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Exhaust systems are top aftermarket purchase

March 31, 2003
Filed under Features

Powersports Business sampled dealers across the country to find out which sport bikes are in demand, and what kind of aftermarket product is being asked for. Mid-class bikes and exhaust systems proved to be hot.
Kawasaki of Riverside, Riverside, Calif., carries Kawasaki and Honda products. Casey Grace, finance manager, says all of the mid-class bikes, like the 636, usually sell well.
“Our top three sellers are probably the Honda 600 F4, the Ninja 600 and the ZX-12,” Grace said. “The 954 didn’t have as good a turnout as we expected, but they are still moving, and we haven’t received the Honda 600RR, but there’s been a lot of interest and we can’t wait to get it. Basically, anything in the 600 class is a winner.”
Stan Krajewski is sales manager at Cycle Sport Center, a Kawasaki and Yamaha dealership in Orlando, Fla. Krajewski says he can’t keep the Yamaha R6 in stock: “I’ve already sold all 20 that I’ve received this year.”
Sales of the Kawasaki 636, he says, are eclipsed by R6 sales “probably three to one.” And, to top off their vehicle purchases, Cycle Sport consumers are buying Gravity windscreens, fender eliminator kits, and Harris grips and tankbags, among other items. “We also sell a good number of exhausts from Micron and Yoshimura, and apparel has been all about textiles,” he said.
Greg Ratzin, sales manager at Pensacola Motorsports, also says mid-class sport bikes are a gold mine. Pensacola Motorsports carries Yamaha, Honda, Aprilia and Kawasaki.
“We’re a military town and 600cc sport bikes are always, always very popular,” Ratzin said. “We sell about 1,200 units a year, and sport bikes probably comprise about 25% of that number.” Top three sport bikes, Ratzin says, are CBR 600 F4, the Ninja 600 and the Yamaha R6.
Ratzin says he also has noticed an increase in women riding, and says women have been purchasing “a lot” of middle weight cruisers like the Shadow 750, V-Star and Vulcans.
Mike Jones, parts manager at Pensacola Motorsports, says he’s seeing increased demand for items to trick out the look of a bike: flush-mount turn signals, fender eliminator kits, and lowering kits. He also said he expects Sportech’s new chrome windshields and the HJC Veek and Switch helmets to do well in the coming year, and has enjoyed success with Joe Rocket’s Phoenix jackets.
But the number one aftermarket product, he says, is a pipe. “Everyone wants a pipe — ‘How much is that pipe going to cost?’ Then they come in to want to make it go faster, and they get the K&N filter and go one tooth down. It really is a trend.”
With standard bikes, he says, windscreens, saddle bags and bar risers are popular.
Pam Herndon is general manager of Michael’s Reno Powersports, a Suzuki and Yamaha dealer in Reno, Nev. Herndon says most of her sport bike customers are men age 18-35. She says the Suzuki GSX-R “are moving in all sizes — 600, 750 and 1000,” and says she’s currently selling a lot more sport bikes than cruisers because of the new models coming in.
“For instance, we just received the new (Anniversary Edition) Gixxer and it’s fabulous,” she said. “They just pulled it out of the box and put it on the showroom yesterday.”
As far as aftermarket products, Herndon says pipes are moving in both cruiser and sport bike segments, and riding gear and travel bags continue to be popular. A trend Herndon also says she is seeing is increased interest in the purchase of apparel for passengers.
“I think the textile is a little stronger than the leather for us,” she said, “just because the gear is getting so cool. Not just the options, but the comfort level, too. Also, I think the textiles are more stylish.”
“It’s up to the rider,” says Reggie King of Lawrenceville Honda, a Honda and Yamaha dealer in Lawrenceville, Ga. “You have guys who like the cosmetic end of it — carbon fiber stick on stuff — and then you have the guys basing their purchases on performance. It’s half and half here.
“I find the initial purchases are the fender eliminator kits, flush-mount blinkers, tinted windscreens, frame sliders, that kind of stuff. Of course, everyone wants to make these bikes go faster, and so a lot of people come back for the high-mount exhausts and rear-set foot pegs.”
Popular pipes, he says, are from Erion, Yoshimura, Akrapovich and D&D. “We’ve sold more Erion pipes for Honda than anything.”
Although Aprilia first officially entered the U.S. in 1999, Mototek Imports, Inc., Round Rock, Texas — the second most prolific Aprilia dealer in the country — has been involved with the manufacturer for the past eight years.
“Our Aprilia Tuono will be our best-seller for the year,” Jay Bernard, president of Mototek, told Powersports Business, “but the Futuras have also sold well. I mean, last year was good, but we just sold a half-dozen of them in one month. So, right now, we’re looking forward to quite a good year with those, as well.” The Mille R, he says, was the top-seller during 2002.
Bernard, who is the official importer for a number of high-end Italian-made aftermarket products, says 50% of the firm’s bike sales and 99% of its parts sales are out-of-state.
What are Aprilia riders looking for in hop-up parts? “Exhausts and rear sets on the Tuono, and exhausts for the sport bikes,” Bernard says. “People buy the V-twins because of the sound. But the stock silencer muffles the sound, so we find exhaust are always the first things to be purchased aftermarket. For sure.”
Mototek carries the Aprilia exhaust systems made by Arrow, but also sells Gianelli — since Arrow owns Gianelli.
Bernard says leather tops textile products at Mototek “because we cater more to racers.” Suomy helmets — Aprilia factory lids — and Alpinestars product, he says, “also do very good for us.”

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