Over the course of 50 years, Cycle Gear has evolved to be a pillar in the riding community  

Celebrating 50 years in business this year, Cycle Gear provides motorcyclists with quality gear, parts, and accessories combined with unparalleled customer service. As many of the team are riders themselves, the business has grown to be a staple within the riding community, hosting bike nights and sharing routes with others.  

Alongside growth within the rider community, Cycle Gear has also strengthened its retail presence, having grown from a single retail store to 165 locations across 39 states. Although retail stores are at the core of Cycle Gear, its healthy online presence means the business can deliver high-quality products and online expertise to riders at any time.  Exterior shot of Cycle Gear store

With its 50th anniversary celebrations ahead, Stevan Popovich, Cycle Gear’s President and Chief Retail Officer, joins us to discuss the company’s evolution and how it continues to succeed through changing market dynamics in the retail industry.  

“For the past seven years, Cycle Gear has been part of Comoto Holdings, America’s largest powersports aftermarket retailer, serving motorcycle enthusiasts across all major categories and segments with its portfolio of brands, which include Cycle Gear, J&P Cycles, and RevZilla.com,” Stevan opens. “Cycle Gear itself started in 1974 with a single store in San Fransisco, which focused on aftermarket parts and accessories.  

“As motorcycle dealerships concentrated on vehicle sales, there was a gap in the market for aftersales support, which Cycle Gear came along to fill. With a broad selection of products across all segments, we’re dedicated to riders’ post purchase needs and sharing our passion for motorcycling with the wider community. 

“We stock everything you need to accompany a motorcycle, from helmets and apparel to parts and accessories; there are a lot of components people don’t associate with motorcycles,” he continues. “From head to toe, our products are designed with safety in mind, and some of our specific safety ratings feature technologies to minimize impact and increase abrasion resistance. Whether a customer is riding to work or across the world, we provide everything they require to stay on the road and complete their journey safely.” 

Commitment to the riding community 

Turning to recent developments, Stevan explains: “After experiencing success during the pandemic as people increasingly adopted new outdoor hobbies, we’ve hit the ground running and opened 30 new stores over a period of 18 months. Some of these openings were planned before the pandemic, but the success we experienced during that period gave us the opportunity to be more aggressive in the markets we wanted to develop. 

“We look at registration data, as well as where our online shoppers are located, to see how stores would perform. However, with an entire team that is genuinely passionate about motorcycling, the secret to our success is sharing this knowledge and passion with others. As a community driven sport, riders become more like our extended family as opposed to customers, with a robust loyalty program across the business and specific stores providing rider challenges.  

Motorcycle crash helmets in Cycle Gear store“We also host bike nights at around 80 of our stores during the riding season, where riders can get together to discuss products, meet other riders, and win giveaways,” he adds. “In 2020, we acquired a planning, sharing, and tracking app for riders to plan their next adventure and be part of our community. These are just a few of the ways in which we involve riders at every step, and from a personal perspective, it’s great to stay close to the customer and see what vehicles they’re riding or the apparel they’re wearing.” 

With the riding community in mind, Cycle Gear continuously stays ahead of the market in terms of design updates, safety features, and new product developments to ensure it is offering customers the best options. “Given the technical nature of the business, we stay on the front end of design and especially on safety requirements,” Stevan confirms.  

“One of the things we’re really excited about is the business-wide rollout of rider airbag technology, which comes in the form of a vest worn under a standard riding jacket. The vest encompasses the neck, back, shoulders, and chest, and works by constantly monitoring the rider using gyroscopes, accelerometers, and a crash algorithm that leverages AI to accurately deploy the airbag in the event of a crash. The technology is phenomenal and creates a heightened level of rider safety in the industry, leaving riders untouched from accidents that would otherwise have caused major injuries. While it has been used in motorcycle racing for some time, we’re leading the charge on its entry to the retail market by educating consumers on its value and providing appropriate training.” 

Seamless customer experience 

It’s clear to see Stevan’s passion for not only Cycle Gear, but the wider riding community. “2024 will be dominated by our 50th anniversary celebrations,” he explains. “We’re doing several giveaways, hosting store events, and generally partying to mark such an impressive milestone; and we want our enthusiasm and excitement to transfer to our customers. With a handful of projects in the pipeline, we’re focusing on optimizing our store experiences, leveraging omnichannel integration, and delivering excellent customer service to better serve the riding community. 

“As the industry continues to move towards omnichannel retail, we’re striving to be a fully optimized omnichannel retailer,” Stevan concludes. “The key to succeeding in retail is not only having products when and where customers need them, but considering how to ensure the consumer experience is seamless and enjoyable. However, this can only be achieved with a passionate team, and all the credit for Cycle Gear’s success lies with the hardworking team that make our ideas happen.”