From sport bikes to Harley performance
Two Brothers Racing dives into V-twin industry
As dealers traverse the V-Twin Expo and renew acquaintances among the longtime mainstay exhibitors, they’ll see a booth that they didn’t expect to see in Cincinnati. Two Brothers Racing, known for their sport bike products, will be on hand for the first time in the show’s 14-year history.
TBR is rolling out its new COMP V-twin performance system, its first product line designed to fit Harley-Davidsons. The line includes a COMP-S Exhaust System, a COMP-V 2-in-1 Air Intake System and a COMP-Fi Fuel Controller that fit Harley’s Dyna, Sportster and touring models as well as Yamaha’s Bolt.
The exhaust is a 2-in-1 racing-style unit. The 2-in-1 V-Stack intake kit includes TBR’s patent pending “race” or “standard” configuration. In the standard configuration, customers can expect a 2-6 hp gain over the stock intake. For full performance, install TBR’s “V-Stack” velocity stack and add an additional 1-3 hp over the standard configuration. The intake kit can be converted to full race and back to the standard configuration in just minutes, TBR CEO Jeff Whitten said.
The fuel controller ties the system together using Power Commander 5 technology and custom configured TBR maps. Each product can be purchased separately, though the kit is designed to work in harmony.
“You get a matched kit, so when you get it, you know the thing has been tested, and they all work together perfectly,” Whitten said.
The entire system is made to boost performance by improving throttle response, increasing torque and adding horsepower. The air intake alone can produce power gains of more than 10 percent.
“They’re more in line with Two Brothers Racing, as opposed to what everyone else is doing, so they’re more performance parts than what’s going on now. We felt there was a gap in the market for that,” Whitten said.
TBR has been a market leader in the sport bike segment as a company aimed at performance. Before it was an aftermarket manufacturer, TBR was a race team that prided itself on engineering its own components. With its reputation built in the AMA Superbike circuit, demand for TBR products grew, and the company became a go-to source for performance products, such as exhaust, fuel controllers and air filters.
Turning a new page
As the company’s popularity has grown, so have requests for V-twin parts. Two factors pushed TBR from concept to production: one of the company’s purchasing managers bought a new Harley-Davidson and began customizing it, and TBR began building exhausts for Yamaha’s V-twin Bolt.
What differentiates the TBR system from other V-twin systems on the market is that TBR’s COMP-S products are built with performance first, though Whitten says the exhaust and air intake also look good. Because of the performance focus, TBR expects the products will appeal to those who have already been TBR customers but have traded in their sport bikes for Harley-Davidsons.
“It’s probably the younger group — so like the 30-40 year-old range, the guys who have already been down the sport bike road and now are doing some custom Harley stuff and they want a unique look, but they also want performance,” Whitten said.
Since the COMP line is TBR’s first foray into the V-twin segment, the company will have to build a new network of V-twin dealerships. TBR plans to open a dialogue with dealers about its product, pricing, delivery and distribution, and the V-Twin Expo is one of the first steps on that journey.
“We haven’t been to that expo before, and we want to learn more about the market and talk to the dealers and really roll our sleeves up and find out what those dealers want for their dealerships, what customers are asking for,” Whitten said.
Dealer direct distribution
The COMP line will be distributed directly by TBR. It will be sold only through brick and mortar stores to protect MSRP and to better gauge feedback.
“We’re not going to sell to any online retailers because we want to have direct feedback from the people who are selling it and the direct user,” Whitten said.
Direct distribution also allows TBR to have a better handle on merchandising and customer service. TBR is focusing its network building on authorized Harley-Davidson and Yamaha dealerships, though select independent shops will be considered as well. Whitten acknowledges that the Harley dealer base will have different characteristics than its existing sport bike dealer base, but he’s convinced that after dealerships begin carrying TBR products, they’ll be happy with their choice.
“Our unique selling position is we’re a performance company, so if a dealer is looking for performance and looking for ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ with excellent fit and finish, they’re going to want to sell our products,” he said.
Though TBR’s V-twin line is just jumping out of the starting gate, the company is already thinking about which V-twin products it can add in the future.
“We want to start out with a few products, so we can get a grip on the market and build our dealer base and relationships. We’ll start to expand on it after that,” Whitten said.
If Two Brothers Racing’s sport bike success is any indication, the company will be a contender in the V-twin segment for years to come.