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July 11, 2011 – Saddlemen finds comfort level with seats, luggage

July 22, 2011
Filed under Features

Saddlemen has been in the motorcycle seat-making business for 25 years. It has been through continual innovation and a diversity of product that the company has been successful in the industry.

According to Ron Benfield, Saddlemen’s director of sales and marketing, the company makes seats based on the motto of comfort and style.

“We’re using materials and designs that complement the bike and rider comfort,” Benfield said. “Other than that, what do you need a seat for?”

Because of that motto, Saddlemen strives for diversity in its product.

“We do a ton of seats for touring, cruising, stylish seats, low seats, and obviously that’s a big, big market,” he said. “What we’re really doing now is fortifying that model lineup and adding the sport bike and the adventure touring seats because we see that as an emerging segment for us where guys are just riding longer, even the sport bike guys. It’s not just a quick 20- or
30-mile ride on the weekend.”

In addition to seats, Saddlemen has become a leader in on-board luggage.

“We sell some of the best touring bags in the industry. We have two factories — one that does seats and one that does nothing but bags.

“We have a well-rounded line of products. The seat lineup is full. There are very few holes, very few bikes we don’t have seats for. Most of our luggage is universal fit, and that makes it very easy for the dealer to sell. We have some that are bike-specific, but what we’ve really tried to do is to design our products to be universal fit and that helps the dealer.”

Saddlemen has worked diligently to keep up with the ever-changing models to ensure most motorcycles have a compatible seat.

“When new models come out, we get them into our shop and start doing R & D on them so we can have the seats as soon as possible. So we can get seats and get them turned around and on the market quickly,” Benfield said.

It is the continual innovation within the company that allows Saddlemen to thrive, according to Benfield.

“We’re one of the few companies that does gel inserts. What we offer in the majority of our seats is custom gel. It’s a medical-grade gel,” he said.

SaddleGel is exclusive to Saddlemen and has been developed over many years. The gel allows for superb cushioning, support and dampening of road vibrations. The gel comes standard in all Saddlemen seats and is guaranteed for life. To go along with the gel, the company produces compliant seats that stretch to maximize the benefits of the gel.

“I can’t tell you how big of a deal that is,” Benfield said. “It’s incredible the kind of response we get from people who ride the gel.”

Benfield stated that he truly values customer feedback in order to keep the company moving in the right direction.

“We get a lot of feedback,” he said. “I love feedback. I love events. We put ourselves out there in the industry. I want to hear from consumers. I want to hear from dealers. I want to hear from reps. I am thoroughly impressed, because everywhere we go we get great feedback on our product.”

As a family-owned business, customer service is of the highest priority at Saddlemen.

“We like to offer a personal level of assistance for dealers,” Benfield said. “We want to make our product easy for them to carry and want to make sure their customers are happy. We want to make sure the whole chain is satisfied from the distributor to the dealer to the customer.

“We also have our direct customers who call in, but primarily how we’re set up business-wise is to really focus on the dealer and try and offer that kind of customer support to our distributors and our dealers.”

Saddlemen also has an employee base that understands its customers.

“We’ve got employees that have been here, some have been here since we started. We have a lot of employees that ride motorcycles that are enthusiasts.”

With experienced and dedicated employees, a commitment to customer service and continual innovation, Saddlemen does it all with one thing in mind.

Said Benfield, “We only want to put out product that relates to our customers.”

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