By Kate McNeill, Canberra Bureau TalkSport motorcycle parts dealer Andrew Stannard has been selling saddlebags since he opened his store in the early 1990s.
He was a motorcycle mechanic, and when he was in his early 20s, he realised he wanted to build his own bike.
“It was kind of a wild dream at the time, I was just trying to build my own bike, I had a few parts to spare and it was quite difficult to buy parts, “Stannard said.
“We sold a couple of things in the shops and I thought, ‘well, that’s it, it’s over’.”
He said he made about $600 from his first year, but after he was selling his own equipment, he thought, “why not build my first saddlebag?”
Stannards first saddlebags sold for $400, but by the time he got his first bike in 1994, he was making $20,000 a year.
He started selling saddlebag parts online and eventually got to the point where he was able to afford his first saddle bag.
“I sold about six or seven a week.
I was lucky that I had an engine I could afford to buy and I was able, with a bit of luck, to get my first bike,” he said.
When Stannards son bought his first motorcycle, it was a Harley Davidson S500, and the bike was his first purchase.
“He said, ‘that’s a good bike, but how do I get it fixed?’,” Stanns son said.
He found a shop to do the job for him, but the repair was expensive and Stann’s son had a $100 deductible.
“My dad’s insurance wouldn’t cover the bike, it would cost about $10,000 to fix the bike and the rest was out of his pocket.”
The bike was in great shape, it had a great warranty, it looked like a bike and it had all the parts to build it, so I thought ‘well why not build a saddlebag?’
“Stanns dad said his son’s first saddle Bag was a $5000 saddlebag.”
When you get that first saddle up, you have a new appreciation for it, and it’s the first time you actually look at it, you’ve got to buy it, buy it and love it,” he explained.”
And I love it so much, that next day I bought a new bike, and that’s how my wife bought me a Harley.
“So, you know, when you start to build a bike, you don’t have the budget for a new one, you can’t build it.”
You’re building a bike to get by.
“When Stans first started selling his saddlebag, he got an average of $50 from each sale, but that dropped to $10-30 by the end of his first six months, but it stayed that way for three years.
The shop still sells for about $30-40 a week, but in the past year, it has been able to turn around that trend and Stans sales have been up significantly.”
At the moment, we’ve been able, we’re still doing pretty well, it is a big change, ” he said, adding he has had a huge hit from his new customers.”
People are really enjoying the saddlebag and the price, I can see that people are going back into the saddlebags business because they’ve had the best experience in the saddle bags business, and they’re also having the best time doing it.
“He said there was a large gap between the price and the quality of the saddle bag, which has helped him keep the business alive.”
One of the big issues is that there’s no-one in the market right now, so there’s a huge gap between price and quality,” he added.”
There’s just a lot of bikes out there that are good and there’s just no one in the world that’s going to sell the quality that I do.
“He has recently had to do a bit more research to find the best saddlebags online, and said that while some people might not be able to make the jump from a saddle bag to a full-size bike, the difference is significant.”
If you look at the best riders, there’s some people that can do a lot more than me, they can go from a half-ton bike to a bike that’s over a hundred kilograms,” he admitted.”
They can go down to the size of a motorcycle, or even a motorcycle that’s not so big that you can ride it in the city.
“But even though the saddle Bag business has been successful, Stannss son said he would continue to do saddlebags in the future.”
Right now, we sell a lot, and I’ve got a lot to get through the year, and we’ll keep doing