Letter To Bike Shops

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3/24/2017 5:54 AM
Edited Date/Time: 3/24/2017 6:04 AM

Dear Motorcyle Store,

Why do you even HAVE a Parts Department any more?

You sell new Yamaha, KTM, Honda, etc.bikes. You've been a dealer of these bikes for a very long time. Your service department and your parts department have been around the same amounnt of time as well. I point this out because you clearly have a lot of experience in the bike world.

What blows my mind is how you chase parts business away.

When we go to a Cycle Store on a Saturday to get a commong item, we don't need to hear and do not want to hear that you "can order it." I can "order it too." Its called The Internet!

If there is a reason for a bricks-and-mortar store, it ought to be to satisfy a need of the parts buyer while he's there...not 3 days later. UPS comes to my house too!

Now some will say "you can't carry everything." I say to that; "you CAN carry ever common item of frequent failure and wear." Some examples are:

- Front and rear sprocket for the brands you carry.
- Inner tubes for common bikes (dirt and street)
- Every possible spark plug for the brand of bikes you carry.
- Fuel hose of all diameters.
- Clutch kits
- Brake master cylinders for the brands you carry.
- Fork oil
- Ready chains (boxed common high performance chains - not off a spool out back)
- Tear offs for the brands of goggles you carry.
- Tires - All common tire sizes!

If what I need is not in your inventory, I have no need to venture to your store's parts dept.

I have gone home empty handed without the most common items, that I don't and won't venture out to your stores any longer. I adapt by building my own inventory for my 2 YZ 85s. Its not that hard to do either. I simply anticipate everything that YOU won't have and I buy multiples.

If I can carry 6 inner tubes for one of the earth's most common dirt bikes, you can certainly carry ONE!

When I need fuel hose for my CR500, I pull from my own spools.

Why can't YOU carry what I can carry for common stuff?

I can no longer see any reason for all 5 of the parts departments in my area. They ought to close down the dept and use the space for other needs, because we no longer "need" your Parts Dept.

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I can order one fer ya!

3/24/2017 6:09 AM

I understand the frustration completely. I just had this happen to me when i went to get some new chain rollers.

You have to understand dealers cant stock all these parts. they have to buy all the parts and let them sit on a shelf until someone buys it. Its a huge financial risk they dont want to take. Its much better for the company to order what people need when they need it. The world is about money, not making people happy.

So until rockymountain has a warehouse in every city, this is going to be the case. Personally if i need a part, i go directly on rockymountain and get what i need. Luckily their warehouse is 1 state over so i get free overnight shipping. Plus their parts are cheaper than a discount at a dealer. The only thing i go to dealers for is if i need oil or something before a ride day. Other than that i dont go there. Theyre useless unless youre buying a bike.

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2009 Kawasaki KX450F
2009 Kawasaki KX250F
2002 Suzuki GSXR 600

3/24/2017 6:09 AM

It's pretty sad when your local shop doesn't have a BR8EG spark plug, or a brake lever off a dirt bike that's been the same since 05 and they have three models that use it on the floor.

At least they usually have inner tubes in stock.

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3/24/2017 6:09 AM

It comes to the guy running the parts dept. A guy in my area who has run 2 different parts departments ,he rides bikes and sleds and knows what to keep in Stock. When he left the Yamaha/ polaris joint parts department went to shit ,they even cut my auto discount that I always got for buying so much shit from them.

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3/24/2017 6:13 AM

And air filters, dammit.

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3/24/2017 6:31 AM

Here is my last conversation with our local Yamaha dealer. (who is now out of business)

Me. i need a throttle cable for a yz450f
Dealer. we don't carry those but i can order one.
Me. when will it be here?
Dealer. 4 to 5 business days
Me. since today is Tuesday and your closed on Mondays that's like Wednesday of next week. i really need it before the race this weekend.
Dealer. yea, if i order it today it will be here by next Wednesday.
Me. no thanks, i have the internet, i can order it from multiple sources and have it here in two days......

Its great to help out the local dealers and i don't mind paying a little extra if they carry the inventory, but come on.... i know they could have ordered it from tucker rocky or parts unlimited and had it here in two days max, but they wouldn't even offer that option.... it was OEM parts in 4 to 5 working days or nothing... its not to surprising that they are out of business now..

