Pricing and Sustainability
2021 represents 30 years of Force Motorcycles in business, specialising in the Ex-Military Armstrong MT500 and Harley Davidson MT350. As we move into another decade, we wanted to explain the day-to-day challenges that we face in continuing to maintain a comprehensive spare parts service for these bikes which are of course now 35 years old.
These are of course “niche” motorcycles, manufactured many years ago in very small numbers when one compares production to other neo-classic motorcycles. We are talking of a total production of approximately 5,000 bikes only, which is a tiny number when you compare it to the BSA M20 from WW2 which saw 125,000 examples made!
We strive to keep our online parts catalogue as comprehensive as possible which presents its challenges. Our 5,000 sq ft warehouse is stocked with MT parts procured over 30 years from various sources.
Much of the MT500 stock was purchased from the MoD as “new old stock” surplus parts back in 1999 some of which we are still selling today. We also bought Armstrong’s total stock of parts back around 2003. The inventory was seriously increased when we purchased Harley Davidson's residual parts stock from America in 2008, shipped it here to the UK and integrated it with our existing stock.
However, we still need to re-visit original manufacturers on occasion, and sometimes this is not possible. One example is CEV in Italy who made many of the original electrical components for both bikes are no longer in existence. Neither are Lanfranconi, who supplied the exhaust systems.
When this is the case, we have to look at getting certain components made from scratch. This is the difficult part, as minimum order quantities often mean we have to buy 5 or 10 years worth of stock, just to get the part available to buy on the website!
In some respects our re-created components in terms of quality will far exceed the original part. We are very proud of our stainless steel UK made exhaust systems for instance, which will far improve upon the life of the original mild-steel Italian systems.
It's a similar story with our plastic parts. As we own the original tooling for all the plastic components on both MTs (now adapted to work in modern oven rotational moulding production machinery) the finished product is far superior to the original parts made in the 1980s.
Since 2012 when we were appointed official Rotax dealers for the UK and 75% of the rest of the world, our on hand stock of engine parts has increased 20 fold over the previous importer.
When a component is running out at the Austrian Rotax factory, we are generally able to step-up and re-commission Rotax to re-manufacture engine components for the MT range of engines. This helps to continue product support approaching the 20th year since production of the engine ceased - unheard of timelines in this industry.
We endeavour to set our parts pricing structure at a fair, sustainable level to avoid a part becoming no longer available. We hope our customers appreciate that within the retail price of a specific part, there are many factors contributing to its retail price, apart from initial raw material cost, such as:
- Shelf life
- Worldwide transport
- Exchange rate
So what's our overall message?
In short, when you purchase a product from Force Motorcycles you are directly contributing to the longevity of your bike.
We are a small family business, and your support is greatly appreciated!
Thank you for reading.