Editor’s Note: As bike enthusiasts, we at Iron Trader News have had the opportunity to order from and work with the people at Lowbrow Customs. The people on Lowbrow’s team are riders, too, and they make it easy to find the right parts and move a project along. We’re glad to share this input from Lowbrow’s Tyler Malinky on their business processes and philosophy.
There are changes sweeping the aftermarket motorcycle parts industry. The change is fueled by new technology and the increasing adoption of e-commerce. From toilet paper to automobiles, this shake-up continues to offer positive outcomes for the consumer. One indicator of this in the motorcycle industry is Lowbrow Customs.
Founded in 2004, Lowbrow Customs originated in the early days of e-commerce. They ignored the standard practices of motorcycle shops and took a different path. “I was a customer myself, and options online for motorcycle parts were limited. The poor selection and especially the bad service frustrated me,” said Lowbrow founder and CEO, Tyler Malinky. “I thought, I can do better than that.” He focused on procuring unique parts for a wide range of motorcycles. Lowbrow stocks thousands of motorcycle parts and accessories that they design and manufacture. This array of innovative products is not available anywhere else. Creating their own niche meant there wasn’t much competition. “We need to give customers as much information as possible. As if they were holding the parts in their hands,” says Malinky. “Which is why we spend so much time and energy producing how-to videos, writing articles, and providing free motorcycle tech support… even for products we don’t sell.” This leads to a customer with confidence. Lowbrow’s passion and authenticity showed, making them a mainstay in the custom motorcycle scene. “We are our own customer,” said Malinky. “It’s easy to advance and evolve when your job is also your hobby and passion. If I need a particular part for my own motorcycle, chances are, someone else does as well.”
Traditional motorcycle part retailers are stocking showroom shelves and printing thick catalogs. Progressive brands, like Lowbrow, warehouse retail direct, ready-to-ship inventory to customers world-wide. Instead of a catalog, the focus is on keeping up with modern technology; from inventory management to user experience. The direct-to-retail model allows complete control of their brand and lower prices for the customer. An affiliate program is the most recent technical expansion undertaken at Lowbrow. The Lowbrow Customs affiliate program allows key partners to help advertise for Lowbrow. They benefit by earning a commission on the resulting sales. This process is a departure from traditional print advertising and online banner ads. An affiliate program works with individuals and companies who create high-quality content. With it, they earn passive income by adding links to their articles, videos, and online content. In a world saturated with ads, curated content is becoming a valuable resource. Useful articles containing links, should a reader want to learn more, are an asset and tool.
“With the amount of information online, it is easy for customers to identify exactly the parts they want,” says Malinky. “They are now often more informed than their local motorcycle dealers. We help customers be confident the parts will fit their motorcycle. They can place their order and have it arrive on their doorstep days later.” With constant advances in technology and communication, the consumer now plays an active role. Transparency and accountability are assets to a company. As long as they’re doing it right.
From my very first rally back in the 90’s something… I kept a close eye on the man I respected pretty much more than any other, and I had never even met him at that point. Over the years we’ve chatted many many times, been on rides together, and so on. His photography never ceases to capture my undivided focus. The angles, the lighting, the vision… like no other. I do my best to imitate, but that’s all I can hope for. Michael has created a new website which is why I am doing this post. I encourage our Iron Trader News audience to visit his site & check out his amazing work. http://lichterphoto.com/
More than a dozen vintage-powered race bikes re-created the board track races of the early 20th Century at the second Sons of Speed race on October 21. The event took place at New Smyrna Speedway during the Daytona Beach, Florida’s Biketoberfest.
This fresh yet nostalgic race event, instigated by Billy Lane of Choppers Inc., first ran in March of this year during Daytona Bike Week on New Smyrna’s banked half-mile asphalt track. That time, Brittney Olson took first, followed by Matt Harris in second and Shelly Rossmeyer-Pepe in third. Olsen sat out this round while her bike was being repaired but acted as Grand Marshal for this day.
Many of the same racers came out to compete, some on the same machines they campaigned in March and others on “new” bikes that recently rolled out of Lane’s shop—one, in fact, just hours before race day! The powerplants vary in make but they’re all original equipment from the early days of motorcycling that sat languishing for decades. Lane’s purpose built frames, front ends and sheetmetal created homes for these motors to finally fire up once and get back on the track. The concept harkens back to one of motorcycling’s heydays and it’s exhilarating to watch.
Even the practice runs were exciting. Moonshiner Josh Owens and Matt Walksler ran neck in neck early on, with Owens fearlessly on the throttle. But that rivalry resolved when Owens’s bike wouldn’t start for the final. Walksler and Ebay Jake duked it out, too, crossing the finish line head to head in one heat. Buzz Kanter, Shelly Rossmeyer-Pepe and Billy rocked steady to make their qualifiers; Toce and Roxy ran consistently, too. Though mechanical gremlins bit Xavier Muriel, Rick Petko, Freddy and Brook they all exhibited moxie and looked incredible. These stripped down, pre-1925 machines with no clutches or brakes had to be bump-started and appeared to hang on the banking by magic.
Even with camaraderie high and competitive angst low, someone’s going to win, right? Ultimately Ebay Jake, who’d run strong all day, placed first on a 1919 Harley J Model racer owned by Curtis Wear. In second place—again—was the Matt Harris of 40 Cal Customs, still nursing his broken leg but not holding back a bit on the track. Matt Walksler of Period Modified came in third and was all smiles about it.
Ebay Jake also gave the crowd a stunt show before the main event, mixing it up with Bubba Blackwell who popped some wheelies, too, while taking a break from his emcee duties. Bubba stepped in to fill-in for the recently deceased Barry Boone who was originally set to announce the races. Bubba respectfully led the crowd in a moment of silence to remember Barry.
There were dozens of side stories, the racers took time to meet with spectators, and pit crews exhibited a ton of dedicated effort. But instead of us relating more here, just take this advice: next time Sons of Speed racing happens, go. You won’t regret it.