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April 23, 2007 – A rapidly growing cycle segment

April 23, 2007
Filed under Features

Lehman Trikes recently unveiled the result of one of its fairly new relationships with three major motorcycle manufacturers.
The Canadian trike builder showcased its new Pit Boss, a Victory-powered three-wheeler that Lehman calls a first for the trike industry.
The unique part of the trike, other than its features, is it’s truly a reflection of two companies, with Lehman’s design — and three-year warranty — on the back end and Polaris Industries’ power plant and design — and standard warranty — on the front end. In this rare bond between manufacturers, the back swing arm represents the dividing line between the two companies.
“When you see the design of this thing, it really will appeal to anyone who wants to stand out in the crowd,” said Ken Hines, Lehman’s vice president of business development and customer support. “So you’re going to get a very different image of a trike than you’ve seen before, specifically curb appeal and performance.”
The appeal of trikes in general seems to be growing, according to the number of major manufacturers that are getting involved in the niche. Besides Victory, Lehman also has ties with Suzuki and Harley-Davidson, the latter of which started last year. Are those relationships a sign that the trike industry is growing?
Lehman officials won’t detail the company’s annual sales numbers, but Hines did say the trike segment of the industry is experiencing “rapid growth.” The company’s most recent reported financial numbers, from its third quarter ending Aug. 31, 2006, appear to back that up. Lehman reported its third-quarter revenue had increased 12.3 percent from the previous year quarter and its revenue to date was up 15 percent over 2005.
An aging ridership, including a big Baby Boomer population, is one of the known reasons for the heightened interest in trikes. What might not be so well known is the number of female riders who have been drawn to three-wheelers. While Lehman won’t detail its riders’ demographics, Hines did say its female rider percentage is “substantially better” than the most recent new bike buyer data found in the annual J.D. Power and Associates’ survey. That survey shows the percentage of female riders at 10 percent.
“Female ridership is growing more rapidly in trikes” than in general motorcycling, Hines said.
To take advantage of the additional interest, Lehman has expanded its production facilities in Spearfish, S.D. The company spent $1.5 million to expand its manufacturing facilities by 17,500 square feet and double its painting area. Plus, the company leased an 11,700-square-feet building near its plant that will serve as Lehman’s new technology and administration center. Company officials are expecting to have the new areas operational this month.
Besides producing the Pit Boss, which will be sold by Lehman dealers, the trike manufacturer also will be supplying Harley-Davidson for H-D-branded trikes as well as modifying Suzuki bikes that are sold under the Lehman brand. One of those Suzuki models, the Jackal, was unveiled last August and Lehman said in its financial report that its sales were expected to be above the projected level.
Hines said the company has similar predictions for its new Pit Boss.
“We anticipate the demand to exceed production over the near term,” he said. “Because this thing is so unique, it’s going to fit a wide breadth of ridership. We think we’ve opened a new door in the trike market.”

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