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June 13, 2011 – HTMoto gaining traction in powersports

June 15, 2011
Filed under Features

HTMoto’s presence on the motorcycle scene has brought with it a stickiness that appears to be growing stronger as the years pass. The brand, formed as a line of longtime marine industry manufacturer Hydro-Turf, continues to make its mark in new segments of powersports.

Arno Olbricht founded Hydro-Turf in 1990 with a background in the textile industry. Hydro-Turf continues to manufacture performance traction mats and products for PWC and boats. In fact, Hydro-Turf was initially an OEM manufacturer for Polaris, then added Kawasaki and Yamaha. Hydro-Turf continues to manufacture traction mats for PWC lines from Kawasaki and Yamaha. Hydro-Turf also has found aftermarket success, with a host of distributors that include Parts Unlimited, Western Powersports, Lynn Vick Products and Riva Motorsports.

“The traction mats have been a standard in the industry for the past 20 years or so,” Olbricht said. “We’ve been the number one aftermarket mat and now OEM mat for the last 20 years.”

But the product’s performance isn’t limited to watercraft uses. The company in the mid-2000s had started manufacturing performance tank pads and seat covers targeted to the ATV and UTV segments. When Olbricht realized his company had built a product that could meet the needs of motorcycle racers, HTMoto was formed.

“Two years ago, the first rider to contact us was Ronnie Saner,” Olbricht recalled. “One of his riders, Steve Rapp, was the first to introduce our tank pads to the market. He had such a good experience with it that we thought we would go after that market aggressively.”

Olbricht has since discovered that entering the motorcycle landscape has proven worthwhile.

“The motorcycle industry was new for us, but the product has been well-received,” he said. “The seat covers are still going to be the biggest part of the market. It’s good to see it being used by the racers. That shows its performance capabilities.”

The recession slowed Anaheim-based Hydro-Turf and its 25 employees, but Olbricht sees a bright outlook in 2011.

“We experienced a downturn primarily do to the OEM volume,” he said. “The aftermarket volume has been about the same. We’re now starting to see an uptick in business with an increase in OEM production. It’s looking to be a good year.”

Especially from a marketing and promotional standpoint. Freestyle rider Jason Britton uses a seat modification from MTMoto. Melissa Paris and Jason DiSalvo are among the AMA riders who use the traction pads on their tanks and seats.

“It’s a seat pad that provides them with the traction they need. On the tanks, it helps them grip the tank with their knees,” Olbricht said.

Olbricht is continually finding niches for his products. A board shaper in the standup paddleboarding business has recently tapped into Hydro-Turf’s services. It’s the perfect example of providing an effective product in a desired marketplace.

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