One of the big issues we always have here at J&P Cycles is trying to make sure we have a good offering of parts for our customers to choose from. This may seem easy to some, but it usually turns out to be a real challenge. There are a lot of things to consider when adding parts into the product line. We want to make sure we offer parts that have a purpose and meet a need. We want to make sure they are of good quality and that they fit correctly. We want to make sure that the vendor stands behind their product and can deliver it in a timely manner. These are just a few of the considerations that take place before we attempt to pick up a line.
Over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult for us to find decent parts for our metric customers. Now when I say “Metric” here, I am specifically talking about Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha Cruiser parts.
Many times during the year the J&P staff are confronted at retail events and in the call center by metric customers who want to know why we don’t produce a large metric catalog anymore. They think we don’t care about the metric rider and have just given up on them. That simply is not the case. I am going to try to help give some clarification on this subject, so hopefully our customers understand the situation we are facing.
Since 2009, metric part manufacturers have become almost extinct. There are very few companies out there that are tooling up to produce new parts for the metric cruiser market. There are a few good reasons why this is happening.
The first issue is the unknown factor. Many of the metric companies have simply not been making new bikes. The market has grown soft and the OEM’s are not willing to invest in the tooling to create new bikes. The aftermarket part manufactures don’t want to spend the money on tooling because the market is declining. Nobody wants to invest any money because nobody knows what the OEM’s are going to do.
The second issue is range of fitment. There is a good assortment of Harley-Davidson parts out there to choose from. The reason aftermarket companies make so many parts for Harleys is simple. One part will fit a large range of bikes that have the same fitment for a long span of years. So as a manufacturer, you can make a HD foot peg that will fit bikes from 1972-2015. A metric foot peg will only fit a few select bikes for a three to six year range. This means the manufacturer has a much shorter time span to turn a profit.
The last issue is the growth of Victory, Indian, and Can Am. As these models grow in popularity, many of the metric manufacturers are turning their attention and resources to these brands. Victory and Can Am have both shown successful growth numbers and they are spending money on advertising and development. This is segmenting the market and many potential metric customers are now Can Am and Victory customers.
At J&P we are working hard to service all of our customers. We would love to see a resurgence in the market. We love to ride our bikes, and we would love to see all the OEM’s doing well. Until that happens we just have to work that much harder to try and keep the metric customers satisfied. Rumor is that Suzuki is developing some new models. The Yamaha Bolt is also a notable mention in recent years, and Honda’s Gold Wing is always popular. Hopefully the metric segment of the market can make a turn for the better, so we can offer you, the customer, a better selection. We understand the frustration some of the metric customers are feeling. We are working hard to make sure we have the parts that are out there for our customers and we will continue to do so. We are keeping our fingers crossed!