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A match made in racing heaven

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Liz Keener, Managing Editor
January 6, 2014
Filed under Features, Top Stories

Brammo, Icon partnership paves way for apparel maker’s on-track debut

Icon is known for pushing boundaries and aiming for the new and different. Its Icon 1000 line showcases a fresh, premium line of gear, and its advertising campaigns, including the short zombie-themed film “Containment Conflicts,” released on Halloween, go beyond the norm. So when Icon decided to step into the racing scene and become a team sponsor, the company, of course, strayed from the traditional.

Icon has chosen to launch its first racing efforts with electric motorcycle OEM Brammo, and the results have been fitting for both companies.

“For us, being involved with like-minded companies, companies that are pushing the edge from a technology point of view, companies that are looking at motorcycling in a different way, in a different light, Brammo’s certainly doing all those things, so it’s really a natural fit for us to be involved with them as an OEM,” Icon design director Kurt Walter told Powersports Business. “Then you combine that with the fact that we’re both Oregon companies, physically we’re located close together. We’re working with a lot of the same vendors and contractors in the area. It was just a natural fit for us.”

Cheetah, zebra work

Icon is the major sponsor of two Brammo race bikes, the No. 32, ridden by Eric Bostrom and the No. 58, ridden by Steve Atlas. Bostrom’s bike is covered with a zebra-patterned wrap, while Atlas’ has a red cheetah pattern. Both concepts came from Icon.

“Graphically I had two helmets that I had done that were cheetah- and zebra-themed graphics that are in the Icon 1000 line. They look dramatically different than these versions, so I took the same idea and converted them over to a more race look. The idea is that we’d have basically a cheetah and a zebra out on the track at the same time. I find a great deal of humor in that,” Walter said.

Icon was somewhat nervous about presenting the zebra and cheetah concepts to the Brammo race team, but eventually the group warmed up to the designs.

“They were a little bit concerned, but when they saw the actual execution, what I was really thinking of for the graphics, it all kind of came together,” Walter recalled.

Rob Buydos of Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties interviews, from left, Brammo racer Eric Bostrom, Icon design director Kurt Walters and Brammo director of sales and marketing Adrian Stewart after the Brammo/Icon Spec 32 — Eboz Edition bike is unveiled at the Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties NVP show.

Rob Buydos of Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties interviews, from left, Brammo racer Eric Bostrom, Icon design director Kurt Walters and Brammo director of sales and marketing Adrian Stewart after the Brammo/Icon Spec 32 — Eboz Edition bike is unveiled at the Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties NVP show.

Because Icon is the major sponsor of both bikes, the company is given more creative freedom than if it were only one of several major sponsors. That appealed to Icon’s design background, giving the company even more of a reason to partner with Brammo.

“When the opportunity came up to get involved with Brammo and specifically their race team, I wanted to make sure that we did it from top to bottom, so it’s not just the helmet or the suit or the gloves, it’s full livery, every piece of marketing material that goes along with it, the full complete package,” Walter said.

Because of the strong partnership between the two companies, Icon and Brammo recently joined forces on a limited edition motorcycle. The Brammo/Icon Spec 32 — Eboz Edition was unveiled at the Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties National Vendor Presentation this year. Inspired by Bostrom, the Empulse R-based bike features a blue and orange wrap and comes with a matching helmet. Only 32 of the models will be made — to coincide with Bostrom’s racing number. Each will include orange battery brackets, springs and wheels, and have special decals and a small plaque with Bostrom’s signature and the bike number on it.

The new model was completely born from the Brammo/Icon relationship.

“We’ve come out with two types of the Air Armada helmets for Eric, the blue, and the white, and, like Eric said, this blue and orange design, people really liked it, and so Kurt said, ‘Well, let’s do a bike.’ I said, ‘OK, let’s make it a limited edition model,’” recalled Adrian Stewart, Brammo’s director of sales and marketing.

Working together has helped both companies bloom in new ways. Though Icon’s market has centered around gas-powered street bikes, Icon saw an opportunity with Brammo to jump into something different and emerging. Walter has even gotten his hands on an electric bike himself and says it’s a fun addition to any rider’s stable.

“The electric bike thing, it can be a bit polarizing — pun not intended — with people because there’s this thing that electric bikes are here to take away your gas bikes from you, or electric cars are here to take away your gas cars from you, which is definitely not the case. For me there’s a spot in everyone’s garage for these kinds of bikes. There’s a spot for an electric bike, and there’s a spot for a gas bike,” he said.

Dealers and others in attendance, including stunt rider Jason Britton in the black T-shirt, snap photos after the Brammo/Icon Spec 32 — Eboz Edition bike is shown at the Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties NVP show.

Dealers and others in attendance, including stunt rider Jason Britton in the black T-shirt, snap photos after the Brammo/Icon Spec 32 — Eboz Edition bike is shown at the Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties NVP show.

On top of being neighbors and seeing Brammo as an innovative company, Icon also chose to work with Brammo because the OEM is a solid contender in the electric motorcycle market.

“For me, to be teamed up at the end of the day we need to sell gear, and I need to hook up with companies that are also looking to sell product and actually getting product into people’s hands — real product — so that’s the great deal with Brammo,” Walter said.

Brammo has earned face time for both its brand and Icon’s with AFM and FIM races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Laguna Seca Raceway, Thunderhill Raceway and Infineon Sonoma Raceway. The OEM has also participated in the Isle of Man TT, with the first electric motorcycle to take on that course in 2009. With an Icon representative attending each race to help support Team Icon Brammo, Icon has seen the fruit of its efforts first hand, and the company has been happy with its involvement.

“It’s a great way for Icon to enter the racing venue,” Walter said. “Icon doesn’t do anything in the typical fashion, and so to come in with this whole new segment of racing has been great attention and publicity for us.”

 

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