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Yesterday I was at Martin Motorsports for its annual show “The Modern Classics.” Once again Martin’s demonstrated why it’s the best motorcycle dealership in the Philadelphia area, bar none.

The dealership turned it’s showroom floor into a motorcycle show which, in Martin’s words, “celebrates the motorcycles of the 60s, 70s and 80s that made big contributions to their eras with their technology, style, performance or establishing new trends…the bikes you remember…the bikes that made you a motorcyclist!”

It worked, in spades. The place was packed with hundreds of people and the bikes on the showroom floor were an amazing collection of rolling works of art. My friend Scott and I agreed: if someone gave us the freedom to pick any bike on the floor to take home, it would be damn-near impossible to make a decision.

The folks at Martin’s just get it. It’s not just about selling bikes and performing service. It’s about celebrating motorcycles, celebrating being a rider. Every weekend at Martin’s is a happening, even run-of-the-mill weekends when there is nothing special going on, even if it’s just to stop by and look around.

Enough words. Enjoy the pictures.

Last year I wrote about my favorite motorcycle dealer in the region, Martin Motorsports, and outlined some of the motorcycle dealership best practices they deploy to make visiting their store a pleasure.

Now, the flip side of the coin. My least favorite dealership in the region, which – ironically – used to be a part of the Martin Motorsports family (they split up a few years ago and are now under separate ownership.) Its called Eurosports and it’s a Coopersburg, PA-based Triumph, Ducati, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, and Vespa dealer. Here are some of the reasons why I won’t ever visit this dealership again:

My text to my friend Pete demonstrates my frustration.

1. Let your customer stand around for almost an hour before saying hello.  Eurosports has a couple of bikes in inventory right now that I’m interested in. I went there on Saturday morning, literally with the title to my Rocket III and my checkbook in hand – totally prepared to make a deal.  Nobody said “hello”, “I’ll be right with you”, “Can I help you?”…nothing. I might as well have been invisible.

2. Treat your customer like a criminal for asking for a test ride. When the salesman finally did deign to speak with me, he reacted with horror when I told him I wanted to take a test ride. He said I could only take a ride if an employee rode with me, and that they were likely too busy to do it on Saturday. He asked me to come back on a weekday when it would be convenient for him (not for me though, as it would require taking a day off from work.)

Sorry, but I’m not making a several-thousand dollar purchase without taking the bike for a spin. And if Martin Motorsports, Montgomeryville Cycle Center, and other local dealers can let me take a ride on a bike without an employee in tow, then you can.

3. Don’t have your inventory current on your website. One of the bikes I was interested in test riding was a really nice 2005 Triumph Bonneville. It had a lot of extras and was barely used. In fact, one of my thoughts was to trade my Rocket and cash for the Bonneville AND a V-Strom they have in stock. When I got there, the Bonnie was parked in front, and it was beautiful. But when I asked the salesman about the bike, he informed me it was sold.

Frustrating. As of this moment, the Bonneville is still listed for sale on the dealership’s website. Nothing on the advertisement indicates it has been sold. The fact that the salesman – who witnessed my disappointment that it had been sold first hand – didn’t take the action of removing it from the website speaks volumes.

4. Don’t let your customer speak to your experts. My experience on Saturday morning wasn’t my first frustrating experience with Eurosports. Last year, I wanted to upgrade my Triumph America to get more power from it. I was thinking of a big bore kit, a hot cam, airbox removal…something. A friend told me to speak with one of the mechanics at Eurosports because this gentleman is known to be a magician with the Triumph 865cc engine.

I called the dealership several times. Explained that I wanted the legendary mechanic’s input as to what to do with my America. And I got the stiff-arm from the service desk employee who answered the phone (who is to this day the rudest person I’ve encountered at a motorcycle dealership.)

With 15 minutes on the phone with me, the mechanic could have made a $2,000 sale. Instead I ended up getting frustrated and giving up, and a few weeks later traded the America for the Rocket at a competing dealership.

5. Have a cramped, small, uncomfortable showroom with not a lot of stuff to buy. Unlike Martin’s expansive showroom, which I can’t walk through without finding a shirt or jacket to spend my money on, Eurosports showroom is about the size of a closet. On Saturday there were boxes of merchandise laying all over the floor in various states of disarray. If Saturday is the dealership’s busiest day, I suppose the messiness of the dealership tells me everything about how important the customer is to them.

So like I said to my friend Pete, I don’t ever have to visit Eurosports again. There are lots of places to spend my money. Eurosports isn’t one of them.

Ironically right up the road is the skeleton of Crossroads Harley-Davidson, once a thriving Harley dealer just south of Allentown. It’s shuttered now – a sad reminder of what can happen to a motorcycle dealership that doesn’t keep it’s eye on the ball. Perhaps a cautionary tale for the folks at Eurosports.

I mentioned earlier this week that Martin Motorsports in Boyertown, PA is my favorite local dealership. They’ve built enough goodwill with me over the years that I’m willing to overlook a recent administrative error that led to me losing out on a Bandit 1250. That’s pretty good. And I’m not bitter. 🙂

I think all MC dealerships can take a page out of Martin Moto’s book. Here are some of the reasons why they are my favorite:

(1) It’s not a dealership, it’s a community. On any given Saturday, there are RAT Packs meeting for a ride, the local chapter of STAR Touring and Riding having a get together, Boy Scouts cooking hotdogs and hamburgers for the customers, a demo event launching from the parking lot…it’s rare to go to Martin’s on a weekend and find nothing going on. During the prime summer riding season they are open for their “Second Sunday” events when they provide special discounts and take their customers on group rides on local Berks County twisties. This focus on the community of motorcycling makes a trip to Martin’s a happening in its own right. They have evolved into a Destination Dealership. Read the rest of this entry »