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3/24/2017 6:32 AM

How about oil drain bolts and maybe some common bolt kits. Those are pretty big sellers. Agree on the levers too I mean I'm sure everyone has bent or broken a brake and clutch lever. Tire tubes also

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3/24/2017 6:40 AM

rbm33 wrote:

Here is my last conversation with our local Yamaha dealer. (who is now out of business)

Me. i need a throttle cable for a ...more

I carry two Throttle Cables as the local shops wouldn't even realize people need them on occasion. And a YZ 85 is one very common-ass bike.

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I can order one fer ya!

3/24/2017 6:46 AM

Acidreamer wrote:

I understand the frustration completely. I just had this happen to me when i went to get some new chain rollers.

You have to ...more

My point is that they are not carrying COMMON parts.

If they can't make the commitment to carrying common parts, we have no need for their stores.

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I can order one fer ya!

3/24/2017 6:46 AM

MR. X wrote:

It comes to the guy running the parts dept. A guy in my area who has run 2 different parts departments ,he rides bikes and ...more

Not always. Some dealers just don't have the financial resources to carry much inventory. If they don't have good credit, that compounds the problem. With interest rates as low as they are, any dealer with good credit should stock up their parts department using the banks' money, paying a few percentage points for the privilege, passing the cost to the customer for their convenience.

Pretty soon we'll just be buying the bikes online, and there won't be any more dealerships.

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3/24/2017 6:48 AM

Ride Sat/Sun
Clean/Inspect bike Sun (Monday if Im lazy)
Tuesday order parts
48 hours later...
Thursday parts arrive (RMATV or Motosport)
Friday evening install them.
Repeat.

Never step foot in a dealer and deal with some hotheaded douchebag kid behind a counter who knows it all, or some crotchety old man who has been traumatized by years of dealing with powersports people.

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3/24/2017 6:48 AM

Working at a KTM/ Husky dealership i try to stock every tire, tube, chain and spocket combo, plugs, brake pads forks seal kits and every oil you will ever need for a KTM or Husky everything from a 50sx to a FE501 as long as theyre modern bikes made within the last 5 years or so. Most of the time when people come to me for parts for a ten year old bike or older i will not have specific engine mechanical parts or non common wear parts for a old bike. I carry the usual wear items for 10 year old bikes but thats it. Were only given a certain amount of money and space to work with and i fill that space with parts for current bikes of the last 5 years or so. So if you have a a yz85, a platform that hasn't changed much, Im really surprised there's not a dealer around you to give you the items you listed above. Thats common stuff. Plaistow Powersports is a well stocked Yamaha dealer up by you so maybe you can try them. They're good people. Sorry you've run into some ill equipped dealers but were not all like this. A lot of us dealers go above and beyond for our customers so i hope you can find someone to do that for you too.

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3/24/2017 6:53 AM

This has been a complaint of mine for years. The thing is that many of the items that they don't have fit across multiple bikes. Chains, bolts, tubes, levers, hoses, brake pads etc., fit many bikes and sometimes cross brands. The fact that they don't have them is just ridiculous. I get that inventory costs money but it is the business they are in. I don't expect them to have 2nd gear for 04 RM125 but the last time I went, they didn't even have a clutch lever.

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3/24/2017 6:53 AM

What came first, us wanting to buy cheap stuff online or dealers not carrying parts because they cant sell them?

I feel the frustration too, but I totally get it. BTW, I get spark plugs and oil at the Advanced Auto, Autozone or even Walmart. Same for hoses and clamps, I wont bother going to a dealer and thats for a bike or an auto.

We kind of did it to ourselves if you think about it. Same thing happened to the Hobby Business. There isnt a single Hobby Shop near me any more.

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2013 CRF450R Factory Connection revalve, All stock.

3/24/2017 6:54 AM

Rob357 wrote:

Dear Motorcyle Store,

Why do you even HAVE a Parts Department any more?

