Industry Insights | Ft. TBolt USA

We talk to owner of TBolt USA, Vince Pale, about the pit bike supply site and how the business originated.

In this installment of Industry Insights we talk to the owner of TBolt USA, Vince Pale, about the pit bike parts supply website, how he got involved with dirt bikes, and more.

For the full interview, check out the Vital MX podcast right here. If you're interested in the condensed written version, scroll down just a bit further.


Jamie Guida – Vital MX: Where did you grow up, and what are your first memories of two wheels?

Vince Pale: I’m in Salem, Pennsylvania, just North of Philadelphia. I’m 60 years old, so some of my motorcycle references may be a little dated, but my first dirt bike was a lawn mower engine-style minibike with no suspension. I got it from my Uncle Tony for $15 because he wrecked the bike with his son Tony on it, and he was afraid he would hurt someone. So, he called me, which was weird because back in the seventies, nobody called you when you were a kid. He called and offered it to me for $15, and I said, “Yeah.” That was my first dirt bike. My first real motocross bike was when I was in high school, and it was a 1978 Suzuki RM250C2. It was the first year with the plastic gas tank and aluminum swing arm. 

Vital MX: I have to ask how you got $15 at that age. In the seventies, that would be like getting $100 now.

Vince: Fifteen dollars was some money, but I was pretty industrious when I was a kid. My father always had jobs for my brother and me. I had savings, so it worked out. There were older kids in my neighborhood, and I’ll never forget seeing a dude come down the street on a 1975 RM125. It was the first year of the RM125 and I was so stoked. I’d read Motocross Action with Brad Lackey, Roger DeCoster, and Bob Hannah, and we didn’t have anything on TV. I’ve just been all into it since then. I watch every motocross and Supercross race and ride when I can. I just love this stuff.

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TBolt USA

Vital MX: What kind of riding were you doing? Did you get into racing?

Vince: We were trail-riding and trespassing. Back then, you could trespass, and it wasn’t that big of a deal. Numerous little moto tracks were popping up throughout our county, and we would go to those. There were also places where some of the factory guys, like Steve Lamson and JT (Jason Thomas), would practice near us in Florence, New Jersey. We would follow behind those guys to see where they were going. I didn’t get into regular motocross racing until I was about 30. My buddy Mel and his kids got into it and kind of quit riding with me. I’d ask, “Are you going to ride?” He’d say, “No, we’re racing.” That continued for a few months until I said, “I guess I’m racing.” I didn’t have anyone else to ride with and had known him since I was 11. We started racing District 6 and would go to Dutchmen MX and Englishtown and have fun with it. I still race some in the 40 and 50 plus classes and guys like Barry Carsten are in my class. My buddies and I hope we don’t get lapped by Barry by the fourth lap. Most of the time, I don’t, but I end up being that guy who didn’t get lapped and is still out there all by himself finishing his lap.

Vital MX: Your business, TBolt USA, is a pit bike parts supply website, and I’m curious about its origin. 

Vince: I’m an industrial electrician but on the side, I would constantly get motorcycles, fix them, and sell them to people. People knew me for dirt bikes. Eventually, eBay came around, and I found that selling parts could bring just as much money as selling whole bikes. I started digging around and found PlanetMinis.com, an old message board site. I started hanging out there and seeing what the pit bike guys were doing. My son had a 100, and I had a Honda XR80, and we were into the mini bikes. The Chinese bikes started coming in and I found my way in with them and eventually with the bigger guys like BBR and others. I then got a commercial warehouse around 2011 and got in with Western Powersports, Tucker, and others, which is when it kind of blew up. I was able to focus full-time on selling pit bike parts. 

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TBolt USA

Vital MX: Tell me about the business. I believe your email said you have seven employees.

Vince: Yeah. We have a bunch of guys and a couple thousand square foot warehouse. We’re in a big commercial building with the post office, UPS, and Fed-Ex coming daily to pick up boxes and parts. We have a little showroom where guys can come in but we’re mostly all online orders. 

Vital MX: I didn’t realize until recently that pit bikes are gaining popularity again. How has the business been sustained since the beginning?

Vince: Well, we’re just a small shop and one of a few who do pit bikes full-time. One of my goals is to have everything I can possibly have for the bikes so there are vendors I buy from all the time and some I only buy one particular part from, but it fits the pit bikes. I try to have every single thing they can use. Kawasaki 110s are popular, the Kawasaki 140s are starting to gain popularity, and the Honda CRF110s are big. We also sell parts for the old retro CT70 mini trail and the Z50, so it’s a one-stop shop for those lay-down motor-type bikes. I have guys putting 140 motors in their Z50s and CT70s every day. They do the big bore and handlebar kits, and I hit the whole niche. 

Vital MX: You mentioned the Chinese brands, and I’ve often been asked where parts can be found. It looks like you do carry numerous parts for them.

Vince: Usually, when a guy hits me up, I ask them to take pictures, and I’ll see what I have for it. We don’t have everything, but a lot of stuff is interchangeable, or we have stuff we can make work. There are things I just can’t get, and I just have to tell them. We offer a lot of stuff that will work on the Chinese bikes.

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TBolt USA

Vital MX: What are some of the most common parts you sell?

Vince: We will sell a handlebar kit for a Honda CRF110 every day. When it first came out, it had a lot of nuances, and we banged our heads against it, trying to find things to make it work. I knew it would be good and eventually some of the bigger guys started making more and more parts and now we have everything easy. Right now, I’m selling BBR bars because Pro Taper is in flux, but I have some on backorder, and they should be in soon. I also sell Mika. I sell a lot of tall seats, pegs, peg mounts, and shifters. We also sell fork springs, shock springs, and DNM shocks. Those are really nice. You can buy the whole shock at different spring rates. Those are the main things. Then, when you get into the KLX110, you get all the hardcore guys. They want to do all the big bore kits, race heads, and all those things. The guys who are just getting into it like the new EFI CRF110 and do the easy things like bars to make it workable. Then, the hardcore KLX110 guys want to do everything. It’s just so awesome to get to do something you are into. My son and I have raced these pit bike races throughout the Northeast. He’s never raced a big bike. I have a story I like to tell. In his first race, he went out, beat me off the line, and stopped in the second corner. His chain had snapped. I said, “Here. Take my bike.” I gave him my bike so he could race. It was a total dad moment. 

Vital MX: Do you sell complete bikes?

Vince: We do. We sell the YCF bikes, and they make the Pirana bikes. We also sell the Pitster Pro bikes. Those are our two brands. They aren’t the cheapest, but they are quality and I have complete access to all the replacement parts. That’s important. I don’t sell SSR anymore, but I am a dealer for SSR parts and sell many replacement parts for them. That’s a big brand. 

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TBolt USA
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