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MOTORCYCLE POWER PROFILE – Riverside Motorcycle Sales

February 14, 2005
Filed under Features

RIVERSIDE MOTORCYCLE SALES

CONTACT
2 Union Square
Somerville, MA 02143
617/628-6400
www.riversidemoto.com

OWNERS
Carlo Hansen and Gerardo Fabrizio

BUSINESS PROFILE
In 1977 Hansen and Fabrizio bought the dealership, which was founded in 1965. Has been at the same location since 1980 (next door to the original location), one mile from Boston. 8,000-sq.-ft. main store plus a warehouse and parking. Carries motorcycles and ATVs: Ducati, Triumph, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and AlphaSports. 15 employees.

GREATEST CONCERN
Hansen’s greatest concern is the U.S. dollar. “Price increases would obviously make a big difference, as would rising interest rates. Right now you can buy a motorcycle almost like a car, at 3% or 4% interest rates. A lot more people can afford that, rather than 8% and higher.”

WHAT’S HOT?
Revving up at Riverside: 600cc motorcycles, include the Kawasaki R636, the Triumph Daytona 650 or Speed Four 600 — “any of the 600 class,” says Hansen. “They’re very fast and a lot of young people like the look. Styling is very important in motorcycles.” Hot-selling accessories include helmets (Arai, HJC, and Ikon), boots, and jackets (Vanson and Ducati’s licensed jackets made by Dainese).

CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“Because we have Japanese and European motorcycles and ATVs, our clientele is pretty much across the demographic picture of the USA,” says Hansen. “The younger people tend to buy Japanese bikes, and the slightly older buy Ducatis and Triumphs. A lot of professionals are buying motorcycles — lawyers, doctors — mostly in the Ducati line. But we have blue-collar workers and pretty much everything. Our cruiser customer, for example, tends to be any age; there are 20-year-olds and 60-year-olds. Women are getting into motorcycling much more in the last couple of years and comprise 7% to 10% of our market now.”

ANTI-POWERSPORTS ISSUES
What anti-powersports issues is Hansen facing? “I’m facing the Democratic Party! Obviously everything off-road is being limited. We’re not facing any anti-street-motorcycle issues as of yet. There are land closures, and PWC are pretty much banned in a lot of places. That’s part of the reason why we dropped all personal watercraft and all snowmobiles.”

PARTS AND SERVICE
Riverside has five service technicians and two in parts-counter sales. “These people have been with me for a number of years, so they keep track of service updates,” explains Hansen. “My general manager is also involved in service. My partner, Gerardo Fabrizio, puts together all the bikes, not a 16-year-old. We spend an average of one hour assembling any Japanese vehicle and up to two hours on Ducatis.” Does that eliminate problems right up front? “It sure does.”

PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
“I ride almost every day, one of the few store owners who actually rides a motorcycle,” says Hansen. “We do the usual advertising and attend five or six shows during the year. Because of liability, we have very ‘informal’ events. For example, we go to Laconia every year, but it’s more of, ‘We’ll meet there.’ It’s not that the store promotes it. We have a lot of track days at Laconia and Loudon in New Hampshire. We rent the track, a bunch of customers come, and we have instructors. That’s a very important promotion for the sportbike riders. For the cruiser riders, we have an ‘informal’ Halloween run.”

WORDS OF ADVICE
“Do not over-order,” advises Hansen. “The manufacturers are constantly trying to shove product down dealers’ throats. Because of the insecurity of the next couple of years, lean and mean is what dealers have to be. No leftovers, because if you pay interest, you might as well not even bother having it.”
—Julie Filatoff

If you would like to share your story with the readers of Powersports Business, please contact Julie Filatoff at filatoff@cybermesa.com.

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