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Last year I was wowed by the Martin Motorsports “Modern Classics” motorcycle show. I couldn’t believe that a dealer would (1) shut down for an entire day at the start of the season, and (2) attract such a first rate collection of motorcycles for a show. This event simply blows away any other I’ve seen.

And just like last year, I was shutter happy. I wish I had more talent for taking pictures because my point and shoots just don’t do justice to the beauty of some of these machines.

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The show started even before we got in the door, with this beautiful example of a Ural Patrol with sidecar parked next to us in the lot.

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Another shot at the Ural.

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Beautiful Moto Guzzi. Some lucky person’s daily rider.

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Another beautiful ‘Guzzi in the parking lot.

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1957 Moto Rumi Competizione 124cc owned by David Markel, who also basically owns Skippack, PA

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1957 Moto Islo Carrera 175cc. One of only 2 surviving examples. Only 4 were produced.

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1972 MV Agusta 350 Electronica

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1985 Ducati MHR Mille

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1957 Moto Morini 175 Setto Bello, also owned by David Markel.

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1970 Moto Guzzi v750 Ambassador LAPD Model

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1936 Indian Sport Scout, which is still a working race bike that has won the AMA National Championship for its class three years running. This model was also made famous as the donor bike for Burt Munro’s land speed racer in the movie “The World’s Fastest Indian.”

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Suicide shifter on the Indian.

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1975 Harley Davidson Aermacchi RR250, owned by master mechanic Bill Himmelsbach of Eurosports Coopersburg.

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My friend Scott gushed over this bike. I didn’t catch what it was.

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1967 Triumph 8V Roadracer, which once held a land speed record at Bonneville.

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Another nice Triumph road racer

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I saw this Honda Trail 90 at Lansdale Bike Night too. It’s sweet.

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1948 Norton Manx Roadracer. Makes my heart go pitter pat.Yet another from the Dave Markel collection. I have to figure out a way to meet this guy.

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Just some pretty bikes

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The Jawa dirt tracker

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1972 Montessa 250 VE Capra.

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1971 Ossa 250 Stiletto Scrambler.

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1973 Rickman Zundapp R125MX.

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1978 Harley Davidson AMF SX175. Yes, 175.

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1978 Harley Davidson MX250. Only one model year, only 1,000 made, several hundred reportedly were scrapped at the end of the model year. Still a cool bike.

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1960-1970 Jawa 890 Speedway. I’m guessing the 10 year range on the model year is because the owner doesn’t know how old it is.

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1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane. Oh my…

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1972 Norton Commando Combat. Again, oh my…

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1969 BSA A65 Lightning Special.

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1955 MV Agusta Disco Volante. Guess who owns it? That’s right. Dave Markel.

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1956 MV Agusta 175 CSTL. Owner: oh nevermind.

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1964 Ducati Monza, described by the owner as a “bitsa bike” (bitsa this, bitsa that.)

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Look at those slim sexy lines on the MVA Disco Volante.

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One of my favorites. 1954 MV Agusta Squalo owned by my new best friend, David Markel.

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Another angle of the MVA Squalo

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Can you tell I liked this one?

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1949 Gilera Saturno. Markel collection.

I’ve said it before. Martin Motorsports just gets it. They understand the way motorcycles get into the soul of those of us who love them. They realize we’re all suffering from cabin fever and needed to get out today and ride a bit, and ogle some bikes, and think about the season ahead. Dennis Martin has done a wonderful job building his dealership and according to one of his colleagues who I chatted up today, he’s one of the most successful Triumph dealers in the country.

Later this week, I’ll share some other things I discovered Dennis is up to that will further differentiate his dealership as the best in the business. Stay tuned.

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.

As I’ve mentioned previously, one of the primary objectives of this blog is to help expand motorcycling to new riders, and to help motorcycle dealerships better serve the first-time rider. It strikes me that winterizing is one of these areas where some basic motorcycle dealership best practices to be applied to the first time rider market. After publishing my post on winterizing on Wednesday, I had some additional thoughts on how motorcycle dealerships can use winterizing as an opportunity to do more business with their customers who are first time riders, while helping them to take better care of their bikes.

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