You sell new Yamaha, KTM, Honda, etc.bikes. You've ...more

As a Parts Manager at a shop in central Connecticut I can fully understand your frustration. I can assure you that not all dealerships are managed that way. First and foremost I come from a riding/racing background. I've ridden most of my life, and still enjoy it to this day. Most of the people who are Managing these departments can not say the same. They are strictly employed to watch the bottom dollar, as am I. The difference is someone who rides will know what is important to stock in the store. I.e. Common Chemicals/wearable items. (chains, sprockets, brakes, tires, tubes, levers, air filters, plastics). The basic things that you forget about Friday night the day before a race!

Most of our shop has been internally set up with a Min/Max system. When a part sells, the system awares us that there are none left and we should re-order, but that is a smaller detail. I can probably guess that the issue you are encountering is that your dealer only sells a few of your make and model a year. If a dealer only sells 1-5 specified units per year, it's tough for them to stock a full blown inventory for such a small market. If the dealer had to stock every single part for every single bike they had they would be out of business in no time at all. OEM parts are a HUGE overhead.

It is common practice for us to do a decent size OEM order at least twice a week. Racers go out and race Saturday/Sunday, trash their bikes, and then Monday assess the damages and Tuesday they order parts. Our customers know if they order their parts by Tuesday they will have them for the weekend! We also offer overnight shipping for those last minute larrys! I feel no sympathy for a rider/racer who wants to ride on Saturday and Friday night realizes they have trashed some unique part on the bike that never breaks. If he wanted to ride he should have gone through his bike earlier in the week and seen his damages! It is 100% not the dealers fault at that point. If you can't be prepared it is YOUR own fault!

But to bring back your original question, "Why do you even have a Parts Department?". Well I would like to answer that for our shop at minimum.

We have a parts department because we can keep people employed who are excited in the industry. We can keep in stock what most people buy on the internet. We have well over 200 helmets in stock, we have almost every single boot, we have multiple gear companies, various different forms of protection(neck/knee braces, chest protectors, kidney belts, all sorts of pads), numerous aftermarket accessories, and we sure have TONS but not all OEM parts. But the best part about it all is we can EXPLAIN to YOU about each individual product you are purchasing, and maybe even give you advice when you are trying to fix your motorcycle. Having a knowledgeable staff sure makes a huge difference. It is very frustrating when you are looking for an answer and you can't be put in the right direction by the people who are supposed to be able to help!

So hopefully you are able to see that it is not all shops that are run poorly. It seems as though you have given an unfair opinion about all shops. I see you are located in New Hampshire. We are located in Central Connecticut and ship out everyday,(one day ground shipping to you) we sell HONDA KTM and HUSQVARNA. We are able to order almost all aftermarket pieces for Yamaha. Unfortunately we do not have the ability to order OEM Yamaha. We offer a 15% discount to wholesale customers on over the phone orders. Pretty standard protocol for most shops. The only other shop that's near you is Freedom Cycles. They are a HUGE shop and carry tons of inventory.

I hope you don't continue to petition this any further. You could cost a ton of AWESOME people their jobs! It might just be worth having a conversation with your local parts manager at the shop you deal with! Most of them are willing to work with people that want to give them money...

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Tony Alessi, "I think it's time to have more kids so I can have hopes of actually raising a champion."

3/24/2017 7:02 AM

If you are racing then IMO you should maintain your own inventory of commonly worn parts. Then you simply replace parts you use from your own inventory. Many of these items should travel to races with you so you can fix them if they break while at the race.

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3/24/2017 7:03 AM

Ordered BIBS (Michelin tire inserts) from Rocky Mt ATV/MC. Local shops hardly knew what they were and wanted SILLY Money for'em once I showed them how to get'em (WPS, etc.).

So, I concur with the OP.

On the OTHERHAND:

Both Fator's Suzuki/KTM/Husky in Redding, CA and Donnell's Honda-Suzuki-Husky-Beta...BOTH stock OEM & popular After-Market goodies for ALL THE BRANDS THEY SELL...
AND MORE.

So, there's still a few really good Dealers out there!

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Nobody ever told me, I found out for myself. You've got to believe in foolish miracles. It's not how you play the game, it's if you win or lose. You can choose. Don't confuse. Win or lose. It's up to you!

