, former marketing manager of Joe Rocket, to create the lineup of jackets (textile and leather), pants, gloves, women's apparel, casual wear and even a racing suit. Pictured here is the Hell 'N Back three-quarter jacket aimed at the adventure-touring rider. It features a waterproof liner, C.E.-approved shoulder and elbow protectors, external shoulder protectors, zip-off panels, a hydration system, zipper-controlled ventilation, and sleeve, cuff and waist adjusters. The jacket retails for $299.95 and comes in sizes S-XXXL in black and black combined with blue, red, yellow or orange. Additional black sizes: 4XL and tall sizes L-XXL.
Sportech's GP Series sportbike windscreens are new for this year. The hard-coated polycarbonate screens have a nostril that helps manage air flow. The screens come in clear or light smoke. Sportech also has redesigned its V-Flow windscreens to complement the more aggressive lines found on today's sportbikes. For the bling crowd there is Sportech's new Black Series with a skull graphic. Finally, there is the Cruise Series featuring a tool-less, quick-release mounting system. Sportech reports that sales to cruiser riders have been "way up" in the past 12 months.
Since 2003, Tire Balls has catered to ATV and dirtbike racers. Now it's trying to expand into the general market. The company makes inflated balls that are inserted into tires. The balls allow riders to ride with low tire pressure without getting flats, the company claims. Lower pressure results in better traction and handling. Riders also suffer fewer bent rims because even if a ball is punctured, the other balls won't let the tire collapse entirely. Tire Balls retail for $199.95 per adult-size motorcycle wheel. The cost for a four-wheeler tire starts at $130. Balls are available for up to a 27-inch ATV tire.
Canada's TJD offers track kits for UTVs and utility and sport quads. The company began with its Cat Tracks track system, expanded into the XGen track system with suspension, and now offers a track/ski kit for sport quads.
"We're making them for 30-some different models," says Mike Fontaine, sales director. "We're the only manufacturer of tracks that has a product like this on the market right now."
Tsukigi Racing has come out with cannon-style slip-ons and full exhaust systems for the 2008 Hayabusa. The full system reportedly provides a power increase of up to 14 hp and weighs only 14 lbs. This compares to 30 lbs. for the stock system, according to Tsukigi. The stock header pipes are 1.6 to 1.7 inches in diameter; the Tsukigi system has 2-inch headers. Because of this, the full system takes about two hours to install. The technician has to be careful to clear the cowling; otherwise, the system will burn it. The slip-on reportedly provides a 3 to 4 hp gain. The full system retails for $1,139; the slip-on for $899. Tsukigi also has cannon-style systems for the '07-'08 GSX-R1000 and the '06-'08 ZX-14. All Tsukigi systems are entirely handmade out of stainless steel in Japan.
Two Brothers Racing has come out with M-2 VALE slip-ons for the 2008 Honda CBR1000RR. The canister comes in aluminum, carbon fiber or titanium. The aluminum one retails for $449.98; the other two for $549.98. The systems weigh more than three times less than stock. Two Brothers Racing also has M-2 VALE slip-ons and full systems for the 2008 Yamaha R6.
Wiseco breaks into the camshaft market with two applications: the 2004-2007 Yamaha YFZ450 and the 2004-2007 Honda TRX450R. Because the camshafts are entry-level, the stock valve springs are used, and installers may not have to readjust the valves. Wiseco did design its own cam lobes. Customers may want to invest in these camshafts to help protect their expensive titanium valves, Wiseco says.
Yoshimura enters the scooter market with the Mini-TRC, a stainless steel full exhaust system for the '03-'08 Honda Ruckus. The system retails for $329.95 and reportedly cuts 2.5 lbs. from the scooter's weight while boosting power. "There is a lot of scooter racing firing up all over the country, and the overall high-performance-pit-bike aspect of the category is very exciting," said Yoshimura VP Brant Russell in a press release, which noted that other scooter systems are on their way.
Zamp Sports Corp. says scooterists are showing interest in its new three-quarter helmets. The OS-4 (MSRP: $59.95) has a removable, washable liner and comes with a shield in clear, smoke, mirror chrome or mirror gold. The O-2 ($49.95) comes with a three-snap visor and can accept a five-snap shield. Both helmets are ECE2205-certified and have adjustable ventilation. The OS-4 is available in black, white, silver, flat black and matte green; the O-2 in black, white, red, flat black and silver.