3/24/2017 7:10 AM

ga_pike wrote:

If you are racing then IMO you should maintain your own inventory of commonly worn parts. Then you simply replace parts you ...more

That is a great point. Thats what we used to do back when I raced moto and also when I raced RC.

Sixeightone, your points are well taken but it still doesnt change the facts. We rarely need a helmet or gear at a moments notice. We can learn everything we need to learn from the internet. Yeah I know it takes floor space to house parts and that we should not expect to pay the same for a local part than a website part. Here is what you did not mention...
The primary reason for the existence of parts departments at dealers is to sell the service department parts, and to sell new gear and accessories to customers when they purchase new bikes or cars. There a few exceptions like maybe your shop that is likely based in or near a large moto community and can justify keeping more parts and expertise in house. That is however, the exception. Its all about money. Follow the money and you will find the answers you seek.

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2013 CRF450R Factory Connection revalve, All stock.

3/24/2017 7:10 AM

kaptkaos wrote:

What came first, us wanting to buy cheap stuff online or dealers not carrying parts because they cant sell them?

I feel the ...more

You must know skidaddle. He gets all his snowmobile and two stroke outboard parts at AutoZone.

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3/24/2017 7:14 AM

A spark plug is a spark plug bro. I have been told "I can order it" by the dealer way too many times. I wont waste the gas or time any more.

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2013 CRF450R Factory Connection revalve, All stock.

3/24/2017 7:21 AM

braaap707 wrote:

Working at a KTM/ Husky dealership i try to stock every tire, tube, chain and spocket combo, plugs, brake pads forks seal kits ...more

I once called Plaistow Power Sports (two years ago) to ensure they had fuel hose before I drove there.

Them: "Yes we do have fuel hose."
Me: "Do you carry various sizes? I need some about 1/4-inch ID.
Them: "Yes"
Me: "Do you have at least six inches of it? I want to be sure before I drive all the way there."
Them: "Oh yeah...we got all sizes and plenty of it."

I drove there. The parts counter guy acted as if he never heard of fuel hose. "Went out back" to ask others. Cam back and asked me "you want fuel hose?" He went out back again for a long time. He returned with "we don't have any."

Me: "You dont have any what?"
Him: "Fuel hose."
Me: "Of ANY size??"
Seeming like he was not even sure where he was, he replied: "Yeah, we got no fuel hose."
Me: "But I called to be sure."
Him: "Yeah....we don't have any."

I've gone there seeking rear sprockets to change ratios back to factory on my YZs. No sprockets.
Plaistow is probably one of the worst offenders in not carrying anything for Yamaha (and they ARE a Yam dealer)

You walk into their showroom and are just swammped with salesmen ignoring you.

My daughter and I will be ON the new bikes, examining them, talking about them. I've never been approached by ONE salesman.

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I can order one fer ya!

3/24/2017 7:22 AM

kaptkaos wrote:

That is a great point. Thats what we used to do back when I raced moto and also when I raced RC.

Sixeightone, your points ...more

I would have to disagree.
Sixeightone is saying that not only does he stock MOST OEM parts, but also the gear side of the market as well. It is no different than the parts department of even a large automotive dealership, ALL parts are not going to be stocked. The parts that are most commonly worn or replaced are stocked at a minimum if the shop is managed correctly, so when you do need to have it sooner than later, your shop should have it in stock. And the turn around for when parts have to be ordered can be the next day or within 3 days if need be. You are dealing with a real person, and you are not paying for shipping unless it is coming directly to your house.
The investment to stock every single part is not worth it sitting on a shelf for over a year, and replacing a part that can be stocked that is at a much higher demand and will be sold in a week's time. The service department relies on the parts department, yes, but that is not the sole purpose of a parts department

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3/24/2017 7:26 AM

Dealer parts department br8eg plug for $8 or.... Autozone br8eg plug for $3.67? Dealership MIGHT have 2 in stock. Autozone has a carton of 8. Hmmmmm

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3/24/2017 7:27 AM

mx196 wrote:

I would have to disagree.
Sixeightone is saying that not only does he stock MOST OEM parts, but also the gear side of the ...more

The service department relies on the parts department and vice versa. The primary reason the parts department exists is not for the racer/weekend warrior to come in and buy parts and accessories. They wouldnt be able to justify the expense of operating.

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2013 CRF450R Factory Connection revalve, All stock.

3/24/2017 7:28 AM

Joe Schmoe wrote:

Ride Sat/Sun
Clean/Inspect bike Sun (Monday if Im lazy)
Tuesday order parts
48 hours later...
Thursday parts arrive (RMATV or ...more

Thats a real shitty way of thinking about it and people like you that are adamant about staying away from dealerships is what kills small dealerships like us. As far as ordering goes, if i don't have something aftermarket i can order it from Parts Unlimited or Tucker Rocky and see it the next day. KTM and Husky are 2 days so whats the difference ? I usually do free shipping on anything over $50 as well. Most of us Motorcycle Dealership employees love our jobs and love Motorcycles just like you so don't treat us like the enemy. You buying parts from us helps us directly especially when we also run off of commission from selling parts and bikes. Buying from the online stores does nothing but hurt the little guys but hey your entitled to your opinion.

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3/24/2017 7:32 AM

kaptkaos wrote:

The service department relies on the parts department and vice versa. The primary reason the parts department exists is not ...more

Right, and if the parts department did not cater to the loyal every week customer, service would suffer as well from constantly having to have parts ordered to do work. Money has to come in for money to go out and stock parts.

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3/24/2017 7:34 AM

Being involved in the motorsports and Chevrolet parts industry for 12 years now. I can tell you I must talk to this guy every day. Its a little girl crying in the corner. A guy that thinks he can fix stuff on his own and can't. A guy that even if I DO have the part in stock, he bitches because of the price and argues online aftermarket garbage is cheaper shipped to his house. Guess what? Us parts people DO NOT CARE about your complaining. We are going to stock parts that are fast moving. I carry $1.5 Million in inventory and guess what...I still have to order parts every day. And no one cries to me about it, until this guy comes in.

Judging by the items listed said dealership SHOULD have these items in stock. Ours always did. If they have never had what you need, why do you still go back and bitch about it? STOP. MOVE ON. GO ONLINE.

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I'm just here to stir sh#t up...

3/24/2017 7:35 AM

ga_pike wrote:

If you are racing then IMO you should maintain your own inventory of commonly worn parts. Then you simply replace parts you ...more

I'm not an idiot and I'm not new to racing with equipment. I carry a huge inventory of things now that I know shops don't carry anything.

Here's the most recent event that triggered this post:

I was getting ready for a week of training camp (for daughter) in North Carolina. I realized I probably should have some more tubes. Went to MOMs of Manchester (Yamaha dealer). They had none.

Went to Derry Cycle (Yamaha dealer) they had none.

Went to Naults of Manchester: Bought 4 of theirs. Did not look at the boxes, just threw them in my large parts bin.
They sold me th3e wrong fkg innertubes. When I returned them this week, they had never even heard of a "supermini" or "Big Wheeled YZ85."

There was no appology and NO apparent "give a shit" coming from the counter dude.

NO REASON for parts departments any more.

If they are gonna sell gloves, grips, oil, helments,l and boots, Bike Shops ought to have "Accessory Departments"

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I can order one fer ya!

3/24/2017 7:37 AM

We can go back and forth but the fact of the matter is that some shops are ran well and/or have the volume to justify a greater inventory, while some shops are the opposite. Find one that works for you. If you can't, either explain to the shop what your needs are and hope they adjust accordingly, or go online.

I do think it's a detriment to come on here and blast all brick and mortar stores. There are some wonderful shops and some not so wonderful ones. I am fortunate enough to have two wonderful ones 30 minutes away (and about 5 mediocre or worse less than 20 mins).

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3/24/2017 7:38 AM
Edited Date/Time: 3/24/2017 7:40 AM

kaptkaos wrote:

The service department relies on the parts department and vice versa. The primary reason the parts department exists is not ...more

I can assure you our sales to service are less than 25% I would strongly disagree that is why our department is still in business.

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Tony Alessi, "I think it's time to have more kids so I can have hopes of actually raising a champion."